Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Kareem Huggins has been following in Coach Raheem Morris' footsteps since childhood.
Morris led the Irvington Golden Knights junior midget football team to its first Newark Pop Warner League championship as a quarterback. Huggins later played for the Golden Knights under Hilton Vaughan, Morris' father.
After high school, Morris played football at Hofstra from 1994 to 1997 and he was a graduate assistant there in 1998. Huggins played football at Hofstra from 2004 to 2007 and was a four-year letterman.
Huggins wasn't drafted and signed in 2008 with the New York Jets, where Morris previously had served as a minority intern. The Jets cut Huggins after their rookie minicamp and he was out of football for a year until Morris invited Huggins to try out for the Bucs.
Huggins is no longer fighting to make it to the NFL.
He is competing for significant playing time.
"I would be really, really surprised if this guy doesn't end up being a player. I would be really surprised," Bucs offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "He's one guy that has jumped out during (voluntary workouts), training camp and minicamp. He's doing some good things. Keep an eye on him."
The team seems high on him and the fact he could get carries with Caddy Williams and Derrick Ward in the backfield says something. The Bucs like to run the ball but aren't expected to have big leads and kill the clock every week. We're obviously not high on Caddy or Ward as every week starters, but Huggins, if he continues to impress, could take away some carries now as well.