Jamil Demby has an opportunity most college football players never get to experience: the chance to be chosen in the NFL draft.
The Vineland High School graduate and University of Maine senior accepted an invitation to the combine after impressing at both the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the Reese’s Senior Bowl last month.
Demby was among the select few to be invited from an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision program.
The combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on started on Feb. 27 and runs through March 5.
“It has just been a crazy January,” Demby said. “Everything that has happened over the past month, and then being invited (to the combine), has been great. I am just very excited.”
Demby led an offensive line that allowed just 19 sacks this past season, the lowest in the Colonial Athletic Association. The left tackle started all 10 regular-season games for the Black Bears, helping the team average 174.2 rushing yards per game.
Maine finished 4-6 (3-5 Colonial Athletic Association).
“I am just going to take away all the lessons and experiences,” the 6-foot-5, 335-pound offensive lineman said of his final collegiate season. “They have been building me into the person that I am today.”
The 2014 Vineland graduate earned all-conference first-team honors and was selected to the FCS All-American first team. Demby also was named to the STATS FCS All-American second-team.
“I am extremely proud of him,” Vineland coach Dan Russo said. “He deserves everything he is getting. Not only is he a great football player, but he is also a tremendous person.”
Russo took over as the Fighting Clan’s coach in 2013, when Demby was preparing for his senior season.
Vineland went 2-8 that season, but Russo has turned the program around. In 2017, Vineland went 8-2 and captured the West Jersey Football League Continental Division title.
Russo wants his players to be proud they are from Vineland.
“My family and my city are always paving my way,” Demby said. “Where I started to where I am now, it drives me to get better ... because I know where I came from.”
“I definitely think (his hometown pride) was part of the changeover in 2013,” Russo said. “We laid the foundation that season. ... All the players are following his example.”
Demby lives in San Diego and works out daily to prepare himself for the combine. He takes online classes and is on schedule to earn his degree in kinesiology and exercise science in May.
He said he will play anywhere on the line that a team needs, improving his odds of being selected in April’s draft.
“I’m working on my versatility,” Demby said. “I will just focus on what I have to do and leave the rest in God’s hands.”
Russo said Demby will impress NFL scouts and is in great position to be the first person under his coaching to play in the NFL.
“He has everything you are looking for in an offensive lineman,” Russo said. “If he goes out there and performs like he does, he will be fine. ... We will tell the story for years to come how a Vineland player got it done.”