By JC Carnahan
Last weekend Latavius Murray and Kemal Ishmael were drafted by NFL teams, marking the eighth consecutive year a player from UCF’s football program was handpicked in the NFL Draft.
Murray was chosen by the Oakland Raiders with pick No. 181 overall in the sixth round. Ishmael was nabbed by the Atlanta Falcons in the seventh round at No. 243 overall.
It’s the first time since 2011 that two UCF players were drafted the same year, when Jah Reid went in the third round to the Baltimore Ravens and Bruce Miller went in the seventh to the San Francisco 49ers.
That’s worked out pretty well, seeing as how the Ravens and 49ers met up for the Super Bowl earlier this year with both Reid and Miller still on roster.
It’s also quite a finale for UCF, who closes the Conference USA era as the only program in the league to have had a player drafted each year from 2006-13. Since joining the conference in 2005 the Knights have had 12 players drafted by NFL teams, the most among all C-USA schools.
Murray joins a group of running backs in Oakland that includes Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings, Taiwan Jones, Jeremy Stewart, Deonte Williams and Jamize Olawale.
Ishmael will be competing for a roster spot at safety alongside William Moore, Shann Schillinger, Zeke Motta, Thomas DeCoud, Charles Mitchell and Troy Sanders.
Dating back to 1987, when wide receiver Red Wilson (10th round) and defensive back Elgin Davis (12th) were the first to have their names called, UCF has had a total of 31 players taken in the NFL Draft.
Not long after the NFL Draft wrapped up on Saturday a handful of Knights who capped their senior season in Orlando with Murray and Ishmael were also given opportunities to continue their playing careers as undrafted free agents.
According to NFL.com, cornerback A.J. Bouye (Houston Texans), defensive end Troy Davis (New York Jets), offensive lineman Theo Goins (Altlanat Falcons), defensive end Cam Henderson (Atlanta Falcons), kick returner Quincy McDuffie (Denver Broncos) and linebacker Ray Shipman (New Orleans Saints) each were added to pro rosters.
Now all they’ve got to do to stick around with their respective teams is a little more of what made their senior class the most successful in UCF history.
For more on local sports, follow J.C. Carnahan on Twitter @JCCarnz