Somewhere along the whirlwind tour from Charlotte to Atlanta and back, perhaps while riding the Amtrak train or maybe the Greyhound bus, Jordan Mosely learned something about himself.
Nothing not even 26 hours with little to no sleep could prevent him from pursuing his dream of some day playing in the National Football League. Additionally, dealing with the unexpected only strengthened his resolve.
Moselys reward for overcoming adversity and performing at a high level during the March 17 NFL Regional Combine in Atlanta was an invitation to perform again Sunday and Monday in Dallas along with 218 other draft-eligible prospects at the Super Regional Combine.
Jordan, obviously is over-the-moon excited to get to go out there and compete, said Austin Atkinson, Moselys 35-year-old agent whose aim is to get his client drafted by an NFL team (not likely) or get him signed to participate in an NFL preseason camp (25 percent of Super Regional participants a year ago were invited to an NFL camp).
Mosely is typical of the NFL prospect who goes the Regional and Super Regional route: Chances are you have never heard of him. Chances are he will never wear an NFL uniform.
Mosely is an offensive lineman who played and graduated from Spring Valley (S.C.) High and completed his college playing career at Johnson C. Smith, an NCAA Division II school in Charlotte.
While not unheard of for a Division II player to make it in the NFL, the odds are indeed long. Only six Division II players were selected in the 2012 NFL Draft and only 14 appeared in an NFL game this past season.
None probably had quite the experience of Mosely just to get his name on the NFL board for the Regional and Super Regional, a program of tryouts launched a year ago to help ensure that no worthy player is overlooked, according to the NFL website.
Atkinson first attempted to get a tryout for Mosely in front of NFL scouts at various Pro Days on college campuses in South Carolina and North Carolina. USC, Clemson, S.C. State, North Carolina, Wake Forest and East Carolina, they all politely declined Moselys request.
So Atkinson next turned to the NFL Regional in Atlanta, and succeeded. All Mosely had to do was show up and display his skills. But a cousin who was scheduled to drive Mosely to Atlanta backed out at the 11th hour. Actually it was around midnight, six hours before the two were supposed to depart Charlotte.
Nothing was going to hold me back or stop me from taking care of business that day, Mosely said.
Mosely called Atkinson in a panic. Atkinson called Amtrak with a plan. Atkinson paid the $75 one-way fare, and by 3 a.m., Mosely boarded a train for Atlanta with a duffel bag of workout gear, a backpack full of mostly gospel music options, and what he described as a hope, a prayer and a whim.
Having traveled through the night with virtually no sleep, Mosely was greeted at 8 a.m. at the Atlanta Amtrak station by his uncle, Anthony Rayford. The two headed directly to a Golden Corral restaurant where Mosely said he sought a light meal so he would not be sluggish during his workout that afternoon. When you are 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, a light breakfast consists of lots of fruit, a couple pieces of French toast, cheese grits and two baked pork chops.
Well-nourished, yet running mostly on adrenalin, Mosely was taken by his uncle to the Falcons training camp in Flowery Branch, Ga., north of Atlanta, for his early afternoon workout. There Mosely was subjected to various body measurements, then went station to station, participating in broad jumps, vertical jumps and shuttle drills. Finally, he ran two 40-yard dashes, timing at a respectable 5.1 seconds in the finale.
Then Mosely went to his uncles home in Lithonia, on the east side of Atlanta, for a home-cooked meal by his aunt, Alisa Rayford, where he also considered his options. Rather than spend the night, Mosely opted to catch the midnight bus out of Atlanta.
His uncle paid the $27 fare, and Mosely returned to Charlotte at 5 a.m., some 26 hours after he departed.
That whole entire event challenged my mental toughness and my mental sharpness, Mosely said. I asked myself, Can I stay mentally focused and sharp on point, even though I was going through such a tumultuous time even to just get to the location to display my skills?
At the end of the day, I ended up doing well with that, and I ended up just making sure that I was mentally strong.
A couple of days later, as Mosely continued his workouts at J.C. Smith as well as the completion of his studies that will bring him within a semester of graduation, Mosely got the call he wanted from his agent.
Atkinson relayed the news that Mosely had performed well enough to earn an invitation to Sundays Super Regional in Dallas. Atkinson also read an email he received from an NFL scout that said: Mosely didnt have the fastest time, but he had a good overall workout and showed good promise.
Moselys trek to the Super Regional in Dallas is all-expenses paid by the NFL. There should be few, if any, unforeseen circumstances for him to deal with. He can concentrate fully on the workouts.
Then Mosely will return to Charlotte and await a possible call from an NFL team. By then, NFL teams should have a good idea of his physical skills. After his experience at the Regional Combine, those teams also should know Mosely already passed the mental-makeup test to play professional football.