NFL Draft Diary: 'Chef' Shumate relaxed for draft

Elijah Shumate
For 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, Thursday through Saturday in Chicago. In this fourth installment, Shumate checks in Wednesday, on the eve of the draft, from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago as he is flying home to New Jersey.

I read about how Eli Apple from Ohio State supposedly hurt his draft stock, because he didn’t know how to cook (according to an anonymous scout in a story that blew up on Twitter this week).

Let me assure all the NFL teams that I can throw down in the kitchen. Whatever you want to eat, I can throw it down.

Seriously, this process hasn’t been stressful for me at all. It’s really been fun, and all the hard work seems worth it. I’m just trying to take it all in before the draft starts. I think a lot of my teammates feel the same way — including Jaylon Smith.

Even with the injury and what it means to when he’ll get drafted, he’s been ecstatic about the process. Jaylon is one of my best friends, and I know whatever team does take him is going to get a great player — a dominant player — and an even better person.

Whenever we’ve talked lately, all of us, everyone is just happy and hopeful. It’s kind of like, “Wow, we did it.”

It kind of makes you look back over things in your career. I think your first instinct is to think about the things you’d do differently if you had a chance. But honestly, God had a plan from the beginning and His plan was to get me to this point in His way.

So when I look at it like that, all I can be is honored with the process and the road that I took to get here, and now I’m just ready to be on a team.

One thing I am really grateful about is getting to have coach (Todd) Lyght be my position coach for my last year. That’s my guy. He was amazing, a great person, a players’ coach.

I learned a lot from him. I wish I had more years with him, because I became a much better player within the one year that I had with coach Lyght.

You can see how his presence will help next year’s team. I went to the Blue-Gold Game (on April 16 at Notre Dame Stadium). Honestly, I think the secondary has a lot of talent, and they have a lot of young kids coming in that are getting a lot of playing time.

You mix that with some veterans like Max Redfield, Drue Tranquill, Cole Luke and Nick Watkins — players that have been there and have played on the big stage — and I think they can do a lot of great things this year and be a real spark.

I can’t wait to watch them next year, and I’m going to make time wherever I end up. And it doesn’t matter to me where it is, from Buffalo to San Diego. Cold weather wouldn’t bother me. Whoever is going to invest in me, that’s the team where I’ll be happy to be.

I have no idea really what round I’ll go. I’ve heard anywhere from end of the fourth round to middle of the sixth from teams, but you never really know. I’ve met with several teams in South Bend, but the only one that actually had me in for a visit was Denver.

Spending the draft at home with my family was really an easy decision. I finished my last class last week, so all I have left at Notre Dame is graduation in May. The draft is another big thing in my life, like another stage. And in every stage of my life, my family has been there. So they should be with me when my name is called.

I knew when I started high school (at Don Bosco Prep) that one day I’d play in the NFL. I told myself that. I told my folks that. I told anyone who ever asked me what I was going to do when I got older. And now it’s here.

— As told to staff writer Eric Hansen

Notre Dame’s Elijah Shumate recovers a fumble in the second quarter during the Notre Dame vs. North Carolina college football game on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN