Former Northwestern superback was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round (26th pick) in the NFL Draft. Two picks later, wide receiver Jeremy Ebert was drafted by the New England Patriots.
Minutes prior to the selections, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald turned on the draft coverage on television, only to see two of his former Wildcats live every football player's dream.
"I'm just ecstatic for them, I couldn't be happier for two very deserving young men," Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said.
Dunsmore, who recorded 143 catches and 14 touchdowns in his Northwestern career, impressed NFL scouts at the combine, showcasing his versatility as a potential H-Back. He recorded a 4.7 40-yard dash time, proving he could be a solid short-yardage threat. Many experts compared him to Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots.
As a high school recruit, Dunsmore was explained he would play the new 'Superback' position in Northwestern's offense. His impressive college career in the unique position caught the eyes of NFL scouts.
"Drake was really the first young man we recruited especially for that position," Fitzgerald said. "Five years later, after battling through a ton of injuries, seeing him get drafted was great."
Ebert, however, did not have the benefit of attending the NFL combine. Instead, he had one chance to showcase his skills at Northwestern's Pro Day in March. He blew away the 31 NFL scouts in attendance with a 4.37 40-yard dash time, giving evidence that he could be a slot receiver in the league.
Jeremy Ebert was selected in the seventh round by the New England Patriots.
As a senior, Ebert posted 75 catches, including 11 touchdowns and 1,060 receiving yards, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors. As Ebert tallied impressive number, NFL teams began to take notice of the talented receiver.
"There's been a great buzz about Jeremy the whole year," said Fitzgerald. Scouts were coming through every day into our program. Both (Ebert and Dunsmore), there was a great exictement about. Jeremy did a great job puting on a great display at our Pro Day. To see that pay off in a great organization like the Patriots, I couldn't be happier."
As Dunsmore and Ebert were selected in the draft, Dan Persa watched, while offering support to his close friends. However, Persa, along with numerous other former teammates, did not have their names called in the draft.
Following his Northwestern career, Fitzgerald was not drafted, but signed with the Dallas Cowboys. He hopes the undrafted Wildcats receive good news, too.
"I'm just looking foward to them getting an opportunity," Fitzgerald said. "That what happened to me in my experience. It has been an emotional couple days for the guys. Realistically, they hoped to get drafted on Friday or Saturday. They're probably mentally drained. This is where their agent and decision-making plays a big role.
"There are plenty of great stories of undrafted free agents having great careers in the NFL."