HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As NFL training camps get set to open next week, undrafted free agents and late NFL Draft picks are all vying for a spot on a 53 man roster.
For Hawaii's Kalani Vakameilalo, his chance to fulfill his NFL dream is here.
"I googled it, you know - tryout players and what are the chances of them making it on the team,” he said. “And it said it's slim to none, man."
After going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, Kapolei High School graduate Vakameilalo wasn’t ready to quit on his dream of playing in the NFL.
The former Oregon State defensive tackle was invited to a three-day training camp to tryout for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his eyes, Vakameilalo had three days to show a lifetime of work.
"When I got there, we did the three-day camp and at the end of the day, the coach told me to come in and told me I was going to get signed and I was just all emotional,” he said. “I signed the papers, went back in the locker room and started crying. There's no words to describe the feeling I had that day.”
However, the hard work is far from over.
As training camp nears, Vakameilalo still has to secure a spot on the 53 man roster. Fortunately for him, he's been home training alongside some of the NFL’s best in San Francisco defensive lineman Deforest Buckner and New England’s Michael Bennent at Hawaii Optimum Performance.
"(I’m) absorbing from these guys, learning from these guys, taking advice from them because as a rookie you need to soak in all the knowledge you need,” Vakameilalo said. “Me, being a tryout player and actually getting signed, it really meant a lot to me. It’s a lot of weight on my shoulders, but it’s a blessing.”