University News

Thunderbirds Top List of NFL Prospects in Utah

Published: September 18, 2015 | Author: Alex Homer | Category: Athletics

SUU tops NFL draft prospects In late April of 2013, Southern Utah University had its first draftee into the National Football League when the San Diego Chargers selected quarterback Brad Sorensen in the 7th round.

Sorensen, still on the practice squad for the Chargers, seems to have opened the floodgates for T-Birds looking to make the jump to the professional league. According to CBS Sports, not only does SUU have three players projected to be drafted next April, they are also the highest rated players at their position in the state of Utah.

James Cowser (defensive end), Miles Killebrew (strong safety) and Leshaun Sims (cornerback) are projected to be drafted between the fourth and seventh rounds, with Cowser rated in the fourth round and 125th overall.

All three are in their senior year at SUU and are hoping to bolster their résumés, continuing with their home opener this Saturday, September 19 against Northern Colorado. 

“One thing they all had from the moment they got onto campus was trust,” said Ed Lamb, football head coach. “We started talking about long term goals and about taking care of business in the classroom and the weight room and these guys trusted that. That trust has helped put them in the position they are in now.”

Sims described coming to SUU as a great opportunity that has helped him become a better football player and put him in a position to be drafted come next April.

“Playing in the NFL has always been something I hoped for, but now that it’s finally coming to fruition, it’s definitely surreal,” said Sims.

“It’s always been a dream to play in the NFL and I ‘ve always wondered what it would be like,” Cowser explained. “To see that it’s actually an opportunity is really humbling and I’m grateful for it.”

While all three players have developed and grown differently since they arrived in Cedar City, they all have a general consensus as to where that growth has come from: the coaching staff. All three players made transitions from the positions they played in high school to the position they’re playing now, something they credit to the coaching staff in helping them make that transition.

“When I came here for my first visit, everyone was nice and Coach Lamb and the coaching staff made it enjoyable,” said Killebrew. “The coaches made the transition from running back to safety easy for me because they made it comfortable and prepared me to make the change.” 

The attention that they have received has brought something different to T-Bird practices: NFL scouts. Lamb mentioned there were scouts in attendance when Sorensen was around, mainly at games, but this year, it is not uncommon to see three to five NFL scouts at practices.

“Practice is definitely more competitive with the scouts here,” Cowser said. “It brings up the level of practice for everyone." 

“I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t awesome,” Killebrew said. “It’s definitely fun to have that exposure and work to make it to the next level.”

As far as T-Birds being drafted beyond next year, Lamb believes this group of guys is opening up even more opportunities for future T-Birds, just as Sorensen did two years ago for them. 

Photo credit: Anita Bunker, SUU Media Relations


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