You’ve likely seen wide receiver Travis Rudolph’s highlight reel, even if you don’t pay much attention to football.
He was the Florida State player who, last August, peeled off from his team’s visit to a nearby middle school to sit down next to a student with autism who was eating lunch by himself. A photo of the two of them went viral and made the rounds on national talk shows and morning news programs.
Now Rudolph will be eating in the Giants’ cafeteria. He agreed to terms with the Giants as an undrafted free agent after leaving Florida State following his junior season. The signing will not be official until players arrive for the start of rookie minicamp on May 11.
It will be almost impossible not to root for Rudolph, whose father, Darryl Rudolph, was killed on April 21 when he was accidentally shot. According to reports, he was doing handyman work in a nightclub when an assault rifle in an adjacent room was moved from a shelf and went off. Darryl Rudolph was 55.
“At first you didn’t believe it,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher told the Palm Beach Post last week. “It was shock. Travis is ready to fulfill his dream [of playing in the NFL]. His dad is getting to watch him do it. I had to just sit down for a minute and say, ‘Oh my God.’ Then my thoughts went to him and his wife and everything else, Travis and the family.”
In three years at Florida State, Rudolph had 153 catches for 2,311 yards and 18 touchdowns. He had 59 catches for 916 yards in 2015 and 56 catches for 840 yards in 2016 and was named second-team All-ACC both years.
Rudolph, who is 5-11 and 189 pounds, was projected to be a late-round pick but went undrafted. Thirty-two other receivers were selected in the NFL Draft. On Saturday night, the Giants were one of the teams to call and offer him a free-agent deal.