“In 5th grade if you would have told me that I would be playing for the Gophers, I would have thought you were goofy or silly or something,” said Ra’shede Hageman in a 2013 interview with, Superintendent Dr. Jerry Kjergaard Willmar Public Schools in Minnesota.
As a child, Hageman had dreams of becoming a professional athlete, but didn’t quite foresee his name among those predicted to be first-round NFL draft picks. Perhaps he also didn’t imagine that he would graduate from the University of Minnesota with his B.S in Youth Studies, yet at age 23 the defensive tackle has accomplished a great deal and has been sharing his story with the next generation.
According to an article published in TwinCities.com, Hageman spent time last summer with more than 700 students in grades K-5 at Kennedy Elementary School. Accompanied by Principal Todd Goggleye, his former high school coach, Hageman shared how he overcame his past adversities and used sports to remain focused on his future.
Hageman also reached more than 200 young people during the Derreck Robinson Green Machine Football Camp at McRae Park, encouraging students to place focus on their academics.
— Chris H. (@GoAUpher) July 14, 2013
Had a good time talking to kids at camp today! Doing little things hoping to make a big difference!! pic.twitter.com/yktWmNY5Tz
— Rashede Hageman (@Rashedehageman) July 13, 2013
As the oldest of five children, Hageman resided in several foster homes growing up. His mother struggled with drugs and alcohol and his father had died when he was only a few years old.
“I just wanted to share my story and really just give little kids an open perspective of who I am off the field,” Hageman said in the Twin Cities article. “It was different because in past years, I really wasn’t doing much community service.”
Adopted and raised by a family who provided him with stability and support, Hageman became an accomplished football and basketball player at Washburn High School. In 2009, Hageman signed with the Gophers, and in this year’s draft he is anticipated to be a first round pick. It may be surprising even for him, but that surprise won’t stop him from the feeling of satisfaction that he has reached yet another goal and seen another childhood dream come true.
— Tanner Perryman (@Tanner_Perryman) March 10, 2014