It's never an easy task to excel at any brutally physical sport. As an athlete who loves football, Calvin Michael Mosley, otherwise known as C.J., pressed himself through the vigorous training required since joining the Waynesville football squad in 1997.
Before he could play, however, Mosley needed a way to get to practice.
"I always wanted to play, but [Waynesville coach Rick] Vernon had to come and get me," said Mosley. "He had to pick me up for practice in the summer and take me to workouts when I first got there."
C.J. quickly adapted Vernon's style of football both on and off the field. With the aid of his coach's advice, Mosley, a tall and lanky youngster, took pride in his weight room efforts. After four years of body-building, he became a monstrous being and a major threat to any opponent.
"C.J. wasn't a dominant football player but he became a dominant football player because of his work ethic," said Vernon. "He was always in the weight room, always working hard, and he was able to use his skills out on the football field."
"If it wasn't for [Vernon] I probably wouldn't have been able to develop like I have or be as good as I am because he always had me doing extra stuff," Mosley said.
When C.J. began his high school career, Waynesville's football team was in a rut, but it didn't take long for Mosley to take charge and recruit other players around the campus.
"I remember recruiting some of my friends," said Mosley. "A lot of people played different sports, but if you're an athlete in high school, you can play football and you can find a spot on the field."
Earning his ranks
Page 2 of 3 - Mosley quickly developed into an All-State defensive tackle and was ranked among the top senior defensive tackles in the nation by Rivals.com in 2002. Mosley posted an impressive high school resume recording 21 sacks and 267 tackles. As a senior, Mosley posted 10 sacks and 97 tackles to earn himself a spot on the All-District team.
A quiet leader, Vernon praised C.J. For his work ethic, as Mosley was often the first one on the field.
"He was always working as hard as he could to make himself better and to make the team better," Vernon said.
Despite Mosley's impressive accolades, his Waynesville squad never defeated Camdenton in his four-year career, something the defenseman still takes to heart.
"They are that one team that you always wanted to beat," said Mosley. "They were always winning state and I was just tired of hearing their name and hearing about them. We had one game where we had a chance to go to state but we had to go through Camdenton. They ran the ball the total opposite side of where I was lined up every time. I was highly upset."
C.J.'s college days
Disappointment aside, Mosley earned a spot on the University of Missouri football team upon graduation, mostly because of Coach Gary Pinkel.
"I had an idea that I wanted to go to Mizzou after graduating," said Mosley. "I never wanted to go that far from my family...[but] when Gary Pinkel got there it just sealed it for me."
C.J. saw action in 36 games in four years at Mizzou, including 27 starts. In those games Mosley posted 167 tackles and 15.5 sacks, elevating his team to second in the Big-12 Conference in overall defense and fourteenth in the NCAA in 2004.
Page 3 of 3 - Beginning his career
Because of his efforts and success, the Minnesota Vikings selected Mosley in the sixth round in the 2005 NFL Draft.
"I always had a dream to play in the NFL and, coming from Waynesville, that is hard," said Mosley. "Not a lot of people come there to recruit and it is easy to get overlooked so to make it out of there and into the NFL is an accomplishment in itself."
The 6-foot-2-inch, 310-pound brute recorded his first career tackle with Minnesota against his favorite player, former Atlanta Falcons' running back Warrick Dunn.
"When I tackled him I was like, 'Wow I just tackled one of my favorite players'," said Mosley.
Seven games later Mosley recorded his first career sack against Cleveland Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl champion.
Mosley lasted one season with Minnesota before being traded to the New York Jets. There, Mosley played three seasons for the Jets before signing with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent in 2009. C.J. was placed on injured reserve later in the year, but signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent in 2010.
C.J. has amassed 108 tackles and nine sacks in his eight year career.
"I never really grasped that I am in the NFL," said Mosley. "When you line up against guys that are all-pro and all-world and that you have watched on TV, that is probably when you realize that you are in the NFL."
Currently C.J. has tackled seven defenders for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012.