I wrote my column today about Domenik Hixon and how the start of his professional career is a microcosm of the school year for the Zips.
So without further delay, here is my final column of the year...
During the first four rounds of last weekend's NFL Draft, Zips receiver Domenik Hixon watched. And waited. And prayed.
But he was realistic.
Sure, there were teams that liked Hixon. He worked out for Pittsburgh, San Diego, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Green Bay. The Browns even had an interest.
But some of those teams didn't want to use a draft pick on Hixon.
"I had people calling me telling me they liked me as a free agent," Hixon said. "You never know what team likes you."
So Hixon watched. And waited. And prayed.
Then on Sunday afternoon, he received a phone call from a team he never expected. The Denver Broncos were to make their fourth-round pick in just minutes, and they wanted to talk with the player who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at Akron's Pro Day.
"That was the first time I had talked to Denver," Hixon said.
Minutes later, Hixon received another call, this time from Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who said his team would pick him with the 130th pick in the draft.
Then ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. made the announcement on live television.
As the news sunk in, Hixon prayed again, this time in thanksgiving.
"I was just blessed," the humble receiver said. "It was all God working. I had no clue where I was going or if I was going. That morning, I prayed and said whatever happens is going to happen for a reason."
It was perhaps the final surprise of the school year for Akron athletics.
First, the men's soccer team was ranked No. 1 nationally. Eventually the Zips won the Mid-American Conference Championship and advanced to the Elite Eight.
Then the football team won the Mid-American Championship on a miracle game-winning catch from Hixon with just seconds left in the fourth quarter, taking the Zips to their first bowl game in 30 years.
A few months later, the men's basketball team won its first-ever postseason game in the team's Division I era. For several weeks of the season, the Zips earned votes in the national top 25.
Now the softball team is in position to contend for its first-ever MAC Championship. The women's track team also has the chance to complete the MAC's first-ever triple crown by winning the conference titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.
These accomplishments have all been surprises. Anyone who expected them had insane levels of optimism.
Next year, that will not be true. There should be no surprises. The men's soccer team should have a high ranking to start the year. Experts will favor the football and men's basketball teams to win the MAC.
Indeed, it is an exciting time for Zips fans. And it has been thrilling for me to write about them.
If you want to follow the Zips throughout the summer, you can read my blog on Ohio.com. I update it daily with Zips news and rumors. You can find it at blogs.ohio.com/rasor.
Relax during summer break, but remember it is only 123 days until senior quarterback Luke Getsy and the Zips kick off at Penn State.