As a rookie out of a Division II college, Miami Dolphins defensive end Terrence Fede faced long odds to become the first player from his school to make an NFL roster. But the 2014 seventh round draft pick out of Marist not only made the roster, he was a very productive player as well.
Fede worked hard and turned heads in camp last year, showing traits that overshadow his small school background. He then appeared in 11 games in 2014 and finished with 10 tackles and a sack, but likely would have played a bigger role had it not been for a knee injury he sustained late in the preseason.
“It’s a dramatic change (from college),” Fede told the Finsiders. “Last year it was just pretty hectic. You’re learning a new playbook. I came from New York, so the weather is a lot cooler than it is down here.
“I felt like I accomplished something, but in the back of my mind there’s still some things to improve on. I didn’t achieve the things that I wanted to achieve, so I’m just going to take that into the offseason. Now I’m acclimated to the weather, I know the playbook, so things are going smoothly. (Now I’m) just working on technique, physical aspects of the game.”
As for adjusting to the speed and challenges of the NFL, “I would say there were a couple of things, the speed of the game, the physicality and the weather. Now I’m adjusted to all that, so it’s not really that much of a problem right now.”
Fede paid a visit to his alma mater to watch the spring game at Marist in April, and enjoyed being the big man on campus.
“Oh yeah, I have a bunch of young guys asking me a lot of questions, what steps can they take to make it to the next level,” said Fede. ”I’m happy that they’re asking me that because I’m willing to take that chance. I’m willing to let them know what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to keep your head on straight. You’ve got to do the right things. You’ve got to work hard to make it to the next level.
“It was a good experience. I got to go up there to see the spring game. Saw a couple of guys who progressed over the years, which was amazing. Got to see old coaches, old friends. The community was happy that I was up there, I was happy I was up there. It was just a great experience, and I’m looking forward to going back next year.”
Fede got his first NFL sack in the victory at Jacksonville last October, but the biggest highlight of his rookie season came in the Dolphins 37-35 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16. In that game Fade, blocked a punt in the final minute that produced a safety, giving the Dolphins a dramatic win.
“That blocked punt, that topped off my rookie year, being able to contribute at least something to the team,” Fede said. “That was pretty cool.”
And Fede is hoping to produce a lot more cool moments in 2015 and beyond.
“I just want to be more of a playmaker on defense,” he said. “I still have my special teams role, (and) I want to keep increasing that. I want to be a leader on special teams. I just want, when my number is called, for the defense to go in there and make something happen. I’m looking forward to that.”
So are we, Terrence. So are we.
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball.
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