Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Draft Dream Might Come True for Staples

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Draft Dream Might Come True for Staples

Article excerpt

For as long as he can remember, Robert Steeples has dreamed of being drafted into the National Football League. That dream could become reality this weekend.

Then again, it might not.

"At this point, all I'm looking for is an opportunity," said Steeples, a 2008 De Smet grad who played three seasons at Missouri before finishing up his college career last fall at Memphis. "I've worked out and talked to probably 20 teams and, if they're telling me the truth, Saturday should be the day I get the call. I'd love to be drafted nobody dreams of being signed as a free agent, right? but if Saturday comes and goes without me getting a call, that's just something I'll deal with then.

"Either way, I'm confident that somebody will give me a chance to come to camp, and when I get that chance, I plan to make the most of it."

A 6-foot-2, 190-pound cornerback, Steeples entered Mizzou as a heralded recruit but spent much of his three seasons with the Tigers as part of the nickel and dime packages. After graduating last spring with a business degree and a 3.0 grade-point average, he opted for a transfer to Memphis, where, as a graduate student, he was able to play right away.

"Things don't always work out the way you expect or hope, but, at least in this case, it worked out for the best," Steeples said. "I prayed on it a lot and really hated leaving Missouri, mainly because of my friends and teammates there. Getting my degree and finishing with a 3.0 is something I'm extremely proud of, and the people at Missouri helped make that happen.

"At the same time, I honestly felt that I had more to give on the football field, and I'm grateful to the people at Memphis for giving me a chance."

Given the opportunity to play for three coaches Barry Odom, Vance Vice and Tim Billings who had recruited him while he was at De Smet, Steeples thrived for a different bunch of Tigers last fall. He played in 12 games, starting 10, and finished with 42 tackles, five pass breakups and three fumble recoveries, one of which he returned 27 yards for a touchdown against the University of Central Florida. In January, he had six tackles and a pass breakup in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game in Tuscon, Ariz. …

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