The past four months have brought about a certain change in Micah Hyde.
It wasn’t a change that he wanted to make, but one that he had to make to pursue his goal of playing professional football.
He had to market himself instead of giving credit to everybody else around him.
Hyde, a 2009 Fostoria graduate who recently completed his final season with the Iowa football team, has spent his last semester of college balancing the completion of his classes and preparation for this year’s NFL draft.
In meetings with NFL team personnel, Hyde found himself talking not about himself, but about his team.
“The whole time I’ve played sports, I’ve been in a team-oriented atmosphere,” said Hyde, who was a cornerback for the Hawkeyes. “I’ve always been about the team, and now I have to be selfish. My family and my agent are telling me, ‘Now it’s about you.’
“Scouts asked me questions and I just kept talking about my team. Finally, they told me, ‘You have to talk about yourself and be your own person. You have to sell yourself.’ ”
Hyde is in the final days of preparing for the NFL draft, which begins Thursday in New York City, and ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay projects the cornerback as a fourth-round or fifth-round draft pick.
“He’s an experienced corner who’s gone against pretty good receivers and held up pretty well throughout his career,” McShay said of Hyde, who played both cornerback and safety at Iowa.
“He’s got the size, adequate speed, and he makes plays. He has the ability to go up and make plays in big points of big games, and I like that about him.”
In four seasons at Iowa, Hyde had 240 tackles and eight interceptions, and in 2012 was fourth in the Big Ten and 22nd in the nation with 1.22 pass break-ups a game.
Hyde was also fourth in the Big Ten in punt returns (7.4) and averaged 6.5 tackles per game for the Hawkeyes.
What holds Hyde back, McShay said, is his speed, although Hyde’s balance, control, and quickness in a contained area make him a candidate to contribute on special teams.
Unlike some draft-eligible college football players who either have graduated early or who have chosen to forgo their final semester of college to focus on training, Hyde split his time between his coursework toward a degree in recreation and sports business and training.
He prepared first for the NFL combine in February and then for NFL rookie mini-camps, as some open as soon as the first weekend of May.
NFL.com reported that at Iowa’s pro day on March 25, Hyde had a 33½-inch vertical, a 10-foot broad jump, a 4.22-second short shuttle, a 6.67-second three-cone drill, and 12 reps on the bench, in addition to doing positional drills.
“Before the draft, there was a lot of heavy lifting stuff, like benching for the combine and for pro day,” the 5-foot-11½, 194-pound Hyde said. “Now that the workouts in Indianapolis are over and the pro day is over, it’s focusing on conditioning.”
Neither Hyde nor his agent, Jack Bechta, would disclose which teams Hyde has met with since the combine or at Iowa’s pro day, which Bechta said drew representatives from 25 NFL teams.
“Some teams worked him out while they were there, specifically to see him,” said Bechta, who is based in La Jolla, Calif. “Three more teams came in for a private workout, and the coaches came in, which means they want to get a little more information on him.
"It’s more situational stuff to see cerebral capabilities.”
Bechta said he has not received feedback on Hyde from NFL representatives.
“When most teams meet with a guy, it’s, ‘Hey, thanks for meeting with us,’ ” Bechta said. “But they keep that close to the vest.”
Now, with the NFL draft five days away, Hyde said he’s still trying to strike that balance between humility and self-promotion. He understands that the final days before the draft seem like the longest.
“It’s been a huge preparation process, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Hyde, who plans to return to Fostoria next weekend for the NFL draft. “I’ve just been embracing it. The No. 1 thing is not to be stressed out. Right now, it’s a waiting game to find out where you’re going to go. There’s nothing you can do right now.
“It’s a mental game at this point, and it’s about preparing yourself mentally.”
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510, or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.