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Thursday, September 21, 2023


Dell, Tune among four Cougars selected in 2023 NFL Draft

Dell was the first of four Cougars selected in the 2023 NFL draft, all of which came in the last two days. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

When wide receiver Nathaniel ‘Tank’ Dell got the call from the Houston Texans, it was the beginning of a historic NFL Draft for the Cougars.

Four UH football players were picked in this year’s draft — the most since 1997 — and it was the sixth time in the last eight years that at least three Cougars were selected. Houston’s four draft picks were third in the state of Texas, behind only Texas and TCU who had five and eight players drafted respectively.

Standout wide receiver Nathaniel ‘Tank’ Dell was the first Cougar to go off the board on day two, going 69th overall to the next-door neighbor Texans. As an All-American selection and the nation’s leading receiver in 2022, Dell was the highest-drafted UH wideout in 15 years and the first Cougar ever to be selected by the Texans.

Following Dell in the draft a day later was his long-time quarterback Clayton Tune, who went 139th overall in the fifth round to the Arizona Cardinals. Tune’s 11,994 career passing yards were the most of any quarterback selected in this year’s draft and are third-most in UH history, behind the last Cougar signal-caller to be drafted: Kevin Kolb.

Though the last two Cougars to be selected both played defense, the first of them, defensive lineman Derek Parish, will be moving over to fullback for the Jacksonville Jaguars after being selected 240th overall.

Rounding out the day for UH was defensive back Gervarrius Owens, who was selected 254th overall in the seventh round by the New York Giants. Owens is the third UH defensive back selected in the last two years, following Marcus Jones and Damarion Williams

After today, UH has had 192 players selected in the NFL draft, and head coach Dana Holgorsen has now had 11 players drafted in his four years at the program.

Despite Holgorsen’s reputation as an offensive coach, his picks have dominated by defense. Seven of the last ten UH draft picks have been on the defensive side of the ball, though Parish will be switching to offense.

Among the Cougars that were signed as undrafted free agents, linebacker Donovan Mutin signed with Indianapolis Colts, and safety Art Green signed with the Denver Broncos. Tight end Christian Trahan also signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

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