When the Belk Bowl ended with NC State defeating Louisville, 31-24, in late December, senior linebacker Audie Cole walked off the collegiate field for the last time as an NC State player. Then he went home to Michigan for a few days to hunt, after which he started preparing for the NFL Combine, held in Indianapolis, Ind., last week.
“You get there and it’s long days,” Cole says of the event, where future NFL stars and yeomen gather to prove their mental and physical mettle for NFL scouts, coaches and general managers. “It’s kind of like they’re trying to wear you down and see what you’re made of.”
Cole says that despite everyone wanting to be the best, he was encouraged by how supportive the environment was. Even players from rival teams like North Carolina cheered him on as he went through the drills.
“Everyone’s trying to make it to the next level and do the same thing,” he says.
Players also underwent medical tests and had interviews with coaches. And even if Cole didn’t have a formal interview, he tried to talk to the linebacker coaches for all 32 teams.
Coaches asked Cole about the defensive schemes he played in at NC State, where he was the Wolfpack’s leading tackler the last two seasons. They also tried to get to know him. Cole says he just tried to be himself.
“They know all the answers. They know everything,” he says. “They know skeletons in your closet,” but they just want the players to be honest.
Now Cole must wait until the NFL Draft gets underway April 27-28. His pro day, where he will work out for teams, will be at NC State on March 21.