Bud Dupree arrived in Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon, his first time ever in the city. And when he went through the Fort Pitt Tunnels, seeing the city, the skyline and Heinz Field open up in front of him for the first time, all he could say, "That is crazy. It's like a whole different spot."
The last 24 hours have been pretty crazy for Dupree, going from a much-heralded college player to the Steelers first-round draft pick. And it's only going to get busier. He has a full two days planned for him in Pittsburgh, from his introductory press conference to attending the Steelers Fan Blitz at Heinz Field on Saturday.
"It's been overwhelming," said Dupree upon his arrival. "It's a dream come true. It still feels fake. It was amazing being drafted. It was real touching and the best moment in my life so far. Seeing my family happy, the feeling I got was very emotional. I was real happy. I didn't expect Coach (Mike) Tomlin to take me because he didn't communicate a lot. Once he called me, it was the best situation I could be in.
"I am happy to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and get to work with the guys. The Steelers are a great team and always have been, always trying to go to the Super Bowl. For them to put their faith in me to help them get to the Super Bowl is a great feeling."
As Dupree worked his way through Pittsburgh International Airport, he quickly learned that all he heard about Steelers Nation was spot on. The fans love the Steelers, and one by one they showed him that love with handshakes, congratulations and requests for pictures and selfies.
"People at the draft told me Steelers Nation is the best nation in football," said Dupree. "I already feel the love from Steelers Nation. It's a great Nation of fans. It will be like being in a college atmosphere. I can't wait to meet everybody."
Photos from the Steelers Team House in Draft Town at the 2015 NFL Draft.
Dupree, who played at Kentucky, knows it's going to take time to get acclimated to Pittsburgh and the Steelers defense, but is excited to be a part of it.
"It's a great defense already," said Dupree. "For Coach Tomlin to believe I can help improve it even more is a blessing for me. I like the aggressive style they play and the way they use the linebackers is great.
"I can be an all-purpose down player, someone who can learn quickly. And just help the team any way they need helped."
He is also looking forward to learning from the team's current linebackers, including veteran James Harrison.
"I can learn a lot from him," said Dupree. "He has been around the game a while, he is a Pro Bowler, he can teach me.
"I have to make sure my eyes are big and my ears are open."