The Temple Owls football team had an amazing season. Starting their 2011-2012 year off strong, this team of determined young men finished with at 9-4 and won the Gildan New Mexico Bowl Game in December-Temple’s first in 32 years.
This teams’ hard work and dedication paid off when players got their chance to play for the NFL.
Three players got drafted into the NFL- Bernard Pierce (Baltimore Ravens), Evan Rodriguez (Chicago Bears), and Tahir Whitehead (Detroit Lions). Seven players also signed free agent contracts- Pat Boyle (Detroit Lions), Morkeith Brown (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Derek Dennis (Miami Dolphins), Stephen Johnson (New Orleans Saints), Adrian Robinson (Pittsburgh Steelers), Rod Streator (Oakland Raiders), and Wayne Tribue (Denver Broncos).
All of these players have shown that they have the skills to work hard in the NFL, and now are getting their chance to play for a variety of elite teams.
Her Campus Temple got the chance to talk to three of these players: Derek Dennis, Stephen Johnson, and Wayne Tribue, to get their reactions about this life changing experience.
Her Campus: Did you ever imagine that you would enter the NFL?
Derek Dennis: “No, I honestly did not picture myself being a professional athlete, but I’m extremely excited and fortunate enough to have this opportunity.”
Stephen Johnson: “It was always a dream for me…I didn’t talk about it much, just stayed focused and kept faith.”
Wayne Tribue: “I started off playing just for fun. As time went on, it became a realization that it could happen.”
HC: Did you have any doubts?
DD: “No, I didn’t have any doubts, just uncertain of how things would have played out but I’m here now and I’m ready for it.”
SJ: “It was hard to be as successful as I wanted to be on the field as I wanted to be in the classroom.”
HC: What made you want to play football?
DD: “My dad convinced me to play my junior year of high school and I just ran with it from there.”
SJ: “It was always my first love. I played football and basketball in high school, but only played basketball for fun.”
WT: “I started off playing football with friends …my granddad used to play football, so I was always a fan.”
HC: How did you find out that you were signed?
DD: “I got a phone call from the offensive line coach in Miami and he told me that they really wanted me down there, and with the opportunity I had I was just excited that my dream had come true.”
SJ: “An hour after the draft, the coach from the Saints called me and told me I was on the team…he said ‘Welcome to New Orleans.’”
WT: “After the draft, I received phone calls from various teams, and from there I made the best decision.”
HC: How do you feel that this will change your life?
DD: “It will change my life for the better and my family as well. It’s a long journey ahead of me, but I am excited and blessed to walk this road.”
SJ: “Nothing is guaranteed, so I thank God that I received this opportunity.”
WT: “It is sudden-after graduation I will go out there [Denver], but I will get adjusted to it.”
HC: How does your family feel about this change?
DD: “They are proud and excited for me- Miami is a great city.”
WT: “They will be behind me supporting and watching on television.”
HC: How did Coach Steve Addazio prepare you for this change?
DD: “Coach Daz and Coach Frye (Offensive line coach) have been a blessing and I’m grateful to have played for them. They taught me a lot about being an offensive lineman this year.”
SJ: “He taught me the basics of football, as well as the basics of life…what you need to do to succeed on the field and off.”
WT: “All of the coaches that I’ve had up until this point have molded me into the player I am today.”
HC: What do you think you will bring to the team?
DD: “I think I offer a lineman who is smart, tough, physical, and athletic.”
SJ: “One who leads by example. I feel that I have a strong work ethic and the right mentality.”
HC: If you were not in the NFL, what would you do after graduation?
SJ: “I would become a software programmer. It was something I was always interested in since I was a kid.”
WT: “Before the season, I took the MCAT’s, so I was planning on attending Medical School.”
HC: What do you think you will learn from this experience?
DD: “I think I will learn how to be a professional at all times and to enjoy this once and a lifetime experience.”
SJ: “If you keep faith in God, your dreams come true.”
HC: What advice would you give to those who were in your same position- wanting to make their dreams come true?
SJ: "It’s all about how hard you work, whether it’s football or whatever your field is. The harder you work,he greater result you will get.”
This team has worked hard to achieve success, and with their moving into the Big East Conference this fall season, these young men will continue to make Temple proud.