Boye Mafe was named the Senior Bowl National Player of the Game for his dominant performance. Mafe, who will also participate in the NFL Draft Combine next month, finished the game with three tackles for loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble. He recorded a strip-sack on third down in the second quarter before his second sack of the game on another third down late in the third quarter in a dominating overall performance from the Minnesota defensive end. The Minnesota native entered the Senior Bowl week a bit under the radar. He had 26 solo tackles, seven sacks, and one forced fumble during the regular season with the Golden Gophers. He made sure this past week that his draft stock would increase.
Senior Bowl Experience
Wednesday morning, the Senior Bowl held a media breakfast where players could answer any questions during the period. Mafe said he was just happy to be there. “It’s been a great experience, honestly, making friends and meeting a lot of new people, a lot of good and cool people here,” Mafe said. “I think all of the players here have a good mindset about it, and we’re all just going out there to work together.” Mafe sure would meet lots of new people with how he performed Saturday afternoon.
Boye Mafe, Senior Bowl National player of the game, is speaking with the media: pic.twitter.com/5JaQy6LWoe
— Kole Emplit (@KoleEmplit) February 5, 2022
Mafe dominated in every facet on the defensive end. He beat his man inside to pressure the quarterback or stop the interior run. He notes that the most significant jump was working with an NFL coaching staff. “The NFL coaching is definitely different from college,” Mafe said. “In this mindset, they’re giving us a lot of freedom here. I feel like it’s finding ways to use your attributes to your best abilities. I think they’re finding a way to just let us loose and show what we have. I’m enjoying that process. Playing with my hand down is a little bit different — definitely a new experience for me.”
After the game, Mafe spoke to the press and expected the defensive line to dominate from day one. “Once we all got here, we all bought into our coaching stand that we were going to put in our best performance while we were down here,” Mafe said. “This was the last time we were going to represent our schools. We bought into that and dominated because of it on the football field.” NFL scouts and media raved about the talented defensive line group all week. A lot of people made the argument that this was the deepest group at the Senior Bowl. Mafe said he expected nothing less.
“We had a great full week of practice. We were all hungry and eager to perform, and we showed that,” Mafe said. “We wanted to show the world the types of players that we knew we were.” Coming into a practice session like the Senior Bowl can be intimidating. For Mafe, he embraced it and noted he wanted to be adaptable to his new coaches, most notably, training with his hand on the ground. “I got a call a couple of days before arriving at Mobile, and the coaches said they wanted me to try to use my hand on the ground,” Mafe said. “I was nervous about it, but once I started training more and more, I felt more comfortable.”
Nice sack by Minnesota Boye Mafe pic.twitter.com/8f3C5Dtma0
— Talkin’ Giants (@TalkinGiants) February 5, 2022
As for Mafe’s next stop, he will continue to prepare for the NFL draft. He will attend the NFL combine to continue to show he’s an elite player before Minnesota’s pro day on March 16.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images