Kentucky linebacker/defensive end Alvin “Bud” Dupree was chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 22nd overall selection of the 2015 National Football League Draft Thursday night in Chicago.
Louisville’s DeVante Parker was also a first-round pick, going to the Miami Dolphins at No. 14.
Dupree is the 16th player in Kentucky history taken in the first round of the NFL or AFL (American Football League) Draft. The most recent first-round Wildcat was defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson, selected by the New York Jets with the fourth overall pick in 2003.
Dupree is coming off an outstanding collegiate career in which he totaled 247 tackles, including 37 tackles for loss. His 37 TFL featured 23.5 quarterback sacks, second in school history. His sack total is even more impressive when one considers that he did not pass rush every down, as he split time between end and linebacker.
He finished in the top 10 of the Southeastern Conference in sacks and received All-SEC accolades each of his last three seasons.
As a senior, Dupree was named third-team All-America by Phil Steele’s College Football and was a consensus first-team All-SEC selection. He made 74 tackles, including 12.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries. The highlight of his season was intercepting a pass and returning it for the game-winning touchdown in the 45-38 upset win over South Carolina, earning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors.
He was the National Defensive Lineman of the Week in the season finale at Louisville, when he had seven tackles, three tackles for loss, forced two fumbles and had a quarterback sack. He had a career-high 15 tackles at Tennessee.
Dupree’s junior season included 61 tackles, 9.5 TFL and seven sacks. He was a second-team all-league selection by The Associated Press and Phil Steele’s College Football. His soph campaign featured a career-high 91 tackles, 12.5 TFL and 6.5 sacks. He was a third-team All-SEC pick.
Dupree came to UK as a standout tight end/defensive end from Wilkinson County High School in Irwinton, Ga. After an initial trial at tight end, he moved to the defensive side before his first game as a true freshman. He made 21 tackles and had 2.5 sacks. He moved into the starting lineup the last three games of the season, setting the stage for his final three campaigns.
Following his senior season, Dupree decided to stay at Kentucky for two purposes – first, to continue to train in UK’s high-performance program, and second, to complete his degree. Both moves paid off, as he posted monster numbers at the NFL Combine in February, showing the speed and strength in his 6-4, 269-pound frame that made him effective as both a lineman and linebacker. And, on May 9 he will receive his bachelor’s degree in community and leadership development.
Dupree was one of the players the NFL invited to attend the event in Chicago. He was accompanied by UK head coach Mark Stoops, defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot and defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh. Dupree represents the 11th player Stoops has coached that has been a first-round pick.
The most recent Wildcat drafted by Pittsburgh was another linebacker, Jeff Brady, who was selected in 1991 and went on to a nine-year NFL career. The most famous Wildcat to wear the Black and Gold was center Dermontti Dawson, who played in Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2000 and has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. No Wildcat has played for Pittsburgh since Dawson.
Parker, a wide receiver for the Cardinals, only played six games, but it was enough to impress NFL personnel to become the University of Louisville football team’s highest drafted receiver.
The 6-foot-3, 208-pounder was the first wide receiver taken in the first round in school history, and the highest since Deion Branch was taken in the second round of the 2003 draft.
A product of Louisville, Ky., Parker is the 12th Louisville student-athlete to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft – the fourth in the last two seasons. Safety Calvin Pryor (No. 18 to the New York Jets), linebacker Marcus Smith (No. 26 to the Philadelphia Eagles), and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (No. 32 to the Minnesota Vikings) were first-round selections a year ago, which was tied with Texas A&M for the most first-round picks from one school in the country.
“I’m so happy for DeVante and his family,” head coach Bobby Petrino said. “This is a great night, not only DeVante, but for the University of Louisville football program,”. “DeVante worked extremely hard to get back from his injury early in the season and dedicated himself to becoming one of the best receivers in the country, which was evident by him being the No. 14 pick in the draft. I wish him luck with the Miami Dolphins.”
The three-time all-conference selection Parker had his senior season delayed due to a foot injury suffered in fall camp. Missing the first seven games of the season, Parker responded with nearly full-season numbers. A second-team all-ACC selection, Parker caught 43 passes for 855 yards and five touchdowns in the final six games of the season.
Parker, who came to the Cardinals from Ballard High in Louisville, totaled five 100-yard contests, including a career-best 214 yards on eight receptions in a loss to second-ranked Florida State. He ended his home career in dramatic fashion, catching six passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-40 win over Kentucky.
For his career, Parker caught 156 passes (seventh all-time) for 2,775 yards (fourth all-time) and tied a school with 33 touchdown receptions. He totaled 10 100-yard receiving games, which is tied for the third-most in school history. He stands seventh all-time in receptions and fourth in career receiving yards and yards per reception.
Statistically, his best season came in 2013, when he registered 55 receptions for a career-best 885 yards receiving and tied a school record with 12 touchdown catches. A first team all-American Athletic Conference honoree, Parker closed his junior campaign by tallying then-career highs in receptions with nine in wins over Cincinnati and Miami (Fla.). He totaled 104 yards and two scores in an overtime win at Cincinnati and 142 yards and one score in the Russell Athletic Bowl victory over the Hurricanes.
Parker, who graduated in December with a degree in communication, appeared in 42 career games, making 25 starts.
Courtesy of KyForward