Elmore hopes NFL is his destination
It has been a long road with many twists and turns for Gaelin Elmore.
He's hoping the journey takes him to the National Football League.
Elmore, a 2014 graduate of Somerset High School, declared himself eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft. He has signed with an agent, Premier Athlete Advisors, to help him in pursuit of his goal.
Elmore played his first three collegiate seasons at the University of Minnesota. Because he graduated at that time, he was open to look for other colleges to play for his senior season. It was a difficult choice, with a number of major colleges showing interest. Elmore is a highly religious and family-oriented person and that was at the heart of his decision to attend East Carolina University.
"One of the big reasons was to be close to my biological family so they could see me play," Elmore said. He said the only time he got to see his biological family for several years was during Christmas and spring breaks from school.
Elmore arrived at Somerset with lots of athletic ability, but little stability in his life. The Emmert family took him in and later, Somerset football coach Bruce Larson and his wife Kelly became Elmore's guardians. Elmore blossomed to become one of the best athletes Somerset has ever produced, as a standout in football and basketball.
He accepted a scholarship to the University of Minnesota as a tight end, but switched to defense in his freshman season. He played all along the defensive line in his college career. He said that versatility and the knowledge of those positions are one of his key assets as he is scouted by the 32 NFL teams. He wants to add 15 more pounds by the draft in April.
"I could be projected as a big 4-3 defensive end or a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. It helps me to be scheme-versatile," Elmore said. "By getting to 290 (pounds) I think I can move exceptionally well for someone that size."
Elmore said he emulates Jacksonville defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who many are touting as the defensive MVP in the NFL this season.
"If I have a projection of who I am, it's him. Playing on the edge, I'm a run stopper. I think I'm a really good pass rusher on the inside," Elmore said. "I'm the complete lineman and I can give different skill sets depending on where I line up."
Now, Elmore has to convince the NFL teams of that. He began the process this week, taking part in the fourth annual College Gridiron Showcase in Texas. More than 100 NFL scouts attended the 2017 CGS. The Showcase isn't an all-star game. It is a series of controlled scrimmages which give scouts a chance to view all of the players. It is the first post-season college football scouting event. Elmore said it is possible a good showing at the CGS could lead to an invitation to the Senior Bowl or another senior showcase game. It could also help his chances of being invited to the NFL Combine.
Once Elmore is done in Texas, he will return to North Carolina, where he will be training until the draft. His Pro Day will be at the end of March with the other East Carolina seniors.
Currently, Elmore is being projected as being selected in the late rounds of the draft or not being drafted, which would allow him to become a free agent.
He acknowledged that it might not seem right, but he thinks not getting drafted would be better for his chances of having an extended NFL career. By being a free agent, Elmore could look for the team that suits his skills best and has the biggest need for a player at his position.
Elmore didn't have the successful senior season he was hoping for at ECU. He was still coming back from shoulder surgery the previous winter. He said he is now regaining full strength in the shoulder and he goes into this offseason at full health.
While at East Carolina, Elmore finished a semester of work toward his master's degree.
"I will finish grad school, one way or the other. But right now I'm focusing on football," he said. Elmore has a degree in communications from the University of Minnesota.
Elmore is well spoken and insightful. He could someday be a broadcaster. He thinks his college studies will help him in the interview process as he tries to impress NFL teams.
"This will be the first time I apply my degree to something professionally," he said. "I definitely have an idea of the questions I'll be getting. I am looking forward to the interviews. I think that's part of the process where I can separate myself."
Elmore was a highly decorated person for his actions off the field. He was twice selected to the All-Big Ten academic team and he was one of five students selected as the 2016 recipients of the Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award. The Wilma Rudolph Award honors student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics. He was a WIAA Scholar-Athlete while in high school.
For anyone wanting to see how Elmore is being viewed as a prospect, here is a scouting report: