Citadel vs. Samford (copy)

Former Citadel All-American Tyler Renew (36) went through rookie mini-camp with the Atlanta Falcons last weekend. (Michael Pronzato/Staff)

He got fitted for a new black helmet, and was assigned jersey No. 39.

Former Citadel All-American Tyler Renew survived the Atlanta Falcons' rookie mini-camp last weekend, and is on to the next phase in his effort to try to make the NFL as an undrafted free agent.

"It's going well," Renew said at a meeting of the Atlanta-area Citadel club Wednesday night. "Right now, we're in a transition phase of learning the playbook, getting the concept of it and understanding it.

"We're practicing with the veterans and learning how the organization is run, learning how to do our finances and life skills that the veterans have learned."

Renew, 5-11½ and 231 pounds, is competing with Derrick Coleman (from UCLA) and Soma Vainuku (from Southern Cal) for the fullback job formerly held by South Carolina's Patrick DiMarco, who signed with the Bills.

According to at least one observer, Renew, from Columbia's Ben Lippen High School, has a real chance to stick with the Falcons.

"Former Citadel Bulldogs and All-American fullback Tyler Renew is the kind of dynamic all-purpose player (offensive coordinator) Steve Sarkisian loves, and has a chance to supplant Derrick Coleman as the replacement for free-agent departure Patrick DiMarco," Andrew Potter wrote for

Renew said the three players have formed a good relationship despite their competition.

"The guys above me right now have been in the league before and are very good players," he told The Citadel Grayline. "But they have helped me a lot, given me a lot of tips and guided me on how to run plays, and how they have done things in their heads to learn those plays.

"As to how it all turns out, I'm not sure. I wish the best for them, and I hope I get a chance to play. We're all in it together, and may the best man win."

Renew said he hasn't had much chance to talk with Andre Roberts, another former Citadel great on the Falcons' roster.

"We've talked a couple of times, but it's pretty busy with guys in different position groups," he said. "Rookies have their parts and veterans have their parts. But we've talked on the practice field, and he's a great guy."

Renew reflected on his pro day at USC in March, which he said played a big role in getting a shot with the Falcons. Renew ran for 174 yards and two touchdowns in The Citadel's 23-22 upset of the Gamecocks in 2015.

"I have the highest respect for (coach) Will Muschamp and everyone involved with me being able to be a part of pro day there," he said. "I 100 percent believe that was big stepping stone for me to get where I am now."

Renew also talked about his recent graduation from The Citadel.

"It was rewarding and humbling, a blessing," he said. "Four years ago, I didn't know if that would be possible. It seemed so far away and so hard to believe. I learned so much about myself as a man and so many life lessons, and made so many friends and relationships I never would have made anywhere else.

"All the stories, all the memories ... sitting back and thinking about everything that brought me from an 18-year-old boy to a 22-year-old man. To look in the mirror and say, 'I've done it' and become a Citadel graduate, it was beyond words."

Reach Jeff Hartsell at (843) 937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC