Steeler’s rookie cornerback Senquez Golson may not be your typical prototype NFL cornerback in size . He stands at just under 5-9 and weighs in at 176 pounds ,however there may be few others who have a passion for football as big as his.
Senquez Golson was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball Draft and offered a $1.3 million signing bonus, coming out of high school. He turned it down to continue to pursue his dream to play football.
He went on to Ole Miss where he started 33-of-49 football games played, made 136 tackles (90 solo) and 16 interceptions,tops among NCAA active leaders and tied for third-most in school history.
One may think that Golden took a huge gamble pursuing his football dream and turning down the big money baseball contract, but Golson had his reasons. During Steelers rookie mini camp, Golson spoke on the subject…
Senquez Golson:“I took a million dollar gamble to go to school, play football, play baseball and get an education,it was not about the money, but to go in the second round and be selected by the Steelers, it’s a blessing, doing what I love to do. I took a gamble and came out with something extra.
I have never regretted turning down that money. I wanted to play football. This is what I love to do. Football is what I love to do.
My deciding factor not to play came when I asked myself what I could see me doing every day,we played 50 some games in college baseball and after 40 of them I was getting tired and that didn’t include postseason play. Then you go minors and pros and it’s 100 plus games you play. I didn’t think I was passionate enough for it.
Football, I could play year round, I could play football every day. There is something about football that I love. Football is a passion that burns in me.”
The Steelers recently made Golson’s football dream come true selecting him in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL draft with the 56th overall pick .
Here are a few quotes by Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake about Golson shortly after the Steelers chose him…
Carnell Lake: “Senquez has exceptional ball skills. Every year at Mississippi, he had an interception. His last year, he had 10, which is, if I remember correctly, it was the top-two or three in college football. He’s just a well-rounded athlete. He turned down a lucrative contract to play baseball. He did an outstanding job tracking the football. Anytime you can get a guy like that who can pluck the ball out of the air, he has real value in the league.”
“Talking to him when we had him in for a visit, Senquez is very intelligent, very football aware, very knowledgeable of the game. I was asking him questions about the defenses he played at Mississippi and some of the problems and issues that he had or situations that the defense had at Mississippi. I wouldn’t even finish the question and he was answering it. He’s very sharp. I really liked that about him. He won’t have a problem learning the system. He’s very aware. I could put him in multiple situations because of that. I think he will adapt very quickly to different schemes and positions that we may put him in. Whether it’s the nickel or playing corner outside.”
“If he had been two inches taller, we probably would not have gotten him. He probably would have gone high in the first round. He has unusual ball skills and unusual production, especially when it comes to interceptions. And if you look at the corners that have been selected before him, they can’t match his level of productivity in terms of interceptions, especially when you look at last year. If he were taller, people would have jumped on him right away.”
Senquez Golson took a chance because he believed in his football dream and has a huge passion for football. That gamble has now paid off.
Now, the Pittsburgh Steelers have taken a chance on Senquez Golson choosing him in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft. The Steelers are gambling that Golson can be a key player in their secondary in the near future and beyond.
Time will tell if this gamble pays off and with Golson’s track record and passion for football I wouldn’t bet against it.
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