MTSU lineman stops graduation with pick by Seahawks

MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee State defensive lineman Jimmy Staten knew a lifelong goal was already on his docket Saturday.

A phone call from the West Coast doubled his dream in a single day.

"Man, I just graduated and got drafted," Staten said. "I'm floating on a cloud right now."

Staten was selected by the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks with the 32nd pick in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. He was sitting in Murphy Center during his graduation ceremony when Seahawks general manager John Schneider called.

"Me and (fellow MTSU defensive lineman Pat McNeil) were keeping up with the picks on our phones during graduation, and then I got the call," said Staten, who earned a liberal studies degree. "I was talking to the GM right in the middle of the ceremony. My heart was beating so fast."

About 10 minutes later, news of Staten's selection reached the main stage, where MTSU President Sidney McPhee halted the ceremony to share the announcement. Staten stood and pumped his fist amid cheers, as more than a dozen of his family members in the arena learned the news.

"They found out when everybody else did," Staten said. "I couldn't believe all that happened like that."

A few hours later, some of Staten's teammates learned their NFL destinations as undrafted free agents. Quarterback Logan Kilgore signed with the Saints, offensive lineman Josh Walker signed with the Colts and cornerback Sammy Seamster signed with the Ravens.

Kilgore, MTSU's all-time leader in touchdown passes, said 14 teams contacted him. A text from former Saints quarterback Archie Manning and a call from Saints coach Sean Payton made his decision a little easier.

Kilgore has had a relationship with Manning, having worked at the Manning Passing Academy the past three years.

"Archie has been a great guy on my side, and Coach Payton told me I would get a great opportunity there," Kilgore said. "It made it a slam dunk."

Walker said he picked the team that gave him the most attention: "The Colts had been there from the start. They flew me in to Indianapolis, and they also came down here to work me out."

Seamster picked the Ravens over nine other teams because they have only four cornerbacks.


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