Photo: Aaron Wilson/Houston Chronicle

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Kansas defensive end/outside linebacker and North Shore graduate Dorance Armstrong, his family and Houston-based agent Kennard McGuire at a party to celebrate his invitation to the NFL scouting combine this week. Armstrong is projected as one of the top pass rushers available in the upcoming NFL draft.

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Kansas defensive end/outside linebacker and North Shore graduate Dorance Armstrong, his family and Houston-based agent Kennard McGuire at a party to celebrate his invitation to the NFL scouting combine this

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Photo: Aaron Wilson/Houston Chronicle

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Kansas defensive end/outside linebacker and North Shore graduate Dorance Armstrong, his family and Houston-based agent Kennard McGuire at a party to celebrate his invitation to the NFL scouting combine this week. Armstrong is projected as one of the top pass rushers available in the upcoming NFL draft.

less

Kansas defensive end/outside linebacker and North Shore graduate Dorance Armstrong, his family and Houston-based agent Kennard McGuire at a party to celebrate his invitation to the NFL scouting combine this

… more

Photo: Aaron Wilson/Houston Chronicle

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Kansas defensive end/outside linebacker and North Shore graduate Dorance Armstrong, his family and Houston-based agent Kennard McGuire at a party to celebrate his invitation to the NFL scouting combine this week. Armstrong is projected as one of the top pass rushers available in the upcoming NFL draft.

less

Kansas defensive end/outside linebacker and North Shore graduate Dorance Armstrong, his family and Houston-based agent Kennard McGuire at a party to celebrate his invitation to the NFL scouting combine this

… more

Photo: Aaron Wilson/Houston Chronicle

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LAWRENCE, KS – SEPTEMBER 23: Dorance Armstrong Jr. #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks tries to tackle Will Grier #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers at Memorial Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

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LAWRENCE, KS – SEPTEMBER 23: Dorance Armstrong Jr. #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks tries to tackle Will Grier #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers at Memorial Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo

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Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images

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LAWRENCE, KS – NOVEMBER 19: Kansas Jayhawks defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) chases Texas Longhorns quarterback Shane Buechele (7) during the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Kansas Jayhawks on November 19, 2016 at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, KS. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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LAWRENCE, KS – NOVEMBER 19: Kansas Jayhawks defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) chases Texas Longhorns quarterback Shane Buechele (7) during the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Kansas Jayhawks on

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Photo: Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire Via Getty Images

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LAWRENCE, KS – OCTOBER 31: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners is tackled by defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. #46 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the game at Memorial Stadium on October 31, 2015 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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LAWRENCE, KS – OCTOBER 31: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners is tackled by defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. #46 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the game at Memorial Stadium on October 31,

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Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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LAWRENCE, KS – NOVEMBER 18: Kansas Jayhawks defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) gets the edge while rushing in the second quarter of a Big 12 game between the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas Jayhawks on November 18, 2017 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, KS. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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LAWRENCE, KS – NOVEMBER 18: Kansas Jayhawks defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) gets the edge while rushing in the second quarter of a Big 12 game between the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas Jayhawks on

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Photo: Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire Via Getty Images

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LAWRENCE, KS – OCTOBER 7: Dorance Armstrong Jr. #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates after recovering a fumble against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the third quarter at Memorial Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

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LAWRENCE, KS – OCTOBER 7: Dorance Armstrong Jr. #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates after recovering a fumble against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the third quarter at Memorial Stadium on October 7, 2017 in

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Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images

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October 8, 2016: Kansas Jayhawks defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) during a Big 12 matchup between the TCU Horned Frogs and Kansas Jayhawks at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, KS. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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October 8, 2016: Kansas Jayhawks defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) during a Big 12 matchup between the TCU Horned Frogs and Kansas Jayhawks at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, KS. (Photo by

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Photo: Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire Via Getty Images

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Kansas pass rusher Dorance Armstrong (North Shore) ready for NFL scouting combine

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Dorance Armstrong did a double-take out of pure surprise, breaking into a huge smile as he took in the jubilant family scene around him.

The University of Kansas pass rusher, burgeoning NFL draft prospect and former North Shore standout thought he was going to attend a simple family photo shoot over the weekend.

Instead, Armstrong was greeted with a huge surprise party that included the front lawn being decorated with his name and wishing him good luck at the upcoming NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Surrounded by family and friends, Armstrong heads off to what amounts to a massive job interview filled with plenty of pride and confidence.

