Herzlich’s road to the NFL Combine is an inspirational story about which everybody should be familiar. He went from a possible late first round pick after his junior season to being diagnosed with cancer and questioning whether he would live another day.
The 6-foot-4 inch, 238-pound Herzlich had a very impressive junior season. He led the Boston College Eagles with 110 tackles and eight pass breakups. He also had six interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was selected as a first team All-American and won the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. Herzlich was projected as a late first round selection; he even imagined playing for the New England Patriots. However, he wanted to improve his draft stock and decided to finish out his career at Boston College.
But then came the spring of 2009, after his junior season, when he received terrible news. He was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewings Sarcoma and was told by doctors that he would not play football again.
Herzlich was determined to beat it; his love for football was too strong. He underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his leg. He also went through seven months of chemotherapy, five weeks of radiation, and had a titanium rod inserted in his lower leg. He lost his hair and lost his strength.
However, he managed to stay positive through it all, and prayed every night and read letters from people encouraging him to get better. Not many cancer patients are able to stay positive during their recovery process, but Herzlich was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel-- running out of the Alumni Stadium tunnel with his teammates.
His goal to play football again helped him beat cancer. He returned to Boston College as a fifth year senior. It wasn’t like his junior season, but it was a giant step in the right direction. For the season he recorded 65 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss.
Now he’s onto the NFL Combine. So far he hasn’t been too impressive, but with what he’s had to battle through and his motivation to get back on the field, who wouldn’t want this player on their team? He’s a leader on and off the field and he proved to be a special talent at the linebacker position during his junior year. Whoever decides to draft this player will not regret their decision.
Jared Levine is a Journalism and Sports Administration major at the University of Miami providing introspective, insight, information and opinion on the world of College Football and Major League Baseball. You may email Jared directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaredLevine4
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