Jets receiver Eric Decker was in Atlanta hosting a football skills camp for children this week, and the University of Minnesota alum and former teammate of new Falcon Ra'Shede Hageman spoke to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution about Hageman's talent and potential at the NFL level.
In 2013, Hageman became the only Gopher since Decker to be named by the media and coaches to first team All-Big Ten honors. Decker and Hageman were teammates during Hageman's redshirt freshman season, and Hageman's talent and athleticism made an impression on Decker. Hageman, of course, started his college career as a tight end, but was moved to the defensive side of the ball during his redshirt season. Decker said that it's clear that the defensive line is where Hageman belongs.
On Hageman's abilities, Decker had this to say.
He gets after it. He's a workhorse. He's long. He's big. He's strong. He's got the tools.
Nobody's disputing Hageman's athleticism and natural talent. Decker went on to say that what Hageman will need to do to succeed at the NFL level is mastering the mental aspects of the game.
Now, for him it's translating what he does physically and learning the mental part and having longevity in his career.
The good news is that Hageman is also aware of this, and has indicated that working hard, learning the playbook, and being receptive to coaching and the leadership of veteran players are his priorities as he settles into the National Football League. "I feel like--again--my physical ability has never raised questions," Hageman said to the media last week following the final minicamp practice. Hageman went on to say, "Just me being comfortable and me learning the plays is the only thing that kind of separates me from actually a playing point." Hageman said he's spending as much time as possible learning the playbook and terminology he'll need for the coming season.
What do you think about Hageman's potential?