Former Virginia Tech running back Raheem Blackshear embraces being the underdog. There's no doubt about that.
But can he play that card all the way into a selection at the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft? Blackshear spoke to reporters about the possibility following the Hokies' 2022 Pro Day, along with some thoughts on the past and present of Tech football.
Q: What have the past couple months training been like for you?
A: I’ve been grinding. I’ve been in the grind mood, [I’ve] kept my head down, [I] don’t go out and party at night. I’ve been grinding for three months.
Q: Has there been anything specific you’ve wanted to work on?
A: I’ve been working on special teams. Catching punts, kick returns, catching out of the backfield, doing receiver work. So I’ve been doing a lot of moving.
Q: I know you didn’t get the combine invite, does it sting a little bit? Add a little bit of extra motivation?
A: It’s just more fire to me, you know? It puts more fire underneath me, makes me get after it even more. I like being the underdog.
Q: What do you feel like you showed NFL guys today? Was there something you wanted them to come away with knowing about you today?
A: [I] just wanted to show them I’m a fast catching back, you know? Third down back. I can do it all. Pass block, I can catch out of the backfield, [just want to be able to] do it all.
Q: Where were you training at?
A: X3 Performance in Fort Myers [Florida]. It’s a little performance place. My agent got me in contact with the lead trainer there. We just had a great connection with each other. I told him, ‘I’m coming here to work. I’m not here to party. I ain’t no party guy, I’m here to play. I want to get down to business.’ That’s all it’s about.
Q: You mentioned you wanted to show off your pass-catching ability. I assume that’s been a big emphasis as you’ve been training the last couple of months?
A: For me, personally I’ve been doing a lot of kick returns, punt returns, catching out of the backfield. That’s like my specialty. So I just wanted to show that I’m a running back that got 2,000 yards in both.
Q: When you look back on last season, you had some huge games and then games where you didn’t touch the ball. Did that kind of frustrate you just with the lack of consistency in terms of what you’d expect as far as carries and things like that?
A: I mean, I just wanted to be there for my team, you know? Whether I’m getting the ball or not. I just wanted to be the pass blocker I had to, anything I could do to help us win.
Q: Who’s going to be the next [running] back? Who’s going to be your replacement?
A: I’m excited. I’m excited to come back and watch my boys play. I think all of them can play, so we’ll see who they [the coaching staff] will pick. I think anybody they pick is going to be a great candidate.