Hard Knocks is a reality sports series produced by NFL Films and HBO that follows a NFL team through training camp. The 2014 season will be the show's ninth, and will feature the Atlanta Falcons and former USD standout Tyler Starr.
All eyes and cameras were focused on Tyler Starr Thursday, at the DakotaDome, as NFL Films was on campus, gathering footage of Atlanta's seventh-round draft pick for the sports-based reality series Hard Knocks.
"It's a testament to Tyler Starr. His work ethic. His commitment to making himself a better player," University of South Dakota athletic director David Herbster said.
The series annually shows the personal and professional lives of players, typically focusing on rookies as they adjust to life in the NFL, and attempt to make the team. Starr is the reigning Missouri Valley Defensive Player of the Year --- an award that guarantees nothing, though challenges and adversity are nothing new to Starr.
"When he came in here, had some difficulties, had some struggles, but fought through everything. There's an individual with an unbelievable amount of perseverance. To go through what he's been through, to continue to make the right choices, especially towards the end of his career. He is one of those examples that you like to show everybody that through hard work, dedication, effort, regardless of everything that can go wrong, everything that might not go your way, someone who can fight the odds, and hopefully earn a spot on an NFL roster," Herbster said.
Atlanta opens training camp next Friday, offering Starr 34 sessions to prove his value to the Falcons. As for Thursday's workout, it'll give Hard Knocks viewers a peek into the life of Tyler Starr, while casting a spotlight on USD.
"Having HBO on campus, with Tyler Starr certainly being the feature of it, is a testament of not only Tyler Starr, but certainly USD. Where it is, where it's come, and sometimes, frankly, it's just a little bit of being in the right place at the right time, but no doubt, extremely proud to have them on our campus," Herbster said.
Hard Knocks, featuring Tyler Starr and the Falcons, premieres August 5th at 9:00 p.m. on HBO.