“I could not be more thankful for the honor and opportunity to represent the North Carolina Central University fans and family, the Palmdale and Durham communities, and the HBCU experience,” said NCCU defensive back Bryan Mills (pictured in the #22 jersey). Photo courtesy of KeShawn Ennis (Music City Miracles)

NCCU football player receives NFL Combine invite

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For many young football players, making it to the NFL is a dream come true. Every year, the league sends out a total of 330 combine invitations to the best college prospects in the country hoping to get their shot at playing at the next level. NCCU defensive back Bryan Mills was one of the select few.

“Blessed to be invited to the 2021 NFL Combine. A lifelong dream of mine!” tweeted Mills on Saturday after participating in Reese’s Senior Bowl. He finished the game with four tackles and a pass deflection.

Mills transferred to N.C. Central from College of Canyons, a community college in Santa Clarita, California, in 2019. In his first season, he was named the starting corner.

In just 10 games, Bryan accounted for 22 tackles, 13 passes defended, and led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with five interceptions. He would finish his one season at N.C. Central with multiple weekly awards and tying the single-game interception record with three against Morgan State University.

In September, the Palmdale, California native announced his decision to forego his remaining eligibility in efforts to properly prepare himself for the NFL draft.

“I could not be more thankful for the honor and opportunity to represent the North Carolina Central University fans and family, the Palmdale and Durham communities, and the HBCU experience,” said Mills. “My journey from California to North Carolina has shaped me into the player, teammate, and person I am today.”

Mills becomes the fifth Eagle to get an invitation to the NFL combine. He also joins Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ryan Smith as the only two players to represent the school in the Division I era.

As a result of the pandemic, the traditional NFL Combine format has been changed.

Instead of prospects performing at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, each player will participate in on-field workouts at their on-campus pro days.

Interviews, as well as medical and psychological exams, with teams, will be conducted virtually.

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