TAMPA, Fla. — Seven rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft came and went last Saturday and not a single former University of South Florida player was picked.
But moments after, one former Bull got the call he waited for his entire life.
“I spent the whole Saturday afternoon watching rounds four to seven with my family,” wide receiver Tre' Dukes said. “Just watching every draft pick because I expect my name to be called on day three. It didn’t happen.”
Dukes is coming off a career-best year in his final season with the Bulls, leading the team with four touchdown catches.
“It was a long Saturday sitting here,” his mother Leslie Odoms said. “I saw his face, I can see he is a little disappointed.”
When the draft ended, Dukes grabbed his book and walked outside.
“Next thing you know, he left his phone in here,” Leslie said. “That’s his phone. Then all of a sudden his phone rings. Should I get it? But it says, Colorado. I snatched it up!”
She ran outside with his phone.
“I was like I think this is the call baby, I think this is the call!”
“I ended up picking the phone up,” Dukes said. “It was one of the head scouts from pro day. He told me they like what they saw and were willing to give me a chance. He was like we want to bring you in and make you a Denver Bronco.”
“To know he got the call, it was humbling exciting, a bowl of emotions all in one,” his father Marques Odoms said.
“I just gave them two a big hug and thanked them for everything they’ve been doing since I was born,” Dukes said.
Dukes leaves for Denver on Wednesday, fulfilling a dream since he was running routes in the front yard at three years old.
“Coaches telling me they don’t think I’m good enough to play. Me, personally, my mindset was never going to change being drafted or undrafted free agent,” Dukes said. “The only thing I needed was a chance.”
“When this last coach (Jeff Scott) came on board and gave him the opportunity to play, I’m like you had him all along,” Leslie said. “You had him all along and all you had to do was let him play.”