Ed. note: This story appears in our Fayette Game 2017 Football Preview, available now. Cook has already started his season off with a bang, recording 3 tackles and breaking up one pass in Indiana’s opener.
To be a great cornerback, you have to love a challenge. Football is a sport built to make offenses look good. With each year they make the job of the cornerback a bit harder to slow down passing attacks, so you’ve got to have the right mindset to flourish at the position. Rasher Fant relishes that challenge. He’s cut his teeth away from the spotlight, but he’s heading for the big time. Even when he’s in his backpedal, he’s heading straight for the action.
Rashad Fant took the long road from a small private school to the Big 10, and his next stop very well could be the NFL.
Playing for Our Lady of Mercy, he might have flown under the radar, but his dynamic talent showed in all phases of the game and as a multi-sport star for the Bobcats. He dominated at receiver and running back on offense and flipped the field time and again as a return man on special teams, but he found his long-term home at cornerback.
Fant puts it on the level of quarterbacks as the most challenging positions to play.
“That is exactly why I love playing that position because the challenge is what fuels me and makes it so fun,” Fant says. “There is no greater feeling than breaking up a pass or intercepting a pass because you had to stop a player that knows where he is going and is running full speed forward, while you are backwards and mirroring his every move around the field.”
With lightning quickness and a 4.37 40-yard dash time, colleges had to take notice. He had offers from a number of Power 5 schools, including Florida State, but he was looking for something a little different. He went against the traditional football powerhouses and picked the University of Indiana.
“Indiana football reminded me a lot of Mercy football when I first got there,” says Fant, comparing two programs eager to build up a pattern of success. He calls it a blessing helping to turn the Bobcats into a winner. “It’s just a great feeling to leave a legacy that will help other kids want to leave their own legacy and eventually be even better than I was. Indiana was the same thing. I wanted to help put Indiana football back on the map and bring some relevance to the university in Football and make it a program that holds its own with all the great football schools in the Big 10, and hopefully we can take another step in doing that this year.”
The Hoosiers have improved to 6-7 in each of the last two seasons in the ultra-competitive Big 10, but Fant has higher aspirations for his team in his last season. He wants a conference championship and a shot at the College Football Playoffs.
“We want to go down as one of the best football teams and defenses to play at IU,” he says. His focuses isn’t on individual goals. “I try not to put those out there because I know ultimately that if I do my part and play well and help the team and we play well and achieve our team goals, then my teammates and I will receive the individual recognitions down the line.”
He’s improved by leaps and bounds each year with the Hoosiers. After redshirting in 2013, he played in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman, led the Big Ten and finished second nationally in pass breakups as a sophomore, and earned Second Team All-Big Ten as a junior. He enters his senior campaign as the NCAA active career leader and Indiana’s all-time leader with 48 passes defended and 44 pass breakups in 38 games.
Along with the on-field success, Fant’s star has risen in the eyes of NFL scouts.
“I’m just feeling lucky and blessed to be in the situation that I am in. I try my best to live by the motto of ‘Never get too high and never get too low, stay level,’” says Fant, who cherishes each day on the field because you never know when it might be your last. “I just try to stay focused, enjoy life and football, and take it one day at a time. I thank God every single day for blessing me more than I deserve, and I hope I continue to make Him and make my loved ones proud because they are all who I do it for.”
Even while he has a potential NFL shot in the future, Fant is taking care of his academics. He graduated in December 2016 and is currently working on a master’s degree in public affairs. It’s just part of his continued growth as man.
“I am definitely still the goofy, fun loving and unique introvert-extrovert that I was in high school, but, with that being said, I have grown so much and so many amazing ways because of the experiences and opportunities that Indiana University has given me,” he says. “I have been able to find myself a lot more since high school and become much more than just an athlete. I am active in the community, a leader amongst my team, the athletic community, Indiana University, and the Big 10.
“I have been able to give back and make people that are less fortunate to me smile, laugh, and just enjoy a great conversation or time with them. I have become more of an all-around human being and I feel that I still have so much more growing to do.”
He’s thankful for all of the opportunities that football has afforded him, and he’s eager to share the wealth.
“Always believe in yourself no matter what other people may think or say. They do not know the journey and plans that God has for you, so continue to work hard and believe in yourself no matter what is said or what adversity you may go through because nothing worth having comes easy,” he says. “Most importantly, have fun with everything you do. It is a game. It is made to be fun and for you to enjoy it, so never forget to have fun playing it.”
He offers up his favorite Bible verse that has helped carry him through times of adversity, Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”