“I had no idea this was happening,” Armstrong said. “Mom told me just family photos. It feels good. My family has always supported me. Seeing all these smiles made me feel good.”

An All-Big 12 selection who declared early for the draft following his junior season, Armstrong was an all-district defensive end and basketball standout at North Shore.

This is the latest big step in his athletic career. While Armstrong has excelled on and off the field, he didn’t do it alone.

“He loves family,” said Carol Watson, Armstrong’s mother. “He’s not a baby anymore. He’s a grown man. I’m very proud of him. I’m excited. He’s always been that kid to be humble. He’s never gotten a big head. He has remained humble and grounded.

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“The NFL is getting a good pass rusher. I love to see him sack the quarterback. I’m nervous for him. Mama won’t be there behind the scenes, but this is the life expectation out there in the real world. He’ll have to interview. I think he’ll be good.”

As a sophomore for the Jayhawks, Armstrong was a first-team All-Big 12 selection. He recorded 10 sacks, 20 for losses, 56 tackles and three forced fumbles.

Represented by veteran Houston-based agent Kennard McGuire, Armstrong has been projected anywhere from the third round to the first round. He’s regarded as a rising draft prospect who’s expected to boost his stock at the combine because of his intangibles, character and athleticism.

“He’s the type of guy that people gravitate to,” said McGuire, who’s represented former Texans standouts in wide receiver Andre Johnson and offensive tackle Duane Brown. “I believe when they get to know him as a person that will transcend what they see on film. He’s just an amazing kid. He’s the kid you would want your daughter to bring home.
“This is one of those cases where the teams understand what the assets are. He’s the type of player who changes field position. Everything in this league is about players who can change field position.”

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As a junior for a 1-10 squad, Armstrong battled gamely while operating in a different role that called on him to rush the passer less. He was a second-team all-conference pick who stuffed the run and had 63 tackles, three forced fumbles, nine tackles for losses and 1 ½ sacks.

“When he was even in Little League, he played so fast,” said Deborah Harris, Armstrong’s aunt. “He’s real calm, but when he gets out on that field I always tell him, ‘It’s time to eat now.’ That’s what he does. He gets out there on that field and eats them up.”

Added Rosa Watson, Armstrong’s grandmother: “They’re getting an awesome football player. I’m very proud. I thank God for blessing him to fulfill his dream.”

“I think the NFL is going to learn that he’s a great young man,” said Dorothy Hubbard, Armstrong’s grandmother. “He prides himself on everything he does. He’s awesome. NFL, here he comes.”

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Armstrong will meet with several NFL teams this week. He arrives in Indianapolis on Thursday for testing, medical exams and interviews.

“The most important thing I want them to know is I’m a dual-threat player,” Armstrong said. “I can rush the passer or drop back. I get my lateral movement from basketball. I have that speed rush off the edge.

“Where I come from, all we know is how to fight and compete. I love that you’re able to hit somebody and not get in trouble for it.”

Armstrong is healthy and plans to conduct a full workout.

He hopes to run the 40-yard dash in the 4.5 range and bench press 225 pounds as many as 25 times. He’s been training at The Gym at Frozen Ropes in Katy.

“I’m excited,” Armstrong said. “I’m ready to go. I just want to go wherever I can help the team win. You don’t know where you’re going to go. We’ll see who has the final say on draft day.”

Armstrong chose Kansas over Houston, Cal, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, and Memphis, among others.

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“I’ve been watching him for a long time,” said Andrea Johnson, Armstrong’s aunt. “He’s amazing. He’s excellent. He’s a perfectionist.

“It seems like yesterday we were saying, ‘Rock, Chalk, Jayhawks,’ and he was going to college. To see him, three years later, enter the draft, I’m so proud of him and most proud of the person he stayed humble and didn’t change as a person.”

At 6-4, 254 pounds, Armstrong isn’t bulky. He has the broad frame to add more weight and is built like a basketball player with a lot of muscular definition and long arms.

He was a 4-3 defensive end in college, but likely projects to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme in the NFL.

“Dorance is the total package,” said Chris Johnson, Armstrong’s uncle. “This kid is fast, strong, long, real dedicated. He took his craft real serious. He’s real mild-mannered, but he always made big plays. He never made mistakes on or off the field. He’s a very studious person, but you’re getting a real dog.

“I think he will mirror some of those long careers like Cory Redding, a friend of mine I played alongside in high school. I see the same kind of spirit.”

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