One of the best parts of the annual NFL draft is getting to know the prospects. Each player has his own unique football journey, whether they were a highly recruited athlete from an early age or a late bloomer who had to work their way up.
In the middle rounds of the drafts, the stories get that much more interesting. Here are some things to know about the Ravens’ Day 2 selections on Friday:
Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins (Round 2, No. 55 overall)
Dobbins, whose full name is J’Kaylin, joined Archie Griffin as the only Ohio State players to rush for 1,000-plus yards in three different seasons, and the only Buckeye to do it in three straight. His 2,003 yards in 2019 were also the most in school history. Dobbins’ father, Lawrence, was a football and track star at La Grange High School who won the 1998 Texas Class 3A 100-meter championship. He battled heart issues and died while in prison in 2014 at the age of 33 because of a stroke. Dobbins said that his dad “is the reason I play football.”
Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (Round 3, No. 71)
You don’t often find defensive linemen with backgrounds in track, but Madubuike excelled in both track and basketball at McKinney North in Texas, setting personal bests in the shot put (45 feet, 8 inches) and discus (89-1) and competing in the 100-meter sprint. Madubuike, the No. 10 recruit in Texas as a high school senior, led the Aggies in sacks and tackles for loss in 2019 and was voted team MVP as a sophomore and junior.
Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay (Round 3, No. 92)
Duvernay was also a former track star. At Sachse High School in Texas, he won the 2015 6A state title in the 100-meter dash in 10.27 seconds, the third-fastest time in the country. His twin brother, Donovan, older by four minutes, is a four-year defensive back at Texas who has played in 12 career games. Duvernay isn’t the first pro athlete in his family, as his maternal uncle Calvin Murray played six seasons in the major leagues. Former Oklahoma star and current Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, is Duvernay’s cousin.
Ohio State inside linebacker Malik Harrison (Round 3, No. 98)
Before he became a first-team All-Big Ten linebacker, it was hard to pin down exactly what kind of athlete Harrison was going to be. He played basketball, football and track at Walnut Ridge High School in Columbus, Ohio, averaging 14.0 points and 10.0 rebounds to help the school win its first state tournament since 1971. (On Friday night’s television broadcast, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah mentioned that Harrison won a dunk contest between the Ohio State football players.) Playing quarterback and safety as a senior, he threw for 1,161 yards, rushed for 897 yards and scored 23 total touchdowns, adding 40 tackles and five sacks. He wanted to play receiver in college, but Ohio State was able to take advantage of his athleticism on defense.
Mississippi State offensive lineman Tyre Phillips (Round 3, No. 106)
Phillips is the rare no-star prospect to be drafted in the NFL. In high school, he focused on basketball before playing football his junior and senior seasons. He got some attention from Football Championship Subdivision schools, but he decided to play guard at East Mississippi Community College. There, he became the top junior college guard prospect in 2017 before transferring to Mississippi State. With the Bulldogs, he redshirted his first season, played snaps at both tackle spots as a junior and became the starting left tackle his senior year before entering the draft.