All the sports news right now concerning Arizona State University seems to be in anticipation of the upcoming football season, with the Sun Devils slated to begin their season this Thursday at home against UC- Davis. But let's take a moment to reflect on another ASU football story: the emergence of wide receiver Oakland Raiders receiver Derek Hagan thus far this preseason.
Hagan played for ASU from 2002 to 2005, and he has definitely left his mark on the college landscape. He is second in Pac-10 history for career receptions (258) and in career receiving yards (3,939). Hagan recorded over 1,000 yards in each of his final three seasons and even averaged over 100 yards per game in his junior and senior years (104.0 in 2004 and 100.8 in 2005).
Hagan left ASU as a third-round draft pick (82nd overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft and has since struggled in the NFL, playing three seasons with the Miami Dolphins and three seasons with the New York Giants. He has started only five games in his NFL career and has recorded a max of only 373 receiving yards in any one season.
It looks like Hagan may be tapping into his potential now.
The 26-year-old has joined the Oakland Raiders and is turning heads with his play. He put up a monstrous 121 yards on just six catches and also had one touchdown during the Raiders' 40-20 preseason loss to the New Orleans Saints this Saturday.
The Raiders have no clear No. 1 target at this point and Hagan could be poised to steal it between now and the season opener. Though this is only the preseason and these games aren't truly meaningful in any sense, Hagan somehow seems to be unlocking his potential in his seventh NFL season. It seems that we are once again learning the lesson that Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd taught us last year: it's never too late to put it all together and rise to unprecedented personal heights.