2017 NFL Draft interview: Central Missouri QB Garrett Fugate
By Matt Conner
For it to come at the end of the career, like you mentioned, and with pro hopes on the horizon, what were the emotions?
At first I was just worried about the game. We were in a really close game in the playoffs, and I knew if we lost that game, we were done and my college career would be over. That was a big reason for me to go back into the game after I’d hurt it at first. After the game, you’re emotional because you know you’re never going to play college football again.
Like I said, I didn’t know for sure if it was torn until three or four days later, but it was frustrating. It was a “why now?” kind of deal, but I was very lucky. I’m very blessed to have a great surgeon to work on it. My recovery is going great so far, so you just have to count your blessings where you’re at and I’m even lucky to be in the position that I am right now.
I know most kids grow up dreaming of playing in the NFL, but at what point did that become something tangible you were going to go for?
My godfather played in the NFL for 13 years, so I grew up around that.
Who was that?
Michael Bartrum. He was a longsnapper and a back-up tight end for a lot of his career. He spent most of it in Philadelphia. So I grew up going to games at a really young age and started playing when I was 8-years-old. Being around that, I always thought it would be cool and it was a dream of mine. In high school, I wasn’t heavily recruited, so you know if you go to a Division II school, there’s not very many NFL guys there.
However, after my sophomore year, I went out to San Diego and worked with George Whitfield with a bunch of other college quarterbacks, guys from the SEC or Big 12 or wherever that I knew would get pro looks—Davis Webb, Patrick Towles, Josh Dobbs, Dane Evans, Anthony Jennings. I hadn’t even started a game then, but after throwing with them for a week, it was a definite confidence builder. I knew I could throw with these guys and I could play at the same level at them or even higher. That’s when I realized I was going to go all out with this and play as hard as I can and go for the NFL.
When you have that boost of confidence, was there ever a thought of trying to transfer to a school that could put a bigger spotlight on your skills?
That’s a great question. I didn’t start until my junior year, so that was frustrating for me, but I’d made such great connections with my teammates and coach [Jim] Svoboda. I was dedicated to Central Missouri and I wanted to play for a conference championship and a national championship. That was my goal coming out of high school, and I wanted to stick it out. I’ve always been told that if you’re good enough to play, they’ll find you. I’ve trusted that and I’ve trusted my coaches. Those thoughts will creep into your head, but it’s never anything I thought about pursuing.