It was a long journey to The Hill and a college degree for Florida A&M middle linebacker Jibreel Hazly.
But that day is almost here. Next weekend Hazly will receive his coveted degree.
The Akron, Ohio native transferred to FAMU from Feather River Community College in Quincy, California. The senior criminal justice major was recruited by former FAMU head coach Alex Wood.
“He offered me an opportunity to be great and showed me the possibilities of what could come if I put in the work,” said Hazly.
During the 2017 season, Hazly did just that, compiling 61 tackles (6 for loss) along with 2 forced fumbles. These impressive stats allowed Hazly to be named to the 2018 preseason All-MEAC team.
Hazly was a key factor in the Rattlers’ rebuild on defense. The passion that he played with resonated among his teammates. He was not only a leader on the field; he was someone who the younger players could look up to.
“As a player on the field, Jibreel was very physical. Every time he stepped out there his presence was felt. He has a great work ethic on and off the field,” sophomore linebacker Zoron Wade said.
Hazly is used to leading by example. The oldest of three boys, he always paved the way for his younger brothers to follow. “My youngest brother is autistic. We have been through a lot together. He is very strong, he drives me to be better,” Hazly said.
Hazly’s story is a prime example of overcoming adversity. His senior year of high school he was ineligible with a 1.3 GPA. He could have quit then but instead, he persevered. He attended junior college and eventually received a Division 1 scholarship.
“Jibreel is a hard-nosed player with great natural instincts. His motor never stops. He’s compassionate and a hardworking student,” linebackers coach Todd Middleton said.
Hazly’s relentless passion and love for the game has earned him two Senior Bowl invites. He will take part in Pro Day in his home state at Ohio State University.
After graduating from FAMU he plans to pursue a professional career playing football, but he understands the magnitude of his degree. “Even if I never play another snap I’ll be competitive in life. If no opportunity comes open I will return to school to get my master’s degree in criminal justice.”