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NFL DRAFT NOTES

Four Bruins Are Chosen on Day 2; Cassel Selected

April 25, 2005|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

After not having a player selected on the first day of the NFL draft, UCLA had four picked Sunday, including wide receiver Tab Perry, who was chosen in the sixth round by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Also drafted were fullback Manuel White Jr. (fourth round, Washington), safety Ben Emanuel II (fifth round, Carolina) and wide receiver Craig Bragg (sixth round, Green Bay).

But Perry's journey to the NFL was a little different from those of his teammates: He was out of football a year ago.

"I know that I've come a long way," said Perry, who reenrolled at UCLA before the start of last season after being ruled academically ineligible in 2003. "A year ago, I was playing flag football."

Perry, UCLA's career kickoff return yardage leader, started four games in 2004 and had 22 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns. Although Cincinnati drafted West Virginia wide receiver Chris Henry in the third round and already had two quality receivers in Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the Bengals liked Perry's size (6 feet 2 1/2 , 220 pounds) and 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

"He didn't have a great career as he should have because of academic problems," Cincinnati wide receiver coach Hue Jackson said about Perry. "But he has the versatility we like. He'll be able to do a few other things to contribute."

Perry's stock rose after the season when he performed well at the scouting combine and UCLA's pro timing day.

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Quarterback Matt Cassel, a backup to Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC, was chosen in the seventh round by the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

"While my entire career at USC was maybe not as successful as I hoped it would be, and then to be drafted by the Patriots ... they're very particular in how they choose their guys," Cassel said. "They've made it clear they want to bring me along. I have to go in there and take advantage of the opportunity and compete."

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A Heisman Trophy on Jason White's resume wasn't enough to get him drafted.

White rebounded from two major knee injuries to win the Heisman in 2003, throwing for 3,946 yards and 40 touchdowns.

He received a waiver from the NCAA to return for a sixth season at Oklahoma last year and made another run at the Heisman.

White passed for 35 touchdowns and 3,205 yards, and finished third in the voting.

The last Heisman Trophy winner to not be drafted was Charlie Ward, who won the award with Florida State in 1993, but he made it known he was going to play basketball instead.

Among the other prominent players to go undrafted were Tennessee tackle Michael Munoz; Michigan safety Ernest Shazor, who left school after his junior season; and Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang, the NCAA's all-time passing yardage leader.

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Times Staff Writer Gary Klein and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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