Just months after graduating from North Penn High School just outside of Lansdale, Pennsylvania in 2009, Brandon McManus walked into Lincoln Financial Field as the starting Kicker for the Temple Owls. Four years and many awards later, Brandon left Temple University as its all time leading scorer and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Indianapolis Colts immediately after the 2013 NFL Draft. Here is his story on his NFL journey.
Q. Brandon, thank you very much for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself. Before we get into your journey to the NFL, I wanted to touch a little on your career at Temple University. You obviously had a tremendous career at Temple but looking back over the last four years, is there a specific memory or moment on the football field that stands out for you? If so, why was this moment so special for you?
A. Coming in as a freshman I wanted to compete right away to try and have a chance to start. Running out of the tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field was such a thrill the first time against Villanova and had a lasting impression on me that I carried through my career at Temple. Kicking the game winning field goal against Villanova my sophomore year was another specific memory that stands out to me because they beat us the year before on a field goal so giving us the Mayors Cup for the first time was great. Also, winning the New Mexico Bowl was a team goal that we set out to do and was such a thrill for us upperclassmen because of how hard we worked to get Temple back on the map.
Q. When did you realize that you may have a legitimate chance to live out your dream of playing in the NFL? And how did this realization affect you? Was it a distraction? A confidence boost? It must be a unique feeling knowing that you have a chance to stand side by side and work with some of your childhood heroes.
A. After my first two seasons at Temple, I considered myself just an average kicker with a strong leg because I was not as accurate as I wanted to be. I was happy with my Junior and Senior year statistics that helped me garner some honors and awards, which I am truly honored to have received. In my senior year, I believed that I definitely had a chance to make it to the NFL. Even though I thought I had a chance, however, I did not let that bother me because I knew I still needed an exceptional year to get teams to believe in me and know I can kick at the next level.
Q. How have you spent your offseason thus far? Have you been involved in any NFL training programs or private coaching sessions? If so, where was it located or who did you work with? What would a typical week look like for you preparing for the pre-draft workouts or combines?
A. I started my training after my All-star game. I went to Atlanta to train with other NFL hopefuls on my strength and speed because I believe those aspects are just as important as me just training for kicking. I wanted to show teams at my pro day that I am an athlete that kicks and punts and not just your everyday kicker. After Atlanta I came back to Temple to finish my degree and continue training here at Temple to get ready for individual workouts with teams. I also went to an NFL super regional combine in Dallas, which gave me another chance to get in front of NFL scouts and showcase my talents. A typical week for me leading up to workouts would be about 3 lifts a week and about 3 kicking days a week as well to ensure my strength was staying up to par and I was comfortable kicking for teams.
Q. What were your expectations heading into draft weekend? Did you expect to be drafted? Did you and your family have any plans for draft weekend or did you keep a low profile?
A. Heading into draft weekend, I had worked out for 8 teams so I was excited for my chance whether it was getting drafted or picked up in free agency. I didn’t expect to be drafted but I think it is every football players dream to be drafted. But, I am excited for the opportunity I have here in Indy. I had about 40 members of my close family at my house to share the whole excitement and experience with me so it was a fun time.
Q. What was it like when you got the call from the Indianapolis Colts? How did that conversation go and why did you feel like Indianapolis was the best place for you to be?
A. I didn’t talk to the Colts all draft day but received some calls from other teams expressing interest in me but as the draft ended my agent called me and said congrats your going to be an Indianapolis Colt. I was extremely excited because the Colts were the team we wanted to go to the whole time whether it was through the draft or free agency. Other teams offered a chance for me to sign and come in for free agency but I felt Indy was the best place for me because of the whole situation not just for this upcoming year but for future years.
Q. Now that you have signed, what is the next step for you? Will you be visiting the team or heading into a mini-camp soon? Have you been instructed at all on the upcoming process?
A. Yes I am currently in the Rookie Mini Camp now. It began on Friday May 10, 2013 where the colts drafts picks, free agents, and try-out invites all reported to partake in the mini-camp and try and impress the coaches and organization. I will continue to partake in Colts offseason program until June 21st when the OTAs and mandatory camps are over.
Q. Finally, how does it make you feel to know that you will be working and competing with one of the best kickers in NFL history in Adam Vinatieri?
A. I am truly honored and excited to be able to share the field and kick with Adam Vinatieri. Adam has been one of the best kickers of all time and absolutely should be a hall of famer in the future and I am really excited to get to learn a lot from him and learn the ropes from him.
Thanks again for taking the time to share your experience and best of luck to you in Indianapolis. The entire Temple family and city of Philadelphia will be rooting for you!Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, Adam Vinatieri, Brandon McManus, Indianapolis Colts, NFL, Temple Football, Temple Tuff, Temple University