Former linebacker seeks NFL dream

Denmark hunting down Morgan State's QB (Courtesy FAMU Sports Info)

Denmark hunts down Morgan State's QB
Courtesy FAMU Sports Info.

Former Florida A&M outside linebacker Brandon Denmark didn't prioritize football as a child like his brother and his peers. 

Denmark recalls becoming good at the sport by accident and believes the game of football chose him. 

"Football definitely became my passion later on in life," Denmark said. "I didn't think I'd get this far (playing football), to be honest. It just grew on me. Football kind of chose me."

Before the Tallahassee native was a Rattler, he was a standout at Rickards High School, where he earned an athletic scholarship to play football at the University of Illinois. But after a coaching change with the Fighting Illini, Denmark transferred back home to FAMU.

"Illinois was a great experience," Denmark said. "But, the caliber player I am, I deserved way more."

The bar was always set high for Denmark, and many noticed his talent, including FAMU's head football coach Earl Holmes, who played ten years in the NFL.

"I actually recruited [Brandon] out of high school," Holmes said. "He's a big kid, fast, very strong and very athletic. He has all the tools to be very successful on Sundays, but he has to keep his niche."

Denmark said returning home and playing in front of all the people who supported him and watched him grow up allowed him to hone in on football and school.

In his two seasons as a Rattler, Denmark totaled 113 tackles, 23 for losses, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a blocked kick. 

Sophomore outside linebacker Akil Blount said Denmark's play will be missed, "but we will try to fill the spots those seniors left," he said. "My job as one of the returning starters is to help the younger guys."

Now, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete is focused on making at least one of the 32 NFL teams "love" him. From his standout performance at his pro day, Denmark did nothing but improve his chances.

The former Rattler bench-pressed 225 pounds 28 times, the second most of any linebacker who participated in this year's NFL Scouting Combine. 

He then blazed through his 40-yard-dash. One NFL scout clocked Denmark at 4.50 seconds, which would have been the fastest time among linebackers at the combine.

The 21-year-old wouldn't be shocked to hear his name called on draft day, nor would he be alarmed if that wasn't in the cards.

"If I get drafted, I'd cry," Denmark said. "And not just a soft cry, I'm talking, 'Oh, Lord (hysterically).' 

"I'd probably be the biggest man to cry," Denmark said with a laugh. 

But, when all is said and done, Denmark just wants an NFL organization to give him the opportunity to make a 53-man active roster.

"(The ages) 18-22 is what determines the rest of your life," Denmark said. "Before my 22nd birthday, I can change mine."