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Horizon grad Darren Carrington Jr. optimistic about NFL Draft

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SAN DIEGO -- Darren Carrington Junior hopes to hear his name called at some point in the seven rounds as the NFL Draft kicks off Thursday. He certainly has the talent, and the DNA, as the son of a former Charger.

Every weight repetition that Carrington performs represents the ups and downs he's endured through his football career.

A four-year letterman at Horizon High School, the Rancho Bernardo native committed to play football at the University of Oregon. As a Duck, he flew high and proud, spending three years playing wide receiver and earning second team all Pac-12 conference honors his sophomore year.

"Definitely from high school you have a structure and then you go to college and you still have a structure but if you're not working, you've got somebody coming from your scholarship the next year and then so on and so forth when you get to the NFL," said Carrington.

But in the summer of 2016 came Carrington's lows. After leading the Ducks in receiving yards his junior year, Carrington transferred to Utah after his dismissal from Oregon following a DUI charge and other off-field issues. He admits his personal struggles, but thanks to the support of his dad, he's moved on.

"I mean I've had my ups and downs so his words to me is just whenever I'm down, get right back up," said Carrington. "Nobody can hold me down for too long and you're your biggest critic."

Darren Carrington senior played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams, including for the Chargers Super Bowl team,  and his son plans to use that to his advantage.

"I mean he never really forced the game on me which made me love it even more and want to pick his brain and find out about what it's going to be like in college, and what it's going to be like in the NFL," said Carrington. "He's my dad but just like a big bro, a friend that's just putting me on game and making sure I'm ready to go at the next level."

The next level for Carrington comes at the NFL draft. At six-foot-three and 195 pounds, Carrington says he's spoken to teams like Dallas, Arizona, Miami and others anticipating his pick to come in one of the later rounds.

"Knowing that I'm at least on their list is good for me," said Carrington. "I really don't care what round I get drafted, as long as I get a chance."

"I mean honestly probably the best natural athlete we've seen so I mean he's going to have a long NFL career," said Les Spellman, the owner of Maxim Ahletic.

Carrington admits he'll probably cry if he's drafted but says he wants younger athletes to hear his message, to never give up.

"Even when you get knocked down, you get back up, stand 10 toes and look whatever happened in the face, adversity, and keep going," he said.

The NFL Draft kicks off at 5 p.m. on Fox 5.

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