Former Orlando Dr. Phillips High standout Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 21st pick in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night.
“After putting in blood, sweat and tears to get here and now I'm looking back to see hard work does pay off,” Clinton-Dix said. “It's kind of emotional. Sitting in the green room, I had the butterflies thinking about how far I've come. It really pays off.”
Clinton-Dix, an All-American safety who won a pair of national titles at Alabama, joins former college teammate Eddie Lacy in Green Bay.
The Packers mentioned Clinton-Dix's ex-teammate when they called to inform him he was their first-round draft pick.
"They said have you talked to Eddie Lacy lately. I said a couple days ago. They said you're going to be up here with him. It was a great moment," Clinton-Dix.
Before the draft, Clinton-Dix returned to Orlando and his home suburb of Eatonville. A digital billboard along I-4 already displayed a sign displaying him on becoming a first-round pick.
It was all overwhelming to Clinton-Dix, who was realizing a lifelong dream.
He told the Sentinel he was open to playing for any team.
"It doesn't matter at all," Clinton-Dix said asked about how he felt about where he might end up. "I'm just blessed to be in this spot and to have the opportunity to play in the league and be in the first round, so whichever one of those 32 teams decide to take a chance on me, I'm going to be ready to play and go all out."
Clinton-Dix joins Oviedo High graduate Blake Bortles as a first-round pick. It marks the third time that two Central Florida-area graduates have been selected in the first round of the draft.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun