Four downs: Former Illini kicker Chase McLaughlin

Four downs: Former Illini kicker Chase McLaughlin

Illinois football beat writer Bob Asmussen chatted with former Illini kicker Chase McLaughlin, who is waiting for his shot at the NFL. He is rated the No. 13 kicker prospect on DRAFTTEK's big board and the only Big Ten player listed. McLaughlin finished his Illinois career fourth in school history in field goals and sixth in points. The Texan hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Illini Neil Rackers, who spent more than a decade in the NFL:

How do you prepare for what's going to happen in the next six weeks and beyond?

Bob Ligashesky, the special teams coach, has done a great job working with me and putting some pressure on me. He's been through the process with the NFL. I get with him and with Neil Rackers so I can get used to the pressure. They will get in your face. They will stand right next to you when you are kicking and say stuff. They'll call timeout on you. Neil gave me a bunch of good stories about some crazy coaches, standing in his face and throwing stuff at him. It's a bit of everything. They want to test your mind.

When did you get to know Neil Rackers?

It was two or three years back. He came out for a practice and I got to meet him. I've been in touch ever since. It's awesome to have a great resource like that. Him and (former Illini) Derek Dimke have been helping me out a lot.

What can you do to sell yourself to the NFL?

Kicking in the elements is a huge thing for a lot of the teams up north. I also think my coachability. I've been around (Ligashesky) three years now and he's showed me every trick of the trade. Being around someone like him has really helped.

Do you like kicking indoors or outdoors best?

Indoors is obviously nice. I don't have to worry about any wind at all. I just put it down the middle and as deep as I can on kickoffs. But I kind of like kicking outside. Hitting here for four or five years, it kind of got me used to it. Not a lot of guys can do it.