For today’s interview, we chose Renee Farrell, whose son, Dillon, signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent this spring. He’s already shown his versatility with the team as he’s also gotten plenty of time at tackle in the early going.
The Farrell family experience at the University of New Mexico is quite a departure from the experience of last week’s interviewee, Gina Swanson, whose son was drafted out of Arkansas this spring. Gina was effusive in her praise for Arkansas’ efforts to prepare parents for NFL possibilities. That was not the case for the Farrells, who entered the 2013 season with plenty of unanswered questions.
Did it concern you that Dillon was going into his senior season with a team that had struggled and that wasn’t in a major media market? Did you feel that would hamper his NFL chances?
“Absolutely, yes. That was one of our main concerns. I just thought that perhaps it was because they were struggling in the win-loss column. I didn’t know much about the University of New Mexico when he committed, so I just thought, coming from the SEC area, they were also that crazy about football, but it didn’t really turn out that way. I just didn’t know about it; none of us did, so we just thought, when the struggles started happening, that it was a bad omen that things wouldn’t look good, though in Dillon’s wildest dreams I don’t think he ever thought he’d have a chance at the NFL. He had people over the years in high school say ‘I’m going to see you playing on Sundays someday,’ but as a young kid. He’s a pretty humble guy, and he would kind of shake it off. He was just trying to get that college offer.”
What kind of guidance did Coach Davie and/or his staff provide regarding agents?
“I’m not sure how much. I guess that would be a question for Dillon. For us in particular, I don’t remember hearing anything. We knew about some of the after-season all-star games but I would not say we were contacted by the coaching staff about those games. As far as how much it was talked about, that would be something Dillon would know more about than us. Going into the season, we were contacted by the coaching staff, and they told us he had a chance to play pro ball. It was maybe thrown around, but we didn’t really think anything about it. We had a meeting for senior parents with the coaching staff, but it was after the season, there at the end, and they kind of talked about what would happen, how the pro day thing would work, and they would do whatever they could, and work with the guys, but we didn’t know what to expect. We just thought, that’s good, you know? They actually did have (a meeting for parents), but not in the spring (before his senior season). It was more toward the end of the season. Their last couple of games were (on the road), and I know I wasn’t at those games, but it could have been the senior game when we were all in there (and had the parents meeting). The last couple games were away games.”
Going into his senior season, what was your perception of where Dillon would go in the draft? Where did you get that information?
“We didn’t know really much about it. The only info we had about the NFL is when we started getting the (ITL) newsletters. We thought, maybe this is something he can shoot for, and we’ll support (him) in anything (he wants) to do, and that’s why the newsletters were eye-opening for us. I think it would have been awesome to have done those in the spring, only because just in case, I hate to call New Mexico a small school, but maybe the under-the-radar players would benefit from it. I think he was maybe a little afraid to even hope for it. Just having the knowledge of what it was all about and what the process was was invaluable to us. But we didn’t even, I mean, myself, I didn’t even know a lot about the process. You’re thinking, golly, of course he’s gonna go in the draft, and go high. He’s my child! But you just don’t know, and if you don’t know about he process, there’s no way to understand where they might would go. Then by the time we did (sign with) Casey (Muir of CRM Sports Management) and started working out, and the projections were late round or free agent, you just kinda went, ‘OK,’ and it was actually accurate. But we didn’t really have an idea about that.”
For more from Renee on Dillon’s expectation level and how they found the answers they sought, visit Inside the League.