By Jordan Kruger - @Intern_Jordan
Minneapolis, MN - Ra’Shede Hageman received an invitation to the Green Room at the upcoming NFL Draft in New York, NY on May 8. The Minnesota Gophers also resumed spring practice today, after a leave for spring break.
"Just the fact that you have so many players like Cam Newton, all types of players to walk the same red carpet as you kind of gives you goose bumps," former defensive end Ra’Shede Hageman said. "But at the same time I feel like it’s a great opportunity. I feel like it’s a once and a lifetime experience, I’m definitely going to soak that in."
Hageman’s draft stock has been on the rise since the end of the Gophers’ season, with recent steam about him possibly being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, who would need to move up from pick 37 to get back into the first round. Being asked to attend the Green Room is quite the honor, with the anticipation that Hageman will be drafted in the first round.
Hageman says he has strong feelings about certain teams, but as expected he did not disclose the teams that could be possible suits. “But obviously at the end of the day, that one team has to fall in love with you when it comes to draft day, so I’m definitely looking forward to that,” Hageman said.
Hageman is rated the fourth best defensive end in the 2014 NFL draft and the 26 best overall player. Head coach Jerry Kill discussed how impressed he was with Hageman, mentioning all that he is doing for the university.
"Nothing makes you more proud than, you know Ra’Shede and I go way back, and to see how that young man is handling himself right now is just tremendous," Kill said. "He is doing a great job. Every time you watch TV, some of those guys don’t do that, he’s got Minnesota gear on."
Hageman mentioned it was weird not being out on the field with his teammates today when he arrived towards the end of practice, but he did mention how his story can impact the current players who are aspiring to make it at the next level.
"The fact that it’s possible. You know, we obviously had the talent and the coaching that could do that. So I mean for the kids, the team right now to see that, it obviously gives them the fact that the sky is the limit and there’s every opportunity in front of them."
Coach Kill discussed today how the coaching staff used spring break as a teaching moment for the players, comparing the break to a bye week during the season. Kill talked about how the team kept getting better as the practice went on. "(I) wasn’t disappointed," Kill said. "We really focused on things, throwing the football and defending the pass, and some situations and thought that went well. Overall pleased, but we need to continue to move forward and get better."