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Tennessee football: DE Byron Young still staying humble

There’s not too much Byron Young could have done at Tennessee’s Pro Day on Thursday to help his draft stock. It’s already surged far higher than anyone could have ever predicted.

Those sorts of things happen when you run a scorching 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine earlier this month. If there was any doubting Young’s physical ability, consider those dashed.

“I feel like it helped me a lot,” Young said in what may be the understatement of the offseason. “Just showed how athletic I am and how fast, just not on the film, but you know the drill. So I definitely feel like it helped me a lot.”

Young isn’t just running to the finish line when he tackles the 40-yard dash. He’s running from previous jobs that he didn’t find satisfying at Burger King and the Dollar General Store when football seemed to be a ridiculous long shot. Now, at 250 pounds, Young has posted a 40-yard dash time almost as fast as receiver Jalin Hyatt, whose best time has been 4.4. seconds. 

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Young also possesses the kind of initiative that will likely make him a leader in the NFL and got him out of those retail jobs. After a brief stopover at community college, the South Carolina native can’t wait for the next step. NFL teams have noticed.

“I never stopped running, so they love the fact that I’m a type of guy that hustles,” Young said. “I’m not selfish.”

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Certainly, Young is thought of as a team-first player. He’s also thought of as an NFL prospect that is raw with spectacular upside. That’s what a scorching 40-yard dash time can do for a player who once was simply trying to manage a cash register. Now, he has a story to tell and he’s willing to share it with any young player that might be a bit down about making the transition to college.

“Just put your head down and keep grinding,” Young said. “Just going back to General…it just really means a lot. I’m so grateful, so I’m never going to forget where I came from. I’m humble, so it’s amazing.”

In more ways than one.

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