CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After 3 years at App State, Clifton Duck is leaving early to go to the NFL Draft.
Depending on the mock draft you look at, some have him as a late round pick-- some don’t even have him being drafted at all.
But none of that matters to Clifton because of the journey he has taken to get to this point.
“Looking at mock drafts, I don’t do too much of that because nobody really writes my story well,” said Duck.
Clifton is a cornerback who is now listed at 5 foot 10 and 180 pounds. A long way from being an undersized 5 foot 9, 150 pound wide receiver and defensive back out of Butler High School. But small size didn’t stop him from making great plays.
“Coming out of high school I always led our county or state in receiving or interceptions,” said Duck. “The lack of offers as in the one I had from App State because Toledo took theirs when the coach left, I feel like that built me to where I am today. It was that time of you don’t have to look outside for confirmation that you’re good or that you can play. It’s just in yourself and you have to find it in yourself.”
When he got to the only school that offered him a scholarship, he proved the Mountaineers right by his play on the field.
“I started my freshman year—first game Tennessee,” recalls Duck. “The confidence they put in me, it wasn’t ‘you’re a freshman, go play.’ It was ‘you’re a college football player, go make plays.’ Coming from not having too many offers to getting the chance to start on a division 1 team that was winning, I really feel like that pushed me over. It’s time to go to work. If you put the work in, you can do it.”
In spite of his “small size”, Duck never missed a game in his App State career as he started all 39 games played by the Mountaineers.
Duck was a freshman All-American as he had 5 interceptions and led the Sun Belt Conference in pass break ups.
He followed that first year with an outstanding sophomore season as he had the 4th most interceptions in the nation with 6.
This past season was not one of his best statistically as he only had 1 interception and 5 break ups. Which has some wondering why is he going pro with a year left of eligibility. The answer is simple for Duck. Just look at the path he has already walked.
“If you go back to how my story has been written I wasn’t anybody’s pick on what happened to me,” said Duck. “No one thought I’d be here now. Clifton Duck is just a guy that looks forward. That’s just what I have been big on. That’s just how my life goes. Staying true to me and doing what I feel in my timing. So nobody really writes my story too well.”