Temple's Haason Reddick goes to Arizona Cardinals
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Haason Reddick wore a red tie to the NFL draft because he had a feeling he was going to Arizona.
''After the visit I had, talking to coach B.A. (Bruce Arians), the love that was shown was so genuine,'' Reddick said. ''It felt like I wanted to be there.''
Reddick was selected by the Cardinals with the No. 13 overall pick on Thursday night, completing a rapid rise to the top half of the first round for the Temple linebacker. He goes to a team whose coach has Temple roots: Arians coached the Owls from 1983-88.
''To play for a fellow Temple guy, that's special,'' Reddick said. ''How many people in the draft can say they're going to play for a fellow alum? That's special.''
Reddick got a rousing ovation from the crowd in Philly. He grew up across the bridge in Camden, New Jersey and played college ball at the Linc.
''It meant a lot, especially to hear the uproar from the crowd when my name was called,'' Reddick said. ''That was beautiful. I didn't know that it was gonna be that loud. It was way louder than I expected. For all of this to happen in Philadelphia, it was great.''
Reddick was a walk-on at Temple after injuries in high school left him with no scholarship offers. He began his college career as a defensive back and was a starter as a junior before he was on scholarship. Last season, playing defensive end for the Owls, he led the nation in tackles for loss.
Still, he was only a possible first-round pick until stellar performances at the Senior Bowl and combine caught everyone's attention.
He became just the fourth player in Temple history selected in the first round. The last was Muhammad Wilkerson, chosen by the New York Jets at No. 30 in 2011.
''I'm gonna give everything I have to offer, try to be the best I can, try to be a student of the game, try to be the best person for the community,'' Reddick said. ''I want to be a special person for the program.''
His mom, RaeLakia Reddick, said she was more focused on her son getting a solid education than pursuing an NFL career.
''That moment when he actually got to play and I saw those sacks and tackles and I was like: `Wow, this guy is phenomenal,''' she said. ''His dream was always the NFL; mine was education.''
RaeLakia Reddick was rooting for the hometown Eagles to draft her son so she can see him play.
''I'm not a traveler,'' she said. ''I have a home and a child to take care of.''
She'll still get a chance to watch all of his games from home because DirecTV gave her and five other moms NFLST.TV. It's the NFL Sunday Ticket streaming service that will allow each mom to catch all her son's games throughout the season from any connected device.
''To able to sit back and get the family around and enjoy watching him, it's gonna be good,'' she said.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi