Q&A: D3 Football Player and Writer Brendan Cadman

I talked with sports writer, former high school football assistant coach and former D3 football player Brendan Cadman on D3 football, preparing for life after athletics and his work as a sports writer.

You can check Brendan out on Twitter @BrendanCadman

LPI: Tell our readers about yourself. Where did you go to school? Where did you play football at?

BC: I grew up in Naperville, Illinois played football all my life as a kid. I played high school football at Joliet Catholic Academy for 4 years as the long snapper and graduated in 2010. I then went to Division 3 Benedictine University in Lisle where I was fortunate to start as the long snapper my freshman and sophomore year. Unfortunately, I injured my shoulder very badly and had to quit after my sophomore year.

LPI: D3 programs cannot offer athletic money for scholarships leading some to think of it as a much lower level of football with little to no talent. What do you think of this?

BC: I think that is very wrong. There are D3 players in the NFL. My dad always said it best: “It doesn’t matter where you play as long as you’re good enough they’ll find you”. I completely agree with that statement. We had a few guys at Benedictine that played D1, but chose to transfer to BU and they loved it.

LPI: Did you get any looks from scholarship D1, D2 or NAIA schools? What made you want to play D3 football?

BC: Being a long snapper there weren’t many if any scholarships at all offered. I really just wanted to continue playing football because I love the game. I knew that D3 would offer me an opportunity to keep playing.

LPI: What are some of the lessons you learned playing D3 football and how do you think D3 football molded you as a person?

BC: Playing D3 football did a lot for me. There are certain expectations when you’re a student athlete where you have to not only perform well on the field, but also get good grades in the classroom. Playing college athletics and D3 football really helped me get ready for life after football.

LPI: What advice can you give high school football players to help them in their recruiting?

BC: I’d say be open to everything. You never know where life is going to take you and you never know what’s going to be the best fit. If you’re not open to all possibilities or all schools you may not find exactly what you’re looking for. D1, D2, D3 or NAIA be open to them all. Also, always try to have a positive outlook on the recruiting process and don’t get down on yourself because it makes it a lot more enjoyable for you long term.

LPI: You were also an assistant high school football coach for a few years. Tell us about that. Also, on or off the field, what are the most important lessons that you tried to teach your athletes?

BC: I was an assistant offensive line coach at Benet Academy for 2 years. Some of the lessons I tried to teach the kids is to be disciplined in everything you do, have a great work ethic and be grateful for everything you have because it can be taken from you in an instant. I had football taken from me when I injured my shoulder so I preached to the kids to never take playing football, or anything for that matter, for granted.

LPI: How do you think playing college football helped you off the field? To be more specific, how do you think it helped you get ready for life after graduation and after football?

BC: It really instilled a better work ethic in me. I didn’t have the greatest work ethic growing up and I wasn’t the most motivated. However, playing football in college made me realize what’s important and it really motivated me in everything I did. It helped me not expect everything, but to work hard for it. At the end of the day it made me a better person and ready for the real world.

LPI: You’re currently a sports writer at the Salem Times-Commoner. Tell our readers more about your profession and what you write about?

BC: I cover everything in sports for the Salem area and I love it. I do anything from football practices to baseball games or cross country meets. I do basically anything you can think of when it comes to sports. I think that if I didn’t play college football I would not have have an open mind like I do today and I would not have applied to the job that I have today. This really ties into what I tried to teach my kids when I coached high school football.

LPI: How do you think playing college football or athletics in general helps you with your job?

BC: The other night I was covering a game and i didn’t get back until about 1am. Playing football, that discipline, really instilled that drive in me to keep going. Even if times were tough college football taught me to not get down on myself, to keep pushing through and keep working.