After what he called a “long, anxious day,” the University of South Dakota’s football defensive leader Tyler Starr is headed to the National Football League.
Starr, the 6’4″ linebacker who has led USD defense for three years, was drafted 255 by the Atlanta Falcons in round seven of the NFL Draft May 10.
“I’m doing fantastic now,” Starr told AtlantaFalcons.com after being drafted. “Just a surreal feeling. What a grueling day, not knowing what was going to happen. Starting to lose a little faith and then with the last couple picks, the Falcons swoop me up. Filled with emotions.”
He is the first Coyote to be drafted in the Joe Glenn coaching era, and the first draft pick from USD since offensive lineman Tom Compton was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 2012.
Starr was the second-to-last pick in the 2014 draft, one selection away from being “Mr. Irrelevant” — the title given to the last player drafted.
Leading into the draft, Starr was projected by CBSSports and NFL.com to slip into the seventh round or be picked up in free agency following the 2014 NFL Draft. Starr was also one of 30 linebacker prospects to be invited to the NFL Combine in February.
While at the Combine, Starr underperformed for his position in the 40-yard dash, but posted top linebacker performances in both the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle run.
However, his draft stock slipped after the Combine, but with more workouts throughout the spring Starr stayed a legitimate draft prospect.
Starr was the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and previously was a Buck Buchanan Award finalist in 2012 for outstanding FCS defensive player.
He is tied for most sacks in USD football history at 27.0 sacks and played all 12 games in the 2013 Missouri Valley Football Conference.
“I can bring the ability to pass rush, not only get down the field with the tight end,” Starr said. “I’m a guy that can come in play special teams, make plays all over the field.”
Alongside Starr, defensive back Jarrid Bryant was the second Coyote to make his move into the NFL. Bryant was not drafted but signed with the St. Louis Rams in free agency following the draft.