Snapshot: Jack Fadule

Jack Fadule was born on Sept. 11, 1980 and came of legal age on a day that shall live in infamy, but there are other reasons why he seems to be riding shotgun with destiny. <br><br> At 6-feet-6, 320 pounds, Fadule's a mountain of a man, and smart, too. He's graduating from Harvard next month with a 3.86 GPA and a degree in Government, and he has big, big goals.

"No, I don't want to be president," he said with a laugh. "Right now, I want to be a football player."

Fadule's in the right place at the right time. He's a rookie free-agent left tackle with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who just happen to have a need at left tackle after the departure of Wayne Gandy in free agency.

Of course, the Steelers have their plans in place for replacing Gandy and nowhere in those files is the name Fadule. But that doesn't mean a big, smart player with quick feet can't force his way into those files, particularly when his late rise as a prospect is considered. Fadule has what they call upside.

"I think for my size I have relatively good feet," he said in a self-scouting report. "In terms of agility and whatnot I'm fairly athletic. My biggest knock is that I just need to get a little more experience because I really only started 10 games at tackle in my college career."

Fadule was born in Anaheim, California, and raised in nearby Mission Viejo. He was a two-sport star at Trabuco High School and set wrestling records in the 1997-98 prep season. He preferred football, but weighed only 225 pounds coming out and wasn't receiving any Division I attention. He chose Harvard from among of short list of Division 1-AA schools that showed interest.

"I couldn't pass it up," he said. "I don't want to be 50 years old and saying I could've gone to Harvard."

Football helped him get in. So did his 1,400 SAT score.

"You come in as a freshman and your head's spinning," Fadule said. "It wasn't until midway through my sophomore year when I realized I could handle this place, that it wasn't going to kill me. That was my academic highlight. My football highlight was finally getting a shot to start my junior year. We went undefeated and just continued to get better this year and then getting a shot to do this a couple weeks ago."

After finishing the 2000 season as the backup left tackle, Fadule received the Dan Jiggetts Award as the team's most improved lineman during spring practice in 2001. He moved into the starting lineup at left guard and helped the offense average 445 yards per game on its way to its first unbeaten, untied season in 88 years.

Fadule moved to left tackle for the 2002 season and became a first-team All-Ivy League selection. Harvard ranked eighth nationally in offense (425 ypg.) and set a school record with 242 first downs. Fadule was the leader of a line that allowed only six sacks and he was made a first-team All-New England selection. The scouts had taken notice of his development.

"My senior year came around and about the third week in I started getting calls from agents," Fadule said. "Scouts started coming around to practice to look at two other guys and they started asking about me and then the whole thing just started rolling like it usually does. I hired an agent, worked out through the winter, he made some calls and when the draft ended I was signed by Pittsburgh."

At rookie orientation camp, Fadule became the second newcomer from Harvard in the last few years (linebacker Mike Sands appeared at two camps) and the veterans had their lines down.

"Yeah, they were busting my chops a little bit last night," Fadule said. "Some of the older guys asked me about my SAT and were saying, ‘Yeah, you're a genius,' and this and that. Nah, I mean, you know how it goes. You stick around the [Harvard] athletes and you'll find they're pretty normal. I mean, they did well in high school, but they're not going to wow you, or at least try to be arrogant about it."

With Fadule's plans for law school on hold, he's taking aim at a roster spot. On a team that's moving its right tackle (Marvel Smith) to left tackle and giving two career backups (Todd Fordham and Oliver Ross) a shot at right tackle, Fadule need only vault past an inexperienced third-year project (Mathias Nkwenti) and a practice-squad player (Josh Burr) to make the team. Right now, his head's spinning like a freshman in an Ivy League classroom

"Yeah, it's one thing when you're in meetings and you see it up on the board, written out, and you can usually figure it out," Fadule said. "But when you get down in your stance up on that line and everything's clicking fast, yes, I'm just as confused as everyone else."

Jim Wexell

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