From the moment I was born I always had a ball in my hand and, nine times out of ten, it was a football. I was born and raised in Canton, OH and being that it is the proud home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it was easy to become an avid football fan. I grew up loving the Dallas Cowboys in large part to my fathers loyalty. He was a Dallas Cowboys fan from day one and had to ﬁght through the ups and downs of the ’70′s and ’80′s in order to enjoy the ’90′s. As for me, I started playing football when I was 9 years old and never turned back.
My ﬁrst couple weeks of playing on a football team did not quite go the way I envisioned them. My ﬁrst practice as a football player involved me watching from the sidelines due to a broken clavicle but I wasn’t on the sidelines for long. I started off my career as a tight end but before I could even get comfortable, I was moved to quarterback. Needless to say I was a pretty darn good quarterback for a youngster and if you would have told me I was going to change positions when I got older I might have called you crazy. But, in any case, I went on to have a pretty good little league record. We went on to only lose one game in four years, mainly because our team was so good. After looking back on our team roster, we ended up having multiple college players that played at schools like The Ohio State University, Michigan State and University of Kentucky (to only name a few) and two future NFL players.
Then, before you know it, you are entering your freshman year of high school. I attended GlenOak High School where I played football and ran indoor/outdoor track for all four years. Through my ﬁrst couple years in high school, I was able to continue my success at playing quarterback, but that was soon to end. Mid-way through my junior year I was switched to wide receiver and my younger brother, Michael, stole my job. It was a blow to my ego but it was exactly what I needed. As I grew older I knew I was not a quarterback and my brother became a much better quarterback then I could ever be. We had immediate success after the transition but we knew the real success would not come until the following season. I would later attend The Ohio State football camp for an entire week where I would eventually earn a scholarship to play football as a wide receiver. So, going into my senior year there were a lot of expectations, as there should have been, unfortunately, a higher power had a different plan. Right before half time of our ﬁrst game I ﬁelded a punt and needless to say it was going to be my last for the reminder of my high school career. I ended up breaking my left leg in two places. I was devastated. Shortly after the incident sank in, I understood there was only one thing to do, get back for track season. Now, I was a hurdler in high school and I loved it. But after the injury and after speaking to my doctor, he said that hurdling next track season would prolly be out of the question. The doctor thought it was possible to be healthy in time to run outdoor track but not compete in the hurdles at a high level. Well I guess I had other plans. So, after months of strenuous rehabilitation, ignoring the doctors orders and just trusting what my body was telling me, I was able to return to run a race in indoor track. Needless to say I was signiﬁcantly ahead of schedule in my healing process. Later that spring, I was able to go on and win two division one state titles, along with All-American honors. So by the time it was all said and done, I ended up standing out more as a track athlete then as a football player.
When I got to college I knew track would have to take a back seat if I wanted to take my football game to the next level. Football was my life for the next four years and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I loved playing football at OSU. We have the best collegiate fans in America and anyone who gets the chance to play for such a great university, is truly blessed. I was fortunate to be apart of a great run while I was at OSU (wait a sec, what athlete isn’t? We always win at THE Ohio State University) which consisted of three Fiesta Bowl appearances, one Sugar Bowl appearance and two National Championship births. I also can not forget the four Big Ten Championships and four pairs of gold pants I received from beating the University of Michigan all FOUR times. Unfortunately, in order to get to the next page in your story, you have to turn your current page. So I turned my page in the spring of 2009.
After years of training and trying to keep my dreams alive, draft day arrives. I have never been as nervous as I was, on those two days, in my entire life. But with the fourth round just beginning and Miami Dolphins on the clock, they decided to change my life forever and make my childhood dream come true. I absolutely love playing for the Miami Dolphins and the staff that we are fortunate to have here in south Florida. I am also truly blessed to go from the best collegiate fans in America, to the best fans in the National Football League. Thanks for all the support and Go Buckeyes! Go Dolphins!