NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A Madison native and former Xavier High School football star is in Kansas City for the 2023 NFL Draft.
University of Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, 23, could be a top-five pick Thursday night.
The Carolina Panthers have the No. 1 overall pick and, as usual, a lot of the hype surrounds the quarterbacks. Levis joins Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson among the coveted prospects.
What a journey it’s been for Levis. From high school football games at Palmer Field in Madison to playing at Kentucky in college football’s biggest conference.
“It’s weird. It’s one of the few kinds of jobs where literally until the day after you start until the day you start you don’t know where you’re going,” Levis told News 8 Sports.
That’s life for an NFL prospect, but Levis is no ordinary prospect. He has all the tools to be a big-time NFL quarterback. After interviewing with several teams, he is just trying to stay even-keeled.
“With all these visits, I do my best to make the best impressions possible, but I’ve been trying to not feel strongly about one place over another because I’m gonna be happy regardless of where I go,” he said.
Levis’ journey to draft day has not been an easy one. After starring at Xavier High School in Madison, he played at Penn State for three years before transferring to Kentucky.
He threw 46 touchdown passes for the Wildcats and his draft stock soared this winter at the NFL Combine. He proved a lot of his critics wrong, but that’s not important in this process.
“I don’t think that’s like the main driving force in my motivations,” Levis said. “It’s more so just the betterment of self opposed to anything. I feel like wanting to reach my goals and push myself and reached the heights that I’ve dreamed up for myself.”
No matter what team calls his name, Levis promises they will get 100% from him on and off the field.
“You’re gonna get first and foremost a great person, a great leader, someone that’s just gonna go into their facility and work hard,” Levis said. “They’re just gonna get a hard worker. I can just promise that I’m gonna go in there and do the best I can to prepare to lead my team into battle.”
Levis would become the second player from Madison currently playing in the NFL, joining Jack Driscoll who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles.
When is the NFL Draft?
The draft is a three-day extravaganza in Kansas City, Missouri, starting Thursday night.
The first round begins at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC. The second and third rounds are on Friday starting at 7 p.m. The fourth through seventh rounds are on Saturday starting at noon.
The draft can be viewed on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Who has the top picks?
The Panthers have the No. 1 pick in the draft after making a trade with the Chicago Bears.
After that, the Houston Texans select at No. 2, while the Arizona Cardinals are No. 3. The Indianapolis Colts (No. 4) and Seattle Seahawks (No. 5) round out the top 5.
The Panthers are expected to take a quarterback with the top selection.