JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Few football get the opportunity to go from high school to college to the NFL in the same state, but Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Thurston Armbrister is hoping stick on the roster and stay in Florida.
The Hollywood, Fla. native went undrafted this offseason and quickly signed with the Jaguars following the selection process.
For most undrafted rookies, entering an NFL locker room and competing with some of the top football talent in the world can be a daunting and overwhelming task, but Armbrister was able to find solace rather quickly.
Armbrister joined a locker room full of young talent that included three former teammates from his college days.
"Not only the former [Miami] teammates, but the new teammates made me feel at home," said Armbrister, regarding his adjustment to his first NFL opportunity.
Since joining the team, Armbrister has been a common noteworthy name in press conferences. Both Head Coach Gus Bradley and defensive coordinator Bob Babich have praised the young linebacker, as he fights for a roster spot.
"I'm just doing what I can, showing the coaches what I can do," said Armbrister, following Monday's practice.
"That's all I can do, everything else is out my hands."
Throughout training camp, Armbrister has played well against the run and surprisingly, has been breaking up passes in coverage with regularity.
"Coming out, [coverage] was a weakness that everyone said I had," said the former Miami Hurricanes linebacker.
"This offseason I worked hard on it and my coaches have been helping me out a lot. I'm looking forward to doing big things this coming season."
The rookie has also put a focus on special teams, which is actually nothing new to him.
"[Special teams] is how I made my name [in college] first," said Armbrister.
"I know I have to do that here, and I know I need to take that responsibility to make the team better."
The rookie recently took part in the team's scrimmage at EverBank Field and getting the taste for the crowd and the atmosphere has Armbrister aspiring for more.
"It was a moment, I had to take it in, being in my first 'live' NFL practice," said Armbrister.
"It was a big deal for me. I'm glad it happened and I'm ready for the games now."
Armbrister will have his opportunities to play in the exhibition games that will start on Friday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If he is able to continue to impress the coaches, he could be in line for a lot more action during the regular season.