Anyone who's flipped past ESPN in the last month is probably aware of the NFL Draft that will kickoff today at 1 p.m.
James Noble would prefer to not be one of those people.
Noble, a 2004 graduate of Barstow High School, has an outside shot of being drafted but his nerves also have an outside shot of getting shredded throughout the two-day draft. Saturday and Sunday are not days he's looking forward to paying attention to football.
"I'm trying not to think about it too much," said Noble, who said he'll attempt to distract himself by playing basketball. "I'm going to be at my house in Barstow. I'd like to not watch it. I don't want to."
Noble rushed for 2,616 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior at Barstow High School in 2003 and continue his record setting ways at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. He is finished with classes at Cal Poly and will graduate in June with a degree in industrial technology.
The job he really wants is a shot at professional football.
He's spent the last month between Barstow and San Luis Obispo training. He participated in a pro day workout at San Jose State in late March and recorded a 4.55 seconds 40-yard dash time.
While teammate Ramses Barden is expected to be drafted somewhere in the middle of the draft, Noble isn't expecting to get called on either day of the seven-round draft and is prepared to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent. He admits that his size — 5-foot-6-inches and 180 pounds — and attending a non-Division I school don't work in his favor.
Noble was on a record-setting pace during his first two seasons but his production waned as he went from the feature back to another option when the Mustangs switched to a triple-option system. His overall numbers dropped, but the amount of work he put in and his yards per carry did not, Noble said.
"I hope the NFL sees that," Noble said. "I still put in the same work."
Noble said he is willing to play any position in any professional football league to work his way up.
His stock might be helped by the emergence of San Diego running back Darren Sproles. Sproles started several games in place of injured LaDainian Tomlinson last season. At 5-foot-6-inches and 181 pounds, Sproles shares a similar stature to Noble.
"That really helped me out a lot," Noble said. "A lot of people are comparing me to him. I'm real glad he's up there giving me a chance."
Although Noble isn't expecting to hear his name called, if it was called he said he would be, "running in the streets."
Perhaps running in the NFL is the next step.
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