PEMBROKE — After finishing his senior season for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke in November, Alpha Lamin said he needed a refresher.
With an offer to attend the Dream Bowl, that will be held next weekend, he received late in the season, Lamin knew that when he took off his UNCP jersey for the last time following the 45-10 loss to Carson-Newman it wouldn’t be his last time playing football, but his chances could be limited.
In the time between his last collegiate game, and now as he approaches playing in the Dream Bowl, his hunger to get out and play has grown from watching the NFL and College Football Playoff on TV.
“After the season I was kind of burnt out a little bit. Then after taking a month off with no football, and then seeing football again, I did get pumped up,” he said. “I realized that it could be my last game, and I had to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I don’t want to look back on things and feel that I didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.”
The former defensive lineman for the Braves has hopes of trying to get attention to play football at the next level, and no restrictions on where or what level it may be.
“I’m just going to play out my last game, if this is my last game, and I thought why not play this last time,” Lamin said. “There can only be good that comes from this game. No bad can happen. If I can get a contract to play football anywhere, period, it’s a blessing.”
Lamin finished his senior year with 36 tackles, five tackles for loss and 2 1/2 sacks, and also recorded two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. As a junior he had 26 tackles, 8 1/2 for loss with six sacks.
This season, Lamin was voted by his teammates as a team captain. After transferring in from Elizabeth City State, UNCP football coach Shane Richardson saw Lamin grow as a leader and a worker for his team in his final three seasons, and knows what this chance could mean for him.
“This situation helps guys out as far as getting looks with a lot of scouts looking for talent. This gives him a great opportunity to show what he can do,” Richardson said. “Alpha was a guy that came into the program and made a significant improvement from when he started here to where he was when he finished. He really changed and bought in to what we were trying to do. It’s a very good testament to his character.”
The Dream Bowl hosts 100 FCS, Division II and Division III players from all across the country participating in the event held in Salem, Va. The event includes scouting combines that will be in front of NFL and Canadian Football League scouts, a scouting report, four practices, a pre-game banquet and then the game on Monday.
Last year, the Dream Bowl had three players drafted, and was one of four all-star games that had players drafted from it. That aspect of high exposure at the event drew him to it, and now seeing the player competing he likes his chances to stand out above the other at his position.
“I’m the only Division II defensive end there so that’s big for me because I think I can stand out,” he said.
Lamin is placed on the Patriots roster and will compete against the Crusaders. Like he did for his three seasons at UNCP, he will don the No. 94 jersey competing in his first football all-star game.
“I feel like this is a good chance for me. Hopefully I can get an agent and sign with someone and get better training,” Lamin said. “Right now I’m looking for someone to invest in me.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.