Ra'Shede Hageman has always been overcoming obstacles.
As he prepares for next month's NFL Draft he is dealing with new challenges and new obstacles, but the Gophers' defensive tackle has already overcome so much in his journey to becoming one of the highest-rated draft prospects to come out of the University of Minnesota in recent years.
Hageman hasn't had it easy. According to the USA Today, he was born in Lansing, Michigan, without knowing who his father is, to a woman whose life spiraled into alcohol and drug abuse.
As a young child he was once found in the closet of a crack house and he was shuffled through foster homes until he was adopted by Eric Hageman and Jill Coyle when he was 7.
In May of 2012, Hageman was arrested for disorderly conduct after he broke up a fight at a campus bar. He refused to cooperate with police who were questioning him. The charge was dropped a month later, but not before word of his arrest circulated on the Internet.
"The alter ego that I'm starting to develop is that black thug that society doesn't like, you know what I'm saying?" Hageman told USA Today. "To be nasty or ruthless, having that anger and having that swag that yeah, I can do whatever I want – that's the alter ego, because when you're on the field, that's what it takes to beat double teams. You don't give a (bleep). You're crazy and you don't care."
At 6-foot 6 and 310-pounds Hageman's coaching staff at Minnesota certainly thinks he has what it takes to be an NFL defensive tackle.
"The one thing that nobody can argue is he has the skills to dominate and be an all-pro player in the NFL," Gophers' defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, told the USA Today.
Currently, Hageman is ranked as the fourth defensive tackle in the draft, according to a draft preview from the USA Today. Some think he could be a first-round draft pick.
Hageman has heard the criticism, though. Some NFL coaches think he takes plays off, or that he's lazy or not physical.
"I've never been soft in my life," Hageman responded.
SB Nation says Hageman is obviously a supreme athlete for the position, but that he should have played much better than he did in college. While he is expected to be drafted in the first round, the report says he will be drafted more for his potential than what he can do right now.
Hageman promises the improvement as he continues to learn the position. He has been working out at the NX Level training facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.