For TCU standout Ar'Darius Washington, dreams of being an NFL player started early.
"I always had that dream and ambition. Really when I thought I could do it, I was young, maybe like 6th grade. And then definitely when I got to high school I knew for sure that I'd be in this position."
That high school was Evangel. Whether it was on offense, defense, or special teams, Washington always provided highlight worthy plays. But while he was on the field, he was always looking toward the sidelines at the long list of former Eagles that made it to the pros.
"I've been going here since my 6th grade year. I learned a lot from this place. Just going here and leaving a legacy is going to be my main thing. Coming up here, seeing that daily, I want to be there too one day."
Washington's success followed him to TCU where he was named a Freshman All-American and Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the year in 2019, before opting to go pro at the end of his sophomore season. Now preparing for the draft Washington is facing questions about his size. Listed at 5'8, 176 pounds, Washington is focused on proving some scouts wrong.
"No matter what size and how big or tall you are, don't let anyone put any limitations on you and tell you where you can't go. It don't matter if you're 5'6 or 6 foot, if you've got heart, determination, and will, you can conquer anything."
Determination and will is something Washington gained while watching the many local athletes before him succeed at the next level. It's something he hopes to pass on to the next generation.
"Devin White, Greedy Williams, Tre'Davious White, and those guys going on while I'm thinking to myself I can do this also. Especially me being 5'9, it doesn't matter about your size. You can do it to whether you're those guys' size or my size. It definitely gives those guys hope."
Whether it was in high school or college, Ar'Darius Washington has always been a playmaker. Soon he'll have the chance to prove it again on football's biggest stage.
The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday at 7pm.