Three days into the East West Shrine Game practices and Missouri defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton is making a strong case that he should be moving up NFL Draft boards. He has enjoyed a solid showing during his West team’s intrasquad showdowns.
“It’s just a bunch of hungry guys out here ready to do some stuff,” Hamilton said after Tuesday’s practice. “Everybody was competing in 1-on-1’s, pass rush, they were competing in the team stuff and in the 9-on-7’s. Everybody is hungry, we’re all try to make it to the next level.”
The practices are as much a benefit for the players as they are for the massive contingent of NFL scouts on hand.
However, it is not the first time scouts have gotten a close look at Hamilton.
“Last year at Mizzou, we use to have like three scouts a day come to practice,” Hamilton said. “I’m talking about every day. I’m used to them but I haven’t been used to this magnitude. There are a lot of scouts out here. They look like they brought in an entourage.”
The pressure to perform in such a setting may inflict some players with a case of the jitters.
But not Hamilton.
“When I play a game in front of 70,000 or 80,000 people, I block them out and don’t even notice that they are there,” he said. “I’m just worried about doing my assignment and doing it right.”
The game of football has suddenly turned into more of a job for Hamilton and the Shrine practices are the first step in what will be a more than three-month long job interview.
“I look at it as work,” said Hamilton. “I’m having fun in the process but I’m looking at it as work. I’m coming out and competing on every play. You have to.”
Not only has this week included practices, team meetings and film study, but there is an added chore for every player. They are required to meet with NFL scouts, coaches and GM’s for interview sessions throughout the week in a process that seems never-ending.
So what does Hamilton do and roommate Dajohn Harris (USC) do with their very limited amount of free time?
“We basically sleep,” said Hamilton. “We are asleep by 10 o’clock. My sleep schedule is still a little messed up because I’m coming from Missouri to Atlanta to here. The time difference is a little crazy but I’m getting used to it.”