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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

A trio of perfect end-ings

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 18 Arizona Wildcats hosted the USC Trojans in a college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The visiting Trojans upset the Cats 21-24.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 18 Arizona Wildcats hosted the USC Trojans in a college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The visiting Trojans upset the ‘Cats 21-24.

Elmore selected by Super Bowl champs

For a player who’s been overlooked his entire football career, it was only fitting that Ricky Elmore had to wait through 196 picks before learning his NFL fate.

“”I was waiting all day,”” Elmore said. “”I thought I was going to go a little earlier than I did so it was getting a little stressful.””

But when the Green Bay Packers finally selected the former Wildcat in the sixth round, all of the weight was lifted from his shoulders as Elmore landed with the defending Super Bowl champions.

“”They said you want to be a Green Bay Packer and I was like, ‘Hell yeah I can’t wait,'”” Elmore said of his phone conversation when he was drafted. “”They were like, ‘We like what you do. We’re going to take you next.’ It was crazy. I can’t explain it. It was a surreal moment.””

Elmore admitted he and some of his 50 friends and family members watching from his Simi Valley, Calif., home broke into tears.

“”It’s really emotional when you sit there with all your family and friends there,”” Elmore said. “”It’s something you’ve been waiting for your whole life.””

While Elmore said he was grateful to be drafted at all, he did admit that falling to the sixth round is just another source of motivation to continuously prove people wrong for overlooking him. Despite leading the Pacific 10 Conference in sacks in 2009 and 2010, every team passed on Elmore more than once, which only adds more fuel to a fire that’s been burning since he was underappreciated at Arizona.

“”It’s not what happens or where you get drafted, it’s where you end up 10 years from now,”” Elmore said. “”Another reason to prove people wrong. One more example of it.””

Elmore will take that chip on his shoulder into what Brooks Reed called “”a perfect situation for him.”” He’ll be able to learn the outside linebacker position — where he’ll be switching from defensive end — from two-time Pro Bowler and friend Clay Matthews, as well as heralded outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene.

“”I’m just happy I ended up on such a good team with such a great coach and it’s going to be a great opportunity to start my career,”” Elmore said.

Elmore isn’t sure what number he’ll wear or the type of opportunity he’ll be given with the Packers, but his goals are set high and he knows what he can offer the defending Super Bowl champs.

“”Somebody who has a lot of heart,”” Elmore said as he described himself. “”A blue collar type of guy. Somebody that won’t be outworked.

“”Realistically I want to get in there and help the team out any way I can off the bat. I want to eventually win another Super Bowl and get to the pro bowl and I think that’s a possibility because of how hard I work.””

Elmore is ready for the workload the NFL commands, but he may not be quite ready for the Green Bay weather. The Southern California product said he’s never been in the snow or seen snow, which will change drastically soon enough.

Reed joked that Elmore, “”Can’t wear his board shorts and sandals anymore.”” But Elmore replied, “”I’m still going to be rocking it.””re

 

D’AundReed lands with the Vikings

D’Aundre Reed spent his entire Arizona football career playing in the shadow of fellow defensive ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore.

Despite his sculpted frame and starter-quality skills, D’Aundre Reed never had the chance to lead the Pacific 10 Conference in sacks like Ricky Elmore or earn first-team All-Pac-10 honors like Brooks Reed.

But in the end, D’Aundre Reed’s film and combine numbers spoke for themselves as the Minnesota Vikings selected the 6-foot-4, 261-pound defensive end with the 12th pick in the seventh and final round of this year’s NFL draft.

The former Wildcat pass rusher sat through three days, six rounds and 214 picks before hearing his name called, but it was well worth the wait as D’Aundre Reed and 20 of his friends and family members rejoiced in his sister’s Temecula, Calif., home to celebrate a life-long dream coming full circle.

“”When I got the phone call, I was relieved and excited at the same time. My heart dropped, I was so excited,”” D’Aundre Reed said. “”It’s indescribable. An amazing feeling and another step closer to my dream.””

