Sports

Pro coach says ‘potential is there’ for former Temple student

RaShaun Sligh tried out with the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul Thursday morning at the Wells Fargo Center.

The first pass thrown to RaShaun Sligh slipped through his hands.

Sligh later took a nasty blow that left him on the turf while running a route through the middle of the field.

But that didn’t stop the Northeast High School graduate and former Temple student in his tryout with the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.

He persevered through it, just like he did across the street from the Philadelphia Eagles’ NovaCare Complex for nearly a week. He stood outside the facility with a sign hoping to get a tryout with the team. Instead, the Soul offered him an opportunity.

“It’s day one,” Sligh said of the drop. “I didn’t overreact, I didn’t get too out of myself. It’s day one. When I’m catching the ball in the neighborhood, when I’m training by myself, I don’t have that level quarterback throwing that ball to me, so I’m not used to that speed of the ball yet.”

 

Arena football is similar to outdoor football, but still has distinct differences. It’s played on a smaller field, forcing wide receivers to run tighter routes.

Sligh, 24, who said he hasn’t run around in pads in about two years, picked up the difference as he ran routes against the Soul’s defensive backs.

“It’s just a more compact game, and you have to control your speed a little bit more,” Sligh said. “It’s more fast paced. I noticed I was constantly moving, constantly running. It’s definitely a different dynamic, but football is football. Once you get used to the hitting and the athletes, I’ll catch up.”

Soul coach Clint Dolezel noticed Sligh’s adjustment to the speed of arena football and said it is common for players who try out for the team to go through an adjustment period.

Sligh never played for Temple, but attended a pro day workout while he was enrolled from Fall 2014 to Fall 2016. It’s not yet official whether the Soul will bring Sligh in for another workout or not.

“Obviously, this wasn’t easy out here,” Sligh said. “So if they let me come back, I’ll keep competing here and advocating for myself out there.”

“The skill is there,” Dolezel said. “He ran pretty decent routes. [His] hands are there. …It’s a skill that can diminish if you’re not using them, so the potential is there.”

Sligh plans to continue training to get in better shape and acclimate himself to the speed of the game.

The Philadelphia native is currently homeless and staying with a friend in Fishtown.

Sligh will also continue to sit across the street from the NovaCare Complex in hopes of landing an Eagles tryout when they return for training camp in July.

“Why not?” Sligh said. “What else am I going to be doing?”

Tom Ignudo can be reached at thomas.ignudo@temple.edu or on Twitter @Ignudo5. Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.

Tom Ignudo

can be reached at thomas.ignudo@temple.edu
Or you can follow Tom on Twitter @TomIgnudo
Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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