On three weeks from Thursday, Javon Kinlaw's life will change forever.
The University of South Carolina defensive lineman is widely expected to be a top-20 pick in April 23's draft and could go as high as in the top 10. At 6-foot-4, 324 lbs., he'll be a force on the defensive line for whichever club selects him.
Kinlaw, like many athletes, has had plenty of adversity to overcome throughout his life. In a detailed profile from ESPN, Kinlaw explained how life was like growing up in Washington, D.C. Kinlaw and his family bounced from home to home, and in some of these homes, they had no water or electricity.
"We had gas, a gas stove," Kinlaw told ESPN. "We would light the stove with a little match or something, get a tall pot, boil the water, mix it with some cold water, put it in a bucket, take it upstairs, take a shower like that."
Kinlaw moved to South Carolina in ninth grade, where his football career began as a sophomore, as his mother couldn't afford for him to play Pop Warner growing up. At first, Kinlaw was raw, and according to his head coach, just wasn't good. But Kinlaw's size gained attention from major Division I schools. He was offered a scholarship by the University of South Carolina and eventually committed there.
Halfway through his senior year of high school, Kinlaw dropped out of school. After devising a plan with his high school coach and South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, Kinlaw went to Jones County Community College in Mississippi before heading to South Carolina.
In three years with the Gamecocks, Kinlaw transformed into one of the best interior defensive linemen in the country. He finished his senior season with six sacks and 35 tackles, and is a consensus first-round pick in every mock draft.
In NBC Sports Washington's latest Mock Draft, Kinlaw is selected 13th overall by the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers. After trading All-Pro DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, Kinlaw would fit right in for the 49ers. Teams like the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals all could use defensive line help, too. All three of those teams select within the first 11 picks of the draft.
With the Redskins holding the No. 2 selection and widely expected to take Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young at that spot, it's highly unlikely Kinlaw ends up with his hometown team. But fortunately for Redskins fans, it doesn't appear he will land in the NFC East division, either, meaning the Redskins won't have to face the talented defensive lineman twice a season.
In just a few short weeks, Kinlaw will be drafted by an NFL team, and his life will change forever. To say he's come a long way from being a homeless child in the nation's capital is a massive understatement.
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