The NFL Draft is a lot like graduation

Today’s the big day for a number of former Trojans — the highly anticipated 2015 NFL Draft is finally here.

The lifelong dreams of 32 young players will come true tonight in Chicago when they receive a call on their smart phones from a member of a team’s front office — sharing the good news with the draftees that the team would like them to come play for their city.

After their names are called on stage by Commissioner Roger Goodell  and emotional hugs and congratulatory handshakes are exchanged between friends and family, most of the draftees hold up a team hat and jersey, pose for a quick photo-op with the commissioner, and just like that, they’re off into the real world.

This draft is stacked from top to bottom with five-star prospects including USC’s very own Leonard Williams, who is projected to go in the top-five. Other USC alumni including Nelson Agholor, Javorius “Buck” Allen, Josh Shaw and Hayes Pullard may have to wait until days two or three until they hear their names called, but they’ve waited their entire lives for this moment — I’m sure they can wait another day or two.

Pullard took to the Player’s Tribune yesterday in a first person editorial to make his case for why NFL teams should draft him — last ditch effort to move his way up the draft boards.

The NFL Draft surely is a great example of a spectacle with all of the green room drama, tears and anxious faces, but if you want to witness a true display of pageantry, there’s USC commencement, which is right around the corner for those students graduating.

Like at the draft, you can expect to find all kinds of people dressed to the nines in their gowns and sashes, congratulating one another and posing for pictures for, perhaps, one last time in front of Tommy Trojan. Of course, there will also be a few tears here and there, but ones of joy.

At graduation, you will also find an abundance of former college students in their early-to-mid 20’s that are eager, yet nervous to start a new chapter in their lives.

Just like teams that are seeking a player that will boost their franchise to the next level, companies and start-ups are also constantly looking for talented college graduates that are capable of making a difference for their organization.

I have had the privilege of knowing and working with a few of these gifted types of graduating seniors, which I consider to be        five-star prospects, and who will be entering into a different type of draft in a little over two weeks — the real world.

There’s a pair of USC journalism hall-of-famers in particular that I want to salute, though, for teaching me so much over the years.

First and foremost, there’s the one and only Evan Budrovich, otherwise known as the voice of USC athletics. Scouts are also classifying him at a five-star on-air prospect.

Ever since meeting Evan at a USC women’s basketball game when I was still just a little freshman, I knew that he was destined for big things. A winner of the 2013-2014 Chick Hearn Scholarship, Evan has spent the last three seasons calling USC baseball games from Dedeaux Field, where he will always be known for his “Oh that’s just filthy” call.

My sophomore year, Evan took me under his wing and brought me on board to host Trojan Vision’s one-and-only [and best] weekly sports talk show The Water Cooler. We’ve been on air together almost every Friday for just about two years, and I have a feeling there will be a few tears that run down my face when he signs off for the last time tomorrow afternoon.

Over the years, we continually joked about getting his byline in the paper before he graduated and finally did last week with a women’s tennis feature.

I’m definitely going to miss Evan and his witty, pun-filled show run throughs, as he will be taking his talents across the country to North Carolina to begin his career with the Morehead City Marlins.

Furthermore, I would like to toast to former Daily Trojan sports editor Aubrey Kragen, someone who has also had a tremendous impact on my journalism career here at USC.

The first time I met Aubrey actually was at the annual Daily Trojan vs. Daily Bruin basketball game, where we emerged victorious over our rivals in a blowout fashion, and it was surely a sign of good things to come.

We joked about one day becoming co-editors, and she would fulfill half of that proposition when she became sports editor last spring. During that time, she always gave me guidance when I asked for it and transitioned me into my current role, and there’s no way I would be where I am today without her.

I’ll never forget the time we ended up on primetime SportsCenter after photo bombing Coach Sark’s          postgame interview on national TV.

I’m forever grateful to not only Aubrey and Evan, but all of the seniors that taught me something important at some point along the way. I will dearly miss all of you.

Good luck in the real world, and I have no doubt that you will all accomplish extraordinary things.

As for me, luckily for you guys, I’m just a junior and am excited to return in the fall for what is sure to be an unforgettable and exciting season of USC football.

Fight on, and have a great summer.

Darian Nourian is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Persian Persuasion,” ran on Thursdays.