Browns fans, I want you to pay attention to this prospect. His name is J.T. Hassell. Not many know his story but it is about overcoming all odds. Hassell is a Titusville, Florida native coming off the best season by any defensive player in Florida Tech’s history and one of the best individual performances by anyone in GSC history.
He was voted the 2018 GSC Defensive Player of the Year, Hassell led the league in tackles (124), tackles per game (10.3) and solo tackles (76), all school records.
He also ranked first in the league in forced fumbles (3), as well as sixth in tackles for loss (9.5) and seventh in sacks (4.5). Additionally, Hassell set program single-game records for total tackles (20.0) and sacks (4.0).
Following his senior season, Hassell garnered First Team All-GSC honors and was a finalist for the 2018 Cliff Harris Award, given to the Small College Defensive Player of the Year, but it did not start off all grand.
Hassell transferred closer to home to Florida Tech from South Dakota State in 2016 and played his final two years of eligibility for the Panthers in 2017 and 2018.
Hassell killed his pro day and caught the eyes of the Browns. Hassell burned up the track at his pro day running a 4.38 forty. He is a linebacker, and this was not the most impressive thing. Hassell has what many would consider a disability. Hassell only has one hand, but it has never stopped him. NFL teams at his pro day took notice and the Browns were amazed by his ability to overcome the odds.
PRO DAY NUMBERS – 5111, 200 pounds, 42 inch vertical, 10’1 Broad Jump, 4.38 forty yard dash, 4.26 Short Shuttle, 6.84 3 Cone, and 23 reps of 225 on the bench
Last season, the Seahawks drafted UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin who ended up in a special teams role and finished with just 11 tackles in 16 games. His story of overcoming the odds making it to the NFL was impressive. He too was very quick and had an impressive combine.
Hassell is a humble kid and one that loves to make the most of his opportunities. I would not be shocked to see J.T. make the Browns roster. It is hard not to root for a guy like Hassell after watching him. I know he is a competitor too, one that would rather have you like him for his abilities on the field rather than the fact that he had to overcome the odds of being at a disadvantage. If you can honestly watch this video and not get fired up for this kid you do not love the game of football.
Over those two seasons at Tech, Hassell played in all 23 of the Panthers’ games and amassed 200 total tackles, 24 tackles for loss, eight sacks, 11 pass breakups, five forced fumbles, and one interception. J.T. I wish you the best of luck, God Bless bro!