Sometimes, you think there won’t be another one like him. And sometime, you know.
Iowa guard Julian Vandervelde might be the only person in the world with an operatic voice, a working knowledge of Japanese and with the raw materials to play offensive line in the NFL.
Sometimes you know there won’t be another one like him.
Vandervelde spoke for nearly 20 minutes Thursday at the NFL combine.
On how Iowa produces NFL OL — “It’s not just the style of offense we run, being a pro-style, zone offense. It’s the way that try to run it. We try to keep it balanced, we strain for that championship model of 60 percent run and 40 percent pass in a league (the Big Ten) that’s progressively becoming more and more about the pass.”
There is an insight into what Iowa tries to do.
On life after football (with the thought that he’d be in grad school by now): “A lot of people would’ve thought that and it’s still on the table to be quite honest with you. Whenever I’m done with this whole process, if I get drafted or not, sooner or later I’m coming back to graduate school, I’m getting the PhD and I’m doing something else.
“That’s something my mom has always focused on. (Vandervelde will graduate with degrees in English and religion with a Japanese minor.) I still plan to use all of those in one way or another. I want to get a PhD in at least one of thing. Football can only take you so far. It’s only going to last so long. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to come back to the real world. For me, having that educational background, having the academic all-Americans under my belt, knowing I have the opportunity to go back to school and go even farther with my education is going to open a lot of doors for me.”
There was one particular column during the whole rhabdo thing that questioned how much Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz cared about players.
Vandervelde had a take on that.
“That’s an absolutely ridiculous question,” he said. “Coach Ferentz cares about players more than I’ve seen anyone else care about players.
“He spends more time out to work with guys than anyone I’ve every seen. If recruiting wasn’t such a huge deal in college football these days, maybe a bigger deal than it ought to be, then he’d be spending the rest of the time he wasn’t out recruiting helping coach the players.
“You have to remember, this guy has been here however many years (going on 22). Every single year, there’s a class of 120 guys in that football office. He knows their names, the parents’ names, the high schools, the high school stats, the siblings, the girlfriends of every guy on that team. You don’t do that unless you care about the people you work with.”
And, of course, Vandervelde is not ducking the Wonderlich Test. He wants a crack at it.
“I’m jacked about the Wonderlich,” he said. “I’ve taken two practice Wonderlichs and both [scored] over 30. I’m just really excited to get to it.”