Making it to the National Football League is something that many young boys dream about from a young age, while throwing the ball around with dad and wearing their favorite jersey every Sunday sitting around the television.
When they grow up they may continue to play football even to a college level, but often times this is the end of the line. They may play in community leagues or go on to coach their son’s team, however making it to the NFL is rarely realistic.
“I actually decided I hated football after I passed out from asthma doing drills for my Pop Warner team in the second grade,” said Danny Triplett, a 24 year-old football running back, and criminal justice major from Haverhill Mass. “I quit the next day, but a week later the challenge of the sport drew me back in.” <!–more–>
But on March 30th, Triplett, a senior, was in Baltimore, Md., taking part in the regional NFL combine with Baltimore Ravens. Players can sign up for the program to show their potential, if they feel they have any and were not selected for the NFL National Scouting Combine. While at these events, players are trained and reviewed by professional scouts.
According to nflregionalcombines.com, any player may apply and register for the combine, if they meet the requirements and can “perform at a high skill level.” At any time during the combine, the NFL holds the right to turn away any player they feel is “unqualified or unfit to compete.”
Triplett found out about the combine from a scout at an event he participated in over a year ago. “He said I had potential, but needed to tune up my skills, and that I should try for a regional combine,” Triplett said. “ From there I transformed my perspective of hard work, and after a year and three months later of relentless training, I participated in the Baltimore combine.”
Mark Murnyack, the head football coach here at Norwich University, remembers Triplett’s arrival as running back recruit his freshman year. “When he got here he worked extremely hard,” Murnyack said. “I think one of the things that had impressed us physically was his size.”
Teammate Louis Delgado, a 24 year-old senior from Stone Ridge, N.Y., agrees that Triplett’s physical size and strength are important. But he says recent adjustments to his mind-set have also been beneficial in his progress. “He’s strong as an ox,” Delgado said, “but even better than that, he’s willing to put in the hours it takes to be a standout.”
Delgado goes onto say that lately Triplett has become more of “a student of the game” and this has helped him in Delgado’s opinion, because he believes that the more effort you put into learning something, you get that much more out of it.
Muryack definitely agrees that he has seen Triplett learn and grow into the player he is now over the past four years. “There are certain characteristics that I will always remember Danny for,” Murnyack said. “He is tough, hardworking, and his never-give-up attitude are unforgettable.”
Triplett said his hard work ethic is “fueled by doubt.” His peers telling he couldn’t play football only made him “strive to put it in their face,” and from there he wanted to prove to his teammates and coaches he was good enough as well; he wanted everyone’s respect. “Next I was told I was good enough to play college ball, but not for Division I or Division II schools because they didn’t want a kid who was getting in trouble and arrested,” said Triplett. “I didn’t want to be known for my mistakes so I stopped hanging out with the wrong crowd and worked on rebuilding myself, on and off the field.”
Senior Nicholas Pulaski, 22, a teammate from Stratford, Conn., admits that Triplett did face some adversity while trying to reach his goals. “No one really thought he would make it,” Pulaski said. “He had a lot of haters, but he had a lot of supporters too, but he proved everyone wrong, and that he could go above and beyond.”
According to lockerreport.com, Triplett displayed great ability, good speed and power. Most impressive was his ability to catch the ball and how “fundamentally sound” his techniques were.
Murnyack said he was particularly proud of the comment on Triplett’s ball-catching abilities, which the coach noted was a struggle for him when he first arrived.
For his part, while Triplett performed well at the combine, he attributes that to his experiences here at NU. “Coach really pushed me and helped me better myself on and off the field,” Triplett said. “ He inspired me and gave me the confidence I needed to pursue a goal as big as pursuing a career in the NFL.”