LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - From the moment Keke Coutee stepped foot inside Abe Martin Stadium and watched Lufkin greats Reggie McNeal, Jorvorskie Lane and Dez Bryant play football, he knew what he wanted to do.
In just a few days the dream of playing professional football could become a reality.
"This has been a dream," Coutee said. "I have said it every week leading up to the draft. It is still unreal to me that the draft is just days away."
Coutee would be just the next Lufkin Panther to make it to the NFL.
"They made me realize that is what I wanted to do," Coutee said. "They made me realize I wanted to catch touchdowns at Lufkin High School, play Division I football and go to the NFL. Just to be mentioned with Dez, Jorvorskie, Reggie really means a lot to me."
Coutee was one of the biggest threats this past season as he lit up the scoreboard for Texas Tech.
Coutee earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2017. The wide receiver ranked fourth in the FBS with 1,429 receiving yards on 93 catches. Coutee also ranked sixth in the nation with 10 touchdowns. After11-reception, 187-yard, one-score effort against South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl, Coutee announced he was going to leave college early and head to the pro ranks.
"That was the hardest decision I had to make in my life," Coutee said. " Do I stay in school or do I go to the NFL and take care of my family? I decided to go but it was some thing I thought about every day leading up to it."
Coutee comes in at 5'10''. One of his down sides according to scouts is his size. Coutee proved doubters wrong in high school becoming a four-star recruit and he looks to prove them wrong again.
"That doesn't measure what is on the inside of me," Coutee said. "It doesn't measure my heart. I play like I am 6 foot. I have a lot of heart. When I go on the field I am not afraid of anyone."
Coutee is not settling for having his name called in the coming days. He knows once he gets drafted the real work starts.
"In the league, the next day you can be gone," Coutee said. "Those guys do this for a living. I want to go out and compete and give 100 percent."
The NFL Draft takes place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, April 26-28.