Written By Evan McShane (@very_reasonable)
Rashard Fant, Cornerback, Chicago Bears, UDFA
The Chicago Bears are getting a brilliant young cornerback in Rashard Fant. Fant fully embodied what it means to be a Hoosier during his college football career in Bloomington. He always carried himself with the utmost professionalism on the field and in the classroom. The multi-sport athlete from Our Lady of Mercy High School just south of Atlanta was one of the best football players in the state of Georgia. Now, Rashard Fant will get to make his mark on the NFL.
Rashard Fant was an all-state, all-region, and all-county selection for three consecutive years in football. He was the starting point guard for all four years of high school at Our Lady of Mercy. He was also a track star – holding the school’s record for the 40-yard dash at 4.37 seconds. At Indiana’s Pro Day, Fant ran a 4.39 40-yard draft. His small stature (5-foot-9, 160-pounds) implored Fant to persistently outwork his peers. His play on the field was more than enough proof.
Fant jumped onto the scene as a redshirt freshman and made an impact on defense and special teams. He played in all 12 games and collected 23 tackles, 21 of which were solo tackles. Fant blew the doors off his peers in 2015. He led the Big Ten and finished second in the country with 22 pass breakups as a sophomore. He also made 52 tackles, recorded his first career interception, and one fumble recovery. As a junior, Fant led the Big Ten and again finished second in the country in pass breakups with 17. He was tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. One of which he returned 34 yards for a touchdown.
Rashard Fant graduated from Indiana University with a degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Instead of forgoing his senior season, Fant elected to return to IU and pursue a master’s degree in public affairs. Fant consistently prioritized his education and never let up on his goals off the field. Fant finished his senior year by winning IU’s Ted Whereatt “Senior Academic Excellence” Award and earning an Academic All-Big Ten nomination. Although he was consistently bothered by injury during his final collegiate season, Fant started 11 games and racked up 24 tackles.
Rashard Fant finished his career in the Indiana record books. He is IU’s all-time leader in pass breakups with 53. He made 132 tackles to go along with five interceptions. He was usually always responsible for guarding the opposing team’s most dangerous wide receiver. Unfortunately, Fant suffered a tear in his pectoral muscle prior to the NFL Combine, so he could not participate in the event. He did, however, have a successful showing at IU’s Pro Day.
He has been criticized by pro scouts for using his hands too much and racking up too many pass interference penalties. Fant is also projected as a below-average tackler at the next level. Fant can do several things remarkably well, however. He wouldn’t be Indiana’s all-time leader in pass breakups without uncanny instincts. In 2016, quarterbacks had a passer rating of 33.1 when targeting the 5-foot-10, 177-pound cornerback and receivers caught only 38.7 percent of those passes. That stat, via journalgazette.net, is evidence of Fant’s skill. He is an impressive athlete with great speed.
Rashard Fant will always be remembered by Hoosier fans as a shutdown cornerback and stand-up student-athlete. He helped lead one of the greatest defensive turnarounds college football has ever seen and set the bar high for all future IU cornerbacks. Fant’s place in Hoosier football lore is cemented, and IU fans will be rooting for him to find success in Chicago along with former Hoosier running back Jordan Howard. The Bears did not draft a cornerback this year so Fant should have ample opportunity to make the roster and continue. Regardless of what happens on the football field moving forward, Rashard Fant has secured himself a successful future. Hoosier nation will be rooting for him throughout his NFL journey.
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