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— This is the third in a series as The State chronicles Sadarius Hutcherson’s journey to the NFL Draft on April 29-May 1. Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here. —

Sadarius Hutcherson didn’t want much for his birthday last week.

Instead, the former South Carolina offensive lineman is asking for a belated present that comes this weekend during the NFL Draft.

“I’m 23 years old. I told my family I’m getting old. I don’t need anything else. I want a phone call,” Hutcherson said this week.

The phone call Hutcherson is referring to is the one from an NFL team to tell him they’ve selected him in the 2021 draft. Hutcherson is confident he will get that call at some point during the draft, which began Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Hutcherson’s birthday (April 23) usually falls near the NFL Draft each year, and he tunes in regularly to the annual event. But he will be more than just a spectator this year as he waits to hear from his future employer with the life-changing moment.

He planned on watching the draft back in Tennessee with his family. But Hutcherson’s mom tested positive for COVID-19 recently, so he will spend this weekend at his apartment in Columbia with some of his Gamecock offensive linemen.

“When I receive the phone call it isn’t going to be the same with her seeing it on Zoom. I will still do something special for her down the road,” Hutcherson said of his mother, who is feeling a lot better since testing positive for COVID. “If I couldn’t be at home, it is best to be with them. Outside of my immediate family, these guys know what I have been through, have gone through hell and back with me and have a better idea of things. One day they will be in the same shoes I am in.”

Hutcherson said he has stayed busy working out and talking to NFL teams since his pro day at USC in March where 61 NFL personnel members were in attendance. He likes what he has heard from teams he has spoken to directly or through his agent.

NFL.com projects Hutcherson as a sixth or seventh round selection.

“My draft stock is going up and people don’t realize,” Hutcherson said. “I know what I am hearing and that is what matters. I’m hearing great feedback from a bunch of different teams.”

“This moment I have been looking since I was 4 years old. I have been playing for about 20 years and I grew as a player and person. Football has changed my life and has become my job, my dream job. It is something I desired to do all my life.”

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