EDITOR'S NOTE: Boston Scott rushed for 1,040 yards as a fifth-year senior for Louisiana Tech last season. The former walk-on who had just one carry as a freshman in 2014 is now preparing for the 2018 NFL Draft, where he is expected to be a third-day pick or undrafted free agent. This is the first entry in an NFL Draft Diary that chronicles Scott's time between his final college game in December and draft in April, as told by HERO Sports feature writer Andrew Doughty with extensive quotes from Scott. Scott is one of several players who will periodically break down what it is like to be an NFL Draft prospect.
PART 2: Honing His Craft and Improving Testing Times
PART 3: Preparing for Pro Day
PART 4: Recapping Pro Day and Bengals Workout
PART 5: Strength Coach Kurt Hester Joins Podcast
Boston Scott and I were scheduled to talk at 9 a.m. CT on Monday, Feb. 5. It would be a conversation about the days and weeks immediately following the conclusion of Louisiana Tech’s season, the time during which he picked an agent, confirmed a training location and crafted a draft preparation plan.
Scott was cheery and talked candidly as he made breakfast while answering my questions. Twenty minutes later, I thanked him and we bid adieu until the next time.
Then my recording app crashed.
It crashed immediately after hanging up. I was, foolishly, not using a backup device and had just wasted nearly 30 minutes of an NFL Draft prospect’s time that could’ve been spent watching film, reviewing terminology, training or anything else besides talking to a writer he didn’t know until four weeks ago.
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“Some bad news, soon as we hung up the recording crashed and it’s gone,” I texted Scott (after a moment of controlled breathing), along with an apology and inquiry into his availability for the rest of the day and Tuesday. I was just praying for a response, any response that suggested he still wanted to participate in our Draft Diary series.
“Aw man that sucks!” he replied within seconds.” Yeah call me back in about 5 minutes and we can do it again!”
Wait, what? I just wasted 30 minutes of your time and you’re ready to roll again in five minutes? With an exclamation mark?
We talked again, this time for much longer. He was just as cheery and candid — if not more — and thanked me for my time. He thanked me. For my time.
Scott rushed for 109 yards on 19 carries in Louisiana Tech’s annihilation of SMU in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20. His 19th carry, a one-yard gain early in the fourth quarter of a 48-10 game, was the 319th and final offensive touch of his college career that ended with 2,140 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. The 5-foot-6, 203-pounder knew in a few days he’d sign with an agent and begin preparation for the 2018 NFL Draft.
That couldn’t have been further from his mind. He was enjoying the moment.
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“I got my emotions out before the game during the warmup and right before the opening kickoff. For some reason, all the memories from the past five years came down on my shoulders and I got a little emotion there for a few minutes. After that it was all gas and 'let's play my last game.' "
Scott arrived in Ruston, La., in 2013 as an unrated, unrecruited and undersized running back from Zachary High School, a mid-sized school just north of Baton Rouge. He had zero scholarship offers and accepted a walk-on offer from Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz.
“I was thinking about the team and the season leading up to this point, how we finished those last two games and made it to a bowl game. We finally — finally — played a complete game and were able to see some of the underclassmen that have been developing all year play on a big stage on national TV.
“Thinking about how good this team was, how we fought back and how proud of the team I am. Taking it all in, my career was done and the next steps are coming.”
For Scott, the first next step was not the NFL itself, nor was it the second, third or fourth next step. The next steps were those that may lead him to the NFL, and though he wasn’t thinking about the NFL in the final minutes of the Frisco Bowl, they’ve always been in the back of his mind.
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“It's always been my dream and something I've believed I've been capable of. I didn't have any offers coming out of high school. I never lost faith in myself and my work ethic and where it could bring me. It’s carried me to where I am now and I believe it's going to continue to carry me.
“The very first time I had talked NFL was my senior year. I talked about it outside the season here and there but the first time I talked seriously about it was before [the season] started. I talked to [running backs coach] Coach Ball and asked him, ‘You know this is my dream, what do I need to do to get better and what do i need to do to get there?’.
