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NFL lockout puts life on hold for free agents, ex-Bulldogs

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Josh Harrison

S.C. State's Josh Harrison, the 2010 MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year, is one of several former Bulldogs hoping for a shot at the NFL when the league's lockout is lifted.

Josh Harrison went back to school, Semaj Moody took up working odd jobs and Marshall McFadden hit the links.

Since going undrafted in April's NFL Draft, the trio of former S.C. State Bulldogs have put their life in a holding pattern working out, waiting, hoping, passing the time and mortgaging the immediate future for a shot at their dream, an NFL contract. Needless to say, with their fate still undecided as the NFL lockout rolls into July with no end in sight and contact with free agents prohibited, there is a bit of restlessness.

"I can't wait until it gets over," Moody, a former star at Denmark-Olar High School said. "I want to know what is going to happen ... whether I get a job or get a call. I'm just hoping everything falls into place really fast."

Moody, who had 22 tackles and two interceptions for S.C. State last season, has been spending his time between Atlanta, training with current Bulldog Erin Norwood, and Orangeburg, where he, at times, works out with Harrison, the 2010 MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year, who is taking summer classes at S.C. State as he pursues an industrial technology major.

McFadden has been spending time in Charlotte training at Velocity Sports since January with the likes of Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis and Chicago Bears defensive back Chris Harris.

"I've been working out with a lot of NFL guys," said McFadden, a 6-1, 235-pound linebacker who finished with 47 tackles, two sacks and an interception last season. "I've been taking in what I can from these guys, what to do, what not to do, who to be with and who not to talk to."

McFadden was lucky in that he saved money over his six-year career at S.C. State.

"After everything was over, I had enough money to do about like I needed until football season was over," he said.

At least a chunk of that money has been spent taking up the game of golf.

"You find everything you can do possible to take your mind off (the lockout)," he said. "I got into golf as a way to ease away from thinking about it all the time. A lot of the guys I train with play so we get together and go play.

"I'd say I'm average ... or a little below. I'm just learning."

Harrison laughed when asked how he was making ends meet.

"I'm a country boy," the big, 6-4, 305-pound tackle said. "I can work. And, I have the support of my family."

Moody said he worked several camps and recently helped coach the South Carolina-North Carolina Middle School All-Star Futures Game.

The trio figure to have the best chance of the Bulldogs who went undrafted to hear from NFL teams when the lockout is lifted. Harrison said his agent told him he was a "priority free agent," and that before the draft the Jets, Giants, Steelers, Falcons and Bills all inquired about him. McFadden said the Jets, Cardinals, Texans, Panthers and Rams called before the draft. Other leagues have shown interest, according to all three, but the goal is to play in the NFL.

"I've always dreamed to play in the NFL," Harrison said. "Money isn't that bad for me right now. Things will work out. I don't want to go somewhere else and play, maybe get hurt, and jeopardize my chances of playing in the NFL."

Aware of the lost opportunities of minicamps and workouts with potential teams, the three remain confident they will find a suitor.

"It is like being a walk-on," McFadden said. "But no matter where I went and where I played ... in high school I played as a freshman. In college, I started as a freshman. I don't see going to the NFL as being any different."

"If we get a chance I think we will be coming in with a chip on our shoulder," Moody said. "We will be in a hurry to prove some things being that we didn't get picked. We are coming in even hungrier."

Contact the writer: or by phone at 803-533-5553. For more on S.C. State athletics visit





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