USF Defensive tackle Terrell McClain was selected with the first pick in the third round by the Carolina Panthers and taken 65th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft Friday night.
“I’m really excited to go to Carolina,” said McClain. “I’ve got family in Charlotte, Virginia and obviously here in Florida, so the location is perfect. I had a great time there when we played in the bowl game at the end of last season. This is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get my career started.”
The former USF Bull played in 50 games, starting 33 during his four-year career at USF, finishing with 89 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 17 TFL, 10 pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In 2010, McClain was a first-team All-BIG EAST selection after recording posted 24 tackles, three sacks, 4.5 TFL and five pressures. McClain was also the anchor of a USF defense that finished the season ranked 17th nationally in total defense (317.9 ypg), 22nd in scoring defense (20.0 ppg) and 22nd in rushing defense (125.6 ypg).
“Terrell is an athletic player, who uses a combination of quickness and strength,” said USF head coach Skip Holtz. “He’s got so many positive attributes. He’s a great young man with solid character. I think he is the complete package.”
McClain becomes the third Bulls’ defensive lineman to be selected in the last two NFL Drafts, the most of any FBS program in Florida, and the fourth D-lineman overall. Last season, Jason Pierre-Paul was taken in the first round with the 15th pick overall by the New York Giants and George Selvie was a seventh-round selection by the St. Louis Rams. In addition, Shurron Pierson was drafted in the fourth round by the Oakland Raiders in 2003.
“Terrell is a great player, but even better person and it makes him very easy to coach,” defensive tackles coach Kevin Patrick said. “He has the nickname ‘Dancing Bear’ for a reason. He’s a 300-pound guy that has the feet of a linebacker or almost a defensive back. He’s very explosive and has developed a great understanding of the game. He’ll be a great asset for the Panthers.”
With the selection McClain becomes the Bulls ninth NFL Draft pick over the last three years and 17th overall in the program’s 14-year history. In addition, McClain is the seventh Bull to be selected in the first three rounds. It was the second straight year a USF player was selected with the first pick in the third round. Former Bulls cornerback Jerome Murphy was selected by the St. Louis Rams with the 65th pick in 2010. McClain is tied with Jerome Murphy as the fifth-highest NFL draft selection in USF history. Cornerback Mike Jenkins (2008, Cowboys) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (2010, Giants) were first-round picks. Linebacker Kawika Mitchell (2003, Chiefs) and safety Nate Allen (2010, Eagles) were second-round picks.