It's been called âThe World's Toughest Job Interview.â For six days at the NFL Combine (Feb. 24-March 2), college football's best will be measured, interviewed, tested, watched and analyzed by countless NFL coaches, general managers and scouts conducting all of their due diligence before the NFL Draft. To prepare, nearly two dozen prospects have traveled to IMG Academy for six-plus weeks of Physical, Mental, Communication, Nutrition, Vision and psychological training with Athletic & Personal Development program specialists and on-field training with some of the game's top football coaches.
His name is Derrick Addai. To football fans, the name may sound familiar, as well it should. Derrick's brother, Joseph, was the running back for the National Champion LSU Tigers in 2003, and again for the Super Bowl winning Indianapolis Colts in 2006. Needless to say, Derrick has some big shoes to fill during his football career, but he is all but ready to accept the challenge.
A recent graduate from Kentucky State University, Derrick was the team leader in tackles his sophomore year, and the leading tackler in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference during his senior campaign at KSU. Consider the fact that he had never played organized football until his senior year of high school and you begin to realize the potential Derrick possesses.
Derrick's mother is very protective of her children, and wants them to remain focused. This is the reason that she only allowed Derrick to play one sport while in high school. He chose to play basketball for his first three years at Sharpstown High School in Texas, but Joseph chose to go the path of playing football, so it always had some sort of presence in Derrick's life. During his senior year, Derrick was looking for an opportunity to try something new and fun, and did not want to have any regrets about not playing football after graduating, so he thought this would be the year to go out for the team.
Considering his brother was a first round draft pick at running back, one would assume Derrick would have an impact at the same position. This wasn't the case. Derrick played wide receiver and said his talents at the position were "average at best". Derrick liked being able to hit players, so his strong suit was on the defensive side of the football where he excelled at the safety position.
He went on to play at Kentucky State University. With only one year of playing experience under his belt, Derrick was still raw. In his first year with KSU, he barely saw the field, but was able to absorb plenty of information and gain another year's worth of practice experience. The next year, Derrick garnered second team all-conference honors with 81 tackles (nine for a loss) which were both team leading. The following season, KSU experienced their first winning record in three seasons finishing up at 6-5. The Addai-led defense jumped from being ranked 118th to 15th in Division II football. In Derrick's final season, he ranked first in the conference (42nd in the country) with 95 tackles, and was named to the first team All-SIAC Defense. Derrick continues to learn the game's nuances and has a tremendous upside.
Derrick's relationship with his brother has helped him become a better football player over the years. When speaking about his brother, Derrick reflects,
"Our relationship has been great. He has always been that big brother that would give me advice or share his experiences with me. Even when training with him, I learned so much that it brings me closer to him."
The brothers are still close and see each other during the off season. Derrick remembers going to the Super Bowl when his brother was playing in it with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006. Seeing how fast Joseph achieved success increased Derrick's motivation. He already knew that he wanted to play in the NFL, but seeing, in-person, his brother achieve football's true mark of success was "inspirational" for him. There is one thing that Derrick knows he is better than his brother at right now...Nintendo's Wii Mario Kart. "I am pretty good at that," Derrick says jokingly.
While it may take some time to create his own success on the football field, Derrick has one goal: "Get better every day." Considering the leaps and bounds that he has already taken in only five years of playing football, Derrick may soon find himself tackling his brother on Sundays instead of watching him from the stands.