Gophers' Boye Mafe preps for 'dream come true' NFL draft

The big day is quickly approaching for Boye Mafe.

Following a breakout season with the Gophers, the defensive end is ready to breakthrough at the next level.

Mafe is preparing for the NFL Draft as a potential top round pick - a dream come true for the Hopkins High School product.

"It’s something you dream about," Mafe told FOX 9 of his NFL opportunity. "To be in this situation is definitely different."

Mafe made the most of his final season at Minnesota, leading the team with seven sacks and 10 tackles for a loss.  

"As I started playing more and I realized I could hang with everybody in college, I started working more," Mafe said. "I realized I wanted to make this happen."

A big season put Boye on the pro football radar, but his draft stock soared after the Senior Bowl.

"I got a couple of calls after that," Mafe said of his play in the Senior Bowl.

Mafe consistently made plays in Mobile, Alabama, and backed up that performance at the NFL Combine and Gopher Pro Day.

"I’ve been going through this journey and knocking out milestones," Mafe said. "I don’t think it’s hit me personally, I’m just taking it for what it is."

Viewed as a late first round or second round pick, it’s a mystery as to where Boye will go in the NFL Draft.

The next few days are about balancing the unknown, but Boye does know what he’ll bring to whichever team takes a chance on him.

"I haven’t played my best ball yet," Mafe said. "There’s areas to improve on and I will continue to get better."

The NFL Draft begins on Thursday night in Las Vegas.