NFL Draft Diary: Elijah Shumate trying to hit the right chords

Elijah Shumate
Special to ND Insider

Editor’s Note: Former Notre Dame safety Elijah Shumate is doing an NFL Draft diary for the South Bend Tribune and NDInsider.com at key points leading up to the actual draft, April 28-30 in Chicago. This week, in the first installment, he checks in after practice for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. (4 p.m. EST; NFL Network)

It’s nice not to be in South Bend this week. I don’t even know the weather up there, but I can picture it being snowy or real ugly. But the best part of being here, and not there, is this opportunity to play in the Shrine Game and the practices before it.

What I hope to get out of it is to show the NFL scouts my ability, to show them that I can compete against anyone.

It’s fun meeting the guys and hanging out, but at the end of the day, this is my first chance to get my name out to scouts and get some film out there showing me doing well at what people say my weaknesses are, like man coverage.

I’ve been doing really good in my one-on-one reps with man coverage in the two practices we’ve had so far. I think I’ve been able to show people my versatility, that I can play a lot of different coverages and do a lot of things on the field well.

My head coach for the East team is Charlie Weis, who used to be the head coach at Notre Dame before I got there.

I had never met him before this week, but he’s riding the Notre Dame players — Chris Brown, Romeo Okwara and me — really hard. In fact, we had a meeting after the first practice, and he made the three of us sing the Notre Dame fight song in front of everybody.

My impression of him is he comes off like an NFL coach. He’s NFL-minded. He doesn’t really say a lot. But when he does give you feedback, he either says something about you that’s really good or really bad.

He seems like a pretty cool guy. He’s an offensive guy, so he’s working out with the offense more so than the defense this week.

He talks about Notre Dame a lot, every chance he gets. You can tell he still really loves Notre Dame.

It’s great having Romeo and Chris down here, just to know someone, have someone to hang out with. We all want to represent Notre Dame.

When this week is over, I’m going to go back to working out at IMG down here in Florida (Bradenton). I spent the two weeks there before the Shrine Game practices working out.

I just recently found out I received an invitation to participate in the NFL Combine (Feb. 23-29 in Indianapolis). I’m excited about that and I’m going to do every physical test they ask me to there.

So after the Shrine Game, that’s my focus, to get stronger and faster for the combine.

I’m pretty much done with classes at Notre Dame. I did sign up for a one-credit sociology class that doesn’t start until April and runs four weeks. That allows me to keep my student status and have my apartment paid for up there.

People ask me what round I think I might go in the draft, and I have no idea. It’s not my focus right now. I just know whoever takes me is going to get a baller. It’s my job over these next few months to show them that’s true.

Notre Dame safety Elijah Shumate (22), here tackling USC’s Dominic Davis (16) last Oct. 17, is prepping this week for Saturday's East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)