Cole Schneider He was relieved when his phone rang.
“I was back home with my family so I was surrounded by people who loved me,” Schneider told the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s great to see my hard work pay off finished together.
“Seeing my parents’ faces when I told them I got the call was amazing.”
Fast forward to this week, Schneider is packing his bags so he can report with the rest of Green Bay’s rookie class for training camp that begins Friday in Wisconsin.
Schneider said he’s more excited than nervous about entering his first NFL training camp. He knows building a 53-man roster won’t be easy.
“I’m going with no expectations,” he said. “I’ll have a chip on my shoulder when I walk into the building and work to do what I can every single day.”
To prepare for camp, Schneider is working in a familiar place: the UCF football facilities. He is grateful to train on his old stomping grounds.
“UCF has done so much for me,” she said. “It’s hard to leave. It’s like a second home to me.”
He has been coached under the watchful eye of Burt Whigham, who works closely with Buffalo Bills wide receiver and UCF product Gabriel Davis. This week he worked with former UCF running back Letavis Murray, now an NFL free agent, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
“My body feels great,” the 6-foot-3, 309-pound lineman said. “It feels better than it has in a long time. I’m very happy about it.
“It’s exciting to know how my body is feeling going into training camp, being able to prove myself, see where I stand with everybody and make a statement.”
Schneider has taken advantage of working with current NFL players like Watkins, who is entering his 10th year in the league. The two will be teammates in Green Bay.
“He’s a very knowledgeable guy,” Schneider said. “He has that character about him where if you follow him, he’ll lead you in the right direction.” I look forward to working with him more.”
Schneider is familiar with the UCF offensive lineman’s history in Green Bay. Josh Seton, who was at UCF from 2004-07, became a key member of the organization from 2008-15, winning a Super Bowl during the 2010 season.
Former UCF offensive lineman Justin McCray, who spent two years in Green Bay and is now in Houston, texted Schneider after hearing he had signed with the Packers.
“He said, ‘If you ever need anything, let me know.’ It’s good to have his support,” Schneider said. “Just being able to follow in the footsteps of great guys and great players, I’m excited. Hopefully I can make a name for myself in Green Bay as well.”
Schneider, of course, is focused only on making the roster first.
“This is something I’ve dreamed about my whole life and it’s right in front of me,” he said. “I want to have fun with it but at the same time, I want to make it my job.”
Email Jason Bade. firstname.lastname@example.org Or follow him on Twitter. @therealBeede.