Tuesday, May 12, 2015

UConn's Mateas taken with top pick in CFL draft

Less than two weeks after Byron Jones became the second UConn product taken in the first round in the NFL draft another former Husky made history.

Alex Mateas was taken by Ottawa with the first overall pick in the CFL draft.

"It is a great honor," Mateas said. "This draft is packed with offensive linemen so it could have gone either way so I am excited they picked me and it is a great honor to be picked No. 1. Being drafted to your home city, you couldn't ask for anything better.

"It is time to focus on what we do and our job and that is to play pro football so it is now to get back to the grind."

Mateas, who started the last 25 games at center and 29 games in his three seasons with the Huskies, and is the only offensive player to start every game at UConn during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, became the first player from a U.S. college to go first overall since Washington State's Adam Braidwood was selected with the top pick by Edmonton in 2006. The Ottawa native is the first player from a New England university taken with the top pick was Tim Fleiszer of Harvard back in 1998.

The CFL is well acquainted with UConn players as Mateas is the seventh Husky taken since 2004 second behind only Eastern Michigan for the most players selected from a U.S. college since 2004. Moe Petrus, who was the starting center at UConn in 2011 when Mateas was redshirting after transferring from Penn State, held the distinction for the highest selection by a UConn products in the CFL Draft before tonight as Petrus was taken 10th overall in 2011.

Mateas recently took part in rookie camp with the New York Jets on a tryout basis but was not signed. Now he will become the fourth member of the 2014 UConn squad to sign with a pro football team as defensive back Byron Jones was taken in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys, receiver Geremy Davis was a sixth-round selection by the New York Giants and defensive lineman B.J. McBryde signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent.

"Pro day, there were a lot of people there and I got to watch my teammates perform well so to see them succeed, give it a shot in the NFL is just unbelievable," Mateas said. "I know they are going to prove their worth and really be names in that league. Overall it has been awesome experience."

Former Yale running back Tyler Varga was taken by Calgary with the 19th overall pick. Varga was considered to be one of the top prospects in the draft but he signed as an undrafted free agent and he made it clear that playing in the NFL was his main priority at the current time resulting in him falling to the third round.

Here's UConn history in the CFL Draft
2015: Alex Mateas, OL Ottawa 1-1
2013: Jesse Joseph, DE Montreal 3-23
2011: Moe Petrus, OL Hamilton 2-10
2009: Martin Bedard, TE Montreal 2-14
2006: DE Shawn Mayne, Hamilton 3-18
2006: DL Jason Ward, British Columbia 6-48
2004: WR O'Neil Wilson, Montreal 3-25



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