Beating the odds: Haason Reddick’s unlikely journey to the NFL

For the top college football programs around the United States, most of their rosters consist of players who are attending the school on a scholarship. There are a few that manage to make the team as a walk-on, but those who choose to take that path to get on the roster normally only see a limited amount of playing time out on the field.

Former Temple defensive end Haason Reddick is one of the few who actually became an important part of his team despite the fact that he made the roster as a walk-on. Due to his incredibly hard work-ethic, Reddick is now preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft in hopes of fulfilling his dream of playing professional football at the highest level.

Here’s how the NFL Draft could end up shaking out:

Having played in only four games during his senior season at Haddon Heights High School in New Jersey, Reddick did not receive a single scholarship offer to play football for a Division I college. After his application to Rutgers University was not accepted, he settled on enrolling at Temple.

Reddick created havoc on the field for opposing offenses in 2016. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Reddick created havoc on the field for opposing offenses in 2016. (Photo Source: Twitter)

His lack of a scholarship offer did nothing to diminish his goal of making the school’s football team. After a successful tryout, he was added to the team’s roster as a redshirt freshman in 2012. But making the Temple football team would not be the only obstacle Reddick would have to endure while at the school.

During high school, Reddick played linebacker and safety. But when he got to Temple, the team switched his position to defensive end. It was a bit of a struggle at first, but by his junior season at the school, he was beginning to become a force on the Temple defense.

“He clearly carries the chip of being a walk-on with him when he plays. His ability to play with his hand in the dirt or out of a two-point stance stands out. For a pass rusher, he understands the scheme and is able to diagnose plays and pursue like an inside linebacker.”

Paul Hudrick, draft analyst for CSNPhilly.com

During his 2016 season, Reddick finished with 65 total tackles (22.5 of them for a loss), 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and one interception. His efforts helped Temple end the year with a 10-4 record and win its first conference championship in the school’s history.

Due to his size (6-foot-1, 237 pounds) Reddick will likely be asked once again to switch his position from defensive end to linebacker once he lands on an NFL roster. But as he has proved time and time again in the past, Reddick is more than capable of overcoming almost any obstacle that is placed in front of him.

Reddick impressed a number of pro scouts with his recent performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Reddick impressed a number of pro scouts with his recent performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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When he does eventually get drafted, he will likely be using a majority of his first few paychecks to pay off the student debt he and his family acquired while at Temple. Despite the fact that he was an active member of the school’s football team from 2013 to 2015, Reddick did not earn a football scholarship until his very last season at Temple in 2016.

As one of the top performers at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine this year, the former Temple defensive end could hear his name called on the first day of the draft. But wherever he ends up getting drafted, Reddick’s drive to be the best he can possibly be will only increase once he puts on an NFL helmet for the first time.

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