Special photo by Appalachian State athletics/Keith Cline Demetrius McCray gets two intercpetions, including a game-winning pick with 18 seconds left, to give Appalachian State a 35-27 win over Montana early in the season.
COVINGTON -- Demetrius McCray beat the odds by getting invited to participate in the NFL Combine starting Saturday at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Now comes the hard part -- impressing one or more of the teams.
McCray, a former quarterback/defensive back at Newton, will be in the combine where he will go through a slew of interviews and drills including the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill, shuttle, vertical jump and the bench press.
"There are averages that they compare you to," McCray said. "So hopefully I can be above the averages of the typical NFL corner."
In last year's combine, the ranges for the drills went from 4.33 seconds to 4.77 seconds in the 40. Other ranges include 6.55-7.33 in the three-cone, 3.90-4.50 in the shuttle, 39.50-30.50 in the vertical jump and between seven and 25 reps at the bench press lifting a standard 225 pounds.
The Appalachian State defensive back made his mark by leading the Southern Conference in interceptions for the last two seasons. McCray had five interceptions the previous season and picked off four more in 2012.
While McCray's talents have been noticed, some may wonder if he may have been able to raise his stock in the upcoming NFL draft if he had gone to a major FBS school. Of course, McCray is ready to answer his critics on that issue.
"Playing at a big school, I may not have had the opportunity to play as much as I did at App State. I think of it as an advantage for me," he said. "I had a wonderful experience there."
While his numbers were impressive at Appalachian State, it was his play in the 2013 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Los Angeles that really made people take a second look. He led the National team with five solo tackles, returned an interception 38 yards, broke up a pass and forced a fumble.
"That's pretty good numbers for a corner," McCray said. "It was special because I'm from Los Angeles area and it was the first time I was able to play in front of my family that's there."
McCray first found out about heading to the combine in the first of invitations in late December after checking his email early and often. The first team to express interest in his talents was the Oakland Raiders with a couple of other teams surfacing his play in the Collegiate Bowl. Of course, that's not really on his mind right now. All he wants to do is show what he can do on the field.
"I'm focusing on my training," he said. "I'll have a better idea come Saturday when I interview with a lot of teams."