CINCINNATI — From running eight laps on the Nippert Stadium steps to lifting weights in the Lindner Athletics Center, Darrian Beavers stayed busy Wednesday afternoon.
The former University of Cincinnati linebacker can't wait for an opportunity of a lifetime during the NFL Draft this weekend.
"Obviously you're training, you're working out just trying to stay ready so when that call does happen you're ready," said Beavers, a 2017 Colerain High School graduate. "And you just want to go and play football."
Beavers, one of the nation's top college football linebackers this past season, was a Dick Butkus Award finalist and first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection.
He impressed scouts at the NFL combine and UC's pro day and is projected to be selected sometime between the second and fourth rounds this weekend.
Beavers has communicated with every NFL team and simply wants an opportunity to play at the next level.
"I have high expectations for myself ever since I was young," Beavers said. "Like, 'I'm going to the NFL. I have to go to the NFL.' That's my dream come true."
Beavers was selected for the Reese's Senior Bowl and finished fifth in the AAC with 102 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss. He added 4.5 sacks, an interception, two pass breakups, two fumbles forced and two more recoveries.
He has earned accolades from the coaching staff for his production and versatility on the Bearcats defense - and for his character in the locker room and the weight room.
"Just his personality, his charisma, his smile - his passion for the game," said Brady Collins, UC's director of football sports performance.
"Whether it was training or practicing, film - everything - he did it with passion."
Beavers looked around the weight room early Wednesday afternoon and said he was most proud of how he helped the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff.
Competing on the biggest stage of college football is not something he will soon forget during a memorable fall and winter around Cincinnati.
"The whole city was going crazy for what we did and what the Bengals did," Beavers said.
The former Colerain star wide receiver/safety is also proud to say he played high school football with the Cardinals, a foundation that set him up for this career-defining moment.
"All the coaches there - they've hit me up, wished me the best," Beavers said. "It's crazy that I can showcase that if I do come out of Colerain you can make it."
Beavers is expected to be one of at least eight UC players selected in the draft. The record for most Bearcats selected in a single draft is six in 2009 — a record that is expected to fall in 2022 after eight Bearcats including Beavers were invited to the NFL combine.
"To say that the Colerain family is proud of Darrian and his journey is an understatement," Colerain football coach Shawn Cutright said. "His work ethic and dedication to his football voyage from Colerain to UConn and back to UC has grown each step of the way. I know that will continue when someone decides to give him a well-deserved shot in the NFL."