Draft week is here and the moment is sinking in for Northwood's Marquez Stevenson.
"Man, it ain't really just hit me yet, but it's slowly hitting me. Like I'm waking up every day and just seeing like, you know, the draft day posts and just realizing I'm watching the NFL Network, but I'm just seeing them talk about the NFL draft and I'm actually in the NFL Draft because I've been watching it leading up until now. So for me to finally be in there, it's feeling you really can't explain."
Stevenson's college career for the Houston Cougars put a spotlight on the former Falcon and he makes sure to display where he grew up.
"I got the five, because my football number is five. This piece means a lot to me because on the back of it, my stats from Houston, like my touchdowns, my yardage, all that (are there). And just 3-1-8, never forget where you come from. This city (Shreveport) did a lot for me. I done seen a lot in this city. I done did a lot in this city, but just never forget where you come from. So when you see the five, I mean you got to see the 3-1-8."
Stevenson was at his alma mater to talk to student-athletes that were once in his shoes and he says it's a surreal experience.
"I get DMs from those guys on the regular just telling me congratulations, how they look up to me and I mean that feeling is crazy because I was that guy once upon a time and for me to be in the position that I'm now, it's crazy and just a blessing just talking to the guys and tell them how I got to where I'm at today."
The two-time American All-conference first teamer didn't have an easy road at Houston overcoming two injuries that effectively sidelined him for two seasons.
"I just feeling like everything happens for a reason. Talked to my mom about it. Soon as I got the news [about my ACL] I called her and we cried on the phone together. At this point I just broke my collarbone, now my ACL (is torn) so now I'm second guessing myself. 'Is this really for me? Should I have come to Houston?' But at the end of the day I can only control what you can control, everything happens for a reason. I knew when that time came, I knew I was going to make the best of it."
His return to the field in 2018 was a memorable one with more than 200 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns against Rice.
"I remember walking out on the field and I shed tears because after two long years, like I'm really fitting to play in my first college football game and plus I'm the starting receiver. The feeling was great and just for me to have a big game my first game back and just to see all the attention seeking from the media, the outsiders, it really mind-blowing because I hadn't felt it in a long time being in those two years that I was injured. I felt like a lot of people probably forgot about me. So my first game back on the field and I did what I did, I mean it was special for me and my family."
As he waits to hear his name called in the NFL Draft, Marquez hopes his experience can help others see what they can accomplish.
"No matter what your environment is like, what your home is like, if you believe in something go chase it. Go chase it and don't be denied. Big, tall, anything, if you want it, it's possible. I'm living testimony. I've been through it all and I've had injuries and I've been doubted. (People) said I was too small, this that and the third, but I mean I overcame it and just kept my head down and kept working."
The KTBS Sports NFL Draft Coverage will continue all week leading up to Thursday night. Each evening we will spotlight a local athlete hoping to hear their name called this weekend.
Tuesday: Roadarius Williams (Oklahoma State/Calvary)
Wednesday: Ar'Darius Washington (TCU/Evangel), Robert Rochell (UCA/Fair Park)
Thursday: Terrace Marshall (LSU/Parkway)