By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Cory Grissom gets to put on a USF helmet one last time for a game that gets him one step closer to making his dream a reality.
The Bulls' star defensive tackle suits up in a South team jersey for Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Action starts at 4 p.m. (ET) at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in a game televised on the NFL Network.
"It's a step in the right direction. It's one step closer to something I'm finally realizing, but I know once I get there, I'll still have a long way to go," Grissom said after a player banquet Thursday night.
Grissom got to this point because of a lot of hard work and production. The player proudly known as "Pork Chop" surprised coaches by making it back for the regular season after breaking his ankle in the spring and the senior wound up earning All-Big East Second Team honors. Grissom started all 12 of USF's games, totaling 38 tackles, 2.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss and two pass breakups.
"I want to prove that I'm amongst the best guys that are out right now," he said.
Grissom's progression has continued this offseason in Arizona at Fischer Sports, a conditioning center run by veteran personal trainer Brett Fischer. NFL players that have attended Fischer's camp have included Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson and Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"My explosion has increased. My first step has improved a lot since college," Grissom said.
Grissom's schedule has remained busy since he started Senior Bowl practices, which have been "really good" according to the 6-1, 316-pound lineman that's trying to make a name for himself.
"It's pretty awesome," Grissom said." It's the best of the best out here and everybody has something to prove. It's just like a stage for everybody to showcase their ability and what they can do."
Aside from practice, Grissom's days have been filled with team meetings, getting to know his new teammates and interviews with NFL scouts.
"I was a little nervous when I first got there. As the first days went by, I loosened up and had a good time. It was kind of like when I first got to USF," Grissom said.
Grissom's approach to Saturday's game turns out to be no different than his playing days at USF. The LaGrange, Ga., native is confident heading into the Senior Bowl but - like usual - he has remained humble about the whole experience.
"I'm just trying to stay grounded. It's a dream come true, but I still have a long way to go," he said.