DeVante Parker only played six games, but it was enough to impress NFL personnel to become the University of Louisville football team’s highest drafted wide receiver.
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound wide receiver was selected 14th overall by the Miami Dolphins Thursday night in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago, Ill. He is the first wide receiver taken in the first round in school history, and the highest since Deion Branch was taken in the second round of the 2003 draft.
“I’m so happy for DeVante and his family,” head coach Bobby Petrino said. “This is a great night, not only DeVante, but for the University of Louisville football program,”. “DeVante worked extremely hard to get back from his injury early in the season and dedicated himself to becoming one of the best receivers in the country, which was evident by him being the No. 14 pick in the draft. I wish him luck with the Miami Dolphins.”
A product of Louisville, Ky., Parker is the 12th Louisville student-athlete to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft – the fourth in the last two seasons. Safety Calvin Pryor (No. 18 to the New York Jets), linebacker Marcus Smith (No. 26 to the Philadelphia Eagles), and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (No. 32 to the Minnesota Vikings) were first-round selections a year ago, which was tied with Texas A&M for the most first-round picks from one school in the country.
The three-time all-conference selection Parker had his senior season delayed due to a foot injury suffered in fall camp. Missing the first seven games of the season, Parker responded with nearly full-season numbers. A second-team all-ACC selection, Parker caught 43 passes for 855 yards and five touchdowns in the final six games of the season.
Parker, who came to the Cardinals from Ballard High in Louisville, totaled five 100-yard contests, including a career-best 214 yards on eight receptions in a loss to second-ranked Florida State. He ended his home career in dramatic fashion, catching six passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-40 win over Kentucky.
For his career, Parker caught 156 passes (seventh all-time) for 2,775 yards (fourth all-time) and tied a school with 33 touchdown receptions. He totaled 10 100-yard receiving games, which is tied for the third-most in school history. He stands seventh all-time in receptions and fourth in career receiving yards and yards per reception.
Statistically, his best season came in 2013, when he registered 55 receptions for a career-best 885 yards receiving and tied a school record with 12 touchdown catches. A first team all-American Athletic Conference honoree, Parker closed his junior campaign by tallying then-career highs in receptions with nine in wins over Cincinnati and Miami (Fla.). He totaled 104 yards and two scores in an overtime win at Cincinnati and 142 yards and one score in the Russell Athletic Bowl victory over the Hurricanes.
Parker, who graduated in December with a degree in communication, appeared in 42 career games, making 25 starts.
Louisville’s NFL First-Round Draft Selections
2015 DeVante Parker (No. 14, Miami)
2014 Calvin Pryor (No. 18, New York Jets)
2014 Marcus Smith (No. 26, Philadelphia)
2014 Teddy Bridgewater (No. 32, Minnesota)
2009 Eric Wood (No. 28, Buffalo)
2007 Amobi Okoye (No. 10, Houston)
1993 Joe Johnson (No. 13, New Orleans)
1991 Ted Washington (No. 25, San Francisco)
1987 Bruce Armstrong (No. 23), New England
1980 Otis Wilson (No. 19, Chicago)
1964 Ken Kortas (No. 9, St. Louis)
1958 Lenny Lyles (No. 11, Baltimore)
Louisville’s Wide Receivers in NFL Draft
2008 Harry Douglas (3rd round, No. 84 pick, Atlanta)
2008 Mario Urrutia (7th round, No. 246, Cincinnati
2005 J.R. Russell (7th round, No. 253, Tampa Bay)
2003 Deion Branch (2nd round, No. 65, New England)
1986 Ernest Givins (2nd round, No. 34, Houston)
1983 Mark Clayton (8th round, No. 223, Miami)
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