He wasn’t planning on his dream starting in Minnesota, however. The St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins were all in contact with D’Aundre Reed throughout the final round and assured him that they would select him if he was available.

But with the Vikings on the clock, D’Aundre Reed’s phone rang and Minnesota — the last team that worked him out — became the first destination in what he hopes to be a long and successful NFL career full of, “”great pass rush, great run defense and hard-nosed football.””

While Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore will switch to outside linebacker at the next level, D’Aundre Reed said he will wear No. 92 and remain at defensive end in the Vikings’ 4-3 defense.

“”I’m excited because I’m already used to playing defensive end and I get the opportunity to do whatever I do best,”” he said.

D’Aundre Reed said he expects to fight for playing time and contribute on special teams right away.

What’s he looking forward to most?

“”To try to tackle Adrian Peterson,”” he said.

Elmore and D’Aundre Reed will also transform from teammates to divisional rivals as both the Vikings and Green Bay Packers, who drafted Elmore in the sixth round, play in the NFC North.

“”That should be interesting,”” D’Aundre Reed said with a laugh.

For now, the once-third wheel defensive end will return to Tucson on Wednesday to work out with UA strength coach Corey Edmond until the lockout is lifted. He still has two more classes to complete before graduation, but school is on the backburner as D’Aundre Reed finally achieved his dream despite his limited opportunities as a Wildcat.  

“”He’s a guy that is going to work his butt off every day,”” said former teammate and new member of the Houston Texans, Brooks Reed. “”He never complained about not starting. I’m really happy that a team picked him up and recognized his skills.””

Brooks Reed lands ‘perfect’ situation

From the opportunity, to the Arizona ties, to the team colors, Brooks Reed couldn’t have landed in a better situation when the Houston Texans selected him with the 42nd overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Not only will Reed have a chance to start as a rookie outside linebacker, he’ll also have a mentor in former UA teammate and second-year Texan Earl Mitchell, while continuing to sport the Arizona red and blue.

“”It’s perfect, man,”” Reed said. “”I have an opportunity to start right away, and (Mitchell) will show me the ropes and how to act around all the vets and practice and whatnot. We’re friends and we’ll be lifting buddies again.””

Although he’ll be playing a new position and wearing a new number (58), Reed is expected to be a key cog in Houston’s new look 3-4 defense that features former Southern California standout Brian Cushing and electric defensive end Mario Williams.

Reed said that because of Houston’s “”hybrid”” 3-4, he’ll play both standing up and with his hand on the ground at times for a Texans team that’s “”on the rise,”” according to Reed.

“”They need someone besides Mario Williams who can rush the quarterback and I think schematically I fit perfectly there,”” Reed said. “”They liked my playing style and how relentless I am.””

Reed ultimately landed in a great situation, but it didn’t come without stress and uncertainty. He and his family sat on pins and needles for hours on Thursday night at local restaurant Frog & Firkin as he watched the first round pass without being selected.

“”It didn’t show it on the film but it was really hard waiting to hear your name called,”” he explained. “”You have people telling you you’re going to go here or there. Teams pass and you’d look your phone to see if you were going to get a call.””

After slipping past the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots — who both were reportedly interested — Reed received a call from Texans head coach Gary Kubiak.

“”He said ‘Are you having a good day? It’s about to be better,'”” said the 6-foot-3, 263-pound Reed.

Although it’s been a few days, Reed said it still hasn’t sunk in that he’s an actual NFL player.

“”I really won’t get that feeling until I put that uniform on and I’m playing,”” Reed said.  “”Playing against (Peyton) Manning and company, that is one of those moments where you’re like ‘Yeah, I’ve really made it.'””

So now that Reed’s made it, what will be his first big purchase? Reed called himself “”cheap”” and low maintenance, so all he wants is a truck that actually works well.

“”Maybe a car but not even a really nice car,”” Reed said with a laugh. “”My truck now doesn’t even shift into fourth gear. It’s a liability.””

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