UT senior running back Kareem Hunt was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft Friday night.
Hunt, the 86th overall pick of the draft, is the first Rocket to be drafted since John Greco and Jalen Parmele were selected in 2008.Hunt is Toledo’s all-time leading rusher with 4,945 yards and a three-time All-Mid-American Conference selection. He rushed for 866 yards as a freshman, 1,631 yards as a sophomore, 973 in an injury-filled junior year, and 1,475 yards as a senior.
His career-high rushing game came at the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl when he gained 271 yards in a 63-44 victory over Arkansas State Jan. 4, 2015. Hunt also rushed for five TDs that game, tying a bowl record held by Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State.
Hunt was named the Most Outstanding Player for the North Team at the 2017 Senior Bowl, rushing for 118 yards on 15 carries.
He is the fourth highest draft pick in Rocket history behind Dan Williams (11 in 1993), Greco (65 in 2008) and Curtis Johnson (81 in 1970).
“I was so happy when I got the phone call from Kansas City,” said Hunt, who watched the draft in Cleveland with family and friends. “I was feeling a little nervous until then. I thought I might go in the second round. When that didn’t happen, I figured I would go somewhere in the third round. I’m just very happy it all worked out. My mom is very happy. I’ve worked very hard for most of my life for this, so it just feels good.”
Hunt said he is excited to be going to Kansas City. He spoke at length to Head Coach Andy Reid and Running Backs Coach Eric Bieniemy at the NFL Combine. With the Chiefs recent releasing all-time rusher Jamaal Charles, an opportunity has opened up in their backfield.
“I think Kansas City is a great opportunity for me,” said Hunt, who will report to a three-day mini-camp in Kansas City next week. “I feel like I can come in and contribute very early in my career, and the Chiefs told me they feel the same way.”