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LOGAN, Utah - Former Utah State football players Shawn Murphy and Kevin Robinson were selected in the National Football League Draft Sunday. Murphy, an offensive guard, was picked by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round as the 110th overall selection, while Robinson, a wide receiver and kick returner, was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the sixth round with the 182nd pick overall.
The duo are the first USU players chosen in the NFL draft since Chris Cooley in the third round of the 2004 draft. Murphy and Robinson also become the first two Aggies to be picked in the same draft since 1989 when wide receiver Kendal Smith and quarterback Brent Snyder were both selected in the seventh round.
Murphy was the first player from the state of Utah drafted this year and was just the second Western Athletic Conference player selected behind Boise State's Ryan Clady, who was taken 12th overall by Denver. A total of eight players from the WAC were picked, as Utah State was joined Boise State as the only schools with more than one selection, after Clady's teammate, defensive back Orlando Scandrick was taken in the fifth round by Dallas.
The last USU offensive lineman selected to the NFL Draft was Mark Mraz in the 1987 draft, while Kevin Curtis in 2003 was the last USU wide receiver chosen.
Murphy was the 18th offensive lineman selected overall, and will be teammates with the number overall pick, offensive lineman Jake Long. Robinson was the 24th wide receiver chosen, including new Chiefs' teammate Will Franklin of Missouri.
The Dolphins traded up from their 115th overall pick with Chicago to select Murphy with the 110th overall pick in the fourth round. According to Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland, the Dolphins have penciled Murphy in at right guard and they expect him to compete for a starting position or at least a role working into the rotation.
"I think the only word that can completely describe it is excitement, that's all it is. I'm just as excited as can be," Murphy said. "I feel like the Dolphins are a team that are trying to turn things around and there's a really good chance I can come in and compete for a spot."
Murphy was in contact with several different members of the Dolphins' staff Sunday afternoon, as they called to tell him that they had traded up to pick him and that he was a Dolphin.
"There was a little bit of a delay from when they turned in the card with my name on it to the NFL to when the name shows up on the television. I was in the other room as my parents when I got the call, and before I could get into the same room as them, I could hear my mom screaming from the other room, so I knew that my name had been called. It was just a completely exciting moment," Murphy said.
A native of Alpine, Utah (Lone Peak HS/Dixie JC), Murphy earned second-team all-WAC honors at offensive line. After playing offensive tackle in 2006, Murphy made the transition to offensive guard last year, where he did not give up any sacks, grading out at a team-leading 84 percent.
Shawn Murphy was the second WAC player selected and becomes the first USU offensive lineman selected in the NFL Draft since Mark Mraz in 1987.
Murphy also led USU with 137 knockdowns. He started all 12 games last season and all 24 during his USU career, playing in all but six offensive snaps in 2007. Murphy anchored an Aggie offensive line that accumulated 1,499 rushing yards, the most for a USU offense since 1999 when the Aggies had 1,941 rushing yards. Utah State had 3,335 yards of total offense.
Murphy spent two years at Utah State after transferring from Dixie State Junior College.
"It's an honor to me first off to be drafted by any team at any pick, let alone the fact that they traded up to draft me," Murphy said. "I also feel a responsibility to the organization and in a way to me it feels like you're indebted to them to prove yourself as a player and to become the player that they want you to be."
USU wide receiver/kick returner Kevin Robinson was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the sixth round with the 182nd pick overall.
Robinson got the call that he was drafted from Kansas City's special teams coach, Mike Priefer.
"This is one of those unbelievable feelings that you work so hard for, but when it comes true, you have no words to describe it and you're just so excited that you got picked. That's how I feel right now," Robinson said. "I had no words and I was almost in tears because my mom was crying. It was just one of those great moments in life that you can't explain and when it happened, I was so caught up in the moment, I couldn't say anything. I was all chocked up and didn't know what to say."
Robinson, a native of Fresno, Calif. (Hoover HS), earned All-American accolades from six different organizations, and was also a first-team all-WAC selection. He ended his college playing time as the NCAA career all-purpose yards per play record holder, with a 16.16 average on 6,479 career yards in 401 career plays.
In addition to being the sole record holder for the NCAA career all-purpose yards, Robinson tied the NCAA record for eight kick return TD's in his career. His 1,260 kickoff return yards also set an NCAA single-season record.
Robinson leaves Utah State as the school's record holder for career receptions with 178, surpassing Curtis' previous record of 174. Robinson also has the USU career all-purpose record with 6,479, blowing past the previous record of 5,872 held by Emmett White.
"I'm just very glad and thankful that God gave me the opportunity to come here and do what I was able to do, and blessed that everything worked out," Robinson said.
Robinson ended the 2007 season leading the WAC in all-purpose yards and was eighth in the country with 193.08 all-purpose ypg. Robinson also led both the WAC and the NCAA with an 18.9 yards per punt return average. He had one punt return for a TD last season, a 70-yarder against Nevada on Oct. 20. For his career, Robinson had four punt returns for a TD.
Robinson was the 24th wide receiver chosen overall, and becomes the first USU wide receiver selected since Chris Curtis in 2004.
Robinson also ranked third in the league and sixth in the nation in kickoff returns with a 29.3 ypr average and had three kick returns for TD, only one of two players in the country to do so. He also is the only player in the country with four combined returns (three kickoff and one punt) in the 2007 season.
He was the only player listed on both lists among the nation's top 17 players in both return categories.
With 2,317 all-purpose yards last season, Robinson ranks No. 2 on the single-season WAC all-purpose yards list, 274 yards shy of the record set by Fresno State's Bernard Berrian (2001) and passing football greats LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU with 2,198 yards in 2000 and Marshall Faulk of San Diego State with 2,174 yards in 1993, bumping them down to third and fourth, respectively. Robinson is just the ninth player in WAC history to top the 2,000 all-purpose yards mark.
Robinson's 6,479 career all-purpose yards would rank second on the WAC career all-purpose yards, passing LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU from 1997-2000, as well as passing Marshall Faulk of San Diego State (1991-93) at No. 6. The No. 1 spot is held by Terance Mathis of New Mexico (1985-87, 89) with 6,691 yards.
However, since USU was not in the WAC during Robinson's freshman season of 2004, those stats cannot be applied toward that mark. Robinson's 5,169 all-purpose yards in his three years that the Aggies have been in the WAC ranks him 10th on the league's all-purpose yards list, shy of Winslow Oliver of New Mexico (1992-95) with 5,375. Robinson is the first player from the current WAC teams to crack the top 15 since Fresno State's Bernard Berrian (currently with the Chicago Bears) had 5,429 yards from 1999-2003 and is No. 8.
Robinson ended his career 16th on the NCAA's career all-purpose list, behind Mewelde Moore of Tulane (2000-03) with 6,505 yards.
Both Murphy and Robinson will report to their respective teams this week.
Murphy and Robinson will face each other during week three of the preseason when Kansas City plays at Miami on Aug. 23 and will tangle during week 16 of the regular season when the Dolphins visit the Chiefs on Dec. 21.