When former Temple Owls football player Haason Reddick receives a phone call from an NFL team next week, likely in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, it will seemingly mark the first time in his football career the defensive prospect will garner the respect he truly deserves.
The oft-overlooked Reddick joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday and said he thought his gridiron days were over after high school before he walked-on at Temple.
“I thought my football career was done actually,” Reddick admitted. “I didn’t know that you could go to college and walk on. I thought you needed a scholarship to be able to play on the team. So at first, I thought my football career was done.”
Weighing 185-pounds and playing defensive back as a redshirt freshman, Reddick’s skills were slighted once again when the staff at the time said there more than likely wouldn’t be a spot on the team for him the next season. Luckily, Temple made a coaching change and Matt Rhule and assistant Francis Brown had a spot for him on the team.
“At that point, so much had changed,” Reddick said. “I was finally given the opportunity to show what I could do. As I started off on special teams and continued to prove myself and show that I wasn’t just some walk-on, that I was a guy actually that could play. As I continued to play special teams and show that I could play ball, my role continued to grow as well.”
Reddick gained weight and began a successful college football career as a defensive end. So much success that before his senior season, he gained some attention from NFL scouts, something that was more of a pipe dream than a reality for the pass rusher.
“I was just happy and content with just being able to play college ball,” Reddick said. “Playing in the NFL was always a dream, but I didn’t really set my eyes on it until after my junior season.
“Coach Rhule came to me and was telling me scouts were asking about who I was and stuff like that. Once he said that, I’m like I might be able to do this NFL thing. I might have a real shot, a real chance at it.”
After earning AAC All-Conference honors in his senior season, Reddick was asked to switch positions once again, this time for the Senior Bowl. Reddick passed with flying colors and dominated the competition.
“There’s a transition, there’s a learning curve, because you’re playing a whole different position, something that you’re not use to, and you’re trying to learn the position in 3 days so you can make sure you can get an adequate look,” Reddick said. “So like I said, it was a transition, but thankfully, luckily for me, I’m a smart football player. I understand X and O’s. I understand football very well, so I was able to learn the position fairly well, and you know, after learning the position those 3 days, my athletic ability was able to take over.”
As for a sense on what team might draft him, Reddick had no clue.
“I went on multiple visits and you know they all tell you we like the way you play and things like that. So I don’t have a sense of where I’m going,” Reddick said. “But I can’t wait to see where I am going. I can’t wait to see what city I’m going to, where I will be calling home for the next couple years, and where I’ll be starting my NFL career.”