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Cedric McKinley hopes for NFL call

The next few days will likely be a nerve-wracking time for former Demopolis High and University of Minnesota standout Cedric McKinley. The NFL Draft begins Thursday and runs through Saturday. During that time, McKinley will likely check his phone almost compulsively.

“They just told me to keep my phone with me at all times and just be patient and wait for a call,” McKinley said of what NFL scouts told him following his Pro Day workout at the Golden Gophers’ facilities last month.

A number of teams were present at that showcase, with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly showing some level of interest in McKinley.

“It was very fun,” McKinley said of the Pro Day. “It gave me the opportunity to go out and show the scouts what I had and what I can do.”

In the weeks since then, McKinley has been concentrating on keeping in shape in the event that his call does come.

“It’s just training everyday, running, staying focused,” McKinley said.

The defensive lineman is in the same boat as hundreds of other former collegians this week as his football future remains murky at best until the dust settles after the draft.

“I am a little bit nervous,” McKinley admitted. His numbers were not where he wanted them to be in his senior season. Still, the defensive end recorded 35 tackles including 7.5 for loss and two sacks in 2009. He also forced two fumbles and recovered three while starting only nine games for the Gophers. his play was productive, but was a tick below his hopes following a breakout performance in the 2008 Insight Bowl that saw him record four tackles and two sacks against Kansas.

But college numbers mean little in the draft process and that is partially what the 6-foot-6, 282-pound defensive end is counting on.

“I just want an opportunity,” the former Mississippi Gulf Coast lineman said. “If I get the opportunity, I’ll take it and run with it.”