Dupree Selected in First Round of 2015 NFL Draft by Steelers
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky linebacker/defensive end Bud Dupree was chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 22nd overall selection of the 2015 National Football League Draft Thursday night in Chicago.
Dupree is the 16th player in Kentucky history taken in the first round of the NFL or AFL (American Football League) Draft. The most recent first-round Wildcat was defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson, selected by the New York Jets with the fourth overall pick in 2003.
Dupree is coming off an outstanding collegiate career in which he totaled 247 tackles, including 37 tackles for loss. His 37 TFL featured 23.5 quarterback sacks, second in school history. His sack total is even more impressive when one considers that he did not pass rush every down, as he split time between end and linebacker. He finished in the top 10 of the Southeastern Conference in sacks and received All-SEC accolades each of his last three seasons.
As a senior, Dupree was named third-team All-America by Phil Steele's College Football and was a consensus first-team All-SEC selection. He made 74 tackles, including 12.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries. The highlight of his season was intercepting a pass and returning it for the game-winning touchdown in the 45-38 upset win over South Carolina, earning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors. He was the National Defensive Lineman of the Week in the season finale at Louisville, when he had seven tackles, three tackles for loss, forced two fumbles and had a quarterback sack. He had a career-high 15 tackles at Tennessee.
Dupree's junior season included 61 tackles, 9.5 TFL and seven sacks. He was a second-team all-league selection by The Associated Press and Phil Steele's College Football. His soph campaign featured a career-high 91 tackles, 12.5 TFL and 6.5 sacks. He was a third-team All-SEC pick.
Dupree came to UK as a standout tight end/defensive end from Wilkinson County High School in Irwinton, Ga. After an initial trial at tight end, he moved to the defensive side before his first game as a true freshman. He made 21 tackles and had 2.5 sacks. He moved into the starting lineup the last three games of the season, setting the stage for his final three campaigns.
Following his senior season, Dupree decided to stay at Kentucky for two purposes -- first, to continue to train in UK's high-performance program, and second, to complete his degree. Both moves paid off, as he posted monster numbers at the NFL Combine in February, showing the speed and strength in his 6-4, 269-pound frame that made him effective as both a lineman and linebacker. And, on May 9 he will receive his bachelor's degree in community and leadership development.
Dupree was one of the players the NFL invited to attend the event in Chicago. He was accompanied by UK head coach Mark Stoops, defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot and defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh. Dupree represents the 11th player Stoops has coached that has been a first-round pick.
The most recent Wildcat drafted by Pittsburgh was another linebacker, Jeff Brady, who was selected in 1991 and went on to a nine-year NFL career. The most famous Wildcat to wear the Black and Gold was center Dermontti Dawson, who played in Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2000 and has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. No Wildcat has played for Pittsburgh since Dawson.