CHAPIN, S.C. — The second round of the NFL draft starts tonight, and players all over are getting ready for the big moment where they find out what professional team they’re joining. Here in the Midlands, Gamecock Darius Rush is preparing.
"I’m lost for words, I'm just very anxious and excited," Rush shares. "I’d say I’m anxious for the most part in all honesty. It’s still surreal just to be in this moment."
The day he's been waiting for is finally here as Rush gets ready for the NFL draft.
"I always had a dream to play in the NFL," Rush remembers. "I never thought it would have come like this."
He arrived home in South Carolina late Thursday night after visiting Kansas City for an NFL draft event. When Rush got home, he tells me he immediately switched on the TV.
"I was just turning on the draft, just watching it with my family a little bit, and just went sleep, and now we're here, you know, so time's actually moving pretty quickly and it can't come no quicker," Rush smiles.
It's not only Darius feeling that excitement, though.
"I got up at six o'clock, couldn't sleep much," Rush's older brother Marcus shares. "This is like, this day has been bigger than Christmas in terms of the anticipation and the nervousness."
Marcus tells me this day has been a long time coming.
"I'm just taking it all in. It just feels so surreal. Because we — I mean, we talked about this a lot and we dreamed about it," Marcus explains. "So we always knew that Darius was a gifted athlete, like he could just do things that other kids couldn't do. And from the time he was just a little boy, he always wanted to be outside...He was naturally good at whatever sport whatever ball he picked up."
Now that the day is here, Rush says he spent the morning talking to friends, playing videogames to keep his mind at ease, and trying to stay busy.
"They just want me to relax but I mean, I just can't sit down," Rush laughs. "So I'm just out there just adjusting the hats and just picturing myself and just putting one on."
Rush says the entire process has been "surreal."
"Honestly, its just shocking sometimes to know that you're talking to a head coach of an NFL team, not many people get the opportunity to do that. And I'm one of those guys that get the opportunity," Rush shares. "So, just to meet all these different teams, visit the facilities…like, it's just a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Tonight, Rush says his immediate family — his mom, brother and little sister — will join his trainer and "close friends" from college and growing up at his house for a draft party.
"Just to have them around to experience this, as well...It's gonna be a very, very memorable day," Rush says.
When it comes to where he's hoping to go, Rush tells me he's "from the South so want to stay in the warmer states but, like I said, I'll be be grateful for wherever I end up."