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From Camden to Cardinals: Haason Reddick’s Unconventional Journey to the NFL

Haason Reddick continues to defy odds at an astronomical rate. Growing up in Camden, the most dangerous city in all of New Jersey according to Patch.com and onlyinyourstate.com, the chance of success was certainly not in Reddick’s favor. Fast forward to high school, where Reddick missed the vast majority of both his junior and senior seasons due to injury, the future of his football career looked bleak.

Despite a disappointing high school career, Reddick decided to pursue onward, earning a red-shirt walk-on spot on the Temple University Football team. After the completion of his freshman year, coaches informed Reddick that there was not a single spot available for him on their roster. Putting his head down and deciding to work even harder, Reddick channeled this misinformation into pure motivation.

Enter newly assigned head Coach Matt Rhule, who recognized Reddick’s talent and decided to award him with a roster spot, a scholarship, and a position change to defensive line. Three seasons, 43 tackles for a loss, and 16.5 sacks later, a Temple legend was born. Despite Reddick’s illustrious cherry and white gridiron career, NFL scouts still projected him as a fourth round talent at best.

As always, Reddick set out to determine his own fate. At the 2017 Senior Bowl, Reddick amazed scouts with his innate athleticism and overall skill set. Still, some teams were not sold on Reddick. But just as he had done throughout the majority of his hard-nosed life, Reddick used the upcoming NFL combine to forever seal his draft destiny.

Reddick had arguably the most impactful showing throughout the 20-year history of the NFL Scouting Combine. According to mockdraftable.com, Reddick scored in the 99th percentile for defensive ends in the broad jump, the 98th percentile in the 40- yard dash, and the 84th percentile in the vertical jump. To put those numbers into perspective, the Cardinals current starting linebacker Deone Bucannon finished in the 81st, 78th, and 62nd percentile in all three respective categories.

Haason Reddick entered the 2017 Senior Bowl and NFL combine as a typical Temple mid-round prospect, and left as a top 10 projected NFL talent. Even Reddick, recognizes how improbable his journey from Camden to a first round pick truly is, “ I never saw this coming…. I always worked hard… Not until my junior year in college did I think this could happen… I put in even more work… I continued to grind, I continued to work hard as always.” Reddick also credits his “Temple Tuff” mindset on helping him overcome all the hurdles his football career has thrown his way, “You got to be Temple Tuff… It’s the most elite, toughest, hard working people on this planet.”

Even after owning the NFL combine, the odds for Reddick getting selected in the first round, coming from Temple University’s football program, were still not in his favor. In fact, prior to Reddick’s first round selection this past Thursday, only three players had ever been drafted in the first round coming out of Temple. Upon getting drafted 13th overall, Reddick defied yet another statistic stacked against him.

Now that Haason Reddick has the opportunity to play in the NFL as a first round pick, the sky is the limit. If a kid from Camden, who barely played high school football, who was told in college there was not a roster spot available for him, who transformed draft perspectives of himself in a matter of months, can defy all of those odds, who’s to say Haason Reddick isn’t destined for pure professional greatness?

By |May 1st, 2017|

About the Author:

Sam Goldberg is WBCB’s Sports Director and Thursday/Friday Morning News Anchor! Sam can be reached at Sam@wbcb1490.com or on twitter at Sam_Goldberg814

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