May 10, 2014 11:32:51 PM
NEW YORK -- Mississippi State All-American offensive guard Gabe Jackson fulfilled a lifelong dream by reaching the NFL as he was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 81st overall pick in the third round of the NFL draft on Friday night.
Jackson, a native of Liberty, is the first Bulldog offensive lineman to be picked in the NFL Draft since Derek Sherrod went to the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 first round. Jackson started all 52 games of his MSU career and did not allow a sack in his senior season. He was a first-team All-America selection by Walter Camp and USA Today.
"I am thankful to be an Oakland Raider," Jackson said. "I am mentally ready for the next level. I am not going to let anyone outwork me. I thank all of our coaches and fans for all of the support the last four years. I will always be a Bulldog."
Jackson is the 13th MSU draft selection in the Dan Mullen era dating back to 2010. He is also the first Bulldog to be taken by the Raiders since wide receiver Olanda Truitt. At least one MSU player has been selected in all five of the NFL Drafts under Mullen.
"He was a four-year starter, a big-time player, and I am proud of him," Mullen said. "He's first-round talent. He led the nation's toughest conference in career starts. He will have a long, successful career."
n Colts pick Ole Miss' Moncrief in third round: At New York, Donte Moncrief's professional football dream has become a reality. On Friday, the Indianapolis Colts selected the former Ole Miss wide receiver was selected in the third round with the 90th overall pick in the NFL draft.
A popular player among the Rebel faithful (his star power soared with the "Feed Moncrief" mantra), he was one of the most accomplished receivers in school history despite turning pro after only three seasons.
The 6-foot-3, 226-pounder from Raleigh, Mississippi finished his Ole Miss career ranked third in school history in receptions (156), receiving yards (2,371) and receiving touchdowns (20) and second in 100-yard receiving games (9). He was in the starting lineup for 37 of 38 career games.
"I am so excited to see our rich tradition of NFL Rebels continue with Donte," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "With this hard work and dedication, I expect him to join fellow Ole Miss greats Mike Wallace and Dexter McCluster as successful receivers at the next level. I appreciate the commitment and leadership Donte provided our program in helping lead us to back-to-back bowl wins, and I can't wait to watch him excel for the Colts."
n Bills select Alabama's Kouandjio in second round: At New York, the Buffalo Bills selected Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio with the 12th pick of the second round and the 44th overall Friday night in the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall.
Kouandjio, a native of Hyattsville, Md., started at left tackle for the Crimson Tide for two years, helping Alabama secure the 2012 BCS National Championship. He opened holes for three 1,000-yard rushing seasons in those two years and provided time for quarterback AJ McCarron to earn first-team All-America honors in 2013.
Kouandjio is the 21st Alabama player to be selected in the first or second round since the 2009 NFL draft.
n Packers select Southern Mississippi's Thornton in third round: At New York, the Green Bay Packers selected Southern Mississippi's Khyri Thornton in the third round of the NFL draft on Friday night. Thornton is the first player selected in the NFL draft in the Todd Monken Era. Thornton becomes the 22nd draft pick of the Golden Eagles since 2000.
The Black and Gold have had three consecutive years with players drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft - Thornton (3rd round - Green Bay Packers), Jamie Collins (2nd round - New England Patriots) and Lamar Holmes (3rd round - Atlanta Falcons).
A 2013 Second Team All-Conference USA selection, Thornton, a senior defensive lineman from Panama City, Fla., played and started in 11 games for the Golden Eagles this season. He recorded 39 tackles on the year, including 16 solo tackles and 23 assisted tackles. Thornton boasted 6.5 tackles for loss including a half a sack for eight yards. He was credited for a team-best four quarterback hurries. Thornton was also a finalist for the C Spire Conerly Award for the most outstanding collegiate football player in the state of Mississippi. At Southern Miss' end of the year football banquet, Thornton was named the Jeff Bower Team MVP, as well as, one of the four recipients of the Reggie Collier Team Captain Award.
As a junior, Thornton started 10 games and appeared in all 12 as the team's primary defensive tackle. He finished the campaign with 36 tackles (23 solo, 13 assisted) and 9.5 tackles for loss, good for second-best on the team. The Panama City native had one interception come in the Western Kentucky game and returned it for 12 yards. In addition, he had one sack and forced fumble
In 2011, Thornton played in all 14 games with seven starts including the first six games of the season. In the 2011 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Thornton added two tackles including a half-sack for a loss of a yard and one quarterback hurry. He recorded 24 tackles (12 solo, 12 assisted) and 9.0 tackles for loss. Thornton had 1.5 sacks for 10 yards and forced one fumble. Thornton also recovered a fumble and returned it nine yards.
As a redshirt freshman, Thornton was a Conference USA All-Freshman team selection. He had 17 tackles (seven solos), including a season-best three tackles against Prairie View and two tackles in five other games. Thornton saw action in all 13 games and registered 5.0 tackles for loss for 14 yards and 2.5 sacks for 11 yards.
1. Ole Miss relishes opportunity against MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Starkville boys top Murrah to reach Class 6A quarterfinal round HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Veteran coaches reflect on Ole Miss-MSU rivalry COLLEGE SPORTS
5. West Lowndes bows out of girls basketball playoffs HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS