Colts selection of Rock Ya-Sin ‘out of nowhere’


PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Justin Hobbs #29 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane cannot make the catch against Rock Ya-Sin #6 of the Temple Owls in the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 20, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Temple defeated Tulsa 31-17. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The call came as something of a surprise.

The Indianapolis Colts’ first pick in the NFL Draft – the second selection in round 2, No. 34 overall Friday evening – interrupted a family gathering in Atlanta, Ga.

“Kind of out of nowhere,’’ Rock Ya-Sin said. “I feel like I interacted with them well, but I didn’t expect them to draft me.’’

Ya-Sin, a cornerback out of Temple, met with the Colts at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, and there was a brief follow-up call simply to determine his contact information hadn’t changed. He did not make a pre-draft visit to Indy.

“I didn’t know. I didn’t know at all,’’ he said.

Now he does.

What are the Colts getting in return for their first excursion in the draft? A 6-2, 190-pound cornerback who still is evolving. He was a three-year starter at Presbyterian College who transferred to Temple after Presbyterian discontinued football in 2017.

Ya-Sin was a two-time state wrestling champion at Southwest DeKalb High School in Atlanta who first tried his hand at football as an eighth grader. He first played competitively as a junior.

The lack of experience at the prep level led to being “under-recruited’’ coming out of Southwest DeKalb.

Ya-Sin admitted it’s been an “amazing’’ process going from Presbyterian to Temple to the Colts.

“It’s been a blessing,’’ he said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I’ve gotten better. I’ve grown a lot.’’

At Temple, Ya-Sin appeared in 12 games and contributed 47 tackles and 12 defended passes. The Owls primarily played man-to-man, but mixed in zone coverage.

That should serve Ya-Sin well with the Colts, who are more zone-heavy.

He bolsters a corner room that needed it. The group includes Pierre Desir, Kenny Moore II, Quincy Wilson, Nate Hairston, Chris Milton and Jalen Collins.

Ya-Sin described himself as “physical, (a) competitor, tough, technique. A guy that will come out and compete and try to get the job done.’’

His wrestling background has aided his evolving football career.

“I think the competitiveness,’’ he said. “In wrestling, it’s a team sport but it’s a lot of one-on-one match-ups. Same thing in football. It’s a team sport, but a lot of times you’re asked to be one-on-one with a guy and you’ve got to beat that guy.

“It’s not being afraid to be one-on-one because when you’re wrestling in high school . . .  you’re not afraid to stand in front of a guy and play man-to-man or standing in a zone and go one-on-one and tackle the running back.’’

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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