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UConn Football Stars Await NFL Draft

Defensive tackle Kendall Reyes is projected to be one of the highest drafted players in UConn football history.
Three footballs next to a pylon

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

UConn’s most successful year at the NFL draft came in 2009 when four Huskies were selected in the first two rounds. Other than 2009, no Husky has ever been drafted before the third round. Defensive tackle Kendall Reyes is likely to change that this year. Reyes had a strong senior campaign for the Huskies; he notched 46 tackles (13.5 tackles for loss), 4.5 sacks, and a touchdown in UConn’s 40-22 win over rival Rutgers on Senior Day.

The 6 foot 4, 295 pound defensive lineman is projected to be a late first-round, early second-round draft pick after a strong performance in the Senior Bowl. Reyes recorded two sacks and was able to showcase his abilities in front of a fleet of NFL scouts including the Vikings’ Leslie Frazier and the Redskins' Mike Shanahan. At February’s NFL Combine, Reyes benched 225 pounds 36 times and had a 40-yard dash time of 4.95. NFL.com’s Charles Davis, ESPN’s Todd McShay, and The Sporting News each have predicted Reyes being selected 30th overall by the 49ers. According to NFLDraftScout.com, Reyes is ranked the sixth overall defensive tackle and 36th among all players in this year’s field.

Dave Teggart will forever be remembered for the 52-yard field goal against South Florida in 2010 that sent Connecticut to a BCS bowl game for the first time in program history. 16-months removed from the legendary boot, Teggart is on the verge of becoming the first UConn kicker to play in the NFL since 1969. In his four years at UConn, he made 74 of 97 field goal attempts and 99.2% of extra points. As a junior, he led the Big East with 111 points, which finished 12th nationally among all kickers. Teggart is ranked the fifth best place kicker according to NFLDraftScout.com, but given the scarcity of kickers being drafted, Teggart will most likely find his way onto an NFL team through a tryout.

At 5 foot 9, and 174 pounds, Kashif Moore is an undersized wide receiver attempting to fit in with a collection of bigger and stronger NFL pass-catchers. Moore was invited to the NFL combine and finished first among all participants with a 43.5-inch vertical jump. He also placed among the top wide-outs in the 20-yard shuttle (4.05) and 40-yard dash (4.42). NFLDraftScout.com has Moore as the 46th best wide receiver but the 424th overall player. With only 253 picks in the seven-round draft, Moore being selected is improbable but his quickness and ability to effectively run passing routes could land him on an NFL team this fall.

Other UConn players with NFL optimism, though unlikely to be drafted, include center Moe Petrus and offensive tackle Mike Ryan. As juniors, Petrus (6’2”, 302 pounds) and Ryan (6’5”, 335 pounds) anchored an offensive line that only allowed 15 sacks and paved the way for 174.69 rushing yards per game.

Reyes may be the only name called throughout the draft weekend, but he is helping build a football factory in Connecticut, just as he predecessors did.

Photo Credit: Jimmywayne via Flickr