HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Playing in the NFL is a dream Rayshard Ashby has had since he was very young.
“I was young, I was very young just watching, like any other kid, just watching games on Sundays,” Ashby recalled.
He began playing football at a young age and by the time he reached high school at L.C. Bird, he knew that his longtime dream just might be achievable.
“I just had to work hard and keep progressing and focus on the next step that was ahead and not look too far, but know what the end goal was,” said Ashby. “I definitely think that high school was when I realized what I could do.”
The former Skyhawk put together a successful college career at Virginia Tech and now has turned the page in hopes of turning pro. Ashby has been training at Elkin Sports Performance in Henrico while in town as he prepares for his hopeful shot at the NFL. He has teams, scouts and experts breaking down every part of his game, and while it’s a critical process, the linebacker welcomes it.
“Definitely a mental strain, especially for people who [might have gotten] praised their whole life,” Ashby noted. “You’ve just got to kind of focus in and understand that you can take something from what everybody’s saying, whether you agree with it or you don’t.”
It’s been a stretch of hard work hoping to impress NFL minds, but in some ways it reminds the L.C. Bird product of his early days on the gridiron.
“Especially with it being like my job right now, I think it’s probably back to being like it was when I was a little kid when it was the funnest,” he said. “All I have to do is focus on football.”
Ashby has been told that he could go in the late rounds or sign as an undrafted rookie free agent. He doesn’t really care how he gets there, he just wants a chance to prove himself at the highest level.
“Everything I’ve looked forward to my whole life. It would definitely be an amazing blessing and I can’t wait to get that chance.”
The NFL Draft kicks off on April 29.
Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.