The Madison native, former Xavier High School football star is gearing up for NFL draft night

The Madison native, former Xavier High School football star is gearing up for NFL draft night

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The Madison native and former Xavier High School football star is in Kansas City for the 2023 NFL Draft. University of Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, 23, could be a top-five pick Thursday night.

The Carolina Panthers have the No. 1 overall pick and, as usual, a lot of hype surrounding quarterbacks. Levis joins Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud and Florida's Anthony Richardson among the coveted prospects.

What a journey it has been for Levis. From high school football games at Palmer Field in Madison to playing in Kentucky in college football's biggest conference.

"It's weird. It's one of the few types of jobs where you literally don't know where you're going until the day after you start," Lewis told News 8 Sports.

This is life for an NFL prospect, but Levis is no ordinary prospect. He has all the tools to be a big-time NFL quarterback. After interviewing with several teams, he's just trying to stay even-keeled.

"With all these visits, I do my best to make the best possible impression, but I try not to feel strongly about one place over another because I'll be happy wherever I go," he said.

Levi's journey to draft day was not easy. After starring at Xavier High School in Madison, he played three years at Penn State before transferring to Kentucky.

He threw 46 touchdown passes for the Wildcats and his draft stock rose at the NFL Combine this winter. He proved many of his critics wrong, but that's not important in the process.

"I don't think that's like the main driving force of my motivation," Lewis said. “It is more so as opposed to anything that improves itself. I feel like reaching my goals and pushing myself and reaching the heights I've dreamed for myself."

No matter which team calls his name, Levis promises they will get 100% from him on and off the field.

"You're first and foremost going to get a great person, a great leader, someone who will just go to their facility and work hard," Levis said. “They'll just get a hard worker. I can only promise that I will go there and do my best to prepare my team to lead the battle.”

Lewis will become the second player from Madison to currently play in the NFL, joining Jack Driscoll of the Philadelphia Eagles.

When is the NFL draft?

The draft is a three-day ordeal starting Thursday night in Kansas City, Missouri. The first round starts at 8 pm. Eastern on ABC. The second and third rounds begin on Friday at 7 p.m. The fourth to seventh round will start from noon on Saturday. The draft can be seen on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

Who has the top picks?

The Panthers received the No. 1 pick in the draft after a trade with the Chicago Bears. Next, the Houston Texans pick No. 2, and the Arizona Cardinals pick No. 3. The Indianapolis Colts (No. 4) and Seattle Seahawks (No. 5) round out the top 5. The Panthers are expected to take a quarterback with the top selection.

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