Kyle Dugger, Division II star at Lenoir-Rhyne, taken in NFL draft by Patriots

Tribune Content Agency

Lenoir-Rhyne defensive back Kyle Dugger was drafted by the New England Patriots with the 37th overall pick in the NFL draft.

Dugger, 6-feet, 217 pounds, won the Cliff Harris Award as the top defensive player among the nation’s small colleges last season. He’s the ninth player in Lenoir-Rhyne history to be drafted, the most recent being defensive end John Milem by the San Francisco 49ers in the fifth round in 2000.

Dugger had 237 career tackles, 10 interceptions, 36 pass break-ups, six forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, two blocked kicks and six punt-return touchdowns.

He made the most of his pre-draft opportunities earlier this year, playing well in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where he was the only Division II player invited. He was also impressive at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, where he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, had the best vertical jump among safeties (42 inches) and the second-best broad jump (11 feet, 2 inches).

Dugger was lightly recruited coming out of Fayetteville (Ga.) Whitewater High, where he didn’t start until his senior season. Lenoir-Rhyne, located in Hickory and a member of the South Atlantic Conference, was one of only a few schools to offer him a scholarship.


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