Two Miami RedHawks became NFL football players this past weekend.
Kicker Sam Sloman was selected in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft on April 25, by the Los Angeles Rams, making him the first RedHawk to be drafted since 2013.
Soon after, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Miami defensive tackle, Doug Costin, as an undrafted free agent.
For Sloman and Costin, the moment of becoming a professional is the culmination of a lot of hard work shared with family and friends. Sloman got the call that he would become a Ram with his family in Oxford, though he is originally from Georgia. Costin was back home with his family in Pennsylvania when the Jaguars contacted him.
These phone calls are moments these former RedHawks will not soon forget.
“As soon as my name popped up, all my friends ran in and tackled me,” Sloman said. “It was such a cool moment. It was awesome. I was so glad I got to share it with them.”
Costin echoed similar feelings of joy.
“We all got together and celebrated a little bit,” Costin said. “It’s really special. This is the goal I’ve had my entire life.”
Both Costin and Sloman have been standouts for the RedHawks for the past few seasons, both earning all-conference accolades on their way to leading Miami to a Mid-American Conference Championship in 2019 in their final season before they graduate from Miami this month.
Sloman was voted as a Second Team All-American in his final year with the ‘Hawks by The Athletic, as he connected on 26 of his 30 field goal attempts, setting a school record for a single season. In his Miami career, he hit over 86 percent of his field-goal tries, ranking second in Miami history.
Though his solid Miami career made him one of three kickers to be drafted by an NFL team this year, Sloman would have thought the notion of playing professionally was unlikely when he first arrived in Oxford.
“I would have told you no way,” Sloman said.
In Costin’s senior year, he racked up 58 total tackles and 12 tackles for loss along with four sacks and was the team’s defensive MVP.
Costin went undrafted, meaning he was not selected by a team in the seven rounds of the draft. But by signing as a rookie free agent in Jacksonville, he has a chance to earn a spot on the team’s roster if he performs well in preseason training camp.
Costin was not recruited by bigger college programs but proved doubters wrong by turning in a solid career in Oxford. Now, he’s aiming to do the same, by impressing NFL coaches who left him undrafted.
“I wanted to show them I could have played at a bigger school,” Costin said of his college career. “It’s time for me to show all the (NFL) coaches and the teams why I should have been [drafted] even though I wasn’t.”
In Sloman’s case, going to Los Angeles makes becoming a pro even more special as he will be working for head coach Sean McVay, a Miami graduate. Four former Miamians are coaching with the Rams, and Sloman is excited to meet them.
“I think there’s more connection with the Rams than any other team with Miami,” Sloman said.
“It’s really cool to go somewhere where we’ve had similar experiences as some of the coaches.”
Sloman will go into L.A. in a three-way battle for the starting kicker role--though the team currently has three players at the position, it is likely only one will remain with the team once the season starts.
Costin has an uphill battle to make his team. Both, however, must deal with unusual circumstances leading up to the season due to COVID-19. Costin said working out in a weight room, rather than with his teammates, was tough. Sloman is unsure when he will be able to move out to his new home.
“We have no idea when we will be able to go to the facilities,” Sloman said. “There’s a really good chance we show up for camp in July and that’s the first time I’m in Los Angeles.”
No matter when the season starts, both Costin and Sloman will soon be fulfilling lifelong goals.
“All my hard work paid off,” Costin said.