NCF Nation: Ellis Lankster

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Twenty-seven Big East products had their name called over the weekend in the NFL draft. Three league schools had their best drafts ever.

Cincinnati had six players taken, the most of any Big East team and the most in program history. The previous school record had been five, which happened in 1998, 1960 and 1947. The Bearcats were one of only nine schools to have six or more players drafted this year.

Connecticut had never had a player taken in the first two rounds of the draft before Saturday. Four Huskies went in the first two rounds this year, including the school's first-ever first-rounder, running back Donald Brown.

Rutgers had a record-setting five players drafted, including the Scarlet Knights' first-ever first-rounder, wide receiver Kenny Britt. The most Rutgers had ever previously had drafted in one year was three, in 2007.

Here's a rundown of all the league draft picks and some commentary:

Cincinnati

Player, Position, Round, Team

Connor Barwin, DE, 2, Houston Texans

• DeAngelo Smith, DB, 5, Dallas Cowboys

Brandon Underwood, DB, 6, Green Bay Packers

Mike Mickens, DB, 7, Dallas Cowboys

Trevor Canfield, OG, 7, Arizona Cardinals

Thoughts: Kind of surprising that Mickens went after Underwood and Smith, when he was generally regarded as the best pro prospect of the three for most of his career. The fifth round is lofty territory for a punter, but Huber is that good.

Connecticut

Player, Position, Round, Team

• Donald Brown, RB, 1, Indianapolis Colts

Darius Butler, DB, 2, New England Patriots

Will Beatty, OT, 2, New York Giants

Cody Brown, OLB, 2, Arizona Cardinals

Thoughts: We thought UConn would have a huge day, and the Huskies sure did.

Louisville

Player, Position, Round, Team

Eric Wood, C/OG, 1, Buffalo Bills

George Bussey, OT, 5, New England Patriots

Thoughts: Bussey didn't get much pre-draft buzz, but the Patriots must have liked the former walk-on who became a three-year starter and All-Big East performer. Wood will play guard for the Bills.

Pittsburgh

Player, Position, Round, Team

LeSean McCoy, RB, 2, Philadelphia Eagles

Scott McKillop, LB, 5, San Francisco 49ers

LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, 7, Arizona Cardinals

Derek Kinder, WR, 7, Chicago Bears

Thoughts: OK, Pitt fans. How do you feel about McCoy going to Philly? Will you still root for him? Getting McKillop in the fifth round seems like a steal.

Rutgers

Player, Position, Round, Team

• Kenny Britt, WR, 1, Tennessee Titans

Mike Teel, QB, 6, Seattle Seahawks

Jason McCourty, DB, 6, Tennessee Titans

Courtney Greene, DB, 7, Seattle Seahawks

Tiquan Underwood, WR, 7, Jacksonville Jaguars

Thoughts: I didn't think Teel would get drafted, but good for him. The Titans and Seahawks must have liked Greg Schiano's program.

South Florida

Player, Position, Round, Team

Tyrone McKenzie, OLB, 3, New England Patriots

Thoughts: Despite all that Florida talent, the Bulls had the smallest draft class in the Big East.

Syracuse

Player, Position, Round, Team

Tony Fiammetta, FB, 4, Carolina Panthers

Ryan Durand, OG, 7, Tennessee Titans

Thoughts: Durand was another guy who wasn't on many mock draft boards. There were some good fullbacks in the Big East, including Pitt's Conredge Collins and Louisville's Brock Bolen. But Fiammetta was the only one drafted.

West Virginia

Player, Position, Round, Team

Pat White, QB/WR, 2, Miami Dolphins

Ellis Lankster, CB, 7, Buffalo
Bills

Pat McAfee, K, 7, Indianapolis

Thoughts: Can't wait to see how the Dolphins, who showed a lot of creativity on offense last year, use White.

