After a standout season in 2012, Hinds DL Risean Broussard (6-3, 280) was likely to be one of the top JUCO players in the country this coming fall. However, instead of returning to the Eagles, the gifted prospect has opted to sign with an agent and hopes to hear his name called at the NFL Draft later this month...
Broussard's is a long and rather complex journey that saw him drop out of high school back in 2010, admittedly making some bad decisions and ultimately leading him to where he is today.
"I got really full of myself and I didn't really think I needed to go to class or study or anything like that," Broussard, a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, told JCFootball.com. "I just thought everything would fall into place because I was a star athlete and I had all of these schools coming after me, but that really wasn't the case. It was immaturity on my part to think that and not take things more seriously.
"I dropped out and I came to a junior college and finished up things there back in 2010, but then I started to just make the same mistakes again. I didn't do anything illegal or anything like that. I just didn't do the work I needed to do to become eligible or anything like that."
After tooling around in a listless existence, last fall, things clicked and he got himself to the point where he could stay on the field for an entire year and he showed progress, both as a student and an athlete, but also as a person.
"I just grew up and made sure I was taking care of the things I should have done when I was a teenager," the 21 year-old admitted.
As a versatile defensive lineman for Hinds last season, Broussard used his incredible athleticism and prototypical size to post solid numbers -- 61 tackles, six sacks, six tackles-for-loss and an interception -- and earning looks from schools from across the country.
"After the season, I had schools like West Virginia and Oregon and a bunch of SEC schools looking at me, but my coaches at Hinds wanted me back for another season, so they didn't release my transcripts," Broussard said. "It was frustrating because I had all of these schools wanting me to come and be part of their program, but I couldn't get my coaches to release my academics, so I was sorta stuck."
Because his NCAA clock started back in 2010 when he enrolled at a junior college, Broussard most likely wouldn't have been able to enroll at a BCS, FBS or FCS type program and when he was advised of that, he decided to inquire about the possibility of making the rare move of jumping straight from the JUCO ranks to the NFL.
It is a path frought with danger and frustration, but one that Broussard seems equipped to handle.
"I signed with an agent (Marquis Taylor) and I'm working with Sports Velocity on things," Broussard said. "I went down and worked out at Ole Miss's Pro Day and I did pretty well and now I'm getting calls, well my agent is at least, from a few teams."
Indeed, teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams have all talked about bringing the intriguing prospect in for a workout.
"I haven't gone to meet with any teams yet, but I'm probably going to be doing that over the next few weeks," Broussard noted. "When I meet with them I'll workout and I'm sure they'll have questions for me about what I've been through and stuff like that, but I've put all of that other stuff behind me and I'm focused on what I need to do.
"I just want a chance to play ball. I love this game and I feel like I can do whatever they need me to do to help the team and also to be able to contribute to the community. I've been through a lot, most of which was my doing, so I'm hoping to make up for that by doing well as a professional and making sure I am doing the best I can at whatever I attempt."
Broussard's size, speed, athleticism and strength aside, he's a young man who is driven to be successful. His is a tale of caution but also of redemption and we'll find out if there are any more bumps in the road later this month.