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Since his youth in Monroe, Louisiana, Ricky Wyatt never gave up on his dream of playing in the NFL.

Now, in his second season playing for the 8-2 Rattlers, the linebacker won’t settle for anything short of that.

He’s been stellar on the defense for the Indoor Football League’s top team with his abilities in coverages and blitzes. The Rattlers are back at home Saturday at 6:05 p.m. to play the Duke City Gladiators (5-5).

“We all in this league to get out,” Wyatt said. “My mind is always on getting there.”

After leaving Central Arkansas, where he had 74 tackles, 16.5 for losses his senior season in 2015, Wyatt basically started at the bottom of the professional football ranks. He played in the Champions Indoor Football and was named first team All-North Conference for the Salina Liberty in 2018. He also played a season for the Dodge City Law.

In his two years, the 6-foot, 240-pounder had 159 tackles, 43.5 for losses, 13 sacks, six blocked kicks and three fumble recoveries.

He made a big impact in his first season in the IFL in 2019 with the Rattlers, leading the team with six sacks, while second on the team with 13.5 tackles for losses. He helped them go undefeated, before losing their only game in the United Bowl against Sioux Falls Storm, 56-53.

“I can always improve,” Wyatt said. “I’m never complacent. And if I find myself getting complacent, I have a reality check. I have to get myself back to where there is no complacency.”

Wyatt has persevered since his last high school football game in 2011 when he was named the Louisiana 4A state championship game Outstanding Player for Monroe Neville. He was the 4A state Defensive Player of the Year that season when he had 139 tackles and two interceptions.

From them to now, the goal, the drive still is the same for Wyatt.

“Every kid has NFL dreams,” he said. “Some people gave up on it. You got guys like me that has to trust the process to get to where they want to go.”

Wyatt is a big part of the Rattlers defense that is ranked second in the league in scoring defense.

Defensive end Nik D’Avanzo, who leads the league with 10.5 tackles for losses in nine games, has also been instrumental in the Rattlers locking it down on defense.

They’re coming off maybe their best overall performance in a 59-33 win over the defending league champion Sioux Falls Storm.

Rattlers coach Kevin Guy believes the team is getting into a groove now with regular practices.

“It’s been over a month since we’ve been able to practice for three days (in a week),” he said. “Just the way the schedule is laid out, we’ve been getting two practices a week, plus film time and meetings.

“This is our first time of getting in three practices. So we’re back to basics. Little things we’re concentrating on. This time of year, we should be pretty sharp heading into the playoffs.”

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at [email protected]¬†or 602-316-8827. Follow him on Twitter @azc_obert.

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