April 28, 2012
The University of Montana's Caleb McSurdy was selected in the 7th round of the 2012 National Football League draft by the Dallas Cowboys today (Saturday, April 28). He was the 222nd player chosen.
McSurdy is the second former Griz player chosen in this year's NFL draft, as cornerback Trumaine Johnson was picked in the third round yesterday (Friday, April (27) by the St. Louis Rams. The draft process began Thursday with the first round, followed by second and third round picks on Friday, and then rounds four through seven were held today.
McSurdy is Montana's highest ever NFL draft pick at linebacker, and just the second Griz player at that position to be drafted. The last linebacker from UM to be drafted was Ron Rosenberg, who was picked in the 13th round by the Cincinnati Bengals. (Former Griz tight end Brian Salonen was a 10th round selection by the Cowboys in 1984, and moved to linebacker by the club).
"I am just really thankful for the opportunity, period," McSurdy said via a phone interview Saturday afternoon from his home in Missoula; and then to go `America's Team.' They have a great football team and a lot of good linebackers. I have a lot of emotions - it's just awesome."
When asked who contacted him today McSurdy said that Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones was the first person he talked to from the organization.
"I talked to Jerry Jones first, and then I spoke with (Cowboys' head coach) Jason Garrett and then I spoke with Rob Ryan their defensive coordinator," McSurdy said. "I know they have a min-camp next weekend, so it will get going soon.
"I think that is has all been a progression," McSurdy said, when asked if he thought this day would ever come. "If you would have asked me that a few years ago - probably not. But, I just kept working hard and getting better and improved my game, and got more attention and things started snow-balling. The ultimate goal is to make the team, and that is something that I will not lose sight of."
A 6-1, 250-pound middle linebacker from Boise, Idaho, McSurdy was one of the most prolific tacklers in school history with 293 career tackles, which ranks him 10th all-time. He played in 56 games and started in 25 in a row in his junior and senior seasons.
McSurdy had an exceptional season as a senior and was named a first team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, The Sports Network, Associated Press, Phil Steele, and College Sporting News Fab 50. He was voted the Big Sky Conference's "Defensive Player of the Year" and was a first team all-league selection. He was ranked fourth in the Big Sky and 45th in the nation in tackles with 9.36 a game, and he had 10 or more tackles in seven contests.
He started all 14 games for the 11-3 Grizzlies in 2011 and was chosen Montana's co-recipient of the Steve Carlson Award (team MVP), and he also received UM's annual Golden Helmet (team's hardest hitter) award.
He was one of three players from Montana who participated in the Players All-Star Classic, which was played at War Memorial Stadium, AT&T Field in Little Rock, Ark.
As a junior he started all 11 games for the Griz and had a team-high 112 tackles and was a second team All-Big Sky pick. He also competed in track and field at Montana, and placed in the shot put and the discus in the 2010 Big Sky championships.
He had a career-high 17 tackles against Cal Poly last season, and versus Montana State in 2010. He had an interception for a 61-yard touchdown in UM's 2011 FCS semifinal game at Sam Houston State.
McSurdy was an all-state pick at Borah High School agt both linebacker and tight end as a senior. He was a three-time all-conference choice at linebacker. He was the state champion in the shot put and discus in high school was named "Thrower of the Year."
The Grizzlies have now had a total of 32 players drafted by NFL teams, and Montana has had seven picks go to the league in the last five seasons.
Those seven players include defensive back Jimmy Wilson (7th round, Dolphins, 2011); safety Shann Schillinger (6th round, Falcons, 2010) and receiver/returner Marc Mariani (7th round Titans, 2010); defensive end Kroy Biermann (5th round, Falcons, 2008) and running back Lex Hilliard (6th round, Dolphins, 2008); along with McSurdy and Johnson in 2012.
McSurdy's Year-by-Year and Career Stats
2010=11/11-32-80-112--0.5 (-6)--7.5 (-19)--0-2-0-1-0
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