Pitt All-American middle linebacker Scott McKillop knew he would be selected on the second day of the NFL draft, but he was hoping that his name was called early enough yesterday that he could relax and enjoy his day with friends and family.
As it turned out, McKillop's wait was a little longer than he expected, but once the phone call came he said the opportunity to play for his new coach made all the tense moments worth the wait.
McKillop was selected in the fifth round (146th overall) by the San Francisco 49ers, who are coached by one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history, Hall of Famer and former Bears star Mike Singletary.
"It is great to be drafted by a guy who is the best player ever at the position I am trying to play," McKillop said. "I'm happy ... I said, just give me an opportunity and I'll make the most of it by any means necessary. Obviously I would have liked to get picked sooner, but the thing is, the 49ers have a spot for me and really wanted me, and that means more.
"I think finding the right fit for me was the most important thing and I really believe that this is a great, great situation for me."
McKillop was one of four Panthers drafted over the weekend as he followed LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia, second round, 53rd overall) and preceded tailback LaRod Stephens-Howling (Arizona, seventh, 240th) and receiver Derek Kinder (Chicago, seventh, 251st). Also, Pitt long snapper Mark Estermyer, a Blackhawk graduate, is expected to sign a free-agent contract with the Steelers.
Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said he was happy with where McKillop was drafted and really excited for Stephens-Howling.
"The thing I talked about with Scott is that if he wasn't going to be a first-rounder, not to get caught up in what round he was picked," Wannstedt said. "Yes, the money is a little bit less from the third or fourth to the fifth, but he'll make money down the road once he proves himself. I told him to be more concerned with what situation he is going into. And I think this is a great situation for him, and I assure you, being as Mike Singletary was a linebacker, he'll take care of Scott.
"And LaRod, I'm so happy for him. I want all my players to get drafted, but LaRod, because of his character, what he meant to our team and how much he's had to overcome just because of his size, it is just a special thing to see him get an opportunity."
The 49ers play a 3-4 defensive scheme, and that means McKillop will have to make some adjustments to playing as one of two inside linebackers as opposed to his more natural position of middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.
Elsewhere locally, Penn State had five players drafted and West Virginia had three.
The Nittany Lions had one player, defensive end Aaron Maybin (Bills, first round, 11th overall) selected Saturday and then four more -- wide receivers Derrick Williams (Detroit, third, 82) and Deon Butler (Seattle, third, 91), guard Richard Orhnberger (New England, fourth, 123) and center A.Q. Shipley (Steelers, seventh, 227) -- drafted yesterday.
Pat White (Miami, second, 44) was the lone Mountaineers player drafted on the first day, and he was joined yesterday by his teammates, cornerback Ellis Lankster (Buffalo, seventh, 220) and kicker Pat McAfee (Indianapolis, seventh, 222).
McKillop (Kiski Area), McAfee (Plum) and Shipley (Moon) were also the only players from the WPIAL or City League drafted. Pitt punter Dave Brytus (West Allegheny) will sign a free-agent deal with Baltimore, Pitt guard C.J. Davis (West Allegheny) with Carolina and Penn State's Tyrell Sales (Butler) with Indianapolis.
Pitt All-American middle linebacker Scott McKillop was selected in the fifth round (146th overall) by the San Francisco 49ers, who are coached by one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history, Hall of Famer and former Bears star Mike Singletary.
Paul Zeise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1720.