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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Redskins Nab Lefotu: Senior taken in 7th round

    Darrel Brooks
    Darrel Brooks

    The Arizona football team broke a three-year NFL Draft drought yesterday when senior guard Kili Lefotu was selected by the Washington Redskins in the seventh and final round.

    Lefotu, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound native of Riverside, Calif., went to Washington with the 230th overall pick. He started 37 games in four seasons at Arizona, playing at both guard positions and dabbling at tackle.

    Lefotu is the first Wildcat to be taken since 2003, when linebacker Lance Briggs, wide receiver Bobby Wade and offensive lineman Makoa Freitas were chosen in the third, fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.

    Scout.com, an online recruiting service, ranked Lefotu 49th at his position in February.

    “”I think it was pretty surprising, because no one really picked him to be drafted,”” said senior punter Danny Baugher of Lefotu, who could not be reached for comment.

    Baugher, among seven other Wildcats eligible for the draft but not selected, said he agreed to a free-agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday.

    After fielding calls all weekend from teams like San Francisco, Cleveland and New England, Baugher said he decided on Cincinnati because of the city, the coaching staff and the state of the organization.

    “”I really like the idea that they’re a young team coming up,”” he said.

    Baugher said another important factor was that the Bengals’ special teams coach, Darrin Simmons, was willing to hold an in-person workout at Baugher’s high school in Phoenix, where they ran though drills involving directional kicking, pooch punts and holding.

    Baugher said few teams had given him such individual attention because of a torn right medial collateral ligament he suffered against Oregon on Oct. 22, an injury that ended the best season of his collegiate career early.

    At the time, Baugher, who still finished as Arizona’s career punting leader, led the nation with an average of 47.5 yards per kick, parlaying his efforts into becoming a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s top punter.

    Baugher, who did not work out for but had personal interviews with teams at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February, said he appreciated Cincinnati’s straightforward pitch.

    “”They said I had an opportunity to come in and play,”” he said.

    Senior safety Darrell Brooks said he reached a deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

    Brooks, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection who led Arizona with 93 tackles last season, said he was disappointed not to get chosen but that he rationalized the feeling by realizing other talented players were not taken either.

    “”My first reaction was like, ‘What’s my next move? What’s the next, best move for me?'”” he said.

    Brooks said the Cowboys appealed to him because they have a defense full of young players as well as coaches who have plenty of experience working with them.

    “”It’s a perfect situation for me,”” he said. “”The coaches told me I’ll have a lot of opportunities for me to get on the field and make the team.””

    Defensive end Copeland Bryan, running backs Mike Bell and Gilbert Harris and safety Lamon Means also were not selected this weekend. Bryan did not return phone calls left for him yesterday, while Bell declined comment.

    Baugher said that while he had not yet spoken to any of his undrafted teammates, he was confident they would eventually sign with teams.

    Four Arizona players – offensive lineman Chris Johnson (Houston), tight end Steve Fleming (New York Giants), defensive end Andre Torrey (New England) and defensive lineman Carlos Williams (Houston) – latched onto squads as free agents last spring. None are currently on an NFL roster.

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