A Few Takeaways from the 2017 Texas Tech Pro Day

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Meet the Participants

The Pro Day participants included Paul Banks III, Reginald Davis III, Malik Jenkins, Devin Lauderdale, Patrick Mahomes II, Thierry Nguema, Ondre Pipkins, Tyler Scalzi, Luke Stice and Kris Williams.

Pro Day started out in the weight room with the vertical jump, broad jump and bench press, then moved promptly to The Jones where the athletes ran a 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.

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Davis had the best 40-yard dash time with a 4.41, Nguema posted a 4.25 20-yard shuttle time, while Scalzi, Stice and Pipkins impressed in the weight room with their bench reps.

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The Gunslinger Keeps on Impressing

28 of the 32 NFL teams were in attendance for Texas Tech’s Pro Day, including some big names like Ben McAdoo (head coach of the New York Giants) and John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks general manager) – their primary focus being on Mahomes. Mahomes didn’t participate in any of the workouts the other Pro Day athletes did because he wanted to focus on one thing only: throwing.

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Mahomes threw about 80 passes on the day to his former teammates Stice, Lauderdale, Davis and Scalzi. During the last snap of his workout, Mahomes threw an 80-yard Hail Mary pass to the end zone. It seemed to be the most fitting way to end Pro Day, and in the words of Mahomes, “I have a big arm, why not show it off.”

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Tyler Scalzi isn’t Human

Who is Tyler Scalzi? Listed as a fullback on Texas Tech’s Athletic website, Scalzi turned many heads during Pro Day. The walk-on participated in a lot of offensive drills which included running routes and catching a few passes from Mahomes.

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But what was really impressive was his turn out in the weight room. Scalzi had a 32.5-inch vertical, 10-foot-6-inch broad jump and a remarkable 37 reps on the bench press, the most out of all the Red Raider Pro Day participants and more than any of the NFL combine invites. Scalzi may not have been a well-known Tech player like Mahomes, but don’t be surprised if his name gets called at the end of April.

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What to Expect

These players put on a show for the NFL scouts, coaches and general mangers and proved they can compete at the next level. The NFL Draft will be on April 27 to 29, so be sure to keep an eye out for these players, because they might just get their names called out.

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The final blog (maybe)

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Why Blog?

Before this class started, I always loved to write. From participating in writing competitions to writing just for the hell (sorry, heck) of it, it’s been a pastime that I enjoy as much as reading…and if you know me, then you’d know I love to read!

Blogging is the same thing that I’ve been doing for the past 15 years, except it’s digital. I look at blogging as a way to express my feelings on things in a fun way, while also learning in the process. I didn’t know the mechanics of a blog post until taking my digital PR class.

I think my writing has improved quite a lot in the duration of this class and it will continue to grow as I gain more experience with the blogosphere (I didn’t know this was actually a word until now).

Use Blogging to Your Advantage

Blogging is a great way to not only improve your writing skills and vocabulary, but it also gives you an advantage in the real world. How many people can say they have a blog? Okay, maybe more than you think. But let me rephrase this. How many recent college graduates have a blog they can show their future employers? Probably not many at all.

What sets me and everyone else in the class apart from other college students is the fact that we kept a weekly blog. We continually got better with writing (hopefully) and we have more to add to our good-looking portfolios.

The Final Blog

So, is this the end to my blogging career? The answer is simply no. I may not keep up with it once a week like I should, but I think maintaining an active blog profile will help me in the future.

So thank you, Professor Low. Thank you for teaching us the wrong and right ways to write a blog. Thank you for showing us the ropes of the digital world. Basically, thank you for making us write a blog because it will really set us apart from our competition.

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The importance of listening

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Are You A Good Listener?

Growing up, we’ve all had instances where listening was key. Like the time when your parents lectured you about something you did that maybe you shouldn’t have, when a friend was going through a rough time and you needed to be there for them or even when your favorite musician released a new album.

Being able to listen is such an important skill to have, but not just as an individual person.

Brands and Companies

Listening is an important factor when it comes to brands and companies. They must be transparent and listen to everything their audience is saying about them. If a person wants the brand to change something, then that brand should be open and considerate of it, even if it is only one person saying it. If someone is saying bad things about the brand, then they definitely shouldn’t ignore it, either. Word of mouth about a brand can spread like wildfire, so one should manage that as soon as possible.

