Draft Day recap from NU Sports
Corey Wootton (Northwestern Athletics)

Posted Apr 25, 2010


A trio of Wildcats -- Corey Wootton, Mike Kafka and Sherrick McManis -- were selected in the NFL Draft on Saturday. Inside, NU Sports breaks down the picks and gets reaction from Coach Fitz.

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern University defensive end Corey Wootton (East Rutherford, N.J./Don Bosco) and quarterback Mike Kafka (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) were each selected in the fourth round of the National Football League Draft Saturday morning. The Chicago Bears made Wootton the fourth former Wildcat on their roster with the 11th pick of the fourth round while Kafka went to the Philadelphia Eagles 13 picks later. Later in the morning, cornerback Sherrick McManis (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) was selected in the fifth round by the Houston Texans. He was the 13th pick in the fifth round and 144th overall. Wootton, who started a program-record 49 games for the Wildcats, joins former Northwestern players Brett Basanez, Nick Roach and Eric Peterman on the Bears' current team roster.

"I'm thrilled for Corey," said NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald. "We obviously have a close relationship with the Bears, and he is joining a terrific organization with some outstanding coaches. Corey's best football days are still ahead of him."

Wootton closed his illustrious career with 156 tackles, 38 TFL's (19.5 of those are sacks), 12 pass deflections and four interceptions. In two of his four seasons (2006 and 2008), he recorded a statistic in every major defensive category -- tackles, TFL's, sacks, pass deflections, interceptions, forced fumbles, recovered fumbles, QB hurries and blocked kicks. Wootton finished third on NU's all-time sacks list and fourth on its career TFL list.

Prior to the start of the 2009 season, Wootton was honored as a Playboy Preseason All-American. The 6-foot-7, 270-pound defensive end battled back from a major knee injury in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl to play in all 13 games in 2010, despite being slowed with a high ankle sprain he suffered against Purdue on Oct. 3. Wootton earned All-Big Ten honors three times during his career (first-team selection in 2008, and honorable mention in 2006 and 2009).

Kafka, meanwhile, finished as the eighth all-time leading passer in Northwestern history with 4,265 yards through the air after racking up 3,430 in his senior year, third-most in a single season in NU history. He led the Big Ten in passing yards (263.8 ypg), total offense (286.8 ypg), completions (24.5 pg), completion percentage (.648) and fewest interceptions thrown (2.44 percent of all attempts) on his way to earning second-team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and media.

"We are very excited for Mike and we think he's landed in an outstanding situation with the Eagles," Fitzgerald said. "Mike worked his absolute hardest every day he was a member of our program and I have no doubt he'll give the same effort in Philadelphia."

Kafka closed his career in remarkable fashion at the 2010 Outback Bowl, throwing for four touchdowns and a school-record 532 yards in a thrilling 38-35 overtime loss to Auburn. His 532 passing yards -- the fourth-highest total by a quarterback in NCAA bowl history -- came courtesy of 47 completions on 78 attempts. He totaled an NCAA-record 98 offensive plays (78 passes, 20 rushes) vs. Auburn.

Following his senior season, Kafka played in the 2010 East-West Shrine Game (Jan. 23, 2010) in Orlando, Fla., where he led the East Team to a 13-10 come-from-behind victory. The signal-caller completed 18-of-27 passes for 150 yards and a TD in the game.

Kafka was the fifth quarterback taken in this year's Draft, behind Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Tim Tebow (Florida), Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) and Colt McCoy (Texas).

McManis, who earned 2009 team co-MVP honors with Kafka, led the Wildcats and Big Ten with five interceptions (0.5 per game), including one each in his first three games back from an early-season injury. McManis also led the Big Ten and ranked 14th in the nation in passes defended per game (1.2). Despite missing three games, he still was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media (second team coaches) and ESPN.com. He also earned Northwestern's 2009 Sportsmanship Award earlier in the year.

"Sherrick is an outstanding talent, and like Corey and Mike, is only going to get better and has a bright professional football future," said Fitzgerald. "He had to battle through some leg injuries this year, but his attitude never wavered and remained positive. I'm really excited for him."

Since the NFL Draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994, this is the sixth time the Wildcats have had three players drafted in the same year. NU also had three players drafted in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2006.



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