Jimmy Staten’s graduation comes with a high degree of drama

Posted May 13, 2014

Jimmy Staten got word that the Seahawks had selected him in the NFL Draft during his college graduation ceremony on Saturday. Sunday morning, the defensive tackle from Middle Tennessee was on his way to Seattle.

What a week it was for Jimmy Staten.

On May 4, he celebrated his 23rd birthday. On May 10, during his graduation ceremony at Middle Tennessee State University, Staten got a phone call from Seahawks general manager John Schneider informing him that he had just been selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. The following morning, the 6-foot-3, 311-pound defensive tackle flew from Murfreesboro to Seattle. Monday, he began his indoctrination into all things Seahawks in preparation for this weekend’s three-day rookie minicamp.

Tuesday, as he sat in one of the recliners in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Staten still was trying to comprehend the week that was while adjusting to the one that he’s in the middle of.

“I wouldn’t have it happen any other way,” Staten said of two milestone events occurring on the same day. “First, there was the feeling of completing college, which is what I came to college to do first of all. And then getting a chance to live out my dream as a NFL player, that’s an amazing feeling.”

Too much for one day? 


When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where: Virginia Mason Athletic Center

Who’ll be there: The Seahawks’ nine-man draft class – wide receivers Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood; tackles Justin Britt and Garrett Scott; fullback Kiero Small; defensive end Cassius Marsh; defensive tackle Jimmy Staten; linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis; and defensive back Eric Pinkins; the nine rookie free agents signed after the draft, including University of Washington quarterback Keith Price and Texas All-American defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat; and a group of rookies who will be participating on a tryout basis.

“No, that was just great,” said Staten, who still needs six hours to complete his degree in criminal justice. “There’s nothing else that can beat that.”

Staten’s telephone interview with the media that cover the Seahawks had to be cut short on Saturday, because he was in the middle of something that also is very significant in his life. Then the graduation ceremony in the Murphy Center on the Middle Tennessee campus was interrupted momentarily when word of Staten’s selection in the NFL Draft reached the main stage and school president Sidney McPhee, who shared the news with the audience and Staten’s graduation class.

“About 10 minutes after I found out, he made the announcement that I had been drafted by the Seahawks,” Staten said. “It was pretty cool.”

Making it even better was the fact that his family was in town from Georgia for the graduation, so they also got to celebrate his selection by the Super Bowl champions – especially his mother, Shirley.

“I had my family there already for graduation, so it was just perfect,” Staten said.

Until Sunday morning. “My family actually hadn’t even left yet when I had to get up and go to the airport,” he said.  

And Staten has been flying ever since.

“I guess it’s like being a freshman all over again,” he said. “But I’m loving it.”

The incumbent starters in the middle of the Seahawks’ line return – nose tackle Brandon Mebane and three-technique tackle Tony McDaniel. But there are holes that need to be filled after starting ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons were released and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and versatile tackle Clinton McDonald jumped to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.

But there also is – what else – competition. And it comes in the form of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, who were signed in free agency last year and are slated to play more than they did during the 2013 season as the replacements for Bryant and Clemons; Jordan Hill, a third-round draft choice last year who saw limited action as a rookie; Greg Scruggs and Jesse Williams, who spent last season on injured reserve; Michael Brooks, Dewayne Cherrington and D’Anthony Smith, who were on the practice squad or active roster last season; end Cassius Marsh, a fourth-round draft choice on Saturday; and Jackson Jeffcoat and Andru Pulu, who were signed as rookie free agents after the draft.

Staten is just happy to be part of the group.

“I’m just enjoying being with the team and working with the guys,” he said. “Coach (Travis) Jones is doing a great job getting us tied into the system and showing us what to do. So it’s been going very well.

“It’s such an honor to be here. I can’t even describe it.”

And that comes from a guy who just went through a week that defies description.