Scharping, Smith selected in NFL Draft


Scharping taken in second round by Houston; Smith goes in sixth round to Pittsburgh

For the first time since 2014, two Huskies were selected in the NFL Draft over the weekend, as left tackle Max Scharping was selected in the second round by the Houston Texans on Friday, and defensive end Sutton Smith was taken in the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 55th overall selection, Scharping became the 38th NIU player chosen all-time in the NFL Draft, and the first since wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 96th pick in 2017. The Green Bay, Wisconsin, native is the ninth Huskie taken in the NFL Draft since 2007 and the highest since Jimmie Ward, who was selected 30th overall in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers in 2014.

"It was an amazing feeling getting that phone call," Scharping said. "I can't wait to be a Texan. It's an unbelievable feeling, and I can't wait to get down to Houston." READ MORE

Smith became the 39th NIU player chosen all-time in the NFL Draft after being drafted by the Steelers on Saturday. Smith was the first Huskie to earn first team All-America honors in back-to-back years and was a consensus choice in 2017. The St. Charles, Missouri, native ranked fourth in the nation in sacks and tackles for loss per game. He set the school record for sacks in a season with 15 in 2018 and the NIU mark for tackles for loss in 2017 with 29.5.
The 2018 Vern Smith Award winner (MAC MVP), Smith led an NIU defense that set the school record for team sacks in a season with 50. In addition to his ability to stop opposing offenses, Smith, who earned MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second-consecutive year, also scored a pair of touchdowns in 2018. His first came after he blocked his second punt of the year in NIU's win over Toledo, while his second, an 85-yard fumble return for a TD, came at Western Michigan. READ MORE

NIU opens the 2019 season Saturday, Aug. 31, as the Huskies welcome Illinois State to Huskie Stadium.

The Texans open up the season on Monday Night Football Sept. 9, at New Orleans. The Steelers start the season on the road at New England on Sunday Night Football on Sept. 8.

Information courtesy NIU Athletics