CHICAGO -- Last week, Evan Royster found himself sitting on the steps of Penn State's student bookstore in State College as a photographer snapped pictures.
"It was pretty ridiculous," the Nittany Lions senior running back said. "They've got steps that have all the rushing leaders. I think I'm the seventh or eighth guy down."
Eighth, to be exact. Royster has 2,918 career rushing yards entering his senior season at Penn State, but he only needs 481 more to pass Curt Warner for the all-time record.
Barring a snag, Royster will reach the top step before he hangs up his white helmet and black shoes. In anticipation of a more featured role, he added about 15 pounds during the offseason and expects to play at 218 or 219 this fall.
Royster is growing tired of all the talk about his pursuit of the record; he fully grasps what it'll mean.
"It's brought up so much now that I can't stop thinking about it," he said. "I'm not going to lie and say I don't think about it and don't wait it, 'cause I want it. It's something that any person in my position would be setting their goals for."
Royster nearly took himself out of the running by turning pro after the 2009 season. He sent his paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board on time but never received a draft evaluation, even after several follow-up requests.
Eventually, Royster returned to Penn State, where he can gain something more valuable than a paycheck.
"If I get that record, I think that will take me further than any NFL career will," he said. "I'll cherish that way more than playing a couple years in the NFL."