It’s hard to believe Drue Tranquill will ever have a month quite like this one for the rest of his life.
First, his life-long dream came true after the Chargers selected the Notre Dame prospect in the fourth round (166th overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft.
On Friday, the linebacker took the field for the first time as a pro during the team’s rookie minicamp.
As if that wasn’t enough, his life is about to change in a major way once again as he’s only a couple weeks away from the birth of his first child.
Tranquill and his wife moved out to Southern California shortly after the draft to best prepare, quickly finding a place to live as well as new doctors.
It’s been an absolute whirlwind, but one he wouldn’t trade for the world.
“It’s crazy!” he said. “The biggest thing has been the relocation and figuring out how to get my wife settled out here with a new doctor. I’m taking in everything. Taking in getting drafted and being here, it’s been big. It’s been a big year. I turned 23 this year, and what a (Michael) Jordan year it is.”
While Tranquill is over the moon over his upcoming bundle of joy, he’s fully focused right now on football. The linebacker’s passion for the game is well documented, which is why he broke out into a huge grin when discussing his first NFL practice.
It’s been months since he’s had a real football practice rather than training during the pre-draft process. Like any rookie, Tranquill’s head is spinning at times, but he couldn’t have been happier to be back on the field where he belongs.
“It was great,” he said. “There’s a lot of information to take in, but it’s fun to get out there and play football again after going through all the pre-draft stuff. All the 40s and short-shuttles; it’s good to finally get back out there and just play some football.”
He’s also enjoying getting to know all his new teammates, including the 25 other members of his rookie class.
In fact, he likens it to the first day of school.
“I’m just trying to learn everybody’s name, where they’re from and what they’re about,” he said. “It’s definitely that type of feeling.”
More than anything, Tranquill knows how imperative rookie minicamp is to get acclimated to the playbook, which is why he’s profusely studying it every chance he gets. To that end, he considers himself fortunate to learn from Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley and Linebackers Coach Richard Smith.
“Coach Smith has 40 years of experience, and he’s a guy who knows the game in and out,” he said. “I’m just trying to pick up every tidbit I can from him and (Bradley). Just soaking in every coaching point. It’s a lot of information, but good stuff nonetheless.”
That attitude is exactly why Tranquill was a two-time captain at Notre Dame, one of the most prestigious programs in college football. While he wants to make a good first impression with his play, he also wants the Bolts to know he’s ready to lead any way he can right off the bat.
“I hope I made an impression (today), especially that I’m a leader and someone who plays with relentless effort. That I’m someone who flies to the football and loves to hunt.”