Otis Leverette became the fifth UAB player drafted by the NFL in the past four years
UAB senior defensive end Otis Leverette was the sixth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in the 2001 NFL Draft, held Apr. 21-22.
The Americus, Ga., native became the fifth UAB player drafted by an NFL team since the 1998 season.
Leverette played in all 22 games during his two seasons at UAB (1999-2000), recording 56 tackles (24 solo, 32 assists) with three and one-half sacks, 15 tackles for loss (-49 yards), six pass deflections, one? forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks.??
Leverette had his most impressive game of the 2001 season vs. Louisville at Legion Field (Oct. 7), with two sacks and a fumble recovery.
His impressive 6'7" 275-pound frame and 4.8 speed in the 40-yard dash, as well as his strong character and work ethic were major factors in his selection.?
"To be honest, when the process first started, I thought it was going to be hard for me to get drafted being that I was a late bloomer coming into my senior year," said Leverette after finding out he would be heading to Miami for Mini Camp, Apr. 27.?
"But as the draft process went on, a lot of people began to show interest and started flying me up for physicals and a lot of people came to work me out, so I began to think there may be a chance for me in a later round.
It is a surprise and I'm happy to be here because I kind of almost lost hope the farther that it got along. I just thank God that I got this opportunity."
Athletic ability was never a question. I went to junior college and I didn't receive a whole lot of coaching there and then I went to UAB and in my senior year I really got a good coach and he started bringing the football side of me out and making me a better football player and I feel like I still have a way to go, but I feel like I can still establish myself on a new level.
"I would say right now my best qualities would probably be rushing the passer. I feel like I can refine my techniques in both rushing the passer and stopping the run, but that's still probably my strength. I still feel like there's a lot of stuff I can add to my game."