There's too much film on you.

Every athlete gets critiqued as they prepare for the NFL draft, but that was a new one for me. I was talking to my agent, wondering what was going on. A year earlier I was a top-10 overall pick in the mock drafts, and now that I was actually eligible after my junior season, my name was nowhere to be found on any of the mock drafts in the first or second rounds.

That's when he told me of my biggest flaw: too much film.

Even if I didn't agree with the logic, I knew what he meant. In my three years in Morgantown, our team had gone 32-4, but over the course of my last season my stock had plummeted. As a sophomore I ran for 1,744 yards and 7.0 yards a carry, but as a junior those numbers had dropped down to 1,051 yards and 5.0 per rush.

NFL teams weren't thinking about the fact that WVU had been in contention for a National Championship my last year. They were focused on the way my season ended, which wasn't good.

In our bowl game I only rushed the ball one time for minus-2 yards before I got dinged up and missed the rest of the game, but I don't think that was everyone's concern. I had never suffered a major injury in my entire life, and that hamstring injury was no different. Besides, my team didn't need me that night. Even though 49 states predicted that we would lose that game (with the state of West Virginia being the exception), we went out and beat Oklahoma 48-28 in the Fiesta Bowl.

Rather, what scared every NFL team was the last regular season game of my career. It's a night I'll never forget, but for all the wrong reasons. If you were in Milan Puskar Stadium that night against Pitt, you probably won't forget it either.

Fortunately, by the time our team suffered that loss, God had already made me into a resilient man.

Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5

(Title Photo courtesy of West Virginia Athletics)

Thomas Hager