EAST TEXAS (KLTV/KTRE) - For many East Texas football players, the NFL Draft is validation of hard work on the field and long summer days in the weight room.
The 2019 draft is no exception. In total, five young men with ties to East Texas could be hearing their name called out on one of the three days of the NFL Draft from Nashville.
Those men are:
Erik McCoy - McCoy was picked in the second round by the New Orleans Saints, and was the 48th overall pick. The top-rated prospect out of the Pineywoods is Erik McCoy. McCoy, a center from Texas A&M, first fell in love with football at a young age in Lufkin. Learn more about Erik here.
"Erik played lots of sports growing up, but it was when he got to around the eighth grade that he said, ‘Mom, I want to go in early to the weight room and train in the summer,’ said Stacie Davis, McCoy’s mother. “He would go every day early in the morning and push himself. He did that every year after that, and it made an impact.”
Greg Roberts Jr. - Just up the road from Lufkin, the Nacogdoches football program could see their first draft pick since Kynan Forney was selected in 2001. Greg Roberts Jr. is looking to end the drought.
Roberts Jr. comes from a football family. His father, Greg Roberts Sr., a former Nacogdoches Dragon as well, played for the University of Oklahoma and then in the NFL.
Kris Boyd - From Gilmer comes Kris Boyd, a confident talking, some say trash talking, corner who covers receivers like a glove. His high school coach, Randall Canaday, says Boyd is a hitter and knew one day he’d be in this position.
“When he was in the eigth grade he asked me who was the best player I ever had,” Canaday remembers. “I told him who, and he tells me he wants to be better than him. And then tells me that he’s going to win a state championship, play college football and go to the NFL.”
Daylon Mack - Fourteen miles from Gilmer is the hometown of Daylon Mack of Gladewater. Mack, from Texas A&M, is a defensive tackle whose motor is always running. His high school coach, John Berry, says he is such a tremendous athlete that there’s nothing that he can’t do. Nationally honored in academia, he truly lives up to the moniker of student athlete.
His mother Geracie says he’s very humble and always looks out for others. Already there’s a wing featuring Mack in the Gladewater Museum, with sports memorabilia from his college past. Also, his two all star jerseys hang as a reminder that he’s one of the best in college football.
Chris Wilkerson - The final name to keep an eye on would be Chris Wilkerson, a deep snapper from SFA.
Wilkerson, a first-team All-American deep snapper for the 'Jacks, played his high school ball in Waller, just west of Houston. He was a fullback and had no plans on going to Division I football. His original plan was to go to school and play tennis, another sport he excelled at, at the DIII level. But a social media post from an SFA coach sparked his interest in trying out to be a deep snapper at a camp with the 'Jacks, and the rest is history.
As always, unexpected things can happen on draft night; things that will have a domino effect on each person from East Texas. Sometimes plans do not work out, but if that is the case, there is always the chance to be signed as an undrafted free agent. All five of these talented players have that ability.
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