By Gary Lloyd
CLAY — Darrin Reaves is anxious heading into Thursday’s NFL Draft, because he misses football, because he’s ready to put his pads back on.
“I’ve got an itch I need to scratch, and that’s football,” Reaves said.
Reaves, a 2011 Clay-Chalkville High School graduate who in January declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season at UAB, is projected to be picked anywhere between the fourth and seventh rounds. The draft is scheduled to run through Saturday.
Reaves has had his Pro Day and taken visits. Now, he just sits and waits, hoping for his name to be called.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pound running back will watch the draft with family in Birmingham. What will his reaction be if and when he’s drafted?
“I’ll be speechless,” Reaves said. “Ever since I started playing football that was the goal, to play in the NFL.”
From age 5 to 12, Reaves played football in the Wahouma area of Birmingham, on First Avenue North. He then played at Clay-Chalkville Middle School and Clay-Chalkville High School. As a senior at Clay-Chalkville in 2010, Reaves rushed for 1,223 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown.
“(Those places) mean a lot to me,” Reaves said. “I still hold close ties.”
Reaves wasn’t heavily recruited during high school. He signed with UAB and rushed 79 times for 372 yards as a freshman. Reaves in 2012 rushed for 1,037 yards and a school-record 13 touchdowns, while catching 41 passes for 302 yards and one score. He was named a Conference USA First Team selection. As a junior at UAB last season, Reaves rushed 201 times for 928 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named an honorable mention All Conference USA player.
In March, Reaves worked out for 28 NFL teams and one Canadian Football League team at UAB Pro Day in Birmingham. The 28 represented teams are believed to be the most to ever attend a UAB Pro Day.
Reaves said he will “most definitely” play for any NFL team, that he’d play in Alaska if the state had a team. He said any team that may draft him will get a hard worker, one that yearns to get better and help a team win the Super Bowl.
“Ever since I (first) played the game, I fell in love with it,” Reaves said. “Football is my first love. Before I knew what love was, I loved football. Football is my world. It’s why I am who I am today. I just love the game of football.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.