Interview Of The Week – Former Dover and Florida OL Trip Thurman
Next month, the NFL will take over the sports news with the NFL Draft. One player hoping to hear his name called during those three days in late April is Trip Thurman. The Dover High School product has completed his college career at the University of Florida. Now his attention is turned to putting himself in the best position to be selected by an NFL team.
Pencek: You are planning to be part of Florida’s upcoming Pro Day. What have you done to prepare for this?
Thurman: Since the end of the season I’ve signed with an agent and then proceeded to head further south in Davie, FL where I trained combine style. In January I was invited to the NFLPA Game. I went out to Carson, CA to play in that. I had a couple of practices and unfortunately I hurt my ankle out there. Now that I am back 100% healthy I’m ready to go for the Pro Day.
Pencek: With information are you receiving from your agent and the NFL, do you have an idea where you could be considered during the draft?
Thurman: I don’t have a good indication. I’ve heard later rounds and I have also heard free agency. It’s just a process. This Pro Day coming up is going to be a big step for me and even the decision maker for some teams whether they will take me in draft or free agency.
Pencek: How much would playing in the NFL mean to you?
Thurman: It would be awesome to play at the highest level of a sport you have been playing most of your life and a sport that you love. It’s something I love doing, playing football. Coming out of the state of Delaware would be quite an accomplishment.
Pencek: Are there things going on behind the scenes that you can share that is helping to get your name out there for NFL teams?
Thurman: My agent does a lot of that. He went to the NFL Combine and promoted me there. He was out in California promoting me to scouts. I talked to a bunch of scouts in California to go over background stuff. As far as the process goes, it’s really about training and getting your body in the best shape to perform that day. That is going to answer a lot of questions teams have. They are looking at me and it is definitely going to be one of the biggest days in my life.
Pencek: When you look back to your days in high school at Dover, does it seem like it was a long time ago?
Thurman: A lot of it is still fresh. I remember playing with my guys in high school, I remember playing with Kamal Abrams (Delaware State wide receiver) and Eric Sumlin (Monmouth wide receiver). They’re coming out this year too. I still talk to Kamal all the time, he was our quarterback. It’s pretty surreal how far I’ve come as a person and I really could not have done that without the support I have back home with my parents, my brother, and Coach Carlton Brown.
Pencek: What stands out during your time at Florida?
Thurman: All the turmoil we have had and the transition with coaches. I’ve had four offensive coordinators since I’ve been here. I’ve had three offensive line coaches. There’s definitely been a lot of turnover at Florida during my time here and I feel like what I’m most proud of is I stuck through it and stayed here regardless of who was coaching. I was always going to play my hardest on those Saturdays in the fall. I think my accomplishment was coming from Delaware and making a name for myself and becoming a captain of this past year’s team.
Pencek: What will you miss the most about being a Gator?
Thurman: That’s pretty easy, the Swamp (Florida’s home field). On Saturdays it’s a surreal feeling. It’s like nothing else. You have 90,000 fans screaming and hollering at you. They’re cheering for you. Just to run out of the tunnel there is an unbelievable feeling and I will miss that forever.
Pencek: Dream scenario come late April with the NFL Draft?
Thurman: Just to get a chance to play for a team. To go to mini-camp and to go to training camp for an opportunity to make this dream come true.