Brands and companies need to be transparent and develop great listening skills. These skills could grow or diminish a brand or company’s reputation, so it is something they should never take lightly.

Do People Engage With You?

Another important factor to consider as a brand or company is how much the audience engages with you. It is a good thing for you when people start engaging with your brand. This means your brand or company is having an impact on people and it means that you are doing something right.

Listen AND Engage

Listening and engagement – these are two things brands need to keep in mind as they are trying to manage their online reputation. Are people saying good things about your brand? Bad things? Do people like your tweets? Or hate them?

These can make or break a brand unless you actively listen and engage with your audience. So let me ask you one question after reading this: Will it make or break you?

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An abundance of opportunities

woman-happiness-sunrise-silhouette-40192A Joyful Pastime

When I was in third grade, my parents asked me if I wanted to enter the Los Cazadores contest. The contest had a few categories: you could either draw or paint a picture of wildlife or write a story about deer. My 8-year-old self couldn’t draw a picture to save my life, but I always enjoyed writing, thus influencing my decision to sign up.

Now, I can’t tell you how I wrote a story about a deer or how I ended up winning first place, but what I can tell you is this: writing is something I have enjoyed ever since I could remember. From competing in UIL competitions, to writing stories for the school newspaper and yearbook, I always look for an opportunity to showcase this intrinsic passion of mine.

When I got the assignment to write a blog describing what exactly a blog was, I became enthusiastic. Some people may have been uninspired by this assignment, but not me. Here’s why.

Build Your Portfolio

In this intensified world revolved around finding a good job that will aid you, standing out is a must. For me, writing blogs gives me a myriad of experience, while also creating different ways to present myself to a potential employer.

In the PR world, writing is a major key to success. By creating blog posts, I will become a conspicuous candidate for a job compared to my competition.

Showcase Your Personality

Blogs are also a fun way to let people understand who you really are. Because of essays and other formal writing styles I accumulated in college, I have recently felt like my writing has become very routined and bland. By writing blogs, I am able to express myself in an unordinary way that illustrates my effervescent personality.

Potential employers can use this to their advantage when hiring, too. Let’s face it, would an employer want to hire someone they wouldn’t want to be stranded on an island with? Or be stuck sitting next to on a plane? Nope. Let your personality bleed through this digital screen like your job depends on it, because it may at some point.

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Your Own Digital Diary

Hand cramps. This was the reason I could never retain a diary when I was growing up, yet, I have always wanted to keep one. Typing has become second nature to me and keeping up with a blog is so much easier than meticulously writing in a journal every day. You can see how much your writing skills and life has changed through a series of digital entries.

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Create Limitless Opportunities

According to dictionary.com, a blog is “a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.” However, that’s not all it is. 

A blog is an abundance of opportunities all in one place. Whether you use it to your advantage is up to you, but in the meantime, that’s what I’ll be doing.

 

 

Wreck ’em or Fear the Tree?

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How It All Began

It was a cold Saturday in December, and I had a lot of homework to do. Did I actually do it? Nope. Instead, I procrastinated by watching college football. As I was figuring out what game to watch, I came across the Pac-12 Championship Game. Stanford and USC were about to go head-to-head in this West Coast showdown.

I didn’t know anything about the two programs’ football teams at the time, but something about Stanford’s all black uniforms made me leave it on that channel…crazy right? I even tweeted about the mesmerizing uni’s.

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Anyway, the commentators kept talking about this McCaffrey kid who was Stanford’s main running back. Honestly, the only thing I thought about him in that moment was, “Damn, he’s cute.”

Then, they started showing highlight clips of that McCaffrey kid from previous games. My thoughts then went to, “Damn, he’s cute and good at football? I wonder what he’s going to do in this game tonight.”

Well, for starters, he broke Barry Sanders’ 27-year-old record for the most all-purpose yards in a single season…in the first half. And when I say he broke it, I mean he demolished it by over 600 yards (by the end of the season). He scored a touchdown in three different ways…THREE. He even set a record for the most all-purpose yards in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

I could talk about this McCaffrey kid all day, but the point of this section is to tell you how I became a Stanford fanatic. Well, he’s the reason. I ended up following him on Twitter, and before I knew it, I was following pretty much every sports team that plays for Stanford. So McCaffrey = Stanford obsession. Got it?

