Mike Catapano, the 2012 Bushnell Cup recipient as the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, became Princeton's first NFL Draft pick since 2001 when he was selected 207th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Catapano is the 13th player from Princeton to ever get drafted, although the 10th in the modern era (post-merge), and the first since Dennis Norman was selected by Seattle in 2001. Since the modern era, only two Princeton players have been drafted before him: Jon Schultheis (Philadelphia, 1983, 182nd pick) and Bob Hews (Kansas City, 1970, 156th pick).
Catapano, the first pick of the seventh round, earned unanimous selection to the All-Ivy first team, and he ended his career as a three-time All-Ivy honoree. He led the Ivy League with 12 sacks and ended the regular season ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision with 1.2 sacks per game. He ranked second in the Ivy League in tackles for loss with 15.5, which was only a half tackle off the League lead, and ranked ninth nationally in that category. The two-year co-captain ended the season with 41 tackles, and he had five games with at least two tackles for loss, as well as five games with at least five tackles.
"I couldn't be any happier for Mike, who has worked tirelessly for this moment," head coach Bob Surace said. "His leadership both on the field and in the locker room were both driving forces behind our turnaround last season. Nobody is going to outwork Mike at the next level, and I can't wait to follow his career with the Kansas City Chiefs."
Catapano was at his best in Ivy League competition, when he led Princeton to its biggest turnaround in more than two decades. He had multiple sacks in four of the seven Ivy games and had at least half a sack in six games. He added five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles during the season. After the Tigers were the seventh-ranked defense in the Ivy League in 2011, Catapano helped Princeton improve to the third-best scoring defense in 2012. Princeton produced its first winning season in Ivy League play since 2006 and remained in the championship hunt until the final Saturday.
His 12 sacks were the most for a single season at Princeton since David Ferrara '00 recorded 12.5 during the 1998 season.
Catapano will be part of one of the NFL's biggest games in September; on Thursday, Sept. 19, Kansas City head coach Andy Reid will return to Philadelphia for the first time, and the game will be broadcast live on the NFL Network.
One week earlier, in the Kansas City home opener, Catapano will host another Bushnell Cup winner from Princeton, as Dallas head coach Jason Garrett '89 will visit Arrowhead Stadium.
PRINCETON FOOTBALL HISTORY IN THE NFL DRAFT
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