New York, NY – Maturity levels factor in greatly for FCS players bound for the NFL.
They have to do more coming from the so-called small schools.
Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick has been surrounded by teammates who have aided his cause. Meanwhile, Montana cornerback Trumaine Johnson has come to the ball a little later, but he appears sincere in his effort to match the hard-working Quick.
Both FCS All-Americas are bound by one theme, though: They are new teammates after the St. Louis Rams selected them on the second day of the NFL Draft Friday night. Quick was the first pick of the second round - the 33rd overall selection - and Johnson was the second pick of the third round - taken 65th overall.
Quick started late as a football player, a former basketball standout who didn't hit the gridiron in high school until his senior season. But in recent years he has been roommates at Appalachian State with Armanti Edwards - the only two-time winner of the Walter Payton Award - and then Chris Aiken, a 27- year-old Army vet who played two years with the Mountaineers.
That will mature a person.
The ever-developing Quick, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound physical specimen, is the highest pick ever from Appalachian State, surpassing linebacker Dino Hackett, who held the distinction for 26 years after the Kansas City Chiefs selected him with the 35th overall pick in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-3 1/2, 220-pound Quick, from Columbia, S.C., rose quickly during his career at Appalachian State. He set school records in receptions (202), receiving yards (3,418) and touchdown catches (31), collecting 71 receptions for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior while becoming a Walter Payton Award finalist.
"He will be fast-tracked by that coaching staff ...," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said after the selection.
Johnson, a two-time Buck Buchanan Award finalist, spent Friday enjoying the good weather in his native Stockton, Calif.
The sunny day was even more delightful at night.
Johnson has spent the draft buildup explaining that he has taken responsibility for his in-season arrest in late October in Missoula when he and a teammate were arrested after police were called to a loud party at Johnson's apartment. They eventually pleaded no contest to a charge of disorderly conduct.
"You know, I had off-the-field issues," he said. "I was up-front and explained myself and was being honest with them.
"I learned I would never put myself in that situation again. It was my fault. I shouldn't have been there in-season, shouldn't have."
At 6-2, 204 pounds, Johnson could easily switch to free safety with the Rams - especially after they added a cornerback earlier Friday night in the second round, taking former Florida Gator Janoris Jenkins from North Alabama.
Johnson finished his decorated career at Montana with 15 interceptions and 39 pass breakups. He was the first Montana player drafted in the top three rounds since Scott Gragg was picked in the second round in 1995.
Both Quick and Johnson no longer can be considered hidden gems, having been selected on the second day of the 77th NFL Draft. It's time to produce.
They may even be electrifying, two outstanding athletes ready to fly across the turf.
And, oh yes, they both seem ready to face NFL competition with an eager, mature perspective.