Prominent players who went undrafted:

Hunter Cantwell, Louisville

Greg Isdaner and Mortty Ivy, West Virginia

Jamaal Westerman, Rutgers

• C.J. Davis, Pittsburgh

Julius Williams, UConn

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Cincinnati's seeds of success were sown by Mark Dantonio, and the Michigan State coach couldn't be happier for the Bearcats, Bill Koch writes in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

"It's a great feeling for myself and I know it's a great feeling for everybody involved in Cincinnati football that they've been able to take the next step," Dantonio said. "I knew it was possible."

• Keeping Dan Conley on as an assistant was a wise move by new Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, Bud Poliquin writes in the Syracuse Post-Standard.

• Though he still regrets a big mistake that cost him playing time last year, West Virginia defensive back Ellis Lankster has rebounded for a nice senior year, Mike Casazza writes in the Charleston Daily Mail.

• A UConn defense that's been susceptible to big plays needs to avoid those versus Buffalo, Desmond Connor says in the Hartford Courant.

• It's kind of appropriate that Jim Leavitt's South Florida Bulls are playing a football game in a baseball stadium, because Leavitt used to be quite a baseball player in his youth, Greg Auman writes in the St. Petersburg Times. Included with that story is a priceless picture of Leavitt in his baseball uniform -- and with shaggy hair.

• Rutgers linebacker Ryan D'Imperio has come a long way since a leg injury last year had him wondering if he'd play again, Keith Sargeant writes in the Home News Tribune.

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

  • Cincinnati has a senior-laden defense and a favorable home schedule. The Bearcats better take advantage by protecting Nippert Stadium, Bill Koch writes in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
  • South Florida's Big East hopes are already on life support, and that haunts the team's veterans, Brett McMurphy writes in the Tampa Tribune.
  • "Why can't we win championships?" senior linebacker Tyrone McKenzie said. "It's just mind-boggling. We have just as much or more talent than anyone in the conference. We work hard and these coaches work so hard, why can't it be us? It's mind-boggling."
  • The Syracuse offense hasn't been much better with Cam Dantley at quarterback, Donnie Webb says in the Syracuse Post-Standard. Might Andrew Robinson get another chance soon?
  • The Pittsburgh-Notre Dame series has featured numerous star performances over the years and could do so again this weekend with LeSean McCoy and Jimmy Clausen, Kevin Gorman writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • West Virginia is dead last among 119 FBS teams in kickoff coverage, and Ellis Lankster has been shaky fielding punts, Dave Hickman notes in the Charleston Gazette.
  • UConn can't explain why it's so much better at home than on the road, but the Huskies hope the trend continues this Saturday against West Virginia, Dave Solomon writes in the New Haven Register.
  • Scott Long's Louisville teammates plan on wearing his No. 84 in games the rest of the season to show support for the wide receiver, who's out for the season with a knee injury, Rick Bozich writes in The Courier-Journal.

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

  • Cincinnati has a senior-laden defense and a favorable home schedule. The Bearcats better take advantage by protecting Nippert Stadium, Bill Koch writes in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
  • South Florida's Big East hopes are already on life support, and that haunts the team's veterans, Brett McMurphy writes in the Tampa Tribune.
  • "Why can't we win championships?" senior linebacker Tyrone McKenzie said. "It's just mind-boggling. We have just as much or more talent than anyone in the conference. We work hard and these coaches work so hard, why can't it be us? It's mind-boggling."
  • The Syracuse offense hasn't been much better with Cam Dantley at quarterback, Donnie Webb says in the Syracuse Post-Standard. Might Andrew Robinson get another chance soon?
  • The Pittsburgh-Notre Dame series has featured numerous star performances over the years and could do so again this weekend with LeSean McCoy and Jimmy Clausen, Kevin Gorman writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • West Virginia is dead last among 119 FBS teams in kickoff coverage, and Ellis Lankster has been shaky fielding punts, Dave Hickman notes in the Charleston Gazette.
  • UConn can't explain why it's so much better at home than on the road, but the Huskies hope the trend continues this Saturday against West Virginia, Dave Solomon writes in the New Haven Register.
  • Scott Long's Louisville teammates plan on wearing his No. 84 in games the rest of the season to show support for the wide receiver, who's out for the season with a knee injury, Rick Bozich writes in The Courier-Journal.

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