Coming off an MVP performance in the Senior Bowl, former Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener is focused on a singular goal over the next few months: convince an NFL team that he can step-in at quarterback and help win games.
Haener returned to Fresno on Monday to meet with the local media and prepare for the next steps in the NFL Draft process.
Senior Bowl sweep: Haener shined at Saturday’s Senior Bowl – the annual collegiate all-star game that pits NFL Draft prospects who have completed college eligibility against each other.
- The former Bulldog went 12-19 for 139 yards and 1 touchdown en route to being named as the game’s MVP and earning praise from national pundits as an under-the-radar quarterback to watch out for.
What we’re watching: Up next for Haener is the NFL Combine in Indianapolis – another opportunity for him to showcase his talents and impress NFL coaches, general managers and scouts.
- He has not yet decided if he will participate in events such as the bench press and vertical jump, but the combine will allow him to interview with teams who are interested in his services.
- After the combine he will return to Fresno for one final showcase at Valley Children’s Stadium to throw for teams at Fresno State’s Pro Day.
- In the meantime, Haener will continue training daily in Huntington Beach with some of the top draft prospects, including Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.
What he’s saying: Haener said the week of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl was productive, including the challenge of quickly learning a new playbook for the game, and that his hard work is paying off with the different people reaching out to him with praise.
- “I feel like some of it kind of feels surreal. It doesn’t feel quite real just yet, but being able to talk to Kirk Herbstreit – somebody that you look up to and obviously knows a lot about ball and watches a lot of quarterbacks at different times – just being able to hear from him personally and having him talk about things on Twitter and kind of just get your name out there, it’s obviously great,” Haener said. “I’ve worked my tail off for it. A lot of people are finally starting to notice.”
- One major difference Haener is adjusting to is not having a team to work for. It’s all about himself at the moment, something he is not used to.
- “You’re working every day for the common goal of being able to get drafted as high as you can to the right fit to the right place,” Haener said. “I’m just trying to do everything I can now for my body. It kind of gets individualized. I’m used to doing things for a team and a group of people, and now I feel like you’re kind of just doing it to kind of maximize yourself, so it’s a little different.”