MOBILE, Alabama - Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey was busy bouncing from couch to couch, from interview to interview at the official Senior Bowl hotel Tuesday night when a scout from an NFL team within easy driving distance of Columbus cut him off in mid stride, extended his hand and introduced himself.
"I've seen you a lot," was Posey's initial response to the scout. "It's nice to meet you."
Posey had lots of time at practice to watch and observe last fall, enough that he worried that the entire season and this week at the Senior Bowl might go on without him. He finally got back on the field in late November. A few weeks ago the call came extending the Senior Bowl invitation.
And the "real" really nervous moments began.
Posey brings fresh legs, wide eyes and some simple goals to this week's Senior Bowl festivities. He doesn't necessarily have to make up for the 10 games he lost to NCAA suspension in his senior season but he has to prove that, with a little polish, he'll be NFL ready in a matter of months. In the dozens of interviews he has already conducted or will conduct with teams, he has to explain what he's learned from the incidents that got him suspended -- five games for selling memorabilia, five for getting paid for work the NCAA ruled he didn't perform -- and that his days of making poor decisions are over.
"I'm open and honest," Posey said. "(The suspensions), that's the one thing I have wrong. They always ask me, did I do anything else? No. No other blemish on my record. Never failed a drug test, no DUI, no academic suspension. I had the mess-up when I was young and (the issue with) that job. I learned so much from it. A lot of focus was on me, a lot negative was written about me and you live and you learn. I feel like I've grown so much from it.
"I came in this week with the attitude that I wanted to remind people I'm still here and I can still play. It was the hardest year for me but I realized how much I loved football. I learned a lot. I learned how to deal with negative media, finding positive things, and I learned how to serve. Being on scout team, helping the guys in the meeting room, it allowed me to learn the game and it humbled me as well. I think I needed that going into this process and going into the next level."
Posey, who measured a shade over 6'1 and 209 here on Monday, has always had NFL-type talent. He's shown off his quickness here and also impressed North head coach Leslie Frazier by volunteering to play on special teams.
"Those are the guys you look for," Frazier said.
A Cincinnati native, Posey is one of four Ohio State offensive players playing for the North team this week, one of three whose suspensions landed them on a scout team offense that was probably better than the Buckeyes' actual offense back in September. Mike Adams and Boom Herron returned to the field sooner than Posey and made more of an impact, with Herron working his way from suspended list all the way to team captain.
But Posey is proud of his time on the scout team -- he says he volunteered for it -- and thinks it will be a time he'll one day reflect back upon fondly. Not many guys go from 60 catches as a sophomore to 53 as a junior to 12 as a senior and end up in the Senior Bowl, and Posey says he's not taking any part of this for granted.
"Playing (quarterback) on the scout team, that was what put it in perspective for me," Posey said. "I'm going to take that blemish and I'm going to run with it for life. I'll never forget those 12 weeks. It was so hard Thursday-Sunday just to watch my team. It sucked. It was terrible. I cried. But I worked through it. I was always there at practice and always worked hard."
Posey said he briefly considered entering last year's draft but didn't because he's now on the verge of becoming his grandmother's 24th grandchild to graduate from college. He promised his mother he'd return to school and decided to keep his word. Now he's here, answering all sorts of questions in his first up-close meetings with scouts and hoping to both make an impression and be able to move forward.
"To be honest, it's not my place to say if I was judged," he said. "I had to serve the games. Everyone knows what happened. I'm still here. I'm still myself. I'm still a good guy. I can't control what anyone thinks."
Posey's explosion and natural athleticism stand out in a fairly average group of wide receivers on the North team this week. He's dropped more than his share of passes in the early part of the week -- scouts notice that, too -- but still has a chance to turn this experience into a positive and fruitful one.
"I brought my lunchpail with me," he said. "I'm here to work on my craft.
"I thought about it all year if this stuff would derail my NFL dream. I wondered if people would forget about me. All in all, I'm here. I'm happy I'm blessed and I'm working at my craft. I don't feel like I've reached my potential at all. I want to see how good I can be one day."