TCU initially slotted Scott at cornerback – his position in high school – before moving him to safety to give him a better chance at seeing the field. It still didn’t happen for Scott, but it also didn’t cause him to break from his yes-sir, no-sir mentality.
“He’s very upbeat. That’s part of what I think our people like about him the most,” Gonzales said. “He doesn’t allow for excuses. He was never a guy I had to worry about handling his business.
“I think there’s something to be said about that, especially in college where there can be a lot of distractions. Vernon was a very motivated and focused kid. Those things I think have helped him get over the hump.”
That’s why the Cheez-It Bowl was such a critical checkpoint in Scott’s career. That summer, he won a starting job for the first time and really saw his production spike after shifting to strong safety with three conference games left on the schedule.
Gonzales sold the move to Scott as a way to use his versatility to improve the defense. He agreed, on a week’s notice and while battling an ankle injury. That Saturday, Scott had his best game as a Horned Frog with a team-high five tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup in a 33-31 win over Texas Tech.
Scott did one better the following week at Oklahoma, registering seven tackles and making a statement with a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown, the second longest in school history.
“That was one of those plays, you’re never going to forget that,” Gonzales said. “To make that play on that stage was a big deal. I think that’s really what gave him even more assurance he can do this at the next level.”
Still, Scott didn’t get an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis but hoped to make an impression at TCU’s March 27 pro day. Unfortunately, that door was forced shut due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Gonzales is convinced Scott would’ve opened eyes if given the opportunity with his versatility, pure speed and ability to fluidly change direction all on display for NFL GMs and scouts.
Instead, Scott was left to wonder on draft night whether teams had seen enough on film to take a chance on his talent. While he had to wait until the 236th pick in the seventh round, Scott’s patience was rewarded with a call from the Packers.