ProGrass Scout Bowl a second chance for some players - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

ProGrass Scout Bowl a second chance for some players

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Zachary Bloemen enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school, putting his football dreams on hold. Zachary Bloemen enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school, putting his football dreams on hold.
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FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

Seventy collegiate players from around the world will showcase their talents Friday night for a chance to be picked up by the NFL, the Canadian Football League, or other similar leagues worldwide.

For many, it is a second chance to go pro, but for one young marine, it's his first chance to follow his dream.

"I think I chose the hardest way possible to try to make it to the NFL," said 25-year-old Zachary Bloemen.

Bloemen is one of the 70 players selected to play in front of dozens of scouts for a chance to make it pro.

"Just to even get a workout in the NFL or the CFL, just to know that I can compete at that level, I'm really happy to be here competing with the college athletes that I never got a chance to compete with before," he said.

After graduating high school, Bloemen enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving his country in a tour to Afghanistan.

His decision to join the Marines put his football dreams on hold.

"The Marine Corps was absolutely the best decision I've ever made in my life. I have no regrets. I'm still here. I now have the chance to play football and be a marine at the same time, and that's my dream," he said.

Post deployment, Bloemen is re-focused on his football career - even playing for a couple of semi-pro teams.

Bloemen said it has been a long journey to get this chance, and he plans to leave it all on the field on Friday night.

"If you dedicate yourself and you're willing to make some sacrifices and stay persistent and work hard, anything can happen. It's all up to you," he said.

Kickoff for Friday night's ProGrass International Scout Bowl is at 7 p.m. at Braly Stadium in Florence.

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