FOXBORO — By now you’ve seen the play, whether or not you had been watching dwell on “Sunday Night Football” or caught ESPN’s Pat McAfee breaking it down on Twitter.
Patriots particular teamer Brenden Schooler — with a golden lion’s mane flowing out of his silver helmet — working alongside the road of scrimmage and turning upfield on the snap like Tyreek Hill on a wheel movement. But Schooler wasn’t motioning right into a route, he was about to fling his 6-foot-1, 205-pound body at a soccer touring 90 MPH off the proper leg of Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders to dam a area aim.
BLOCKED KICK ????
— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2023
Schooler, whose backstory is simply as fascinating because the origins of that play, appears to be like like the subsequent nice Patriots particular teamer. Just ask the perfect man to ever do it, in response to head coach Bill Belichick.
“Sky’s the limit,” 10-time particular groups Pro Bowl choice Matthew Slater stated this week. “I think he can be as good as anybody, honestly. And I say that because I work with him every day, I see his commitment to his craft. I see his mindset. He’s just wired differently. His intensity, his football IQ, his want-to is tremendous. And God has really gifted him with some tremendous physical gifts. The size, the speed, the length, the quickness. Just a rare combination.”
Slater stated he believes Schooler was the one participant on the staff who may have executed that block.
Chris Board — who Belichick stated was the perfect particular teamer the Patriots performed final season earlier than signing him this offseason — referred to as Schooler a “baller.”
“He finds the ball, finds a way to get to the ball,” Board stated.
Adrian Phillips, a special-teams All-Pro and Pro Bowler, referred to as Schooler a “dog.”
“He just works hard and doesn’t say no to anything,” Phillips stated. “He’s a guy who’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the team, which is what he did last year and he’s willing to do whatever to just help the team get better.”
A surfer from Orange County, Calif., Schooler performed at 4 completely different excessive colleges after which for six head coaches at three Power Five schools. The second-year professional was a beginning free security at Oregon as a real freshman in 2016. His school profession lasted so lengthy that he picked off then-Cal QB Davis Webb as a real freshman. Webb had a pleasant little six-year NFL profession and is now the Denver Broncos’ quarterbacks coach.
Schooler performed 4 years at Oregon, transferred to Arizona for a quick keep to play along with his brother, Colin, then left for Texas simply earlier than the 2020 season due to COVID. After two extra years with the Longhorns, Schooler went undrafted however signed on as a rookie free agent with the Patriots final 12 months.
“It’s never how you kind of map it out, right? There’s your plan, and then there’s God’s plan,” Schooler instructed the Herald. “And so it was a little bit of a curler coaster experience. I assumed I used to be gonna be a man that was gonna go to Oregon and have a brilliant profitable profession. But teaching modifications occur, accidents occur. …
“My family had to sacrifice a lot. I had to sacrifice a lot, but the end goal was to get here and contribute on this team and not only make the 53-man roster but be a contributing factor in winning games. It was a roller coaster ride, there was ups, there was a lot of downs. But it got me here and it taught me a lot of life lessons along the way. So I wouldn’t I wouldn’t trade it for for anything.”
Schooler regarded like a perennial starter for Oregon after his freshman season when he performed 755 snaps at 19 years previous within the Ducks’ defensive backfield. But Mark Helfrich acquired fired, and Willie Taggart took over, and Justin Herbert wanted a large receiver.
“He asked, ‘Hey, can you play receiver?’” Schooler recalled. “’I could do that for you. Sure.’ It was a bit of the coaching staff and also Justin asked me to move over as well. So it was whatever the team needed at that point.”
Schooler talked it over along with his dad, who was a soccer coach and ex-player, they usually determined he was proficient and athletic sufficient to modify So, he performed over 1,000 offensive snaps over his subsequent two seasons for Taggart and Mario Cristobal whereas additionally selecting up Pac-12 All-Conference First Team honors on particular groups earlier than a foot harm decimated most of his 2019 season. Then got here his temporary cease at Arizona earlier than spending his last two seasons at Texas — one as a large receiver and the opposite as a security however primarily engaged on particular groups, which he knew could be his calling if his NFL dream got here true.
“In my freshman year when I’d have guys at Oregon come back from the league and say, ‘you know, special teams — if you’re not the guy in your position — that’s how you make the team,’” Schooler stated. “So I kind of started taking it really seriously at that point and not only devoting my my attention to offense or defense, but also special teams.”
Schooler treasures the chance to be taught from and play with Slater.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as he as he is,” Schooler stated. “But having a guy like that have confidence in you, I think it just gave me confidence to be great and go out and compete. And not only perform well for me, but perform well for him because he deserves it, because of the path that he laid before us. Watching him in high school, me and my dad were like, ‘Dude, I can go do this someday. Like, this is a path,’ and he’s really paved the way for us. To be able to work with a guy like that day in and day out, I mean, I couldn’t I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”