Curran Delaney: Defensive Lineman Makes Transition from Marine Sniper to Minnesota Gopher

Ryan GuillemetteCorrespondent IApril 12, 2011

LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 05:  Members of the U.S. Marine Corps stand for the playing of the National Anthem during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 5, 2007 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

Curran Delaney is making the tough transition from a United States Marine sniper to his dream of playing for the Minnesota Gophers football team. 

Delaney attended Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, Minnesota a brand new school which was built in 2006 playing as a 190 pound safety. 

After graduating high school Delaney attended the University of St. Thomas (UST) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2004, Delaney played linebacker for the UST before joining the Marine Corps. 

After going through training, Delaney was deployed to the Philippines in a humanitarian effort to help the victims of a mudslide. Soon after, Delaney was deployed to Iraq as a sniper and member of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, the most highly decorated unit in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

A few months before Delaney had been discharged, he began to think about going back to school. After coming back to Minnesota, Delaney got back in touch with his high school coach Dave Hopkins. 

After talking with Hopkins about the possibility of playing again, Hopkins began the difficult task of getting Delaney a shot at playing Division 1 college football. 

A few months later after receiving no answer, it was looking bleak for the former Marine. But after attending a Minnesota football function, Hopkins was able to meet with the director of football Dan O'Brien. 

Hopkins discussed Delaney's situation and O'Brien was able to show former coach Tim Brewster Delaney's highlight reel. The gophers decided to give Delaney a quick workout to assess his skills.

Delaney prepared for this workout by adding 50 pounds, putting him to a solid 300 pounds and working on his speed. 

After attending the assessment, the Gopher organization was impressed enough to give Delaney an invite to spring practice and a tryout invitation to try out for next year's team. 

Delaney was frustrated on having to sit out another season, but he made up for it by coaching at his alma mater Holy Family.  

The spring of 2009 Delaney entered spring training standing out from his teammates; being three to six years older and having spent time in the most decorated unit in the Marine Corps, he had teammates talking. 

Delaney's hard work paid off, as he was able to get a roster spot as a defensive lineman along with one of the kids he coached Peter Westerhaus, who was voted Mr. Football for Minnesota in 2010. 

Delaney looks forward to great upcoming season in 2011 and he hopes his hard work will continue to pay off in the Big 10.