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Eight Hilltoppers land NFL opportunities

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – After tying for the most draft picks in the Commonwealth for
the second consecutive years, the WKU Hilltoppers saw a total of eight former
Hilltoppers get an opportunity to pursue their NFL dreams over the weekend following
the 2017 NFL Draft.

On Friday’s second night of the draft, All-American offensive tackle Forrest Lamp
became the highest-ever Hilltopper selected as he went No. 38 overall to the Los
Angeles Chargers as the sixth pick in the second round. Lamp supplanted cornerback
Joseph Jefferson, who went No. 74 overall to the Indianapolis Colts in 2002, as the
standard bearer for draft selections.

Lamp also became the highest-ever Conference USA offensive lineman picked, passing
Houston’s Sebastian Vollmer (No. 58) who went to the New England Patriots in 2009.

He was joined later in the draft by Indiana lineman Dan Feeney, and the pair are
expected to be contributors immediately along the line for the newly relocated
Chargers as they look to protect All-Pro quarterback Phillip Rivers and provide
running lanes for Pro Bowl running back Melvin Gordon. Many of the nation’s top
draft analysts considered Lamp’s selection in the second round one of the steals of
the draft as he was widely viewed as a first-round prospect.

In Friday’s third round, former All-American receiver Taywan Taylor, the owner of
every career receiving record in program history, became the third selection by the
Tennessee Titans who selected the Louisville native No. 72 overall. Taylor became
the second-highest draft pick in school history. He joined Western Michigan receiver
Corey Davis and FIU tight end Jonnu Smith as offensive selections for the Titans who
placed an emphasis on finding offensive playmakers to surround quarterback Marcus
Mariota this season.

It was a calculated move by the Titans who traded up into the No. 72 slot with the
New England Patriots to get Taylor. In the process, Tennessee surrendered the 83rd
and 124th picks while adding No. 72 and No. 200.

Lamp and Taylor became the first C-USA duo from the same team selected in the third
round or higher since Dewayne White (2nd) and Dave Ragone (3rd) of Louisville in
2003.

Following the conclusion of the draft on Saturday, six more Hilltoppers received
calls from NFL teams to sign as undrafted free agents or to attend their rookie
minicamps.

As undrafted free agents, offensive tackle Darrell Williams, Jr., signed with San
Francisco, defensive tackle Omarius Bryant signed with the Baltimore Ravens, and
quarterback Tyler Ferguson signed with the Tennessee Titans.

Linebacker Keith Brown (Seattle Seahawks), snapper Nolan Dowling (Kansas City
Chiefs) and offensive center Max Halpin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) all received rookie
minicamp invitations.

It marks the second consecutive season eight Hilltoppers have gotten the opportunity
to continue on to the NFL, tying the record set last season.

HILLTOPPERS HEADING TO THE NFL

* Forrest Lamp, Los Angeles Chargers

* Taywan Taylor, Tennessee Titans

* Omarius Bryant, Baltimore Ravens

* Tyler Ferguson, Tennessee Titans

* Darrell Williams, Jr., San Francisco 49ers

* Keith Brown, Seattle Seahawks

* Nolan Dowling, Kansas City Chiefs

* Max Halpin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The eight join six former Hilltoppers currently listed on NFL rosters: Brandon
Doughty (Miami Dolphins), Jonathan Dowling (Buffalo Bills), Jack Doyle (Indianapolis
Colts), George Fant (Seattle Seahawks), Tyler Higbee (LA Rams), and Prince Charles
Iworah (49ers).

How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Football,
follow the program via social media @WKUFootball on Twitter and Facebook.

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