Jamal Adams was suited a booted, being voted the best dressed on the red carpet is just the first award in what is expected to be a long and successful career. Adams knew his name would be called and he knew he wouldn't have to wait long. It's the same for a lot of first round prospects, and there's nothing wrong with that, we love it.
However for most prospects looking to make a name for themselves in the NFL, the experience is very different all together. From the middle to late rounds, and into the undrafted free agency pool. There's all of those players, and then there are players who have to wait even longer. Players who are given a try-out, invited to showcase their talents in the hope that they'll be signed and get an extended look in camp.
That's where Darius Victor comes in. You'd think a prospect with over 3,000 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns would be a little upset about being overlooked, but Darius has had to deal with bigger hurdles than only getting a short audition to prove himself.
Born in a refugee camp in the Ivory Coast situated in West Africa, his parents having escaped the civil war that was tearing their Liberian home apart, the odds were stacked against him to begin with. Moving to Maryland at the age of 6, he didn't know anyone, it was a foreign land with foreign customs.
Fortunately, he found football. Packed into his 5'9 frame is nearly 220lb's of muscle. He's not the biggest and he's not the fastest, but he loves the game.
"I'm always getting tackled going forward, I play hard, I can catch," Victor said. "I believe that I'm a great football player. I'm coachable; I'm a nice guy. You won't have to worry about me on and off the field. I just love the game of football, and I won't do anything to jeopardize my opportunity of playing football." - Press Box
Following in the footsteps of the Towson all-time leading rusher and Cleveland Browns 3rd round selection Terrance West was a daunting challenge. Where we see challenge Victor sees opportunity and he seized that opportunity with both hands. Darius rushed for 1305 yards in 2014 to go with 12 touchdowns, and not only that...but he took on a leadership role at Towson as well
"I think Darius Victor is stepping into that role at a very young age," Ambrose said at the time. "It's part of his personality."
Here lies one of the keys. Leadership doesn't come naturally to everyone. Ray Kroc who basically built McDonalds into what we know it to be today once said "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves", and through all the adversity, Victor has maintained an unquestionable thirst to be better. His thirst is driven by an earth-shattering and heart-breaking incident that continues to fuel him:
“My brother was killed, and it was hard man, it was hard on the family, another act of senseless violence. My big brother was like a Father to me, like a parent really, with my mom and dad always having to work to take care of us financially. Kevin was everything to me and still is. When he died, I fell apart for a little while, but I could hear him in the back of my mind. Telling me to get up, stop sulking, be a man and do my job. I know he would have told me to get to practice, go play this game and kill it, so that’s what I did.
Week in and week out, I busted my butt for God, and in his memory. I owe that to him, for everything he did for me. He was like a coach to me, he would be the one getting on me to do things better. To work harder, there was never a time he would lay off of me, and it really made me the man I am today, when I take that field I look up to him, I whisper to him, and I can hear him.” - Philly Sports Network
Passion. Leadership. Physicality. Drive. All words I would associate with the direction the Jets are taking their franchise through recruitment. We've seen it with their draft picks and the players they have elected to bring in to try out. A lot of people can say they're driven individuals, but when the power behind that drive is something that resonates in your very soul, just like this incident, you have to imagine the drive is on another level.
His senior season was cut short by injury, preventing him from achieving any further records at Towson and derailing any chance he had to strengthen his case as either a late round draft pick or a priority free agent. However, he's healthy and ready to go now, and will be looking to show the Jets exactly what he has to offer.
We've been doing this long enough now to know that the odds are heavily stacked against Victor making the team. However if you want to pull for someone, I can't think of a better person deserving of all of our support.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge," Victor said. "I'm blessed in the best situation. Most people don't get to chase their dreams. I know there's millions of guys I've played with over the years, and they don't get this opportunity, so I'm just blessed to have this opportunity." - Press Box
[Victor] is still the same humble, hard-working guy that he was when he walked through that door for the first time. He's appreciative of every opportunity that he gets, every rep he gets, and he makes the most of them. That's the sign of a great football player, and I honestly think he'll be very good." - Towson HC