Terry McLaurin has been here before.
No, not Mobile, Alabama where he is currently taking part in a week-long job interview at the Senior Bowl.
Rather, having to once again prove himself to those who weren’t quite sure he was good enough to get the job done.
McLaurin was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster, and it’s not the first time he’s accepted a challenge and come out on top.
When he was in high school, he wanted a scholarship offer from Ohio State. Urban Meyer liked what he saw, but didn’t offer. Instead, he told McLaurin what to work on and then come back. McLaurin did just that and showed Meyer the improvements he was looking for.
He got his offer and then took advantage of the opportunity that Ohio State gave him.
McLaurin capped his five years at Ohio State this past season with 35 receptions for 701 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Responsible for many big plays the last two seasons, McLaurin still arrived to the Senior Bowl under the radar.
By the middle of the first practice on Tuesday, however, McLaurin had the radar pointed right at him.
Ohio State WR Terr McLaurin had a big 1st day of Senior Bowl practice. Fastest max speed of any player here and it showed on a couple 9 routes. He was a special teams’ ace at OSU too! Mid-round pick who should have a long NFL career. pic.twitter.com/XY7P7Zqpdh
— Todd McShay (@McShay13) January 23, 2019
Terry McLaurin of @OhioStateFB said he'll run 4.35 or better at combine, "and I'm not even kidding."
Ran a 1.51 10-yard split in baseline testing (upon arrival) at his training facility in Ft. Lauderdale.#SeniorBowl
— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) January 23, 2019
— NFL Draft (@NFLDraft) January 23, 2019
Drew Lock to Terry McLaurin. Absolute perfection. pic.twitter.com/B5CsuTItrc
— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) January 22, 2019
In a 1 on 1 rep, @OhioStateFB WR Terry McLaurin reached a max speed of 22.2 mph. Corey Ballentine from Washburn reached a speed of 21.6 while in coverage. @ZebraTechnology #SeniorBowl coverage right now on @nflnetwork
— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) January 22, 2019
— Steve Frederick (@_SteveFrederick) January 22, 2019
On day two he stood out again, earning raves from those in attendance.
He also got to show off his special teams skills.
Here's a comparison for you. Terry McLaurin goes untouched in punt coverage drill. pic.twitter.com/tdhm1MU4VX
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) January 23, 2019
McLaurin is meeting with plenty of teams this week. Speaking with The-Ozone on Tuesday, he said he had met most with his hometown Indianapolis Colts, and also Chicago and Houston. Other teams have joined those three since.
Being from Indianapolis, McLaurin grew up a Colts fan, but now his allegiances are up for grabs.
“I grew up a Colts fan,” he said. “Me and my dad had season tickets, so we went to pretty much every home game. I idolized Marvin Harrison and the way he was durable and how Peyton Manning trusted him. He was always in the right spot when he needed to be and he played the game the right way. I was in the RCA Dome when they beat New England in ‘06 to go to the Super Bowl. Fond memories, but now I’m not partial to anybody. Can’t be.”
If McLaurin is partial to anything, it’s the process. He has been preparing for this week for years, and not just the football aspect.
Even though there are practices going on every day, there is more time spent in meetings and conversations than practice reps. And as much as he shined on the field, his encounters in those meetings are what will solidify any thoughts held by coaches and general managers.
“A lot of the teams have talked to the coaches and staff at Ohio State, so they’re not caught by surprise, but at the same time I’ve blown away their expectations with the way I’m able to communicate with them,” he said. “I’ve had to draw up plays against different coverages and explain our scheme. I’ve even had somebody draw up our punt. So I’ve pretty much had my Ts crossed and Is dotted so far. I think that’s a testament to my hard work that I put in at Ohio State and Ohio State preparing me.”
The preparation from Ohio State took form in many ways, but one in particular was Urban Meyer’s Real Life Wednesday program which has been geared towards getting players ready for the real world outside of football and what prospective employers are looking for.
“Most definitely. I made sure to let teams know that I graduated in three-and-a-half years,” he said. “I carried 18 credit hours as well. Being a student-athlete and doing that anywhere, but especially Ohio State, I feel like that’s worth noting. That’s a testament to my hard work, my focus, and my intelligence as well that I pursued other venues outside of football. And I took two internships at Ohio State. Ohio State is different in that aspect. They really pushed those opportunities.”
On the field, McLaurin has been able to showcase his route running, his speed and hands, but also his blocking and his special teams play. He is at the top of the depth chart at receiver this week and also both punt and kick coverage.
Being a late addition to the game, he came in knowing that there may be doubts about him, and this week he wants to erase every last one of those doubts.
“I want to win all of my one-on-ones,” he said. “I want to prove that I can get off of press man. I can win in all coverage. That I’m elite in special teams and I’m just tough. Wherever teams have an opinion of me, I want to ensure that opinion and then even take it to the next level. I’m an elite special teams guy, but I’m also a really good receiver. I just did what was asked of me at Ohio State, but if you look at my stats, I was able to have a really high average, so that’s a testament to what I do when I get the ball. So I just want to show that this week in front of these coaches and hopefully get my NFL career started.”
It was nearly six years ago that Urban Meyer told Terry McLaurin what he needed to do if he wanted to be a Buckeye. McLaurin wasted no time in getting that done.
Now, after five years at Ohio State, his time in the Scarlet and Gray is over.
But it will never be forgotten.
“Five years, I feel I maximized that,” he said. “That was my plan going into college. I wanted to go somewhere that was going to maximize me as a person, a player, and a man. I feel like I got that at Ohio State over five years. Being able to win championships, being a two-time captain. I have great memories of Ohio State that will last me forever with life-long connections. I can’t think of any bad things to say over my five years.”
The Senior Bowl kicks off Saturday at 2:30 pm on the NFL Network.