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ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) -
The time has finally come.
Experts are calling this year's NFL draft to be one of the best, headlined by Rock Hill's own Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney made quite a name for himself on the national level as a Gamecock at USC and Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols says when Clowney shines so does the city.
"It means a lot for our city to have that notoriety and to be recognized for the talents of one individual," said Mayor Echols.
WBTV spoke with people around Rock Hill who are pumped to see their hometown hero possibly hear his name called first in Thursday's NFL draft.
"There are a lot of kids here that have dreams and aspirations like he does, so I'm pretty sure that's going to motivate them to work harder also. It's going to be pretty big for Rock Hill," said resident Jesse Hall.
"It's a real big deal for the city. It shines a lot of light on the football programs we have around here, as far as the talent," said resident Bernard Young.
Speaking of Rock Hill producing talent, when Clowney is taken is the first round Thursday, he'll be the third player in the last three years from the city to do so.
WBTV caught up with Clowney's High school football coach, Bobby Carroll, who says he knew Clowney was an extraordinary player when he played for him at South Pointe High School.
"We knew it when he walked in the door when he was a freshman. He was a special player then and he's still a special player," said Carroll.
"He's just a great football player, a great person and I'm sure he'll make a great NFL player," he continued.
While at USC, Clowney set school records in quarterback sacks and tackles for a loss per season while also earning Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Southeastern Conference.