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Notre Dame Football

Competitive Elliott eyes NFL dreams after Notre Dame career

April 8, 2020

After starring earlier this year at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, Jalen Elliott didn’t carry over that excellence to the NFL Combine.

Still, the former Notre Dame standout safety didn’t bemoan a sore back that hampered him in some drills, most notably the 40-yard dash.

Instead, Elliott immediately returned to work. At a pseudo pro day that Elliott helped arrange with former Irish teammates Julian Okwara, Troy Pride Jr. and Donte Vaughn, the 6-foot, 205-pound Elliott blistered the 4.8-second 40 he had logged in Indianapolis with sprints of 4.54 and 4.56.

“Some of our teammates didn’t have a pro day at all, so wanted them to be able to at least have some type of video,” Elliott said Wednesday on The Jim Rome Show. “Also, to have an opportunity to kind of right some wrongs that happened at the Combine and just make sure that I showed the best of my ability, along with my teammates showing the best of their abilities.

“And I think with using what we had, we did a good job of putting together something that could be respectable and something that could be sent out to coaches. The one thing for me was the 40; I didn’t really perform well in the Combine. I knew that wasn’t my true speed, and I think I righted that wrong with running the times that I ran.”

That relentless mindset is the same approach the Richmond, Virginia, native intends to deploy later this month, when the NFL holds its annual draft and Elliott learns his fate for the next phase of his football career.

“Man, it’s going to be a surreal feeling, for sure, just to enjoy that with my family,” Elliott said. “But at the same time, it’s kind of going to be like everything, once I committed to Notre Dame or any event that’s happened in my life. A great feeling and now it’s (a mindset of) what do I have to do in order to stay here, what do I have to do in order to be the best.

“While I’m so excited and can’t wait for that moment and I’m going to enjoy and embrace it for that day, the next day is going to be filled with work, and I’m going to be ready to get back to it and figure out what I can do to help whatever new organization flourish.”

Elliott’s renowned competitive drive has been an intangible strength that carried him from a consensus three-star rating as he exited high school to a captaincy post with Notre Dame in his final season. Elliott attributed that tenacity to his upbringing.

“I think it’s family, first and foremost,” Elliott said. “I’m in a pretty big family; I’m the oldest of four. So everything we do, we compete.

“And then, honestly, it’s never wanting to get beat. I think that’s my thing. I put it in my head, ‘Yeah, sometimes you lose, but in my head, I shouldn’t lose anything that I do.’ When I have that mindset and have that mindset of proving to people that I’m supposed to be where I am, it really just comes all to fruition and that competitive nature comes out. It’s kind of something I’ve always had, and I’m thankful for it.”

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