Schnayder Termidor is seen during a football game for Ithaca...

Schnayder Termidor is seen during a football game for Ithaca College. Credit: Ithaca College Athletics

Schnayder Termidor was one of the last to know. He had turned off his cell phone on Sunday so he could focus on his school work — he’s a physics major with a 3.38 GPA — and missed all of the calls and texts from his teammates, from his head coach, from the former agent who was helping him navigate the process.

Not to mention the one from the New York Giants.

The linebacker from Ithaca College finally got around to turning the phone back on to learn he had been invited to the Giants’ rookie minicamp this weekend as a tryout. Opportunity may knock only once, but it can, apparently, leave a voicemail. Termidor called back early Monday to RSVP to the Giants’ invitation.

It’s far from a sure thing for the Elmont resident and product of Sewanhaka High School, since hardly anyone – including the Giants – knows anything about him. And he will be among two or three dozen tryouts in the camp, all hoping to catch on with the team. But just getting the opportunity to see how he stacks up against NFL-caliber talent is all Termidor was hoping for.

He was stiff-armed by the Giants when he tried to attend their local pre-draft tryout because no one had any accurate measurements on him (he’s listed at 6-3, 225 on the Ithaca website). He couldn’t get into the regional combines hosted by the NFL or attend any local pro day workouts. Yet he kept sending out film of himself playing, with the help of former agent Joe Palumbo, hoping that someday it would convince someone to give him a shot.

It has.

”I know I’m not a big-time Division I prospect,” he said, “but I want to show I can play with the big boys.”

While this could be the first step to an NFL career, Termidor is just focusing on the experience. Getting a contract offer, attending training camp, maybe even making the roster are all too big to think about right now.

“I’m going in with low expectations,” he said. “I don’t want to go in too nervous. I play my best ball when I’m having fun. I’m just happy to be here.”

It wasn’t too long ago that Termidor hardly had any interest in football. The son of Haitian immigrants, he was more involved in soccer. His younger brother, Andre, was the football fan – he rooted for the Giants – and Termidor started out rooting against Big Blue just to give Andre a hard time. Eventually, though, the Giants and football won him over. He started playing the sport as a junior at Sewanhaka and continued on at Division III Ithaca.

Just when he was starting to enjoy the sport, it was almost taken away from him. He suffered a back injury after his sophomore season and doctors suggested he stop playing football. Termidor refused the advice, worked tirelessly with trainers, and returned to the field to lead his team with 6.0 sacks as a junior defensive end. He moved to linebacker as a senior and had 59 tackles with 2.0 sacks.

This weekend, he gets to see where he stands against some of the best prospects and highest draft picks entering the NFL. He doesn’t even know what position the Giants would like to see him play – linebacker or end – but he’ll be up for anything when he reports on Thursday afternoon and takes the field on Friday.

“It’s been a dream to play against these people and at that level,” he said. “The last few months I’ve been training for combines. To be able to do drills on the field and mimic football again, it will be a great time. I’m really excited for it.”

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