“We would talk here and there but obviously we were focused on the season and the task at hand. I wasn't going to let the NFL trump my dedication and commitment to the team. I wanted to make sure I focused on the season, gave my dues and gave my team what I owed them.”
After Louisiana Tech returned home following the program’s fourth straight bowl victory, Scott started working his Rolodex, talking to anyone that could join his corner for the next steps.
“After that bowl game, those next couple weeks [are] when I made decisions like what agent I was going to go with. I talked to my family and coaches and went from there.”
He signed with Cameron Weiss, a partner at Los Angeles-based Empire Athletes who represented Scott’s friend and former Louisiana Tech baseball player Phillip Diehl, now a pitcher in the New York Yankees’ farm system.
“I sat back and didn’t really entertain agents that contacted me throughout the year. When the bowl game passed, Cameron was the most consistent, but also with Philip Diehl, I was able to get a personal account of what Cameron was about and who he is. That really helped me out, having patience with it and not rushing into anything. Since then we've been a great team and he's been fighting hard for me.”
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Scott, who compares his game to that of New England Patriots’ running back Dion Lewis, isn't a first-round prospect on the verge of signing an eight-figure contract or multimillion-dollar endorsement deals, but he’s still a late-round prospect or sought-after undrafted free agent with earning potential. Many agents chased that potential, but he says it was not a chaotic process.
“They would contact me mainly on social media. A few of them got my contact information but most were on social media.
“Some would [contact me] multiple times but the main gist was, ‘Hey Boston my name is so and so with so and so company, just wanted to know what your status was, [your] interest in an agent, if you're planning on going to the NFL. If this is something you're interested in, we’d love to have a conversation with you.’
“Some were a little more frequent but no one was texting or messaging me every day. I never felt pressured and I wasn't going [to make a quick decision] regardless."
He credits Diehl and mentors for his calm and calculated decision-making during a potentially stressful time. Among those mentors is Kelvin Kelly, whom he calls a “spiritual father in a sense.”
“Ultimately, I'm on the platform of football to spread the love of Christ. That's something that's important to me — my faith and spreading the word of God to those who are in need of it. Our philosophy is if it’s God’s plan, he's going to place you and position you right where you need to be, exactly when you need to be there.”
Part of Scott’s plan was set upon arriving at Louisiana Tech nearly five years ago. When NFL preparation rolled around, he’d stay on campus and work with the Bulldogs’ head strength and conditioning coach, Kurt Hester. A well-known coach who’s worked with Reggie Bush and Tim Tebow, along with Louisiana Tech's NFL alums, Hester has been with the football program since 2013.
“He knows my body better than anybody and what I need to do to get better. Seeing some of the guys he's trained, some of the numbers they've put up, it wouldn't be good for me going somewhere else with distractions. Somewhere I haven't been before, not being as high of a priority as someone else at the facility. I knew Coach Hester gives his athletes his undivided attention and his best efforts.
“[Ruston] is not a big city. I’m here to train for football, and I’m here for this dream. This dream isn't coming easy and I’d rather do it here with a good support group.
“[Hester] has worked with Kentrell Brice, Vernon Butler and Paul Turner. Kentrell and Paul were undrafted and got shots based on numbers they put up at pro day. It would be dumb for me to go somewhere else when I feel we have one of the best in the nation at Louisiana Tech.”
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Scott has talked with former teammates who have been drafted or signed as free agents, including Brice, Turner and Xavier Woods, his former roommate and a sixth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys last year.
“Seeing how [Brice] carried himself with a chip on his shoulder. You got to believe in yourself. You got to have confidence in yourself. When you're out there, you got to know you're the best player, that you're going to work and not let anybody tell you any different. You can't back down."
And you need to have fun with the process, the happy-go-lucky running back says.
“In fall camp, we read a book called 'Chop Wood Carry Water.' It's a motivational book about mental toughness and surrendering to the outcomes. That's something I realized I did my redshirt freshman year after I dealt with my injuries.
“It doesn't matter what the outcome is. When you worry about the outcome, that's when you start to stress and have fear, anxiety and worries. When you surrender to the outcome and fall in love with the process that's when you have fun.”
Boston Scott is having a heck of a lot of fun with the process, even when people like me waste his time.