From national team to the draft

Photo courtesy of USA Football

By Joe Frollo USA Football
Posted: May 6, 2015 - 8:17 AM



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From start to finish Thursday night in Chicago, the first round of the NFL Draft was an exciting time for former members of the U.S. National Team.

Three players on the 2012 U.S. Under-19 squad that competed in the International Bowl were selected on opening night, including the No. 1 pick, QB Jameis Winston to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the 32nd and final pick of the night, defensive lineman Malcom Brown to the New England Patriots. Georgia running back Todd Gurley also heard his name called at No. 10 to the St. Louis Rams.

These three National Team alumni join running back David Wilson, the MVP of the 2009 IFAF Under-19 World Championship, as former Team USA players to be taken in the first round. Like Brown, Wilson was the final pick of 2012’s initial round, joining the New York Giants.

READ MORE about these draft day memorable moments at the team sites for Tampa Bay, St. Louis and New England

The 6-4, 230-pound Winston made history by becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2013 while leading the Seminoles to a national championship. He threw for 4,057 yards and 40 TDs that season, following that up with 3,907 yards and 25 TDs this past fall.

Gurley took college football by storm as a true freshman, just months after competing in the 2012 International Bowl. That season, he ran for 1,385 yards and 17 TDs, second only to Johnny Manziel in the SEC. Injuries and suspensions limited his last two seasons. Still, he averaged better than 6.5 yards per carry in rushing for a combined 1,900 yards in 2013 and 2014.

Brown, an Under-19 captain in the 2012 International Bowl, finished 2014 with 72 tackles in 13 games, including 15 for loss and 6½ sacks. With a potent combination of speed and power at 6-4, 305 pounds, Brown has the ability to beat one-on-one blocks and disrupt opposing offenses.

The draft continues Friday and Saturday with rounds two through seven. Other U.S. National Team alumni expected to be selected include: Ohio State DT Michael Bennett, Stanford CB Alex Carter, Nebraska DB Corey Cooper, Michigan WR Devin Funchess, Penn State LB Mike Hull, Stanford WR Ty Montgomery and Baylor QB Bryce Petty.

Here’s a look at other U.S. National Team alumni and where they were drafted this past weekend.

Devin Funchess, WR-TE, Michigan
Second round, 41st overall, Carolina Panthers

At 6-5, 230 pounds, the 2012 Under-19 International Bowl alum had a team best 62 catches in 2014 for 733 yards and four TDs. In three seasons, he had 126 receptions for 1,715 yards and 15 scores.

Alex Carter, CB, Stanford
Third round, 80th overall, Detroit Lions

Carter suited up for the Under-19 team in the 2012 International Bowl and has started for the Cardinal since stepping on the Stanford campus. With 41 tackles and 10 passes defended, Carter (6-0, 200) is a physical corner with solid coverage skills. He had just one interception this season, but that came against Oregon’s Marcus Mariotta, who threw just two picks during the regular season.

Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
Third round, 94th overall, Green Bay Packers

A member of the 2011 Under-19 International Bowl team, Montgomery is one of the best kick returners in the draft and has the size and playmaking ability to stand out at wide receiver on the NFL level as well. At 6-2, 215 pounds, Montgomery caught a team-high 61 passes for 604 yards and three TDs. He also ran for 146 yards, averaged 19.8 yards per punt return and 25.2 yards per kick return, adding three more touchdowns.

Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Fourth round, 103rd overall, New York Jets

Petty holds the distinction of being the first quarterback ever for the U.S. Under-19 National Team. A team captain in 2009, he helped lead the USA to a gold medal in the 2009 IFAF World Championship. Petty put up big numbers at Baylor, throwing for 4,200 yards as a junior and 3,855 yards as a senior for the No. 6 Bears, combining for 61 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
Sixth round, Jacksonville Jaguarrs, 180 overall

Bennett helped the Buckeyes win a national championship this season, starting all 15 games and finishing with 41 tackles, including 14 for loss. The 6-foot-2, 288-pound defensive tackle, who played for the Under-19 team in the 2011 International Bowl, shined in Ohio State’s biggest games, making himself a nuisance in opposing backfields.

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Here’s U.S. National Team alumni who signed as undrafted free agents.

Mike Hull, LB, Penn State
Signed with Miami Dolphins

A tackling machine for the Nittany Lions, the 6-0, 232-pound Hull played for the USA in the 2010 International Bowl. Hull had 140 tackles in 2014, nearly twice as many as the next player on the Penn State defense, including 10½ for loss. As a junior, he had 78 tackles.