The path from the end of his high school career to now hasn't always been a smooth one for DeRon Furr. But as the NFL draft nears -- it starts on Thursday -- the former Carver High standout can look back on that time with some perspective.
"Life lessons," Furr said when asked to describe the years from when he graduated Carver in 2008 to now. "It has been real crazy, how it happened. A lot of people have a lot of assumptions about what happened. I have had my name slandered and had my name praised, but God makes everything happen for a reason."
Furr signed with Auburn but left before playing a down and transferred to Memphis for two seasons. He left Memphis and played his final two seasons at Division II Fort Valley State, so he could be closer to family.
Now, after two stellar seasons at Fort Valley, Furr hopes to hear his name called during the draft, which lasts through Saturday. Most so-called draft experts have Furr going late in the draft or not being drafted at all. If that is the case, Furr would be able to sign a free-agent deal with any team.
"I have had some teams tell me they will draft me," Furr said. "I have had some teams tell me that if I am still there after the draft, they want to bring me in as a high-priority (free agent)."
Last season for Fort Valley, Furr had 60 tackles (35 solo tackles and 25 assists) from his safety position. He also had 11.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Since last season ended, Furr earned MVP honors in the Medal of Honor All-Star game and had a "pretty good" pro day at Valdosta State in March. He has also worked out at the Performance Compound in Tampa, Fla.
"I was training with guys who are projected to go in first 2-3 rounds," Furr said.
"I could see and gauge where I am compared to guys on the highest level."
Nolan Nawrocki wrote for nfl.com: "Hard-hitting, playmaking Division II rover safety who projects to the weak-side linebacker position in the pros. Good eyes, instincts and anticipation. Carries a swagger and plays with confidence. Is a bit of a 'tweener, lacking ideal size for a linebacker and the hips, fluidity and foot speed for a safety."
No matter how well he performed in front of scouts, Furr knows that having played at a Division II school hurts him in the eyes of NFL executives.
"I feel like D-II guys are underrated. (They) get overlooked," Furr said. "First thing people tell me is if you played at a D-I school, you would go in top three rounds.
"Your play is unquestioned. But they like to downplay you. They want to get you at a cheaper price if they can. It is still a business."
Furr said he just wants a chance.
'I love playing football. I am passionate about it," Furr said. "Whether someone drafts me in the first round or later, I am still going to play the same way."