If Drew Van Maanen needed a reminder that he was not in college anymore, he got one immediately after showing up to train at Parabolic Performance and Rehabilitation in Montclair, New Jersey. The former Wyoming fullback and long snapper developed a reputation for gregariousness during his time in Laramie. But after showing up solo at Parabolic following a training session in Michigan, he found his new set of surroundings took some getting used to.
“So when I came out here, I was kind of like the new fish in the pond,” he said. “And you know me, I’m a real talkative person. So at first it was really weird, because I saw myself kind of shy up a little bit. But other than that, once I started to meet the guys and get to know them, it’s been nothing short of just amazing for me. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Van Maanen hopes that the next stage of his life has more football in it. He is training in preparation to potentially catch on with an NFL team this spring.
The Colorado native worked for three weeks in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area at the recommendation of his agent, Doc Ping, before making the drive to the Garden State.
“Kind of wanted to get away from home a little bit, just because this is a short span of my life, and I just wanted to get away from all the distractions and everything and just really focus on football,” Van Maanen said. “That’s kind of how I laid it out here. I was like, ‘You know what? This is a perfect opportunity since I’ll already be out that way.’ So now I’m here.
“... It’s been awesome, getting away from home and stuff, I’ve just really been able to focus just strictly on football the last couple months. ... Even though I’ve done football and played it my entire life, it’s just another step in the process, and it’s been good.”
Van Maanen had been Wyoming’s backup long snapper throughout his career but never was called upon to play the position during his career until 2017. Starting snapper Kolton Donovan went down with an ACL injury in Wyoming’s season opener, and Van Maanen spent the majority of the season at the position, in addition to fullback.
While Van Maanen expects his versatility will be an asset, he has heard positive signs about his future in the backfield.
“The fullback’s definitely been of interest to some teams,” he said. “But the snapping, even during the season I knew that was going to be definitely something that’s going to help me. And it still is. It’s still apparent that it’s something that I really need to do. It’s something that I’ve been working on.
“Every single day I get out there. Even when we’re done with our position drills and our running and our lifting for the day, I make sure I go out and I get my snaps in for the day, because I know that that’s going to definitely be something that will only better my chances.”
Later this month, Van Maanen will join Wyoming’s other seniors and junior Josh Allen at the Cowboys’ Pro Day. Van Maanen said he hopes the March 23 event, which will be closed to the public, is more enjoyable than stressful.
“My film’s already set in stone,” he said. “I can’t go back and change that. I just want to go out there, I want to show the scouts exactly who I am, show them just what I hope my film shows, that I’m just someone that’s not going to ever stop until that whistle’s blown. Just give everything that I have in me.
“I’ve always preached that every time I step on the field, I give every ounce of blood me, and that’s exactly what I’m going to go out there and do that day. I’m going to go out and enjoy it. Whatever happens after that day, I don’t want to look back some day and say, ‘Man, I didn’t enjoy this process. I didn’t enjoy Pro Day because I was so anxious and worried about my numbers and what I’m going to run and what I’m going to jump.’ I’m going to go out there and enjoy the day.”
Van Maanen said Ping has called undrafted free agency “a home run” for him, though he wouldn’t mind working his way into the draft itself.
“No matter which way it comes, I’m just looking to get an opportunity,” he said. “Because that’s all I’ve ever needed. Wyoming gave me an opportunity and I ran with it, and now that I’m at that next step in life, I’m just looking for one team to give me a chance, just reach out and say, ‘We’ll give you a chance.’ And then that’s all I need, and I’ll run with it as fast as I can.”