The NFL draft is May 8-10 and, at some point during those three days, Baltimore native and Towson University alum Terrance West will almost certainly hear his name called, and his boyhood dream will be a reality.
West will be one of 200-plus players drafted, but no one has had quite his path to the NFL.
Growing up fatherless in a tough West Baltimore neighborhood, Terrance West, nonetheless, became a star running back at Northwestern High School. He knew he had the talent to play after he graduated, but he needed to get his SAT scores up, so he attended prep school. But after a year without scholarship offers, West started working at Jimmy Jazz clothing store selling shoes and continued to dream of playing collegiate football.
After failed attempts to be a walk-on at Morgan State and University of Maryland, West decided to try Towson, which was seeking a fresh start for its football program. (The Tigers had only had one win the entire 2010 football season.)
“I came into the office at 4 a.m. for 5:45 practice and Terrance was already there, after taking two buses from Baltimore City,” says Towson coach Rob Ambrose. “It was that day I knew there was drive in him that you don’t see in most people these days.”
After three years, West became Towson’s all-time leading rusher with 4,854 yards and 84 touchdowns (he rushed for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns this past season), and he helped lead Towson to the FCS Championship game. “Where you went to school won’t save you,” says West. “If you want to play in the NFL, you have to earn it.”
The list of Towson University students who have played in the NFL can be counted on one hand, so it’s quite an accomplishment for West to be one of them.
Not bad for a guy who was selling shoes four years ago.