Editor’s note: Since I was sick and in bed for the entire weekend plus Monday, I was unable to do much posting if it all. Had I not felt this way, this post would have done on Saturday when they were drafted.
NEW YORK – Two former UConn Football standouts, Shamar Stephen and Yawin Smallwood, were taken in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft on Saturday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Stephen was selected by the Minnesota Vikings as 220th overall selection, while Smallwood was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the 253rd pick.
The pair became the 20th and 21st NFL Draft picks for the Huskies since 2007, following a school-record five selections last year.
Stephen, a 2013 team captain who started all 12 games at defensive tackle, was named to the All-Conference Second Team after finishing third on the team with 60 tackles and leading the Huskies with 10 tackles-for-loss. His senior campaign was headlined by an eight tackle game against conference rival USF on Oct. 12. He was a participant in the 2014 Senior Bowl following the season.
Smallwood was one of the program’s most productive players last season, leading the team with 118 tackles en route to being named an All-Conference First Team member. He recorded double-digit tackles in six of the Huskies’ 12 games and was a finalist for the Butkus Award. The linebacker notched 13 tackles, 2.0 TFL, a sack and a forced fumble vs. No. 14 Michigan on Sept. 21, earning CBSSports.com Defensive Player Of The Week honors. He received the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week nod after notching eight tackles, 2.0 TFL, a sack and a game-sealing 59-yard interception return for a touchdown at Temple on Nov. 23.
photo credit: ian bethune – sox & dawgs