By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The West Chester University football team has enjoyed a lot of success over the past couple of seasons and one of the big reasons for that success is now hoping his name gets called during the NFL Draft.
Cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz played nearly 50 games at West Chester, developing into a shutdown corner with a nose for the football. The Philadelphia native and Bartram High School product is enjoying the ride as he turns the heads of NFL scouts.
“Oh my goodness, exciting doesn’t even explain it all,” Shabazz tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s my mom, it’s my parents. You think I’m excited about the situation? Man, they are so ecstatic it’s ridiculous. My mom sends me good luck texts every hour on the hour, even when I’m just going to class. She just always thinks I’m going to a workout.”
Listen to the entire interview with West Chester’s Al-Hajj Shabazz
Even though teams generally stayed away from throwing at Shabazz, he still led the Golden Rams with five interceptions as a senior, one of which he returned for a touchdown. In 2013 as a junior, he picked off four passes, also returning one for a score and he says it was as a junior when he really started to look at the NFL as a possibility.
“Junior year I came in,” Shabazz says, “I’ve always had the mentality where I can play with anybody, but after I’d seen my first scout at a game, it really opened some eyes some for me like, you know what, we can make this happen. We really can make a run at this thing.”
Shabazz has excellent size (6’2″, 200 pounds), which is good news seeing as how the NFL these days leans heavily towards length in the secondary, and he is confident he can fit in with any defense.
“I think I bring a lot to the table,” Shabazz says. “I think I’m a sound tackler, I can play in any system. I feel as though I can be a zone guy, I can be your press corner, your off guy. I feel as though I’m very versatile. I play special teams with no problem.”
Shabazz was one of a handful of local standouts to workout for the Eagles on Wednesday.
If he is is drafted, he would be the first Golden Ram selected since LB Lee Woodall was chosen by San Francisco in the sixth round back in 1994.
The NFL Draft gets underway on April 30th.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.