"Where's number 35?"
The buzz was about defensive back Jamal Agnew, whose lightning-fast speed and bone-crunching hits had given him a county-wide reputation.
And after a record-setting four-year career at University of San Diego (USD), Agnew's dream came true when he was selected by the Detroit Lions in the annual National Football League draft.
About 20 people were gathered at his ill grandmother's house, Agnew said.
"I got the call and my heart dropped," he said. "I was like, 'No way is this happening! I saw the TV, I saw Detroit on the clock, man, and then I saw the area code. I was like, ‘No way this is happening right now!' I had my phone on loud and my phone started ringing and everybody in the room just got quiet. I answered the phone and it was (Lions' assistant to the general manager) Kevin (Anderson). You know, I'm still in shock right now. I'm still kind of shaking."
Agnew, who ran an attention-grabbing 4.32 second 40-yard dash at his pro day workout, heard his name called in the fifth round, the 165th overall pick of the draft, and he was thrilled to be taken by Detroit after making a visit there recently.
"You have no idea how excited me and my family are right now," Agnew told press members during a conference call. "I went there for a visit and I had a blast. Great people I met out there, great facilities and I'm just so excited to be a Lion."
During his visit, Agnew said he found Detroit to be very comfortable.
"It was great just because of the culture there. It felt like I was around my own family. They're so thoughtful. And everybody there that I met was fantastic. That's why I'm so excited and that's why my family is so excited," he said. "I went there and it felt like home. We're excited that I get to a call a second place home."
Wearing jersey number 26 at USD, Agnew finished as the university's all-time leader in passes defended (59). In 44 career games, he totaled 148 tackles (118 solo), with 12.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and 11 interceptions.
Agnew was a two-time defensive MVP and a first-team All-Pioneer League defensive back in 2016 after finishing his senior season with 31 tackles (24 solo), 13 passes defended, one blocked kick, one quarterback hurry and two interceptions. He also returned 17 punts for a 12.7 yard average including one for a 63-yard touchdown.
During his senior season, Agnew helped the team to a 10-2 overall record including a perfect 8-0 Pioneer Football League championship and a 35-21 FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) playoff win at Cal Poly.
The only question about Agnew's abilities has been his size. As a Pointer, he was listed as 5-foot 8-inches tall and 145 pounds. At USD, he was 5-foot 10-inches tall and 185 pounds.
Agnew isn't sure where the Lions will utilize him.
"I'm just looking forward to going in there and competing with the other guys, the other draftees, possible free agents and veterans and just looking to get better," he told reporters.
Following a two-year prep career at PLHS (missing his junior year with an injury) Agnew was also recruited by Cal Poly, Oregon State and Idaho State. He chose USD for its quality of education, the football program and the chance to play at home in front of family and friends. Agnew majored in communications.
Agnew is only the second player from USD drafted by an NFL team. Quarterback Josh Johnson was selected by Tampa Bay, also in the fifth round.