Throughout the draft process, we've been chronicling the journey of South Florida wide receiver Carlton Mitchell. Here's the latest entry in our series.
Carlton Mitchell says he doesn't look at the mock drafts.
He doesn't take notice when he's rising or slipping in rankings. He doesn't listen to experts who think he's a sleeper, or those who label him a bust.
The same, however, cannot be said for Mitchell's mom.
"She has a Google alert on me," Mitchell said with a laugh. "Every time my name pops up on Facebook or Twitter, she sees it. She's always reading the articles, texting or calling me. I've gotta tell her to calm down, smile, things are going to be OK. She’s just excited though."
That's what the next few days are about for Mitchell. About achieving a life-long dream with the people who helped get him here. The people that will be with him going forward - whether he gets taken in the second round or goes undrafted.
"All my dreams about playing in the NFL are about to come true," Mitchell said. "I'm not sure what’s in store. I'm not going to take nothing for granted. When I find out where I’m at, it's time to get the playbook and keep staying in shape. Then it’s a whole other chapter."
A sampling of mock drafts would suggest that Mitchell will be getting the call on Friday. ESPN.com has him going to the Steelers in the third round.
NFL.com's Pat Kirwan, however, has him falling out of the first three rounds.
And our friend, Wes Bunting, of the National Football Post said he's hearing some second-round buzz for Mitchell.
Whenever he gets the call, Mitchell will be ready. He has no grand plans for the next few days, but expects to be at his mom's house in Tampa, where she's sure to cook some of his favorites - pasta, chicken, some collard greens.
And he'll spend time with the small circle that has been there for him.
"I call ‘em my squad," Mitchell said. "People I've known for at least eight or nine years, the same group of people, they're very close to me. They know more than the football part of me and have been there since Day 1."
The past few months have been a whirlwhind for Mitchell. After deciding to skip his senior season at South Florida, it was time to prepare for the combine. Once that was over, there were private workouts, official visits and his Pro Day.
And while Mitchell admitted he'll feel a sense of relief when his name is called, he realizes his journey is just beginning.
"I'm far from done, far from being a complete receiver," he said. "I love learning the game. I've been improving every time someone speaks to me - a coach, a GM, another player... I've been trying to learn that much more every single time."
Mitchell turned 22 earlier this month, but there was no time to celebrate. That'll change over the next few days.
"It's been a very long process, but a very amazing process," he said. "I've enjoyed every moment. I always say 'see your future, be your future.' I’ve been seeing this, about to come, the things I have wanted to become since I was younger, and I feel truly blessed. It's a pretty big day coming up."