Penn State defensive tackle Evan Hailes lost his grandfather earlier this year.
He drove home to Chesapeake, Va., attended funeral services for his grandad, and not long after headed back to University Park. The drive was six hours both ways.
Hailes would later learn that during the marathon drives, he developed a blood clot in his leg. The clot eventually made its way to a lung. It was a life-threatening situation.
He was hospitalized, put on blood-thinners and forced to miss spring practice. He was also out of action for the start of preseason ball.
But when Penn State opened the 2011 season against Indiana State at Beaver Stadium, Hailes was back in action. The redshirt freshman made it onto the field for a game for the first time in his short Nittany Lion career.
Hailes did not record any tackles but he helped stuff the middle on several runs and pressured the quarterback on at least one occasion.
We caught up to him afterward to talk about his crazy off-season and his first PSU game action. Check it out above.