The San Diego Chargers selected South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram as a linebacker in the 2012 NFL Draft, but his high school coach had a harder time pinning him down to one position.
Ingram’s coach at Richmond (Rockingham, N.C.), Ed Emory, played him at running back, fullback, linebacker and kicker during his sophomore year. If that’s not enough, Ingram was also the team’s backup quarterback.
“He was a magician with that ball,” Emory said. “He could throw the ball left and right-handed. He could kick with both feet.”
It wasn’t until Ingram’s junior year that he started putting more emphasis at linebacker.
Emory says Ingram’s ability to cover ground quickly combined with his speed and agility convinced him to have Ingram start to specialize.
“He probably would have been a great [quarterback] if I left him there,” Emory said. “But my philosophy is we win on defense, and he was a natural defensive football player.”
Though Ingram continued to moonlight on offense, he made a name for himself on the defensive end.
NCPrepSports.net named him Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2006 after he recorded 87 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Rivals ranked him the nation’s No. 21 outside linebacker in the Class of 2007, giving him a four-star rating.
USC, North Carolina and N.C. State came calling, but Ingram chose South Carolina, where he led the Gamecocks with 8 ½ sacks during his senior season.
No matter what position he played, Ingram has never wavered in his approach.
“Always push and go hard,” Ingram said. “Quitting is a choice…that should never be an option.”
For more on Ingram's journey, visit www.nfl.com/etp.