Homeless Teenager to NFL Prospect: The Inspiring Story of Jerimiah Spicer (Interview)
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak with a number of professional football prospects and players alike. Most recently, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a guy from Los Angeles named Jerimiah Spicer, who gave me a story unlike any I’ve ever heard.
The 28-year-old 6’1” 240 LB Linebacker most recently had a workout this week with the Los Angeles Chargers. However, he’s not your typical NFL prospect. Unlike just about all NFL prospects, Spicer did not attend a four-year college, nor did he have scouts calling his phone or knocking on his door at every time of the day. As a matter, in fact, there aren’t too many people in America who can say they’ve been in Spicer’s shoes.
Struggle and hardship is something that Spicer finds himself no stranger to. Born in Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles, Spicer was abandoned by his parents as a child. He was found in a garbage can before being rescued and sent to live in an orphanage for some time. Eventually, Child Protection Services sent Spicer to live with his grandmother, but he quickly found himself back on the street after she passed away. Over the next several years, Spicer bounced around between homeless camps, several orphanages, two different foster homes, and five different group homes.
During his interview, Spicer revealed that he had attended eight different high schools as a teenager.
Despite the lack of stability in high school, Spicer was able to earn a playing opportunity at Riverside Community College under coach Tom Craft. After a somewhat notable college career, Spicer was drafted into the MLFB (Major League Football), a professional league that collapsed before Spicer even got the opportunity to play. After his short-lived MLFB opportunity, Spicer signed with the Cape Fear Heroes of the American Arena League after a tryout in 2018.
As a Linebacker for Cape Fear, Spicer amassed 147 tackles as a rookie, leading the entire league in tackles. Spicer’s performance earned him a spot of his league’s all-star team as a first team all-league player. After his impressive rookie season, Spicer received interest from several NFL teams, including the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Spicer attended a tryout with the Cleveland Browns in the Summer of 2018, and most recently the Los Angeles Chargers. Many believe he is getting close to signing an NFL contract.
Spicer’s story is one that is nothing but inspiring. There were countless instances in his life where he could have easily given up, but he kept his head up and kept pushing.
After talking with Spicer and hearing about his story, he was kind enough to answer a few questions:
What is the biggest obstacle you have ever had to overcome?
- “Life is the biggest obstacle. Felt like the world has always been on my back”
If you could give one message to someone else in your shoes, what would it be?
- “I will tell them never give up, only the strong survive. Turn your negative energy into positive, use it for good, and stick to the plan. Ya know?”
What inspires you to keep fighting?
- “My past motivates me to keep pushing. I lost a lot to the streets, even friends, so I had to think and look at life from a different view. If I wanted to survive on my own, I had to think smarter.”
Name one person/player that you look up to?
- “I look up to Nipsey Hussle because we both came from the struggle and had to grind and get out of the mud. Getting told no a million times and still pushing and breaking through.”
From homeless on Skid Row to tryouts with NFL teams, Spicer sure has come a long way and has shown no signs that he plans on slowing down anytime soon. Make no mistake about it, this is a guy that is going to be playing on Sundays. A genuine story of what happens when you never quit.