By the power of Thor the Salukis can succeed

By Tony McDaniel

Among the captains of SIU football, one player took an unusual route to his leadership.

Senior long snapper Thor Hadfield is a Saluki captain for 2014, but his career with SIU started far from where it is now.

Hadfield joined the Salukis as a walk-on in 2010. Hadfield said he tried out as a quarterback, but quickly realized he should change positions.

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“Looking back now I had no business being out there,” Hadfield said. “I was the only quarterback out there, but I wasn’t what they were looking for.”

Hadfield said he told head coach Dale Lennon he could long snap; he snapped the ball three times to Lennon and put each on the money.

Hadfield made the team as a long snapper, but spent more time filming Saluki practices. Hadfield said he was happy to be part of the team.

“I got my foot in the door. I’d film practice, I’d do the workouts, and earn my keep,” he said. “It just has blossomed into literally a dream come true for me.”

Hadfield was the starting long snapper for SIU last season. He attributed making the move to starter to the confidence he has in his abilities.

“I knew I worked hard to get to where I was and I continued to work hard,” he said. “My motto is ‘confident, but never comfortable.’ I’m always trying to improve and get better, but I knew the coaches put me in the position because they trusted me.”

Hadfield was chosen by his teammates as a captain this season, which comes with off-the-field responsibilities.

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Hadfield is one of five Salukis on the team poster.

The California native said seeing the team poster all around Carbondale is surreal and he still has not gotten used to it.

“It’s unreal. It gives me goose bumps,” Hadfield said. “I walked in the dining hall the other day and they had posters for the game up with me on it. I saw kids looking at me like ‘is that him?’”

Since Hadfield is only on the field for special teams, he uses his time on the sideline to make sure his teammates are staying positive. He said it’s easy for him to do since he is such a laid back and positive guy.

Senior kicker Thomas Kinney said Hadfield’s leadership is crucial to the younger players.

“You always look for that momentum booster to keep the momentum going,” Kinney said. “That’s important for the younger guys. If they see that, they’re going to jump on the bandwagon, and Thor’s bandwagon is an easy one to jump on.”

Hadfield said he chose SIU over other schools closer to home because being a Saluki is in his blood.

“When I was a kid my dad brought me here to visit my grandma and he took me [to SIU],” he said. “I ran the bases at the baseball field, shot baskets at the arena, played catch with my dad at McAndrew … This is the only real place I’ve ever wanted to go.”

Lennon called Hadfield’s success story the type of story that keeps him coaching.

“He wanted to be a part of the team any way that he possibly could,” he said. “That’s when we talked about the possibility of snapping … He was our filmer for a while, he just did anything and everything that he could to be a part of the football team and be around the guys. Then he got to a point where we took him very seriously as a long snapper.”

Hadfield said all his success at SIU hasn not changed him.

“I just try to be Thor Hadfield 100 percent of the time,” he said. “I haven’t changed who I am since I was a walk on. Nothing about me has changed; I try to be consistent with my personality and attitude. It’s awesome to have all this recognition and success, but I haven’t forgotten where I came from or what hard work gets you.”

Tony McDaniel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @tonymcdanielDE

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