Tom Ignudo

Temple's Nate Hairston drafted by Colts in the 5th round

Temple's Nate Hairston drafted by Colts in the 5th round

The Colts selected Nate Hairston on Saturday with the 158th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

Hairston is the third Temple player to get selected in the draft. Haason Reddick was selected by the Cardinals with the 13th overall pick in the first round, while the Bills drafted Dion Dawkins with the 63rd overall pick in the second round.

"Nate is a long, physical corner," Temple head coach Geoff Collins said in a statement. "I'm excited about him. Having coached some very talented defensive backs in my career, I can see him playing great on Sunday's for the Colts."

With three Temple players being selected, it ties a school record for the number of players drafted in one year. It's happened six times before, including in 2016.

Temple might be able to break that record on Day 3 of the draft with running back Jahad Thomas and quarterback Phillip Walker still on the board. Hairston also becomes the 69th Temple player to be selected in the NFL.

Hairston started 13 games at cornerback last season for an Owls defense that was ranked No. 3 in the nation against the pass. He also recorded 25 tackles, two interceptions and three pass breakups in his senior year.

Hairston will join a Colts defense that ranked sixth worst in passing defense last season, allowing 262.5 passing yards per game. They also only had eight interceptions last season, which ranked tied for second worst in the NFL with the Bears and Jets.

Temple's Dion Dawkins drafted by Bills in 2nd round as versatility pays off

Temple's Dion Dawkins drafted by Bills in 2nd round as versatility pays off

The Buffalo Bills selected Dion Dawkins in the second round of the NFL draft with the 63rd overall pick on Friday.

Joining teammate Haason Reddick (see story), Dawkins is the second Temple player to be selected this draft.

Dawkins started at left tackle for three years at Temple, but in the Senior Bowl in January he moved to guard and was named the top offensive line performer by Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage.

"At the end of the day, I'm a football player," Dawkins said at Temple's pro day last March. "I can be listed as a center, a guard or a tackle because teams need offensive linemen with versatility."

The Bills traded their third-round pick (75th overall) and two fifth-round picks (149th overall and 156th overall) for the Atlanta Falcons' second-round pick, where they nabbed the Temple product. Dawkins becomes the first offensive lineman drafted by the Bills since they selected John Miller in the third round of the 2015 draft.

Dawkins could be a Day 1 starter at the next level and block in front of former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who finished sixth in rushing yards last season with 1,267 on 5.4 yards per carry.

Before Dawkins was drafted, he faced some adversity entering Temple like Reddick. 

Dawkins didn't have many options coming out of Rahway High School in New Jersey. He was committed to Cincinnati but pulled his commitment after it didn't offer him a full scholarship. 

Dawkins played at the Hargrave Military Academy in 2012 and then joined Temple for the 2013 season. He was one of four true freshmen to start at left tackle in the NCAA in 2013, including Laremy Tunsil, the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft. Dawkins played in five games and started in two that season until breaking his foot.

But, Dawkins rebounded and went on to protect Phillip Walker's blindside for the next three seasons to finish out his career at Temple.

"With doing both positions, it's a better chance for teams to have guys they fall back on," Dawkins said. "If a tackle goes down, and I'm the starting left guard, then they can move me to left tackle or right. And I plan on learning every position so I can remain in the NFL for as long as possible and be a great player."

Temple DE Haason Reddick 'overwhelmed' after Cardinals take him 13th overall

Temple DE Haason Reddick 'overwhelmed' after Cardinals take him 13th overall

Haason Reddick started the next chapter in his success story Thursday night.

The Temple product was taken 13th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL draft. He becomes the second-highest selection ever for a Temple player.

Reddick will call a new coast his home next season, but he has plenty in common with his new head coach Bruce Arians. Arians was Temple's head football coach from 1983-88.

"To play for a fellow Temple guy, that's special," Reddick said through a smile at the podium, sporting a red tie to match his Cardinals fitted hat.

But that's not all of the ties Reddick has to Arians.

While Arians was at Temple, he coached running back Paul Palmer, a former Heisman Trophy runner-up who was selected 19th overall in the 1987 NFL draft. 

Palmer is an assistant coach at Haddon Heights High School in Camden, New Jersey, where Reddick went to high school. Palmer witnessed the transformation Reddick went through from a cornerback at Haddon Heights to a dominant edge rusher for the Owls. 

"[Palmer] coached me and now [Arians] is going to get a chance to coach me, as well," Reddick said. "It's just like a generational thing. It's being passed down, passed down, passed down from Temple alums. That's special right there."

For Reddick, the process of walking across the art museum steps and hearing his named called in the city he played college football in was a long one. At one point, Reddick thought he was going to be a "regular college student."

Reddick walked on at Temple and was told he wasn't being brought back by then-head coach Steve Addazio in 2013. 

But when Addazio left North Broad Street for the head coaching job at Boston College, and Matt Rhule became the head coach, Francis Brown, the defensive backs coach, fought for Reddick to stay on the team.

Rhule trusted Brown and brought back Reddick, who helped Temple win its first conference championship since 1967. 

"I never thought what could come out of it until my junior year in college," Reddick said. "And I put in even more work the senior season and continued to grind, continued to work hard. And now that I'm here, I finally got my name called and it's still sinking in, man. It's still sinking in. I'm being overwhelmed by emotions but it's still sinking in."

Prior to Reddick's earning a scholarship at Temple, his mother took out a loan for him to have a meal plan. His father was also always there to support him when he was uncertain of his football career.

In the lead up to the draft, Reddick had often talked about getting his mother a house where the sun shines. Somewhere in Arizona might be a good spot.

"It was beautiful," Reddick said of getting the phone call from Cardinals general manager Steve Keim. "I'm glad I had the people I had around me. Most of the people there are people that stuck with me throughout this whole journey. And to be able to share that moment with them, I wouldn't want to spend that moment any other way."