Being that Reggie Doss was only the second player ever chosen in the NFL Draft out of Hampton, the Virginia university wasn't generally considered to be a hotbed of football prospects.
But almost Field of Dreamsesque, if you're a 6-4, 265-pound defensive end who can disrupt an offense, they will come.
"I made All-American, NAIA Division II, my senior year, so a lot of scouts were coming around timing me and running me through all the drills. The Eagles and the Bengals, I'm not going to say they kept showing up, but they kept showing up," Doss laughed.
"On Draft Day, I remember coming from class and one of the players ran up to me and said, 'Coach wants to see you.' So I went into his office and he said, 'Well, how would you like to be a Los Angeles Ram?' I guess the general manager at the time, Don Klosterman, had contacted him earlier that morning. It was exciting."
Selected in the seventh round of the 1978 NFL Draft, Doss had to face being in Los Angeles for the first time, and playing for a seasoned head coach, who was just starting his second stint with the Rams, and had a reputation of relying heavily on veterans – George Allen.
"Everything that I remember about him was beating the Cowboys. He was still locked into the mentality, being with (Washington) and in that division, the Cowboys was this thing that just stayed on his brain constantly," Doss laughed. "Hearing George Allen, he was just a little different as far as a head coach. He worked hard, he kept the guys on the (practice) field, and we had to do it over and over again.
"And he had so many players come out (for camp). A lot of them being older veteran players because he was one of those coaches that loved veterans. So as a rookie along with maybe 14 that they had drafted that year, you really didn't know where you stood with him. So my whole mentality was just do it full speed and see what happens."
What happened was, Allen's demand to "do it over and over again" didn't go over too well with the veteran players that he cherished. Heads butted and Allen was let go after the second preseason game. He was replaced by defensive coordinator Ray Malavasi.
Posting a 12-4 record in 1978, the Rams lost the conference title to Dallas. The following season, they won three fewer games, but topped Tampa Bay in the NFC Championship Game, and met Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XIV.
"We had to go the long road and kind of just really boom, boom, boom. It was pretty exciting," Doss said. "I mean, it's nothing like it is now, but it was just like, wow, this is what everyone tries to accomplish at the beginning of training camp.
"You spend all those weeks busting your hump trying to get prepared, and make it through the season, and get to the playoffs, and make it to the Super Bowl. And here it is, it came down to just the two teams that made it. So, yeah, it lived up to its hype. It was great. But when I look back, I always get a little upset because I thought we should have been there the year before."
After three years in a reserve role and contributing on special teams, Doss became a starter at defensive end during the 1981 campaign.
"I remember the playoff game in '79 when Jack (Youngblood) got his ankle rolled up on and I was getting to play a lot more," Doss said. "During the Cowboys (first-round playoff) game, I backed-up all the positions on the line and had some good plays. Get to the (NFC) Championship Game against Tampa Bay, it was the same thing. Youngblood, they taped him up and got him out there, but Jack just wasn't feeling like he normally does. So I got a chance to play quite a bit.
"And when it came to the Super Bowl, I was saying, 'Oh, my God, I'm going to get to play.' And shoot, I think I got in on a few goal line situations and, of course, the special teams that I played on. So that was kind of the big letdown in the Super Bowl for me.
"When I got the opportunity to be a starter, because after that, I got a taste of it, how it actually felt to be in the lineup, out doing what you had hopes and dreams for. It was exciting. Getting out there and actually doing it. Hey, I'm the guy. This is my spot. And I held on to it for about seven years."
Besides making the playoffs seven of his 10 seasons, a nationally-televised Monday Night Football game is among the Texas native's fondest memories from his days with the Rams.
"It was 1980, and we played the Cowboys. I think I had a sack and a half, and made some big plays," Doss said. "I looked it up on YouTube a year or two ago, and I remember Howard Cosell talking about me. 'This young guy here, Reggie Doss, he's kind of rough on the edges, but he's one of the guys of the future.' And I think the next play I got a sack.
"After I looked at it, I was like, 'Wow, Howard Cosell talking about you, that's a big deal.' Plus, I think we really put it on the Cowboys [38-14]. Every time I played them, I just had a little extra incentive being a Cowboys fan growing up, and being given a chance to go out there and bang them around a little lot. That was kind of my highlight."
And what makes Doss most proud of his career?
"For me, I'll never get a Hall of Fame nod. I was actually voted as an alternate to the Pro Bowl one year, but I had an injury where I couldn't go," he said. "But I think the thing that kind of stood out in my situation was that I didn't miss a game. Including the playoffs and the preseason, I played in over 210 games. That's the one thing, you could always count on me.
"I look at it now and these guys get a jammed finger and they're out for a couple of weeks. When we were playing, you go to the sideline, and they dust you off, give you some water, tape it up, and say, 'Alright, get back in there.' So I guess that's the one thing you've got to say, I was always there on Sunday and ready to go."
Now retired from a second career in sales, Doss and his wife, Tamara, met in a limo going to a Super Bowl party in 2002, and married three years later. They and their sons: Ricci, Robbi, and Ronni, make their home in Riverside County, CA.
"We started home schooling almost three years ago, six or seven months before all this pandemic craziness hit," Doss said. "She had a message. God talked to her, 'If you don't, you're going to have to either pay now or pay later.' Didn't know what it meant at the time, but it meant about the boys being in regular school and this was going to be coming on.
"And all of a sudden it did. So we were prepared. And I'm taking too much credit right now because she does 99.9 percent of the home schooling. I basically just get them up in the morning and make sure they get ready for school."