Will Compton is excited to be at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker from Nebraska has racked up a lot of honors through his college years, but his focus now is on trying to impress a pro team and earn himself a job in the NFL.
His numerous honors and awards include Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (Coaches, Media, 2011), Academic All-Big Ten (2011), All-Big 12 Freshman Team (2009, ESPN.com, Sporting News), and All-Big 12 Freshman Team (2009, ESPN.com, Sporting News), among others.
ProPlayerInsiders caught up with Compton at practice for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and got to know him a little better. Compton, who hails from Bonne Terre, MO, volunteers his time at a local recreation center and at “School is Cool” week activities. He graduated in December of 2011 with a degree in Business Administration, and played the 2012 season while taking graduate classes.
ProPlayerInsiders (PPI): What are some things you’ll take away from this NFLPA Bowl experience?
Compton (WC): I’ll definitely take a lot away from this experience, mostly learning a new system under great NFL personnel.
PPI: What do you think will be the hardest transition from college to the league?
WC: The speed of the game will be a lot faster in the pros and that’s something I’ll need to get used to. Learning a new system, like I said, their playbook and verbiage… especially after I’ve been comfortable for the last 5 years.
PPI: What differentiates you from the other NFL prospects?
WC: I’d have to say my overall knowledge. I really know football.
PPI: How are you preparing for the combine?
WC: Well I haven’t gotten an invite yet but staying hopeful…
PPI: What’s the scouting process been like so far?
WC: It’s been fun, I mean, I’ve grown up wanting to do this my whole life… It’s been a lot of fun.
PPI: Do you know any players on either team? Played against them?
WC: Definitely. I know a few guys… Ben Cotton, obviously. The tight end… He’s from Nebraska too… A few guys from the high school all- star game… some big 10 guys… It’s cool to recognize guys and their styles, ya know.
PPI: Who do you look forward to playing with/against the most this week?
WC: I’m looking forward to playing with [fellow linebacker] Bruce Taylor the most. He’s a highly ranked dude from Virginia Tech… Never played against him or with him so I’m pretty excited about it.
PPI: What has been your favorite college football memory?
WC: There’s been a lot for sure… I guess it would have to be the first Wisconsin game. The come back to win homecoming… the 86,000 fans…. The sick uniforms… having fun with my teammates… that’s what I’ll miss the most.
PPI: Has there been anyone in your life that’s helped mentor you in your football career?
WC: For sure… I’ve gotten a lot of help from my coaches at Nebraska… they put me in a [captain] leadership role this year and really pushed me.
PPI: How does knowing that you could be on an NFL team next season within the next few months change the way you’ll watch the playoffs/Super Bowl?
WC: It kinda just makes me pay closer attention… I guess.
PPI: Who are you rooting for in the playoffs and why?
WC: I’m hoping the Ravens win it… I really want Ray Lewis to get a ring this season since it’s his last.
PPI: What player in the league now do you follow or look at as a model player?
WC: Ray Lewis! It’s always been Ray Lewis. I grew up with him as my role model… I still sleep in his jersey. That’s my idol.
PPI: How was your first practice playing under Dick Vermeil?
WC: It was awesome!! I’ve always looked up to him… I mean, I’m from Missouri… he coached the Rams. He’s got so much wisdom … So far, he seems to be a man of few words, but it’s really exciting just being around him.
PPI: How did this practice compare to your college practices?
WC: It’s very similar… We do a lot of the same drills, I think we hit a little more [in college] though…
PPI: Which one of your alumni coaches are you most excited to work with?
WC: I’d probably have to say Will Shields… I’m not working under him but he’s on staff… it’s a great opportunity for sure.
PPI: What’s been your favorite part about the events NFLPA has put on for you guys?
WC: I mean, I only got here yesterday but so far.… The food was awesome… It’s gonna be a cool week, I’m really looking forward to this awesome opportunity!