Local athletes hit the draft
By John Valenti
A Utah State football player was taken in the NFL draft for the first time in nine years, and he is right where he wants to be.
USU Safety Johndale Carty was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth round, 126th overall, making him the first Aggie chosen since Patrick Newman in 1990. Before last weekend's draft, Carty said he wanted to play for the Falcons becuase Atlanta is not too far away from his home in Miami, Fla.
Although no other Aggies were picked in the seven-round draft process, four others have signed with NFL teams as free agents. Offensive lineman Ken Watts is also now a Falcon, cornerback Craig Miller signed with the Indianapolis Colts, wide receiver Robert Scott signed with the Buffalo Bills, and linebacker Tony D'Amato signed on as a Pittsburgh Steeler.
D'Amato was projected as a late-round selection and was contacted by several teams during the draft. He listened as the 253 selections in the draft were made without hearing his name.
However, according to D'Amato his phone began to ring off the hook once the seven rounds were over. D'Amato was invited to 15 camps, but he chose the Steelers because he felt he had the best chance to make the team.
All five Aggies will report to their respective mini-camps on Thursday.
Six more athletes from Utah schools were chosen during last weekend's action. BYU sent offensive lineman John Tait to the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round, defensive tackle Daren Yancey joined the Oakland Raiders in the sixth and offensive lineman Joe Wong went to the Miami Dolphins in the seventh.
Weber State safety Scott Shields went to the Steelers in round two, and cornerback Anthony Parker was selected in the fourth by the San Fransico 49ers. University of Utah linebacker Phil Glover was picked by the Tennessee Titans in round seven.