T.J. Yates optimistic about his NFL future
Posted April 19, 2011
It was a pretty well known fact that North Carolina's 2010 team was going to be loaded with NFL talent.
But there was a time when not many would have agreed that quarterback T.J. Yates belonged on that list with some of his other teammates.
That was then.
That was before he efficiently and effectively led his team to eight wins and a bowl victory in his senior season after the team was ripped apart by NCAA investigations. That was before he impressed NFL scouts at his Pro Day workout in Chapel Hill. That was before word starting getting around about his ability, intelligence and intangibles.
This is now.
"It's a good chance and I'm pretty optimistic about the whole thing," Yates told Adam and Joe on The Fan Monday. "There's a lot of guys in my position (UNC teammates), we're trying to stay in shape, stay sharp because we've had a lot of workouts and visits. It's a different experience."
Certain publications like ESPN now have him ranked as the No. 10 quarterback prospect in the 2011 draft class. Some are projecting Yates has vaulted from a late round pick at best to a possible mid-round pick. And veteran quarterbacks coach Larry Kennan raves about him.
Yates has been doing his best to avoid what's being said about him in the press, even the good stuff. But in a way he's already prepared for criticism at the next level because he already saw plenty of it in college.
"Absolutely. Especially during my junior year if you start believing everything people say about you, that's not a good thing for your performance. You gotta keep your head out of that and turn all the nay sayers around."
But all the criticism and low expectations for the offense going into Yates' senior year allowed that unit to step up and surprise some people.
"Going into the season I was in a good position, to a certain extent I couldn't make anyone more pissed off at me," Yates chuckled. "But it was kind of a blessing in disguise, obviously it was a terrible thing what happened to the program. As far as myself and a lot of the guys on offense and our offense moving forward it opened up the door for us to be able to grow."
Time will tell if the NFL will be the next place for T.J. Yates to grow his game. He's drawing inspiration from the ESPN special, "The Brady 6", which highlighted the six quarterbacks selected ahead of the Patriots star in the 2000 NFL draft.
T.J. Yates, Tom Brady......you never know.
"I'm not saying that," Yates said. "But I might be in the same situation as him how about that?"