Josh Hull is living the dream and looking to become the third Penn State linebacker taken in this year’s NFL draft.
However, Hull’s path to the NFL and even college stardom has been an unlikely one.
“I was recruited by William & Mary and Bucknell coming out of high school,” said Hull. “Both are 1-AA schools.”
Hull was a very athletic player coming out of high school, excelling at fullback and linebacker. But his small high school, and small frame, kept him from getting a Division I scholarship.
“I was about 6’2” and 204 pounds coming out of high school,” Hull said. “Most Division I linebackers coming to big schools like Penn State are usually 215 to 220 pounds, so I was a little undersized.”
Still, Hull continued to work hard, and he pushed himself to try out for the Penn State football team.
“It’s absolutely 100 percent love of the game,” Hull said. “I walked on because I love football, and without it I don’t know what I would be doing with my life.”
Hull touched on the subject of being a local kid, who grew up with Penn State football always around him. He took advantage of his close proximity,attended many games, and enjoyed tailgating just as much as the average fan.
“If I wanted to succeed I wanted to do it at the highest level, and Penn State really opened those possibilities,” said Hull.
While Hull was a very athletic player in high school, many of the other highly-recruited scholarship players had him beat at the collegiate level.
However, Hull was always impressing coaches with his amazing “hard-work attitude.”
“In other people’s minds I don’t know if I had to work harder, but in my own mind I knew I had to work harder than other people,” Hull said. “I had to gain respect of my peers, my fellow teammates, and my coaches.”
To Hull, the idea of earning his place was definitely a big factor. Fortunately, this did not take long.
Hull soon established himself as one of the hardest workers off the field along with one of the most intense on it. This intensity and hard work landed Hull a starting job at linebacker his junior season.
Here, he did not disappoint.
Hull finished the 2008 season with 75 total tackles, and he was a key part of Penn State’s top five overall defense.
One of the big reasons Hull had so much success in college and is now being looked at by the NFL is fellow linebacker Sean Lee.
“Sean [Lee] and I are really good friend off the field,” said Hull. “We were roommates for a few years, and he really helped teach me the game.”
Lee, a former three-star recruit from Upper St. Clair high school in Pittsburgh, is projected as a second round pick in this year’s NFL draft. Ironically, his injury in 2008 is what gave Hull the opportunity to start.
“We had a great connection on the field, and would often look to push each other out there,” Hull said. “Whenever he got better, I had to get better, and whenever I got better, it forced him to get better.”
Still, Hull thanks linebacker coach Ron Vanderlinden the most for his progression and success at Penn State.
“I came from a small high school where I really depended on my athleticism and not the knowledge of the game,” said Hull. “When I came to Penn State, Coach Vanderlinden was able to harness my athletic ability while incorporating the knowledge of the game.”
Hull’s superb combination of athleticism, hard work, and knowledge earned him a starting job his senior season at inside linebacker.
Again, Hull put in his hours off the field and finished the 2009 season with a team-high 116 tackles.
This stellar senior season, along with Dean’s List grades—3.54 cumulative GPA—convinced many scouts that Hull may have a future at the next level.
“Hull is someone who teams view as a ‘safe’ late round pick,” said NFLDraftBible.com CEO and head scout Rick Serritella. “He is not an elite talent but a well-coached athlete who can be an asset at the next level.”
Hull was also picked to participate in the 2010 NFL scouting combine. Here, he not only got to show off his skills to NFL teams, but he also got a chance to make some new friends.
“Going in I thought everyone was going to be tough and not looking at each other,” Hull said. “But, to my surprise, all 38 of the linebackers were really cool guys, who you could talk to and just joke around with.”
Hull continued to impress scouts at the combine by always knowing what to do during drills, and he put up fairly good numbers in most of the workouts.
Now Hull will look to make it as the third Penn State linebacker drafted in 2010.
“I would just like the opportunity to play in the NFL,” said Hull. “But I can see myself fitting in New England. They run a similar system, and they have a lot of blue collar players.”
Any team that is fortunate to land Hull will be getting one of the hardest working players in the league, along with one of the smartest.
Hull not only dominated on the football field at Penn State, but he has also become very well known for his choice of facial hair.
“Josh [Hull] is one of my favorite Penn State players of all time,” said Mitchell Hoyson, a sophomore majoring bio-behavioral health. “He had the best moustache ever, and that should help put him on the map in the NFL.”
“The moustache will definitely be staying,” Hull said.
The combination of hard work, athleticism, and facial hair will make Hull a success anywhere he goes in the NFL. He was a beloved player at Penn State, and this trend should continue at the next level.
“It’s all about hard work,” Hull said. “Put in the time in the weight room, eat right, and study hard off the field.”