/notables/2003/relevance-not-lost-on-hoag

Relevance not lost on Hoag

More news about: Gustavus Adolphus
Photo by Tom Dahlin

In 1999, Ryan Hoag, then a freshman at Wake Forest, overslept and missed soccer practice, effectively ending his soccer career. Instead of playing soccer elsewhere, he returned to his native Minnesota, enrolled at Gustavus Adolphus, and proceeded to learn the game of football, which he hadn't played since junior varsity in high school.

The only Division III player invited to the NFL's scouting combine, he posted a 40 time of 4.51 seconds and impressed enough to convince the Raiders to take him with the last pick in the draft, making him 2003's Mr. Irrelevant. Pat Coleman caught up with him by phone Sunday evening.

D3: When you overslept and missed your soccer practice at Wake Forest, did you envision your college career ending up like this?
RH:
Maybe the ‘irrelevant' part in terms of sports, but not the ‘Mr. Irrelevant' part. Obviously, a person always has dreams, but with football I never expected to take it to this level.

D3: When did you first hear about the significance of Mr. Irrelevant?
RH:
Our running back, Andy Traetow, actually told me about it. ‘Hopefully you're Mr. Irrelevant.' He was telling me about the perks I'd never heard about. It piqued my interest. Even though I've talked to 10 people trying to tell me, I still don"t know what it entails. I"m just blessed to get drafted.

D3: You probably didn't have any serious thoughts about going in Day 1 of the draft, but they certainly strung you out in Day 2.
RH:
Absolutely. I had to be realistic. Once upon a time I had heard I could slip into the late third round, but this whole past week I heard from 15 teams and it looked like I would be a late second-day guy. I never figured to be the last pick in the draft. With all the calls I was receiving I figured I wasn't going to be drafted at all.

D3: How many teams did you talk to on Sunday?
RH:
I was told by the Cowboys in the sixth round that they were looking at drafting me, and then I heard from the Packers, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Houston. I was offered a contract if I slipped through from Dallas, San Francisco and Houston.

D3: When did you hear from the Raiders?
RH:
About 10 seconds before they said it on TV. I got a call from a woman from the Raiders and I just figured it was another free agent offer, but she said, ‘Can you hold, I"m going to transfer you to Coach (Bill) Callahan's phone.' I ended up hanging up on him accidentally because we were so excited.

D3: What do you know about the Raiders and your chances there?
RH:
I know they drafted one receiver, that was a position they were going to be looking at. I feel that's one of the best sits for me. I'm not expecting to go in and compete for a starting position. It'll be an honor to be in camp with my hero, Jerry Rice, a small-school guy. His workout in general has always been what's impressive to me. I know they drafted Teyo Johnson, who"s kind of an H-back, big-type receiver. I think I can help in the return game immediately and bring some speed they might not have so much of.

D3: Do you feel like you're carrying the weight of Division III on your shoulders, or can you let guys like Bills linebacker London Fletcher do that for you?
RH:
The only weight I'm carrying on my shoulders is the expectation I'm having for myself and that's probably more than anyone else has for me. I'm planning on meeting and exceeding my expectations. I'd love to represent Division III, so in that sense it's an honor, and I have every intent of putting Division III on the map.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 28: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Shenandoah at Randolph-Macon
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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