Path to the Draft: Jahleel Addae

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While there has been a lot of buzz about Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher heading into this April's NFL Draft, but he is not the only Chippewa on scout's radar.
Safety Jahleel Addae wrapped up a stellar career as a three year starter on defense, and he finished his senior season with 89 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks and four interceptions. While he is flying under the radar among the mainstream media, he is considered one of the top ten available safeties by many outlets.
We recently had a chance to catch up with Addae to get his thoughts on the upcoming draft and his time as a Chippewa.
1) You started out at CMU at RB and WR then switched to defense. How did you feel about the move then, and how do you feel about it now?
Addae: At first I wasn't too sure about the transition, simply because I never played it before. I then said to myself whatever I can do to get on the field and help the team win ill do. From that day on I focused mainly of becoming the best safety possibly and set goals for myself to strive for. Now that I look back on it, it was the best move ever as far as my career goes. I have had a lot of success at the position and it has set me up to reach my long life dream in a couple months, which is to play in the NFL.
2) A lot of people will say you really arrived at the GMAC Bowl in 2009, can you talk about that game and how it impacted your confidence/play?
Addae: Yes, that game was big for my career and sent me off into the offseason with a lot of confidence. I was second string at safety and the nickelback position. I played sparingly that year, but not in a game of that magnitude. The starter Tommy Mama got hurt right before the half ended and it was my time to shine. I made key plays in that game and it felt natural once I got out there on that field. I ended up with eight tackles, one force fumble and a half a sack. That game propelled me into the following spring where I won the starting job.
3) You were also one of the players who went through the transition from Butch Jones to Dan Enos, how tough was that to go through and what impact did it have on the team?
Addae: The transition wasn't too bad. Coach Jones instilled hard work and a grind it out mentality. Coach Enos and his staff did the same as well. Both staffs were great. With the new staff coming in it gave me and everyone else a clean slate and an opportunity to earn a starting job.
4) You were surprisingly not invited to the NFL Combine and Central Michigan is often referred to as a "small school" by scouts. Would it be fair to say you have a little chip on your shoulder heading into the draft?
Addae: Yes, I was definitely surprised about not getting a invitation. But I just use that as motivation, I have always been the underdog in everything since day one and wouldn't want it any other way. I have always had to prove myself at every level and it's no different now. I'm sure you can see I have a chip on my shoulder by the way I play the game with energy and passion. I'm ready to show I'm worthy of an NFL roster come March 11th.
5) How crazy is it to see Eric Fisher as the potential #1 overall pick, and did you see that potential playing with him over the years?
Addae: I couldn't be any prouder for Big Fish. He has work toward everything he is earning now. He is definitely a top five pick and the number one tackle in the country. Big kid, great size, athletic, can run well with great feet you can't teach that. I'm positive he will make a sudden impact on a NFL team and become an immediate starter. The guy is a beast!
6) You had a chance to play with and against (in practice) guys like Antonio Brown, Kito Poblah, Bryan Anderson, Josh Gordy and Vince Agnew. What did you learn from them to help prepare you for the NFL?
Addae: Basically a mentality to be the best at everything you do no matter what others think. Each and every one of them had an outstanding worth ethic and it showed, hence that they are now all productive professional players. They were professionals and handled themselves well as leaders.
7) How would you describe the CMU/WMU rivalry now that you have been through the battles?
Addae: In my opinion it was the biggest rivalry game in college football. Don't like those guys at all, but they always play us tough and it will always be a great game no matter what our records are when we meet up. The feeling I have had playing in each one of those games is something I cannot describe, it's a great feeling and would give anything to play in that game one last time.
8) What are some young players on the offensive and defensive side of the ball at CMU who you see potential in?
Addae: Dennis Nalor, Kavon Frazier, Lance Sanders, Brandon Greer, Leterrius Walton, Jordan Fields, Nathan Ricketts are some young guys. Jarret Chapman is a solid kid and of course Avery Cunningham the big time hitter and will be the leader of the defense. As far as offense goes, Alex Niznak has shown glimpses of being really good. Martez Walker, Saylor Lavallii are two young backs who have stood out. Of course Titus Davis, Deon Butler, Andrew Flory at wide receiver. And Jerry Harris is not young, but expect big things from him and Zurlon Tipton this year. As far as the O-line goes, Kevin Henry and Andy Phillips should become solid players as well.
9) If you had to pick one moment in you CMU career you were most proud of, what would it be?
Addae: I would have to say the Little Caesar's Bowl victory. Starting the season 2-5 as a senior and being able to rally the team as a leader and captain. And then to become bowl eligible and pull off the victory when most didn't believe in us is something really special. And that was with a great group of guys that I will cherish for a long time.
10) If you could send any message to CMU fans, what would it be?
Addae: I appreciate all the love and support that CMU fans have given me throughout my career. You guys are the best with the greatest student section in the world! Continue to support the upcoming teams as Coach Enos and the boys with uphold the winning tradition that we have created. I'm forever CMU and I bleed Maroon & Gold. Fire up!
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