UNI Panthers

UNI's Daurice Fountain awaits NFL Draft, 'dream' weekend

Former Panther wide receiver could go in fourth or fifth round

Northern Iowa Panthers wide receiver Daurice Fountain (10) pulls in a 16-yard pass and runs it to the 1-yard line where he fumbled and it was recovered by tight end Elias Nissen (85) for a touchdown during the second quarter of their game at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Northern Iowa Panthers wide receiver Daurice Fountain (10) pulls in a 16-yard pass and runs it to the 1-yard line where he fumbled and it was recovered by tight end Elias Nissen (85) for a touchdown during the second quarter of their game at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR FALLS — Daurice Fountain said if someone had told him a year ago he’d be on the brink of becoming a mid-round selection in the NFL Draft, he would have thought they were “crazy.”

The former UNI All-American wide receiver acknowledged he would’ve said he’d make it to the NFL if asked as a freshman, but always expected it to be the hard way. Undrafted. Rookie minicamp invite. And maybe go to a few teams before getting the chance to solidify himself with one.

Well, a lot can change in a year, and when it comes to Fountain’s NFL Draft prospects a lot has. Fountain said he could go as early as the middle of the third round, and likely no later than the fifth. The Madison, Wis., native has even had a couple teams tell him if he’s still available at a particular pick of theirs, he’ll be their selection. While Fountain wouldn’t reveal those teams, he said one was making reference to its fourth-round pick, while the other was referencing its fifth-round selection.

No matter where he’s selected, Fountain said the advice he got from former position coach Pat McCann remains front of mind for him during this weekend.

“Basically, (Coach McCann) told me it don’t matter where you get picked up in the draft,” he said. “The only thing that matters is are you making plays when it comes to camp time? Just make plays. At the end of the day, you’ve still got to make that 53-man roster.”

Fountain worked out for 11 teams, a number he may not have gotten to had he been invited to the NFL’s Draft Combine in March. Eleven workouts over the past month meant a lot of early wake-up calls, time spent in airports and the occasional moments of being star-struck when at a team’s facility.

“I’ve been traveling the last few weeks every day throughout the week,” Fountain said. “On every Friday I have gotten stuck or delayed in the city (I’m in). I visited the Bengals and I remember walking through the locker room so I’m seeing all the guys just talking and having a good time and I look right and I literally locked eyes with A.J. Green. I was instantly star-struck.”

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The plan is to ignore Thursday night’s first round broadcast of the draft, then, at the advice of his agent, watch rounds 2 and 3 on Friday night with a gathering of friends and family in Madison. On Saturday — when Fountain feels he’s most likely to be picked — he’ll gather once more with family and friends and enjoy what the day brings.

Days away from potentially realizing a lifelong dream, Fountain’s faith, family and friends have helped him throughout the pre-draft process.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Fountain said. “Man, what do they say? Like 1 percent, not even, achieve this dream? So, just to know I can be a part of that 1 percent, man, it’s a blessing. It’d be an honor to not only represent the UNI family but to represent my own family, man.”

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