Erik Rask's NFL dreams may come true
Senior linebacker is preparing for a March pro day, where he will perform in front of NFL scouts
December 6, 2011, 11:43 pm·
Katie Rubin | DP
Of the 1,696 players currently on NFL rosters, only six played their college ball in the Ivy League. If Erik Rask has his way, that number will be at least seven next season.
A three-year starter and defensive standout, the senior linebacker doesn’t want the November 19 home loss to Cornell to be the final game in his football career.
“Last year during the spring, one of our coaches pulled me aside and said that he thought I have a potential shot to keep on playing,” Rask said.
The Southern California native also had a chance to talk to several scouts who stopped by the football offices near Franklin Field.
“I saw a couple of scouts who were looking at me and a couple of other guys on the team and watching film,” he said. “I guess they liked what they saw and it’s kind of moved forward since last spring.”
For now, Rask is working hard with his eyes on a March pro day, which will be held either at Penn or another local college. Interested NFL scouts will be watching as Rask is put through his paces. The senior hopes they’ll see the tools that twice made him a first-team All-Ivy selection as weapons that can help their teams on Sundays.
Slightly undersized to be an NFL linebacker at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Rask may be asked to play safety in the pros.
“I think for me personally, I’d still like to play linebacker, like a 4-3 weak-side linebacker,” he said. “Right now, that’s my thought going into it, but I’d obviously be open to anything if I could just get the chance.”
Rask’s flexibility and versatility could serve him well in an NFL camp. Many players break into the league for their stellar special teams play before they ever see time as a starter, or even a backup, on the offensive or defensive side of the ball.
In the time leading up to his pro day, Rask’s two main goals are putting on weight and getting faster.
Like most college athletes, the NFL prospect has dreamt of big-league glory since he was small.
“I think that growing up playing sports, a lot of kids have visions of playing professional sports someday,” Rask said. “And, I think everyone who plays football in college hopes that there is a chance at the next level.”
Despite the long odds for Ivy Leaguers to move on to the NFL after college, Rask believes he made the right decision in coming to Penn.
“If I had the chance to keep playing football, I’m definitely going to try to do that for as long as I can,” he said. “Once that opportunity is over, I’ll have a great degree to fall back on, so I’m pretty excited how that worked out.”
Like many of his classmates, the senior has been thinking about what he’ll do upon finishing college. He hopes that a job at the intersection of sports and business is waiting for him after football, especially since a couple of finance internships didn’t catch his fancy.
But Rask has a suspicion that he won’t have to worry about a desk job all that soon.
“I feel like I’m going to get a chance somewhere.”