Kadero Terrell thought about the question, but not for very long.
Football is a strange game, but there aren’t many players who have been able to go from practice squad linebacker at the junior college level one year to starting defensive end at the Big 12 level the next.
So Terrell didn’t waste any time trying to search his memory for a reasonable answer when asked if he knew of anyone who had made such a gigantic leap. He just said what any reasonable person would.
“I’ve never heard it,” he said.
But he has lived it.
That’s right, in the span of only a few months Terrell has gone from junior college scrub to Division I relevancy.
Kansas State released its inaugural depth chart for the 2009 football season on Tuesday, and with previous starter Brandon Harold out with an injury Terrell ended up being named a starter at defensive end.
Obviously, that dropped a few jaws.
And why not? It’s the feel good story of the early season.
“I am one of the happiest guys on the football team,” Terrell said.
Coming out of high school, Terrell expected to play Division I football. He was a two-star recruit in Florida, and he said he received interest from several big-time colleges. He even thought he was going to land with Urban Meyer and the Gators for a while. But he said poor grades got in the way, and that took him to Garden City Community College.
He said he redshirted his first season there and spent last year on the practice squad, because in the state of Kansas junior colleges are only allowed to offer 12 out-of-state scholarships and Garden City’s coach didn’t want to use one of them on him.
He said he’ll always remember the day he was cut from that list.
“I’ll never forget the day,” he said. “August 24th, 9:15 in the morning. I had my meeting and I was told I wasn’t going to play that year. It was very, very disappointing. From that point on it was either you can go down or you can go up. … I just said, ‘Hey, I’m still going to go up.”
Did he ever. Somehow, he caught the eye of Bill Snyder and Kansas State. Somehow, he convinced them to let him come to Manhattan and play. Somehow, he played well enough in preseason practices to not just do well at a new position but do well enough to start.
How did he do it all? A little bit of luck and a lot of hard work.
“He’s a focused young guy,” Snyder said. “Tries very hard. Works diligently at it. He’s got some physicality. He was a linebacker. He’s got some quickness and adds some quickness to that position, which might make him a little bit better pass rusher.”
How long will Terrell stay the starter? How will he do against UMass on Saturday? We’ll have to wait and see.
But no matter how he does, he has produced quite a story.
Said Terrell: “From going to a point where you felt like you were going to be nothing to a point where you’re in the starting lineup it’s amazing it’s a blessing.”