Thursday, March 6, 2014
Matt Hazel has cleared another hurdle in his quest to the NFL.
Hazel, a former North Augusta and Coastal Carolina football standout, participated in the NFL Combine last week. Hazel competed against other wide receivers in a range of tasks to determine their individual skill sets.
According to Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com, the First-Team All Big South performer had a solid showing at the NFL Combine, which was held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
“(Hazel is) smooth, fluid, athletic small-school receiver with the hands, body control and concentration to earn a roster spot and develop into a solid contributor,” Nawrocki said of Hazel, who’s coming off a season where he had 70 receptions for 990 yards and nine touchdowns.
Hazel produced some more impressive stats at the combine, including:
• An official 4.50 second 40-yard dash
• 15 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press
• A 36½ inch vertical jump
• A 9’8” broad jump
The former Yellow Jacket’s numbers put him in the middle of the pack of the wide receivers, although his repetitions of 225 pounds were only four off the lead.
“(I’m) really excited, it’s always been a dream of mine to play a professional sport,” Hazel said. “From a training aspect, I just want to become a better route runner, get faster, stronger and more explosive, and grasp the mental aspect of the game.”
The NFL Draft will take place from May 8-10 in New York City.
It’s just the latest event in a busy stretch for Hazel. He played in the East-West Shrine Game, becoming just the third Coastal Carolina player to be selected for the prestigious all-star event. Former teammate Josh Norman and NFL receiver Jerome Simpson are the only other Chants to play in the Shrine Game. Hazel made the most of his appearance, catching a touchdown.
Although Hazel is busy training and doing what he can to prepare for the NFL Draft, primarily in Florida, he’s taking time to address a group of area youngsters this weekend. On Saturday at J.E.T. Middle Gymnasium in Edgefield, Hazel will speak about hard work and overcoming obstacles during the “ON” the Courts vs. “IN” the Courts Basketball Game. The event is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
“Youth, not only in Edgefield County but also around the world, need role models who offer messages with the theme that hard work brings rewards and believe it and achieve it”, Marcella Edwards, CEO of Edgefield County Youth Empowerment Center said in a statement. “We are very appreciative of Mr. Hazel stopping by to spend time with our youth, especially having a demanding schedule”.
The event is open to the public and is sponsored by Edgefield County Youth Empowerment Center, Edgefield County Sheriff Office and S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice. For more information on Hazel’s appearance, call 803-624-0684.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star.