For some players, going from the MAC (Mid America Conference) to the NFL would be a big jump. But for Tarell Basham, defensive end out of Ohio University, it’s a leap of faith.
“You’re expected to be a pro at all times in every way, shape, or form. I’m getting adjusted to that,” he says. “This is a lifestyle that I haven’t been accustomed to, but I’m trying to get used to it now. Just trying to get adjusted and realize your responsibilities every day and what your role is and how you fit and maximizing that.”
As a third round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, Basham knows exactly why the Colts brought him in.
“I definitely expect to be able to pressure the quarterback. I know that’s what they got me here for, to be a good pass rusher, but also to set a good edge. I’m big and long, so I plan to affect the game.”
During rookie minicamp last weekend, Basham spent time on the field with a player he grew up watching, idolizing, and whose game he’s tried to model his own after – former Colts linebacker Robert Mathis. Mathis has been helping out during offseason training, lending a hand coaching the young defensive players.
“I’ve been watching him since I was – I don’t want to say the age because he told me I made him feel old. I’ve been watching him for a long time and he’s a legend. To be able to sit and learn from him everyday, it’s really a blessing,” he says. “Not every rookie gets that opportunity to learn from somebody who’s a legend in their position.”
With a different build, Basham may play with a different style. But it’s Mathis’ heart he’s really hoping to replicate.
“He has a great motor. He never stops on the field. I’m trying to learn to have the same type of motor he has and the same type of get up and get after it that he did and to try to attack the game the same way he did. You could definitely learn that, no matter what position you’re playing.”
At his position, Basham knows there’s a chance for him to contribute right away.
“It’s all competition. I’m coming here, I’m working for a spot – but the spot, there’s definitely opportunity.”
And his name creates opportunities of its own.
— Brenen's Coffee Cafe (@Brenens) April 17, 2017
“People always use my last name to make little slogans. They’re saying things like, ‘Hey, he’s going to Basham!’ I’m used to it. I enjoy it. It fits the game.”
Now that he’s in the NFL, it’s suggested his name may land him some endorsements.
“I’ll take it,” he responds.
As a rookie, Tarell Basham will take any opportunity he can get – and try to make the most of it.