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Tee Higgins on upcoming NFL Draft: "It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to"

April 22, 2020

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Former Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins is getting set for this tomorrow’s NFL Draft and spoke with ESPN's Maria Taylor on Instagram Live in a nearly 20-minute interview from his Oak Ridge, Tenn., home last week.

While he has enjoyed the time at home with his family, he's also been working with current Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers and in a friend's garage with his weight room set.

Higgins had 135 receptions for 2,448 yards and 27 touchdowns during his three years in Tiger Town. He said that it was a difficult decision to leave Clemson because he promised his mom he would earn his degree. 

Rest assured that Higgins will fulfill his promise to his mom and come back to get his degree as Clemson football head coach Dabo Swinney makes sure his players earn their degree, but this Higgins' agreement is also with mom, and that's a big deal.

"I had a talk with her. She felt I was ready, and I also felt like I was ready, so we just (made) the decision, and here we are," Higgins said.

That bond between Higgins and his mom doesn't just end with the promise to her to get his education, but it was a traumatic event, where his mom was shot when Tee was in kindergarten that strengthened it to where it is today, as he wrote in The Players' Tribune.

Higgins will now have the opportunity to change his family's life, despite a traumatic event that changed him and his whole family's life.

"It's real crazy. I just want to make her stress free because what she's been through in life, I feel like she deserves it all, and she's able to turn something around like that with what she's been through is amazing. She's here because of God, and that's one thing our family is really big on is our faith because, without God, she wouldn't be here," Higgins said.

Tee's love for football wasn't automatic right off the bat. He had to be bribed into it during his days of playing Pop Warner football when the temperatures were scorching in eastern Tennessee.

"We were in the middle of a football game, and it was real hot that day-- like, "I don't wanna do this." So I went up into the stands in the middle of a game and sat next to my aunt, and she was like, 'I'll buy you two Hot Wheel cars for every touchdown that you score.' And I was like, you said two, right? So I went back down there and scored at least three touchdowns, and after the game, I was like, let's go to Walmart and buy a Hot Wheel car. Ever since then, football has grown on me, and I loved it ever since," Higgins said.

Higgins and other NFL Draft prospects will wait for their phone to ring from an NFL team starting Thursday night. The plan was for everyone to head out to Las Vegas, but the draft will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But a pandemic won't take away the feeling and the buildup to something that all football players dream of when they are little.

Now, as the NFL Draft is just days away, everything is starting to set in for Higgins, something that made him emotional when he thought about it last week.

"I've always wanted to be in the NFL, me being able to take care of my mom and have her stress free is something that I've always wanted to do. It's just something that I've been looking forward to."

Higgins has met with NFL organizations via video teleconference and his message to them? He's going to be a guy that comes in and works.

"I'm just a guy that's going to come in and work. I'm going to have a positive impact on the team, and I want to earn my respect. I don't want to just come in there and be babied. Obviously, you're not going to be babied in the league, but I don't wanna come in and be one of those guys that's arrogant and all cocky, I want to earn my respect," Higgins said.

Tee Higgins on upcoming NFL Draft: "It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to"

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