Hagan Anxious for NFL Draft

It may not last as long as the off-season, but the four or so months between the end of the season and the NFL draft can still feel like an eternity. In just a few days, that wait is about to finally come to an end for Derek Hagan, who couldn't be happier to embark on his professional career.

Four years ago he came to ASU in great anonymity. He departs Tempe not only as one of the best wide receivers in Sun Devil history, but also the All-Time Pac-10 leader in receptions and second in career receiving yards. During his Arizona State tenure, Derek Hagan rewrote the school's record book with 3,939 receiving yards, 258 receptions and 27 touchdowns.

"I'm just waiting," said Derek Hagan. "Just like a lot of other players, just waiting and sitting by the phone ready for it to ring (laughs). I'm a little tired and it does get old just waiting around, but I'm definitely more excited than tired because it's always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL." The wide receiver has signed with super agent Tom Condon from IMG who also represents NFL stars such as Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, and LaDainian Tomlinson, and is likely to represent another top flight prospect in Matt Leinhart.

As part of the pre-draft activity, Hagan has already visited some of the best teams in the league, such as Super Bowl Champions Pittsburgh Steelers, AFC West champs Denver Broncos, as well as the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tennessee Titans. "It's pretty much like a recruiting visit when I was back in high school," commented Hagan on those trips. "You're out there meeting with the coaches, checking out the facilities, stuff like that." Much like every other draft prospect, the wide receiver doesn't have a strong preference on where to play, but admitted that he wouldn't mind suiting up for the Oakland Raiders. "Silver and Black - that's the team I watched growing up."

With just days until the draft, the business of forecasting who will go in what round and to which team is reaching a feverous pitch. Hagan takes all the feedback and projections concerning him with a grain of slat. "I don't pay much attention to that," he remarked. "The guys that do that (projecting) – they don't really know. It's not up to them, but up to the team to pick the players. Everybody has their opinion, but the teams are the ones making the decision. I think I'll be picked in the first or second round, but you never know – I'm not the one making the decision"

Hagan did receive some criticism for his performance during Senior Bowl week, but got for the most part favorable reviews over his showing in the NFL combine. A positive attached to the lengthy wait is that it does help to keep emotions at an even keel rate. "It's such a long process from January," explained Hagan. "You have the Senior Bowl, combine, Pro Day, individual workouts…just a lot of waiting and you don't have time to think about what just happened, because you're preparing for the next thing."

Hagan is still here in Tempe, but in a couple of days he will be going back home to Palmdale, Calif. to experience the draft with his family and friends. "It will be hard to leave Tempe," he admitted. "I was watching spring practices last week, and I'm like ‘dang, I was still playing on the team a few months ago.' I guess that the weirdest thing about all this – knowing that I'm done playing at ASU. Tempe is home, and I have a lot of friends here and I'll be coming back here to visit."

And the next time he does venture to the Valley of the Sun, it will be as a player in the National Football League and another Sun Devil point of pride in the professional ranks.

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