Diamond in the Rough: Travaris Cadet, RB, Appalachian State

Travaris CadetIn 2007, Miami Central QB/Athlete Travaris Cadet had a major decision to make after he had an amazing senior season.  Cadet was on the first team of All-Dade County team, was rated as the 19th QB in the nation and had one back to back to back MVP awards from his school, but was waiting for signing day. 

On signing day, Cadet would shock the world, after being looked at by teams like Florida, Tennessee, South Florida, Appalachian State, Minnesota, and many more, Cadet chose to play with Toledo.

“I chose Toledo, because a few of my other friends from the area were going to Toledo and we planned on turning the program around, but decision that I progressed from and learned from.”

When Cadet made his decision, he wasn’t aware of the point shaving scandal that had taken place the year before that was being investigated by the Federal Government.  That still didn’t affect Cadet’s decision, but what happened next for him at the campus would be a problem.

Cadet arrived at the University where they told the very athletic QB, that he would be redshirted his first year. While Cadet had to wait to see if the committee would accept him, he began to work extremely hard on and off the field with his team. The coaches noticed his hard work, but there was a problem, the committee was doing such a thorough investigation that they seemed to forget about young Cadet.

While Cadet waited, he began to accrue bills from the school, after practicing so hard, Cadet had made up his mind, that Toledo was the wrong move for him. Both himself and his mother had been going to Toledo over and over again trying to get things situated but things kept coming up, and Cadet had to play the waiting game.  When Cadet finally said he had enough, and asked for a release, the coaching staff would not grant him one.

“I had never been in trouble, I always worked hard. I was the first person to show up and last person to leave every day. I asked for a release, but the coach wouldn’t give me a release.  They wouldn’t let me leave, and they kept making me wait.”

Cadet finally came up with a plan and that was to get out of Toledo and start off on a new venture, he took his talents to a JUCO school in Mississippi. In 2008, Cadet played for Pearl River Community College where he was used off and on during the season. In his first real year of eligibility he was excited to get a chance to play football. He didn’t really get too much playing time but when he did he was used as a QB, RB, WR, and return specialist.  Several schools remembered Cadet from his days in High School and came knocking on the door at Pearl River.  Cadet was talking with Kansas State when another problem would arise.  He was ready to commit to Kansas State but up came a problem from Toledo again. The problem was that Cadet owed money back to Toledo from his initial scholarship.  This would have to be taken care of before he could get into another school, because they want to show that you don’t have any past bills from other schools. Cadet said this was the hardest time of his career.
 
“I had to go back to Miami and get a job. I had to work extremely hard, because my family doesn’t have tons of money. My grandmother, mother and myself put together all the money and we paid the bills off.”

Now that that problem had been taken care of, Kansas State had moved on and Cadet was again looking for a D-1 team where he could take his talents. That didn’t take long, because of Cadet’s abilities in high school Appalachian State who had an original offer on the table from high school offered him a scholarship for his remaining three years.  He was able to get into App St. and began showing coaches his work ethic. I wouldn’t take long, before Cadet would see the field.

In 2009, Cadet was used as a WR in a couple games, and was given a chance on special teams. His best game of the season came when Armanti Edwards was injured against East Carolina, with East Carolina winning 29-7 in the third quarter. Cadet the third string QB at the time, was given the ball and was hoping to lead a charge.  Cadet had the Mountaineers back in the game, after he led a beautiful 62 yard drive, capped off by a Cadet, 1 yard touchdown run. Cadet was unable to win the game, but he led an amazing surge where he brought the team back within a touchdown and had a chance to beat East Carolina but came up short in a 29-24 final.

“After everything I had been through with Toledo, Pearl River, and not getting looks because of something I didn’t do, it really gave me back my confidence. Football has always been my dream but the East Carolina game made me a believer again.”

Cadet finished the season with 700 plus all purpose yards, but was ready for 2010. In 2010, Cadet would be used in the slot and at running back after he had hurt his thumb, and had a great season. He finished with 671 rushing yards on 115 attempts, and got in the box 6 times. He gained 1694 all purpose yards, and was killing the competition.  He is really good in the slot because he can get separation on guys on slant routes and really showcase his speed and talents. Cadet could be used like a Percy Harvin but is more electrifying, especially in the return game. 

The shifty Cadet had a terrific junior year and was really beginning to catch eyes. In 2011, Cadet had another 6 touchdowns rushing and 1 receiving. He gained 1703 all purpose yards this year and was able to show the world that he can be an athlete for a team. When you look at his stats, and watch a game of Appalachian State you see a kid running and having a great time. Cadet is someone who really has a passion for the game, and understands the game.  When I asked him the question, What would you say to NFL teams that were weary of you? His response was, “I understand life, nothing comes easy, and it is a day to day process, but I can tell you I will be the first one at the facility and the last to leave. I will show them by actions not words, I put in all the work I can and I will be committed to the process. “

After talking with Travaris, I felt ashamed that schools would do something like this to a student and you could really tell how passionate he is about the game. I know that it has happened before where student athletes are given an extremely hard time. Many times people will look at athletes in smaller schools and say, Why did they transfer? Well the answer is clear, it is not always the student athlete that is the problem, so when evaluating small school prospects remember, that they had the talents coming out of high school but maybe made a bad decision on what school to go, but that doesn’t mean they are not capable of doing it at the next highest level. Cadet is now in Georgia training for bowl games with his mentor Daniel Wilcox the former NFL star for the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Travaris will be attending the Battle of Florida and hopes to impress scouts, and show them that he truly is a Diamond in the Rough.

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