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Ex-Bull McClain goes to Panthers

Posted Apr 29, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Apr 29, 2011 at 10:02 PM

When the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft came to a close Friday night, it brought with it a bit of anxiety for former University of South Florida defensive tackle Terrell McClain.

Fortunately for McClain, though, the feeling didn’t last very long.

After seeing a couple defensive tackles go off the board in the second round and wondering the impact that would have on his potential draft status, McClain got a phone call from the Carolina Panthers letting him know they were selecting him with their opening pick in the third round.

“I’m relieved now,” said McClain, who was selected 65th overall. “I was really anxious after (teams) took two more defensive tackles in the second round. I was just hoping to have my name called and that my name was in the mix, and it was.”

It certainly didn’t come as a surprise to McClain that Carolina was his suitor. He conducted his last individual workout prior to the draft with the Panthers last Friday, and felt good about how things went when he left to return to Tampa.

“I kind of knew that they were going to be really interested in me,” McClain said. “After I saw Chicago take (Oregon State’s) Stephen Paea, I said well the next team that was really after me was the Panthers. So I was just looking around to see when they had another selection, and it happened to be the first pick in the third round and I said, ‘Ok, well, I’m going to have a chance.’ And they ended up calling me.”

It was the second consecutive year USF had a player selected with the opening pick in the third round. The St. Louis Rams selected former Bulls cornerback Jerome Murphy with the 65th pick in last year’s draft.

McClain, a first-team All-Big East pick for the Bulls as a senior, is now tied with Murphy as the fifth-highest NFL draft selection in Bulls program history, behind only first-rounders Mike Jenkins (2008; Cowboys) and Jason Pierre-Paul (2010; Giants) and second-rounders Kawika Mitchell (2003; Chiefs) and Nate Allen (2010; Eagles). McClain also extends USF’s streak of having a player selected in the draft to five years.

Since the Panthers are NFC South rivals with the Tampa Bay Bucs, it gives McClain the opportunity to return at least once each year to Raymond James Stadium, where he played collegiately for the Bulls.

“Every time I’m going to come back I’m going to have a whole bunch of fans out there pulling for me,” McClain said. “I just thank the Lord that my name was called.”

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