There are questions Davin Meggett gets all the time.
He's asked about what he did — or didn't do — during his four years as a running back at the University of Maryland:
You didn't pile up big statistics in college, do you think that will hurt your stock in the NFL Draft?
He's asked about his father:
Your father, Dave Meggett, played in the NFL and he's now serving a prison sentence, how does that affect you?
If Meggett is tired of hearing those questions, it's tough to tell. He answers them in much the same way he's run with the football ever since his days as a star at Surrattsville High School — no evasive swerving or side-stepping, just straight ahead and to the point.
“It doesn't bother me at all,” Meggett says of those frequently asked questions. “A lot of people ask. I'm actually excited about it. The more people ask, the more you know people care.”
Meggett has spent the past few months preparing for this month’s NFL Draft (April 26-28). After playing in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 19 in Tampa, Fla., the 5-foot-8, 218-pound running back traveled to the Athletes Performance training center in Phoenix. There, along with several other NFL prospects, including Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Meggett prepared for the NFL Scouting Combine — a week-long event where coaches and medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams closely scrutinize the next crop of players coming out of college.
“It's long. ... It's longer than what everyone sees on TV,” Meggett said of the combine, parts of which are televised on NFL Network. “It's a lot of doctors and hospitals. But it was fun to hang out with all those guys and get to know people. That process was more enjoyable than anything.”
From the outside, the atmosphere at the combine seems almost sterile. Players perform strength, speed and agility drills in a mostly empty stadium. And when a player does poorly, the silence can be deafening.
Drills don't hold much meaning most of the time, but at the combine — with NFL coaches and team executives watching every move — they mean everything.
Meggett said having the right mental approach is crucial.
“If you go in and you're not focused, yes, [the atmosphere in the stadium] will get to you,” he said. “You have to go in with the right mindset and have your head on right. I was focused and I didn't pay attention to who was there.”
The one exception to that came when Meggett knew Detroit Lions running backs coach Sam Gash was watching.
“I've met him and I know him. He played with my dad,” Meggett said. “That was the most nerve-wracking thing that happened.”
Meggett's father, Dave Meggett, played 10 seasons in the NFL and was a member of the 1990 New York Giants, who beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
The elder Meggett was sentenced in November 2010 to a 30-year prison sentence in South Carolina after being found guilty of criminal sexual conduct and first-degree burglary.
Dave and Davin have worked around the distance.
“We write to each other,” Davin said. “He's always been giving me advice. Just because we don't have the traditional relationship you see on TV ... we still have one and it's still positive.”
Tom Green, who coached Meggett at Surrattsville, said the running back’s attitude both on and off the football field is his greatest advantage.
“Whatever we asked him to do, he did,” Green said. “We had him punting, kicking off, playing safety, special teams. He’s willing to do all those things and that’ll be a plus for him.
“Ultimately, working through situations with his dad made him stronger. It’s tough when you’ve got the same name. As soon as they hear your name, they know your dad. You can’t avoid it. His dad’s had trouble, but he’s never been in trouble. Academically he’s always been ahead of the game. You can’t knock him based on what he’s done.”
As for the other common question he fields — the one about him not having a breakout season at Maryland — Meggett’s response is similarly upbeat.
“I don’t know how often teams use just one back,” said Meggett, who started only 17 of the 50 games he played for the Terps and had his best season at 896 yards in 2011. “Even in the NFL, you have a lot of two-back teams.”
Many draft projections have Meggett going in the fifth, sixth or seventh rounds — the final three rounds of the draft — which means he may find the draft an even longer waiting game than the combine. Meggett said he plans to spend next weekend at home in Clinton with his family, waiting for the call that will tell him where his football career will continue.
“I just want to stay grounded, stay humble,” he said. “Don’t want to forget where I came from.”