It's late November and a lot of fans still don't know the Miami Dolphins' latest star in the making, Jared Odrick.
I recently sat down with Miami's 2010 first-round draft pick as he was signing autographs and taking pictures with fans in honor of teaming up with zero calorie Pepsi MAX, along with 13 other rookies around the league.
I spoke with Jared about his season-ending leg injury, the team's recent struggles and even about his transition from DT at Penn State to the end position with the Dolphins.
Let it be known that in high school Odrick was a US Army All-American, he became Penn State's starting defensive tackle as a sophomore and was a First Team All-American in 2009 while being named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. His stats in college improved each season.
While Odrick was not the sexy draft selection that many Dol-fans wanted, he was the right pick for this team. Give him a few years to develop the necessary skills to be an effective defensive end in this league and Phins fans will surely be rewarded.
"Once I get a whole season under my belt I think it will be a whole lot better for me to truly say that I feel like I'm at home at that position," he said.
Odrick played defensive tackle for Penn State and is a perfect fit for any 3-4 scheme at the end position.
How do you feel about Jared Odrick and his future with the Miami Dolphins?
In his senior season at Penn State, he had seven sacks in a 3-4 system in only 13 games.
In 2007 Odrick suffered a dislocated ankle and emerged the following season as the Nittany Lions starter at the nose tackle position. So recovering from a broken leg is a walk in the park for Odrick.
"I've come back from a more serious injury before and I don't think I did too bad coming back from that, so I know I'll be able to do the same," he said.
When asked about the feel in the locker room regarding the remainder of the season Odrick claimed, "I think a lot of people are confident. If you don't play with confidence and don't go to work with confidence then you really don't have a team that's going to be successful, and we have that type of team where every day we come in we're expecting to win."
It's no doubt though that the Miami Dolphins have been hit by injuries harder than most teams in the league.
Playing with confidence, like Odrick says the Dolphins are, gives Miami a chance to still make the playoffs as three of the six teams left on the schedule, including the Jets and Patriots, are ahead of the Fins in the race for the final six spots in the conference.
Furthermore, something many fans don't know about Odrick is that in college he graduated with a degree in sociology.
Unlike a handful of student athletes who graduate with degrees in business or parks management, Odrick studied for four years a skill that can help him off and on the field as well.
"Whatever your degree is it gives you an advantage and I think mine specifically is relating to people and studying and knowing people's situations."
If it's not his 6'5", 304-pound frame that Odrick can use to help Miami reach their first Super Bowl since the mid 1980s, then it is definitely his ability to understand his opponent in a way that so few in the NFL do.
Be patient and time will reward you.