Archive for Monday, April 24, 1995

JAYS IN DRAFT

April 24, 1995

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The NFL draft wasn't a big event at the McBurrows household.

"We didn't have a party or anything," KU senior Gerald McBurrows said. "I just came home, my brother and my mom and my dad watched a little of it, turned away, watched a little more. It wasn't shown on TV up here. It wasn't a big thing."

McBurrows, a 5-foot-11, 188-pound defensive back, wasn't glued to the tube when he was picked Sunday in the final round by the St. Louis Rams. McBurrows was the sixth pick in the seventh round, the 214th player picked overall.

Hessley Hempstead, the only other Jayhawk picked in the two-day draft, was tabbed 14 selections later by the Detroit Lions.

"I was a little happy but a little disappointed," McBurrows said from his parents' Detroit home. "I thought I'd go higher than that. But, to tell you the truth, I didn't really give it much thought. It's been a dream of mine. I've dreamed of going to the NFL."

When told he was one of only two Jayhawks drafted, McBurrows was surprised.

"I thought we had potential," McBurrows said. "I thought at least nine, maybe eight, could get drafted. I didn't really know. I thought a lot more people would go -- Sylvester Wright, Kwamie Lassiter, Don Davis, Steve Harvey, John Jones, George White, Rodney Harris. The list goes on. But whenever they get in somebody's camp, they'll show what they can do."

McBurrows started all 11 games in 1994 and the last 34 games of his collegiate career. Voted the hardest hitter and hardest worker by his teammates, McBurrows was a team captain in '94. An honorable mention all-conference selection by the league coaches, McBurrows ranked fifth in '94 with 74 total tackles. His 232 career tackles rank fourth by a defensive back in school history.

A cornerback his first three seasons, McBurrows moved to strong safety as a senior.

"St. Louis drafted me as a cornerback. That's fine with me," McBurrows said. "I played corner three years at Kansas. It'll just be a matter of me getting back to what I was doing."

In St. Louis, McBurrows will get back to playing with a former teammate. Keith Loneker, an offensive tackle, joined the Rams as a free agent in 1993.

"We had a short friendship," McBurrows said. "He was a senior my sophomore year, but we knew each other. We'll definitely rekindle some old memories."

Assuming McBurrows and the Rams reach terms, he'll report to minicamp from May 5-7.

"I'll keep working out, trying to stay in shape," McBurrows said. "I'm happy. The call was nice. They called and said they were about to pick me. Then they called back and said they were happy to have me. I appreciated that."

Hempstead, a 6-1, 295-pound offensive guard, was named to the All-Big Eight team his last two seasons and he made a school-record 46 consecutive starts -- every game of his college career.

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