JACKSONVILLE – Neal Sterling's road to the NFL reached a significant milestone Wednesday.
But if Wednesday was a memorable step for Sterling, he knows, too, it was a long way from the final one.
Sterling, a seventh-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft from Monmouth University, on Wednesday signed his rookie contract with the Jaguars. He was one of two seventh-round selections for the Jaguars, with the other being Notre Dame tight end Ben Koyack.
"I feel like I'm part of the team right now," Sterling said shortly before noon. "I just want to keep going and be on the team come this August."
Sterling said he absolutely had a moment of realization Wednesday about really being in the NFL.
"It was a pretty cool experience, just being able to sign that contract," he said. "But I always keep in the back of my head that it's not over yet. This is just the start. I've got to go out every day and do what I can do to help the team out best as I can."
Sterling, a wide receiver, was the No. 220 overall selection in the draft.
"Just signing that contract, it's just surreal feeling," he said. "I feel like it might have been a little difficult coming from a small school. We're never on that big platform, that big stage. Everyone talks about how hard it is to make it out from a small school, but I always thought if you're a talented player and make plays, teams are going to find you no matter where you are.
"I just always kept it in the back of my mind, and that helped me get to this place right now."
Sterling said he never owned a car, but that that probably will change now.
"Probably when I go home I'll look for something I can drive around here with now and get myself from A to B," he said.
Take a look back at some of the best images taken during the Jaguars two-day rookie minicamp held on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9 inside the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.
Sterling became the second member of the Jaguars' 2015 rookie class to sign with the team. Dante Fowler Jr., the No. 3 overall selection in the draft, signed his rookie contract Monday.
Sterling, the second Monmouth player to be selected in the NFL Draft, caught 212 passes in college for 2,615 yards and 22 touchdowns in 43 games. He finished as Monmouth's all-time receptions leader.
Sterling, a first-team All-Big South selection in 2014, caught 55 receptions in his final season for 905 yards and six touchdowns.
He caught 57 passes for 647 yards and six touchdowns in 2013, catching 33 passes for 386 yards and five touchdowns in 2012 and 57 passes for 677 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.
Sterling's signing leaves six Jaguars 2015 draft selections unsigned: running back T.J. Yeldon (second round), offensive guard A.J. Cann (third round), safety James Sample (fourth round), wide receiver Rashad Greene (fifth round), defensive tackle Michael Bennett (sixth round) and Koyack.