USF in store for record-setting draft

Usually, Carlton Mitchell would be watching cartoons on a Thursday night. Today, however, Mitchell will watch and listen, along with several other former USF players, to hear his name called during the 2010 NFL draft.

Mitchell, who could be one of five former players taken in the first three rounds, said Wednesday that he’s blessed to possibly be one of USF’s highest drafted players.

“I’m very excited … I did everything I could to put myself in this situation,” said Mitchell, a projected second or third rounder. “Whatever round I go, or anything that happens, I know that’s where God wants me to be. It is what it is.”

Joining Mitchell is a probable record-setting school draft class. Cornerback Jerome Murphy, defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, and George Selvie and safety Nate Allen could all be taken in the first three rounds. USF could have as many as seven taken, with quarterback Matt Grothe and linebacker Kion Wilson also as potentials.

“We’ve always had great talent here (at USF) and will have great talent for years to come,” said Allen, a projected second rounder. “We had a great career, football wise. Hopefully, we can keep it going in the NFL.”

In the program’s 13-year history, USF has had only three other players taken in the first three rounds: cornerback Mike Jenkins, who was the 25th overall pick by Dallas in 2008, linebacker Kawika Mitchell, taken by the Chiefs as the 47th overall pick in 2003, and linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, who went to the Patriots as the 97th overall pick in 2009.

There’s a high probability Pierre-Paul, who only played one year of Division I football, will be USF’s highest pick ever, surpassing Jenkins.

Pierre-Paul’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said at USF Pro Day on March 30 that he’d be “stunned” if Pierre-Paul didn’t go in the top 10, calling him a “rare athlete,” though Pierre-Paul, who had 6.5 sacks last season, is a mid-first rounder by most projections.

“It’ll mean a lot,” Pierre-Paul said of being the highest draft pick ever at USF. “I don’t really care where I go. I just want to play football.”

USF coach Skip Holtz said during the spring that he’s excited to see what the future holds for former players.

“We’re hopeful for them,” he said. “I wish them nothing but the best. They’re Bulls. We’re all in the same family.”

Mitchell and Murphy have helped their stock recently. Mitchell ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at Pro Day, while Murphy impressed during the Senior Bowl.

“It’s a true blessing to be a part of something this big,” said Mitchell, who plans to watch the draft at his mom’s house. “It’s something I take a lot of pride in. Looking at it from a coach and player perspective, I think that would be a good tool to use for scouting – recruits to come be a part (of USF) … Just being a part of history – it’s a very good feeling.”