Fans of college football probably have never heard of Shawn Izadi. Even many Texas Longhorns fans probably are unfamiliar with him. That’s because he has been a member of the football program’s scout team and didn’t register any stats in 2013. But Izadi has done something that seems like a rare — and nearly impossible — accomplishment: he was a member of the football team and marching band at the same time.
Izadi played safety during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas. He quit football, though, after making drum major of the high school band as a junior. But after transferring to the University of Texas for his sophomore year of college, Izadi decided to resume his football career.
In an article published by The Daily Texan in 2012, Izadi said he tried out for the Texas marching band before trying out for football. But after watching the football team practice while he played in the band, Izadi decided that he had to try out for the football team.
Izadi first tried out for the football team in his second semester on campus. He didn’t make it then and admitted he was terribly out of shape for the workouts. He tried out a second time after training all summer and still didn’t make it, but he did make the scout team after his third tryout.
“I wasn’t going to quit until my eligibility was up,” Izadi told Longhorn Network.
Izadi has his own page on Texas’ football website and is listed on the team’s full roster as a 6-foot, 215-pound senior linebacker. He says he dressed with the football team for home games, but participated with the band for in conference road games.
He was also the subject of a feature on Longhorn Network where Mack Brown offered commentary:
On Thursday, Izadi’s story trended nationally and became the top story on social site Reddit. Izadi even held a Q&A session through the site called an “AMA” (ask me anything).
We picked out some of the more interesting questions he answered and shared them below.
Q) How difficult is it handling all of your classes as well as your extracurricular activities?
A) Great question! At the beginning, it was EXTREMELY difficult. I really had no idea what kind of beast I was dealing with. Football, alone, is easily a full time job when you take into account workouts, meetings, practice and game day. That, along with school and band became a full 17 hr+ workday. But I quickly came to understand that time efficiency had to be key to succeed. I started studying while eating and walking to class and forcing myself to complete some important task during even the shortest breaks.
As difficult as it was, I don’t think I have learned as much about time efficiency as I have during this time of my life!
Q) What do your football teammates think about you playing in the band?
A) At first they thought it was crazy. But they absolutely love it. It gives them something to tease me about!
Q) If for some reason you were forced to pick which activity you wanted to do, which would you pick (between band and football and you can only pick one)?
A) What got me into this position was the fact that I honestly could not choose. But, going with your question, I would have to say band. They were my first family at UT and have really given me so much. I cant even begin to express how much they mean to me so I would have to choose them. I still love y’all football!
Q) Which do you like better? Which will take up more of your future?
A) It would really be unfair for me to pick at this point! But I love both with their own respective positives and negatives. For me, playing the saxophone will be something that takes up more time for me in the future as a hobby. Football will be something I can look back on and be like, “I cant believe I did that.” Good question!
As if being in the marching band and playing football for a big-time program wasn’t already enough, Izadi also is studying biochemistry and wants to go to medical school. He also might have an advantage over most applicants when it comes to the letter of recommendations department; he has one from Mack Brown.
“Just an amazing story,” Mack Brown said of Izadi. “You learn that if you want something badly enough, go for it. Do it. Set your dreams high, set your goals high and attain those.”Google+