SALT LAKE CITY — Utah wound up having players selected on both coasts Saturday in the NFL draft. Cornerback Keith McGill went to the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round (116th overall) and linebacker Trevor Reilly was taken in the seventh round by the New York Jets (233rd overall).
“It’s rewarding and part of the reason why they’ve come to the university,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “No. 1, obviously, is to get their degree and another big part of playing college football is trying to get to that next level. It’s good to see when that happens.”
Whittingham added that McGill and Reilly are entering into good fits with the Raiders and Jets, resopectively.
Although both players had hoped to go earlier in the draft, each is excited about the opportunities ahead.
"I was definitely frustrated I wasn't getting drafted (sooner)," McGill said. "I saw some people going ahead of me, but that's nothing I can control. All I can control is what I'm going to do on the field."
When McGill finally got the call, though, he was just glad to be in a good situation with a chance to start.
The Raiders brought McGill in for a private visit prior to the draft and indicated that they really liked his ability to press off the line.
McGill, a transfer from Cerritos (Calif.) College, came to Utah as a safety in 2011 and played in five games (making 12 tackles) before being sidelined by a shoulder injury. He also missed the 2012 season because of shoulder problems. Past off-the-field concerns were also noted by NFL scouts, possibly leading to McGill going a bit later than expected in the draft.
"All that stuff was years ago, two years ago and I've been trying to stay clean and I've been trying to just show everybody that was the past and that's exactly what it was," McGill said. "But it's obviously going to come up and it's a concern for teams. But all the teams that passed on me, they're going to realize they made a big mistake and the Oakland Raiders are going to realize that it's a really good draft pick."
McGill was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection after leading the conference with 12 pass breakups as a senior. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Anaheim, Calif., was second in the league with 1.08 passes defended per game. His 37 tackles were tied for ninth-best on the Utes.
Reilly led Utah with 100 tackles, 55 solo stops, 16 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks in 2013. He tied for the team lead with three fumble recoveries, an interception and a quarterback hurry. The first-team All-Pac-12 honoree was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and topped the Utes in tackles for past two seasons.
“I was getting disappointed going down to the end. I really thought that I deserved to go earlier,” the 26-year-old said of the draft. “I think my age kind of played a part in it. Then when the Jets called I was just ecstatic, man, I was just so happy that they took a chance on me. I’m a Jet now. I’m really excited to be part of New York.”
Reilly interviewed with the Jets at the NFL Scouting Combine and said they really hit it off. He’s scheduled to fly to New York on Sunday.
“I’m glad I got drafted. No matter what happens the rest of my life I can say I got drafted into the NFL,” Reilly said. “I’m just so happy to be a Jet.”
Reilly played in 48 games for Utah, including all 37 from 2011-13. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end/linebacker from Valley Center, Calif., wound up ranking among the program’s top five leaders in fumbles forced (8), fumble recoveries (6), sacks (20), sack yards (144) and tackles for loss (37).
Reilly completed his career with 235 tackles (130 solo), including 37 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
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