The National Football League is having its annual draft Thursday and some familiar names might be called. Former Rattlers, Curtis Pulley and Robert Okeafor, have high hopes that they will be able to continue their football careers at the next level.All of their hard work and dedication when it comes to utilizing their talents on the gridiron is paying off.“I’m excited. It’s something that you look forward to your whole life, kind of like a dream come true,” Pulley said. Pulley is the Rattlers former starting quarterback.Two years ago when Pulley first came to Florida A&M he turned heads. After transferring from the University of Kentucky, the coaches made sure his transition was an easy one. At first he was a little standoffish, but once he understood what was needed of him he took more of a leadership role. Pulley challenged his receivers and the defensive backs on the field and in the weight room.He set the level of competition for both the offensive or defensive side of the ball. A dual threat quarterback, with his ability to throw as well as run, made him a standout in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, earning him collegiate Player of the Year honors.Since the end of the 2009 season, he has been trying to take care of himself and not lag or take for granted the work ethic that got him in the position he is in now.“I’ve been working out and running everyday. If I get a call I’m trying to be in the best shape possible,” Pulley said.One of Pulley’s biggest protectors, two time All-American Robert Okeafor at the tackle, is also under consideration for the draft.Okeafor had to put in a lot of work off the field in order for him to get to the All-American level. His excitement to get better in the weight room makes him that much more of a commodity.NFL scouts are not only impressed with the highlights that players present on film, but also how much time each player spends in the weight room. That was a fact that Okeafor was well aware of.“He was already very talented and a highly skilled guy at his position, but he was also an all-around teammate,” said Antonio Wallace, the strength and conditioning coach.Okeafor brought in comedic relief, which he used to bond with his teammates in the weight room.“Weights are something I take seriously, but as long as you’re not a distraction and still getting what you need to get done then you can have a little fun,” Wallace said. “Rob always did everything he needed to. He played around, but he also worked.”Getting drafted or even being considered to be draft-worthy is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Pending the outcome of the three day event, the time these Rattlers spend training, waking up at 5:45 a.m., two-a-day practice and playing games will pay off.They will have the chance to start their own legacy, pursuing their childhood dream.“I can’t tell you what round I’ll go. I’m just anxious and ready to go. I’m just ready to get on any team and go to anybody’s camp,” Okeafor said.Curtis Pulley said, “I don’t really have any. I just want to get out there and see what happens. I just want to say ‘I made it.'”The NFL Draft will air Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Gilmore also serves as a holder.