Despite their struggles in the win column in 2018, Florida State will still be sending some talent to the 2019 NFL draft.
One such prospect is Demarcus Christmas, a destructive force that anchored the Seminoles’ defensive line.
Christmas recently spoke exclusively with MCM about how he’s working to improve as a pass-rusher, the Senior Bowl experience and why the previous Florida State coaching staff brought he and his teammates closer together.
JM: You were a bit of a late addition to the Senior Bowl this year. What was that experience like for you?
DM: I was patiently waiting for that. My agent and I went back and forth talking about it for a long time. I drove down to Tallahassee on the Saturday, two days before the deadline to report to the Senior Bowl. I ended up getting the phone call later that night and I drove up there to Mobile on Sunday morning. I was excited for it.
JM: That’s as last minute as it gets but I think you made the most of the opportunity. What do you feel is the lasting impression you left on the scouts and general managers in attendance?
DM: My goal was to prove that I could rush the passer as well. I believe that I flashed as a pass rusher during the game when I got my opportunities. I showed them that I play the game with an attitude and that my motor is always running hot.
#seniorbowl South team “Top Overall Position Group”: DL. These guys all took turns showing off early-round ability. #NFLDraft— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 12, 2019
Kingsley Keke pic.twitter.com/60uCGC693F
JM: You definitely popped in the game. Do you feel you’re more refined as a pass rusher or a run stopper at this point in time?
DM: I’m more of a run stopper right now but I’m training hard to improve as a pass rusher. I’m working with Chuck Smith right now. He was an awesome pass rusher and I could learn a lot from him. I don’t think I’m a bad pass rusher by any means. I didn’t always have the right opportunity to rush the passer. It wasn’t something that was frequently asked of me. I’m getting more of the techniques down during this period.
Demarcus Christmas from #FSU is a guy that didn't produce as much as his talent says he could. I really think he can be a better NFL player than he was in college. He wasn't always used to the best of his abilities— Daniel Parlegreco (@DTPDraftScout) February 11, 2019
JM: He’s an excellent pass rushing coach. Do you have a go to move when rushing the passer?
DM: Anything that has to do with power. My bull rush or my chop, dip and rip. Chuck Smith has also added some tools to my arsenal that I’m still implementing and perfecting. I’m putting in work right now. I’m working on having more counter moves ready for when my initial move is stopped.
JM: That’s great. Do you see yourself playing in a certain scheme or at a specific position at the next level?
DM: I played a bunch of positions at Florida State. They moved me all over the defensive line. I played some defensive end, defensive tackle and even at the nose spot. I can play all of those at the next level.
DeMarcus Christmas was the best DL in the 1-on-1 run drills. Color me impressed— John Owning (@JohnOwning) January 22, 2019
JM: The combine is right around the corner. Are there any drills you’re looking forward to participating in?
DM: I’m just looking forward to the combine in general. I can’t point to one specific drill or anything like that. I’m just ready for the whole thing. I’ve been working and training hard for that. The wait for it is pretty long so I’m just excited for it to get here. I’ve been watching the combine on television since I was a little kid so I’m pretty excited to be apart of it.
JM: What’s the biggest lesson any coach at Florida State ever taught you?
DM: The biggest lesson I learned was to trust the process. You have to buy into everything. It’ll all come together at the end of the day. I really just listened to everything they said and soaked it all up.
JM: I’m curious what the atmosphere was like in the locker room this past season. It was a young team that had been through a lot of change.
DM: We were pretty strong. We were put in an adverse situation with the past coaching staff but we’ve always known that adversity hits everybody at some point in time. It’s all about how you handle it and respond to it. We just took things one game at a time. It was up to us to stay strong and to battle together as a unit. It just brought us closer together.
JM: I find that very interesting. You’ve had a lot of great teammates throughout your time at FSU but if you were off to war tomorrow and could only bring one with you, who would you bring and why?
DM: I’d bring Derrick Ndadi with me. We’ve been boys since day one. I’d honestly be happy to bring any one of my teammates throughout my entire time at Florida State with me but Nnadi is my guy. We have a different kind of connection. We’ve been through a lot together. That’s the guy I’d take with me.
JM: He’s a great guy I got to know a little bit last year during his pre-draft process. Is there an NFL quarterback that you’d love to sack?
DM: Lamar Jackson. I didn’t get a chance to bring him down during the few times I played against him. He was just a little too elusive (laughs).
JM: That’s a fair answer (laughs). I’ve appreciated your time tonight, DeMarcus. When a team drafts Demarcus Christmas, what kind of man are they getting?
DM: They’re getting a guy that’s willing to come in and do whatever it takes to help the team win ball games. I’m gonna come in and work hard and play physical. Even if they need me to play special teams, I’m gonna do whatever it takes to make an NFL roster.