When cornerback Jimmy Moreland finished his college career at James Madison University, he left Harrisonburg, VA with multiple school records including interceptions and interceptions returned for a touchdown. His stellar body of work led to him receiving multiple college post season invites. After standout play at the Senior Bowl for 49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan, I was able to have a conversation with Moreland about his experiences and thoughts on the future.

Your stock started to rise during the East-West Shrine Game practices and the game itself. How was that experience?

"It was a great experience meeting other players at the FBS level, just getting to know them. Going to the hospital was a great part of the Shrine Game experience, seeing kids that can't even leave the hospital, that just takes it in more. You appreciate more things that you have in your life."

What was the feeling of being the first player to represent JMU at the Senior Bowl?

"It was the same feeling as the Shrine game. Being the first player is a great accomplishment. I know there's going to be other players after me, so I'm just trying to pave the way for those players after me."

You had a chance to work with the 49ers coaching staff. How well do you think they handled all the players with limited time and experience with you all?

"I think they did a very good job preparing us, getting us ready for the game and the NFL experience. They always tell us every day, 'Be a pro.' So, we are pros now. Our college days are over, and we've got to act professionally around everything we do."

How did they compare to your college coaches?

"They're just trying to get us focused on drills. As we know, we're not their players, so just focusing on getting us knowing what the drills will do for the NFL, getting us prepared, and just getting us right for the NFL experience. A lot of guys that were at the Senior Bowl got a lot of NFL Combine invites (and are) higher-rated guys. They were just preparing us for what we're going to experience next."

Did any coaches specifically stand out to you?

"All the coaches stand out. You could tell they are pros at this. That's their job. They all, compared to each other, they know how to handle themselves well around guys that they never [met]. You could tell the difference between college coaches and NFL coaches."

What was the biggest difference in their coaching style?

"Just how they handled themselves. They handled themselves, like I said, as a pro, how they walk around, how they talk to people, and how they just handle themselves as an NFL coach."

What was the biggest difference between the North and South squads?

"I don't know what they did on the North team but the South team, I was with them most of the time. We all, as players, were around each other, but being on the South team, the 49ers coaches, they are very cool people. We got to experience the Raiders coaches for one day in a meeting, and they're the same."

What portion of the pre-draft experience are you most excited about?

"I'm just excited about this accomplishment. I had adversity in my career in college. I brought myself back from that, and I'm just going through the whole process now. It's a blessing. Not many people have this experience. It's like one percent that makes it this far. I'm just blessed to be in that one percent."

Is there anything you are not looking forward to?

"There's nothing that I'm not looking forward to. I cherish every moment. I look forward to every moment in my life."

Any advice for any of the other smaller-school guys who are looking to make a big splash?

"Just stay focused, know what you're here to do, know what you're capable of doing, and just put your best foot forward. Always prepare your mind because the next step is a crucial step. (There are) a lot of interviews, a lot of meetings with teams that may not know your story. Just tell your story. They don't know you as a person. They just know about you. Know once you get in front of NFL teams, just prepare yourself to talk more. Just tell your story, let them know what type of human being you are so you can make a great impression on them."
  • Matthew Barr
  • Written by:
    Matthew Barr has been writing for 49ers Webzone and 49ers Hub since 2018 and co-hosts the 4th and Gold podcast which can be found on all podcast platforms. He can be found on Twitter fighting an endless battle to get the underscore removed from his handle, @MattBarr_.