When the 2018 NFL draft is held next month in Arlington, expect UTSA’s Marcus Davenport’s name to be called early.

Davenport is projected by many draft experts to be selected somewhere in the top 15 of the first round.

If that happens, the quiet, mild-mannered defensive force would be the first San Antonio native in 40 years to be selected that early, following in the footsteps of such local greats as Tommy Nobis, Gary Green, Tommy Kramer and Erik Flowers.

“It’s pretty cool, the draft is just a step though,” Davenport said. “It doesn’t really matter how you get into the league, it’s how you play."

Getting to the league has been interesting trek for Davenport.

While at Stevens High School, Davenport was a thin, 190-pound, two-star recruit who had only two offers from Division I programs, upstart UTSA and UNLV.

He decided to stay home and grew, literally and figuratively, to become a dominant force and Defensive Player of the Year in Conference USA.

At this weekend’s NFL Scouting Combine, Davenport measured at nearly 6-feet-6 inches and weighed in at 264 pounds.

He also ran a freakishly fast 40-yard dash (4.58), numbers comparable to that of All-Pro Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

“A whirlwind, surreal, something that not too many people get to experience and its just been a blessing,” Davenport said.

The experience led to little sleep for Davenport, but he still made a surprise visit to the first day of UTSA’s spring practice on Monday. A testament to the player and person he is, those closest to him say.

“I thought he did outstanding, we’re so proud of him,” said UTSA head coach Frank Wilson. “In a day and age when these NFL prospects go to a combine and then go do whatever they choose, and in some cases a flamboyant lifestyle, he choose to come here, to be here with his teammates and to share that moment with them.”

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The next step in Davenport’s journey to the NFL is his pro day on March 28.

No matter where that journey ultimately takes him, Davenport will always call San Antonio, Stevens High School and UTSA home.

“It’s great to be back,” said Davenport, while smiling ear to ear at UTSA's practice. “I love this place.”

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