Georgia-products to watch Day 1 of the NFL Draft

Day 1 of the NFL draft begins tonight at 8:00 pm and our annual tradition of watching Georgia’s own enter football’s biggest stage awaits. Typically Georgia is right up there with Florida, California and Texas as the states with the most former high school stars drafted each year and 2015 is no different. Looking back to last year, Florida dominated with 44 of the 256 selections, including eight first-rounders. Florida, California, Texas and Georgia combined for 120 of the 256 picks – or 46.9 percent. Georgia had 17 former high school players selected last year, including four first rounders and today could be the same.

On Draft Expert Mel Kiper’s top 32 available players in this year’s draft, there are four former Georgia high school players. Florida State center Cameron Erving is projected to go in the mid-first round and he will represent Colquitt County. Erving was overlooked coming out of Moultrie due to the multiple roles he played for the Packers and continued the trend in college as he handled tackle and center. Erving was a three-star by Rivals and a two-star prospect according to coming out of high school. He played defensive tackle his senior year at Colquitt County, and racked up an incredible 98 tackles.

UCF wide receiver Breshad Perriman is projected to be one of the first group of wideouts taken in this year’s draft. Perriman finished his varsity career at Arabia Mountain High School and after three standout years with the Knights at the collegiate level, he declared early for this year’s draft. During his junior season with UCF, Perriman was named to the All-American Athletic Conference First Team and earned a spot on Phil Steele’s Postseason All-Conference First Team. He had a stretch of seven straight games with a touchdown reception and ended his career on a streak of 31 straight games played with a catch. The Lithonia-product became the first UCF receiver with at least 1,000 yards in a season since Mike Sims-Walker in 2006 (1,044 yards and nine touchdowns). Prior to playing for a brand new Arabia Mountain program, he played for Martin Luther King and Conyers’ Heritage high schools.

The next former Georgia prep star we could see taken Day 1 is University of Kentucky defensive end Bud Dupree. The 6-foot-4 defensive end played at Wilkinson County where he earned First-team all-state as a senior. He was a four-year starter at tight end and three-year starter at defensive end in high school and had more than 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior, along with 62 tackles and 10 quarterback sacks. Dupree was also a basketball standout and in 2010 helped lead Wilkinson County to the Class A state championship his senior year. Dupree excelled in his academics as well and was an honor-roll student and member of the Future Business Leaders of America.

Vic Beasley sits at No. 25 on Mel Kiper’s top 32 prospects but he is likely to go much higher considering the NFL’s appetite for athletic pass rushers. Beasley was an All-American at Clemson this past year and his football career first took flight at Adairsville High School. Beasley played outside linebacker and running back in high school and had 120 rushes for 828 yards and seven scores as a senior. He also had seven punt returns for a 17.3-yard average and two touchdowns and on his only kickoff return of the season, he took it 80 yards to the house for a touchdown. On defense, Beasley posted 102 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and an interception his senior year and played in the Georgia North-South All-Star game where he blocked field goal.

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