SAN DIEGO — Arizona State nose guard Dan Saleaumua was too anxious to sit around waiting for the phone call that would tell him what National Football League team had drafted him Tuesday. So the former Sweetwater High School player decided to play in his intramural team's softball game.
He got his first news after hitting a home run.
"Right when I crossed the plate, a friend yelled, 'You got to go home now; a guy from Tampa Bay just called you.' So I just jumped in the car and went home."
Saleaumua (6-feet 1-inch, 290 pounds) said that a Tampa Bay representative told him that the Buccaneers were waiting for their turn to draft him in the seventh round.
Saleaumua stayed around the house waiting for Tampa Bay to call him back.
But when the phone rang, the voice on the other end said: "Dan, Darryl Rogers told me to tell you 'Great job and you're a Detroit Lion.' "
"I just started laughing," Saleaumua said. "Darryl Rogers (coach of the Lions and former Arizona State coach) recruited me out of high school, and now he comes and gets me out of college. What's wrong with this guy? He keeps pulling me out of places."
Saleaumua had 23 solo tackles for the Rose Bowl champion Sun Devils this season and had 160 career tackles. He also had 11 career sacks, one fumble recovery and an interception.
He missed the first two games of last season because he missed the first week of practice.
"I had to get back into school," Saleaumua said. "My wife had to take maternity leave and I just had to get my priorities straight. My family's going to be here a lot longer than football.
"I paid my price for not going to camp. They made me run an extra three times a day and they kept me out of the first two games."
Injuries helped keep two other San Diego area players off the field, but they were still selected.
The Rams selected former Kearny High School and San Diego Mesa College cornerback Cliff Hicks in the third round, and former San Pasqual High player Ron Hall was taken by Tampa Bay in the fourth round.
But UCLA's Karl Dorrell, who played at Helix High, and former Grossmont High quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst of Arizona State were not selected.
Dorrell caught 35 passes for 451 yards last season and had 73 career catches for 1,066 yards and 7 touchdowns for the Bruins. Van Raaphorst was considered inconsistent but led Arizona State to the Rose Bowl title this past season. He completed 489 of 841 passes for 6,444 yards and 44 touchdowns.
Hicks, the first former San Diego County high school player selected, suffered ankle injuries his junior and senior seasons that limited his playing time at Oregon. His junior year, Hicks had 15 tackles in seven games. Hicks played in eight games as a senior and had 25 tackles and five pass deflections. He was also third in the Pacific 10 in punt returns with 217 yards in 16 returns, a 13.6 average.
Ram Coach John Robinson said he ranked Hicks just below a group of cornerbacks selected in the second round and was happy to get him. He said Hicks may also be used as a punt returner.
"He's a great punt returner, although he's only 5-9," Robinson said.
Hall (6-4, 235), a tight end, played his freshman year at Cal Poly Pomona, but transfered to Hawaii after the Broncos dropped their football program.
Last season, Hall caught 42 passes for 508 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hall was an injury redshirt in 1983 and he also missed the first six games of his junior season. He had 59 career catches for 726 yards and 3 touchdowns at Hawaii.
Hall will leave today for a three-day rookie camp at Tampa, but he said he has to be back for finals next week. Hall is expected to graduate with a bachelor's degree in communications on May 17.
"(Tampa Bay) was talking rebuilding so hopefully I can contribute there and stick around for a while," Hall said.