Schnayder Termidor didn't start playing football until his junior season at Sewanhaka High School in Elmont, N.Y.
But despite his late introduction to the game, Termidor was recruited to play football for Ithaca College and enjoyed success as a three-year member of the varsity here on South Hill.
Now, Termidor, a senior, has a chance to continue his craft in the National Football League as he was extended an invitation to the New York Giants' rookie mini-camp, which runs Friday and Saturday.
Termidor will try and showcase his skills as a versatile linebacker who can both get after the quarterback and stuff opposing running backs during the rookie mini-camp, which NFL teams use to figure out which undrafted college players deserve a shot at making the roster.
"I want to show everyone at mini-camp that I'm a versatile player who, no matter where you put me on the field, I will give 100 percent effort and give it my all," said Termidor, a physics major who has maintained a 3.38 cumulative grade-point average.
"I know I'm not a big-time Division I prospect but I want to show I can play with the big boys. I believe my pursuit and my ability to rush the quarterback are just some of my strengths. I'm also a quick learner and that makes me a pretty versatile player."
Termidor started garnering attention at the annual D3 Senior Classic, a football showcase for some of the top college football players in the country.
Termidor, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker who played for the North squad, was a key contributor on Ithaca's nationally-ranked defense that ranked 21st in the NCAA in run defense (103.5 yards/game) and 39th in total defense (313 ypg.).
While he enjoyed the opportunity to showcase his football skills at the all-star game, Termidor also realized he didn't want that showcase to signal the end of his football career.
So he and fellow senior showcase participant Malik Morris continued with their aggressive workout regiments, pushing themselves to remain in peak physical shape for the day when an NFL team would come calling for their services.
Mike Welch, Ithaca's decorated Hall of Fame head coach, put Termidor in contact with Joe Palumbo '95, himself a decorated member of the football team who earned All-American honors in 1993 after setting a single-season school record for receptions and yards.
Palumbo tried getting Termidor into a pro day to show off his skills, to no avail. Another former Bomber, Tariq Ahmad '05, served as a regional scout for the San Francisco 49ers and came to IC to work out both Morris and Termidor.
A highlight tape of Termidor started making the rounds among football scouts, but the annual NFL draft came and went with no interest in Termidor.
Following the conclusion of the three-day draft, Termidor, who is also focused on the final semester of his physics program, turned his cell phone off so he could concentrate on his studies.
When he turned his phone back on several hours later, he noticed numerous missed calls, voicemails, and text messages, including one from Palumbo with a promising message: the Giants had extended him an invitation to their annual rookie mini-camp.
"I have no idea what to expect. This whole process will be a surprise to me, but I'm just going to work as hard as I can," said Termidor, who credits his coaches, including defensive coordinator Mark McDonough and graduate assistant coach Matt Capolongo, along with Palumbo and Ahmad, for giving him this opportunity before NFL personnel.
"You have to create your opportunities. The process has been hard, working out and not knowing if you will ever get that chance or not, but I wanted to stay in shape in case I got the opportunity. I think the combination of my motor and the way I play the game will stand out. I try and never give up on a play and I play every play like it's my last."
A year after starring as a defensive end, Termidor switched to outside linebacker and saw action in nine games in 2015, making 59 tackles (17 solo) with two sacks, three pass breakups, and a fumble recovery.
During a game with St. John Fisher on Oct. 31, Termidor made a career-high 12 tackles with two sacks, his third career two-sack game. He also recorded a fumble against Morrisville State on Oct. 24.
Now he's auditioning for his dream job, as an NFL prospect. At the mini-camp, Termidor expects to participate in 7-on-7 drills, and feels confident he can show his potential and his solid technique to the talent evaluators present.
"I'm just focused on the moment in front of me," said Termidor, who credits his preseason position switch with giving him more time on the field.
"I want to thank all of the people around me for supporting my dreams, from my high school coaches to my Ithaca coaches. Without that support I wouldn't here. I'm looking forward to having fun and enjoying the experience."