The winding road to the NFL has its peaks and valleys. For most, the spotlight alludes them until they can prove themselves worthy of the attention.
Whether the player is from a small school or plays a position that lacks flash, the under-the-radar prospects are actually in the majority of NFL hopefuls.
While most focus on the glamor of the first round that features big schools and marketable positions, the rest of the group working to live their dreams is stuck outside of the headlines.
Georgia long snapper and Bolles School alum, Nathan Theus, is among the hundreds of players searching for a spot on a roster instead of the pre-draft hype. Working alongside his brother John, a fellow Georgia Bulldog and a potential NFL left tackle, Nathan is doing all he can to make it to the next level.
Theus spoke with First Coast News to discuss his journey thus far and his first draft diary comes shortly after his performance at the NFL Regional Combine in Minneapolis, Minn.
What was the preparation for Minneapolis like?
Training for a combine has been a great experience. I have spent the majority of my time learning how to do each drill properly and trying to get my times down. The coaching at GATA has prepared me to be the best I can be. Hats off to that program and those coaches, they know what it takes to be successful at the combines and the next level. It's amazing how much importance the NFL puts on drills such as the 40, shuttle and bench press. It has the potential to help or hurt you, that's for sure.
How has the process been seeing John go through a similar process before you?
Seeing John preform at the combine was more stressful than when I actually performed at my regional combine. John is the hardest working kid I know so I wanted nothing but the best for him. He deserves it. My regional combine was actually stress free and relaxing compared to when I was watching John compete. We prepared the same way, and mentally we both approached it like a game day.
Has it hit you yet that you could know where you’re going to live and work in like 2 months?
It hasn't. I can't imagine what it's going to be like if I get the opportunity to tryout or interview with a team. My chances of making a team are slim, and I understand that, but just knowing that there is a possibility is mind blowing. I've dreamed of this for 20 years and now I'm getting the opportunity. I'm excited to see what the lord has planned for me and my future wife. We are excited and ready to have a home together.
How was the experience in Minnesota? How did it differ from what John went through or told you about the combine in Indy?
To me, a combine is a chance to compete and showcase your talents. Johns was on a much bigger scale, but at the end of the day we both tested and put up numbers. The only difference is that he was on national television and received a lot of gear (enough to share with both of his brothers). I approached Minnesota like it was my premier. It was time to preform and to do what I have been training for these past few months.
What type of feedback did you get in Minneapolis?
I think the most important lesson was to not get caught up in the outcome. God has a plan and if football isn't it, then so be it. From a performance point of view I think I did the best I could have done. I snapped the ball very well and I ran as hard as I could. I gave it my alI and took advantage of the opportunity at hand. There is still a lot of room to improve, but I am satisfied with my performance at that combine. I hope to improve my numbers come pro day.