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Interviews: Wide receivers Antonio Gandy-Golden - Liberty & Chase Claypool - Notre Dame

NCAA Football: Liberty at Baylor
Baylor Bears safety Blake Lynch (21) and Liberty Flames wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden (11) 
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The receiving class at the Senior Bowl was outstanding all week. The one-on-one drills with the defensive backs is where you either shine or fold and display your flaws. Below are two wide receivers who each had a terrific week. Others include Van Jefferson (Florida), Denzel Mims (Baylor), Devin Duvernay (Texas) and K.J. Hill (Ohio State). The biggest roster name was Brandon Aiyuk of Arizona State - a projected low first-round or high second-rounder. Unfortunately he was flagged during his physical and did not participate in practices.

Antonio Gandy-Golden – Liberty WR

6’4”, 220 pounds, 40 time: 4.56

Projected round: 4

Q: What do you offer an NFL team?

A: Definitely size with speed. My catch radius is pretty wide, physicality. Just a guy who gets it done and does whatever I have to do to get it done.

Q: You played at a smaller school. Is that a disadvantage?

A: I don’t think it’s an advantage or a disadvantage. I realize that some people might not have seen me play on Saturdays or on TV. As long as I am in the scout’s radar that is what counts. And being invited to an All-Star game such as the Senior Bowl. That tells them that someone is paying attention.

Q: Plus, there is film on you, correct?

A: They’ll be able to see my film either way. My practices and work ethic this week will say quite a bit about me.

Q: When did you begin to notice NFL scouts?

A: After my growth spurt I noticed them in my junior year of high school. They came mostly for the senior players, but my coach said they had asked him some questions about me. I had about four offers that year and a lot more the following year.

Q: How are your downfield blocking skills?

A: I feel I am a pretty good downfield blocker. Of course, there’s always stuff to clean up but I don’t shy away from it. When I do a good job for one of my teammates, I expect them to do a good job for me when I am headed their way.

Q: The Browns have Jarvis Landry who just went to his fifth straight Pro Bowl, plus Odell Beckham, Jr. who has gone to three Pro Bowls. Could you come in and be that third guy, or would you rather sit and learn for a year?

A: I would come in and compete for the third guy position. Whatever comes, whatever happens, hopefully come into a place that needs a guy with good hands and can contribute right away. I am not a person who wants to sit, although I will learn. But nobody who is competitive is satisfied with not playing.

Q: You have excellent abilities to catch the long ball. How did you develop that skill?

A: My mindset is that if the ball is thrown my way, it’s mine to catch. Attack the ball is critical and when it’s in the air, I have that habit.

Q: How were some of your favorite players growing up?

A: I really didn’t watch football as a kid. But in the past eight year, Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald – those are my top two. Recently though, Michael Thomas.

Q: Did you play high school basketball with your height?

A: I did not play any other sports.

Q: When did you pick up football, and how did you end up as a receiver?

A: I started playing in high school. There were some drills and then we would toss the ball back and forth to get the balls back to where the quarterbacks needed them, and I started catching the passed balls back-and-forth. And the coaches started noticing I had good hands. Then I had a growth spurt from my sophomore to junior years, and they played me there from that point on.

Q: What are some of your favorite foods?

A: I love chicken. Anything chicken-related: baked, fried, broiled, fingers, grilled. I don’t eat too much fast food fried chicken like Popeye’s though or other fast food. The grease factor. Except my mom’s. When she fries it, it’s amazing.

Q: What do you see yourself doing after your playing career is over?

A: I want to start a graphic design business with my uncle. He is a graphic designer in Chicago.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice
North wide receiver Chase Claypool of Notre Dame (83) gets by North cornerback Troy Pride Jr. of Notre Dame (5) in a passing drill during Senior Bowl practice
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Claypool – Notre Dame WR

6’4”, 229 pounds, 40 time: 4.48

Projected round: 2-3

Q: You played in a big program. How did you prepare to play in huge games?

A: Against a tough opponent, we know we have to come out fast in practice and emphasized energy. You work on a gameplan and stick to it.

Q: The toe drag is a signature move of yours and is one of the hardest things to master in the NFL. How did you perfect this maneuver?

A: We actually work on that at some point during practices each week. We replicate situations where we as receivers hug the sideline and try to make the catch while at the same time you are reacting without thinking with the toes. I have been doing two-feet for quite a while now hoping I would eventually get my chance to play at the next level. You don’t always need it, but I am prepared to use it.

Q: What assets do you offer an NFL club?

A: My size is a good asset. I have the ability to be able to time my jumps well and can get up there. I fight for every catch. My speed helps me out quite a bit and helps me after the catch. Physicality, fast, prepared and an awareness that I can catch any ball.

Q: You grew up in Canada and played for Notre Dame. Do you consider yourself a cold-weather player?

A: The elements don’t me affect as much as others. My chemistry just seems to be different when it is cold and I can handle it. I am comfortable.

Q: How do you handle a poorly thrown ball in a game?

A: You have to spot the ball first, and then make an adjustment whether that is change the position of your body, or your speed towards where the ball will end up. But we also work on that during the week which gives me a familiarity of what to expect. An ugly catch is still a catch.

Q: Is it true you once scored 10 touchdowns in a single game?

A: It’s a long story. In high school against our rival - who ran the triple option. We had a good game plan. So every possession we got we knew was going to be important. We kinda went out there and ran around a bit and I had a good game.

Q: You were also a basketball player in high school. At what point did you decide that football would be your main sport?

A: Up until my sophomore year I felt that basketball was where I would end up and go far in. I was expecting offers. I was involved in AAU. But in my junior year I started to lean towards football and just seemed to enjoy it more.

Q: Do you feel that anytime the ball goes up in the air that you can either catch it or be able to take it away from the defender?

A: I am a confident player. My opinion is, “It’s not a 50-50 ball, it’s more like 80-20.”

Q: Do you feel you have to be the main receiver?

A: Not at all. I am just as happy when other receivers get their catches and get touchdowns. The younger guys who come into our program need that experience and get the feel for what scoring is all about with the noise of the crowd after a score. And I get my chances to show off my skills and what I can do.