The Impulse Buy

I was supposed to be paying attention in my lecture, but instead, I was looking at the 2016 Stanford football schedule. I guess procrastination could also be the reason why I have a Stanford obsession… Anyways, I knew that McCaffrey kid was going to be a junior the following season, and we all know what happens when you’re really good at football and a junior in college – you declare for the NFL Draft.

So after comparing Texas Tech’s home football schedule to Stanford’s, I figured out which Cardinal game I wanted to go to. I texted my brother, Zach, (yes, I’m still in class) asking him if he wanted to go with me because he’s a football freak. Of course, he said yes. The rest is history.

The Trip

The trip started out really good for my brother and I. Enterprise let us rent a truck instead of the small car we had lined up for us for the same price (if you knew my brother, you would know this was a pretty big deal). We tried In-N-Out Burger for the first time (Whataburger is still better). We even drove around campus as if we knew where we were going the entire time. Everything was perfect.

The Next Day (Game Day):

It was raining and cold, not the usual California weather. Nonetheless, nothing was going to ruin this day for me.

Zach (being Zach) wanted to go to the game three hours early to crash a tailgate, but there weren’t many tailgates going on because it was raining so hard. We were aimlessly wandering around the campus in the pouring rain looking for a tailgate, until we finally found one.

A Tailgate Miracle

What we found wasn’t actually a tailgate (yet). Zach and I noticed a few people struggling to put their two tents up and the cold rain wasn’t helping. We went over to them and asked if they could use a hand, which they said yes to.

We helped put their tents up, and they graciously asked us to stay and join their tailgate. These lovely people (Ron, Sandi, Sue, Frank and Michele) told us about their lives and their time at Stanford, which was interesting to say the least. Their generosity and kindness was something my brother and I will never forget, and I can’t wait to go back to a game and see them.

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The awesome people we met! (From L to R: Ron, Sandi, Michele and Frank)

Sue took Zach and I to see “The Walk” before the game started. The Walk is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when the football players and band walk from the Arrillaga Family Sports Center to the stadium entrance. It’s a Stanford pregame tradition that was pretty cool to be a part of.

At some point of the tailgate, Ron and Sandi told us that they had a couple extra tickets to the game if we wanted them. We had our own tickets, but they were on the visiting side, and we really wanted to sit with our new friends during the game, so we took them! And boy, were those tickets an upgrade. We had the best view to watch one of the best teams in the country.

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We were sitting in the season ticket holders section on the 50-yard-line!
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The tickets had Solomon Thomas (one of my favorite players) on them.

The Game

The game was nothing short of impressive. Quarterback Keller Chryst ran 62 yards and (somehow) avoided stepping out of bounds to score a touchdown. Solomon Thomas was throwing Rice players down left and right. Conrad Ukropina made every single field goal and extra point he attempted. And that Christian McCaffrey kid? What didn’t he do? He leaped over linemen, twisted to avoid his tackling foes and rushed for over 200 yards. Stanford ended up crushing Rice 41-17 that night.

After the game, fans were able to go out on the field and mingle with the football team. My brother and I were looking for McCaffrey the entire time, but our short legs were our enemies at that point. Fans were amassing every part of the football field looking for the same person we were.

Fortunately, some of my favorite players were near us. To our right, Solomon had a group of people surrounding him. To our left, Keller was just finishing up his last picture, so we made our move. Keller was nice enough to take a picture with us before heading to the locker room. Some other football players were also willing to take a picture with us, which was super exciting.

I still wanted that picture with the McCaffrey kid, so Zach and I kept trudging on in the muddy field. Finally, we saw him. I swear I heard angels singing, but it could’ve just been the kids screaming nearby. Sadly, McCaffrey was giving a post game interview, so we couldn’t talk to him. Crowds started to form around him, so I gave my phone to my brother so he could take a picture of us with the McCaffrey kid from afar.

Maybe we didn’t get to meet McCaffrey, but we got a good (and kind of creepy) picture with him and that’s all that matters.

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Our creepy, but awesome selfie.

What I Got Out of the Trip

What didn’t I get out of it? I got to meet a few players, make lifelong friends and witness Christian McCaffrey’s last home game at Stanford. As cliché as it sounds, this trip was something I will never forget, and I will definitely need to make a tradition out of it every year.

So, Wreck ’em and Fear the Tree!