Nine former BYU players heading to NFL

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Bryan Pearson
Jamaal Williams jukes defenders during carry. (Bryan Pearson)

Former BYU running back Jamaal Williams received the call he was waiting for Saturday afternoon – a call to play in the NFL.  BYU’s all-time leading rusher was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft – the 134th overall pick.  Eight additional former Cougars will receive NFL opportunities.

“It was an honor to coach each one of these guys and now see them get these opportunities with NFL teams,” said BYU football coach Kalani Sitake. “I’m excited to see their hard work and talents recognized with the chance to keep playing this game and represent BYU at the next level.”

Williams is the first BYU player drafted by the Packers since linebacker Brady Poppinga, who was selected with the 125th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2005 draft.

“I’m excited for Jamaal and I know he is prepared to play at the next level,” Sitake said. “His style and abilities as a tough, decisive runner and good pass protector will translate extremely well to the NFL game. He can do it all and is a great person and teammate. I look forward to following his NFL career.”

Other Cougars drafted by Green Bay include current offensive coordinator Ty Detmer (1992), quarterback Robbie Bosco (1986) and defensive end Gayland (Mike) Mills (1948).

Williams is the 50th BYU player taken all-time in one of the first four rounds of the NFL Draft and the 14th fourth-round pick.

The last BYU player to be drafted in the fourth round was tight end Dennis Pitta, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 114th overall pick in 2011.

Once the draft concluded on Saturday, eight former BYU players signed undrafted free agent deals or received minicamp invitations from teams across the league.

One notable signing is quarterback Taysom Hill, who will join Williams in Green Bay after signing with the Packers. Hill threw for 2,323 yards and ran for 603 yards in 12 games last season.

Undrafted free agent signings:

  • Defensive back Michael Davis with the Los Angeles Chargers
  • Defensive back Kai Nacua with the Cleveland Browns
  • Defensive end Sae Tautu with the New Orleans Saints
  • Linebacker Harvey Langi with the New England Patriots
  • Quarterback Taysom Hill with the Green Bay Packers
  • Running back Algernon Brown with the Seattle Seahawks

Received minicamp invitation:

  • Offensive lineman Andrew Eide with the San Francisco 49ers
  • Wide receiver Nick Kurtz with the Oakland Raiders

Including the results from this year’s draft, BYU has had 180 undrafted players receive NFL opportunities.

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