Former Redbird running back Marshaun Coprich holds nearly every rushing record in Illinois State history. The All-American and two-time Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year is considered in many circles to be a hidden gem in this year’s upcoming NFL Draft.
The 5-foot-9, 205-lb., back is seen as an undersized talent, comparable to Maurice Jones-Drew, who could be drafted as early as the third round. I sat down and talked to the prospect just a couple of weeks before the Draft begins April 28.
Zack Carpenter: What have you been up to these days? Since it’s getting closer to the Draft and you have graduation to worry about, have the workouts gotten more relaxed and less intense?
Marshaun Coprich: I’ve just been working out, studying and getting ready for the Draft. But I wouldn’t say less intense because you always want to push yourself, but it’s been more lightweight stuff instead of heavyweight.
ZC: How’s the married life treating you?
MC: It’s actually treating me pretty good. We’re getting ready to find out where we’re heading to and it’s gonna be a fun journey.
ZC: Teams have gotten a feel for you at this point. During pre-draft interviews, who have you been talking to and what kinds of questions have they been asking you?
MC: I’ve talked to a lot of scouts and coaches and some GM’s. It’s just a waiting game at this point; that’s all it is right now. They basically just ask me about football knowledge.
ZC: I want to address the issue everyone wants to talk about when your name comes up, and that’s your arrest last offseason. How have you responded to the questions about that off-field incident from GM’s, coaches and scouts?
MC: I just tell them it was a bad situation, I get into detail with them, tell them what happened and we just continue on with our conversation. Lately, conversation [about the arrest] has just been media. Y’all ask me about it, but teams don’t really ask me about it because I already discussed it at the Combine.
ZC: Do you bring up the incident first to address it right off the bat?
MC: Yeah, I bring it up. If they forget, I just tell them I got arrested. They always say, “As long as you learn from it…” and I did. It’s nothing to hide from; it happened and it’s over now. I tell them what happened and we go on with our conversation.
ZC: I’m an NFL GM. I’ve seen your on-field success and athleticism in your pre-draft workouts. But what’s your main selling point in the interview room that’s going to make me want to draft Marshaun Coprich?
MC: I’m gonna go in and work hard to help the whole team get better. And I’m gonna continue working on myself on the field and off the field to become a better player and better person and help them win a Super Bowl.
ZC: It’s a passing league now so one of the main things teams are going to ask you to do is pass block. Can you be an effective pass blocker at the next level?
MC: I mean I don’t see why not. It’s the same as what I was doing before. It’s all about your heart and the fight in the dog. And I’m a dog. I’m going out there and playing with my all.
ZC: What are your strengths as a running back?
MC: My pass blocking, catching, my vision and my special teams abilities.
ZC: What do you need to improve on to make it at the next level?
MC: Everything. You can always get better with everything. If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.
ZC: The Bears are looking for a new running back and I know you’ve worked out for them and the Colts. What other teams have been showing the most interest?
MC: I’ve been talking to a lot of teams. I’m not gonna get deep into that because my agent told me not to, but I’ve been talking to a lot of teams and it’s looking pretty good.
ZC: You have zero control over it, but if it were up to you, what team would you want to play for the most? Maybe move back to the West Coast to be closer to home in California?
MC: It really doesn’t matter. I just want a chance to be part of the association with the National Football League. I’ve been watching the NFL since I was a kid and just getting a chance to be on any team and get out there is a great opportunity.
ZC: You said you’ve been watching the game since you were a kid. Who are a couple of players, past or present, who you look up to?
MC: Tyrann Mathieu and Reggie Bush.
ZC: Do you think you see some similarities between you and Reggie Bush?
MC: Maybe with my agility, but I’m more of an inside runner. I can run inside or outside, but with the way we play football at Illinois State, you need to know how to run inside and outside. I don’t want to get into comparisons because he’s already [in the league] but I’m working on it to keep getting better.
ZC: Scouts have marked you as an undersized running back. Based off the success Tyrann Mathieu has had as an undersized guy, do you think you could have similar success?
MC: They can say I’m undersized, but I’m probably just as big or bigger than some of the running backs in the NFL right now. But my heart and courage to go out there and hit anybody and make a play [makes me different]. I’m willing to go out there and put my life on the line.
ZC: Coach [Lamar] Conard is one of the most important mentors in your life. What kind of advice has he given you throughout this process?
MC: I just go into his office and talk about football. It’s just a waiting game and he tells me to just keep working hard. He tells me to never stop working because that’s what he does.
ZC: Next year, George Moreira and Jamal Towns are going to try and fill your role. What advice would you give them as they try to fill your shoes?
MC: I would tell them to just never stop working hard, and listen to what Coach Conard teaches you and he’ll lead you to success.
ZC: Where are you going to be watching the Draft?
MC: I’ll be in downtown Chicago. I’ll be at a condo downtown, chilling with my agent, my mom and my wife.