A couple of local high school football stars saw their dreams fulfilled on Saturday as they were selected in this weekend’s NFL Draft.
Hakeem Butler, a 6-foot-5, 227-pound wide receiver from Iowa State, was the first pick taken in the fourth round by Arizona with the 103rd pick. The former Travis High School star was able to put up big receiving stats in his four years with the Cyclones.
Butler had 60 catches for 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns last season for Iowa State, and also set several school records in his four years at Ames.
“Seeing him in person a few years, and we didn’t recruit him out of high school – a lot of people in the state missed on him – to watch the player he’s turned into, the way he competes, the physicality, he is a special talent,” Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said to AZCardinals.com.
Butler felt a bit disappointed that he fell to the fourth round, but “I’m just blessed, excited and thrilled to be in this position, honestly,” he told the website.
Butler is excited to be an understudy to longtime Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and become a possible big target to Arizona’s first-overall pick, former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.
Playing and learning from Fitzgerald “might be the thing I’m most excited about,” Butler said. “He’s a legend. Larry Legend. To pick up anything from him, whether it be next year or however many years he’s there, I’m excited.”
Also, Texas A&M defensive end Kingsley Keke was drafted in the fifth round, No. 150 overall, by the Green Bay Packers.
Keke, who played at George Ranch, played every game last season for the Aggies with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
The 6-foot-3, 288-pounder had 12 sacks, 21 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries in his three seasons at A&M. He also played at defensive tackle, making him a versatile player for the Packers.
“He has so much ability in his body and he just needs to continuously bring it,” Green Bay college scout Charles Walls said to Packers.com. “Seven sacks in the SEC as a defensive tackle, defensive end, we think he’s capable of much more, and we’re going to get that out of him.”
Keke hopes to get an opportunity to make an impact with a young Green Bay defensive line.
“I’m ready to get to work and take advantage of this opportunity I have,” Keke said.
Also, former Kansas wide receiver and Travis product Steven Sims Jr. was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Washington Redskins on Sunday. Sims was the Jayhawks’ leading receiver for three-straight seasons, topping out at 859 receiving yards on 72 catches, including seven touchdowns as a sophomore.