Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Burkhead, Stafford Selected in NFL Draft

By NU Athletic Communications

Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead and safety Daimion Stafford were selected on Saturday on the final day of the NFL Draft.

Burkhead was the first Husker taken in the 2013 NFL Draft when the Cincinnati Bengals used the 190th overall pick in the sixth round to selecte Burkhead.

Burkhead's selection marks the second time in three seasons NU has had a running back taken in the draft. In 2011, Roy Helu Jr. was a fourth-round pick by the Washington Redskins.

Stafford became the second Husker selected in the NFL Draft when the Tennessee Titans selected him with the 248th pick in the seventh round of the draft.

Burkhead wrapped up one of the most successful all-around careers in Nebraska football history in 2012. Burkhead finished his career among the top five all-time rushers in Nebraska history, while also making his mark in the classroom and the community during his time in the NU program.

The 5-11, 210-pound Burkhead was limited throughout his senior season because of a sprained knee he suffered early in the season opener against Southern Miss. Burkhead returned to action three weeks later, but twice re-aggravated the injury and was limited to eight games.

Burkhead made the most of his time, rushing for 675 yards and five touchdowns on just 98 carries as a senior. Burkhead averaged 6.9 yards per carry and also caught 11 passes, including two touchdown receptions.

His 2013 rushing yardage pushed Burkhead's career total to 3,329 yards, good for fifth on the NU career rushing list. He also had three 100-yard rushing games as a senior, giving him 14 games with at least 100 rushing yards in his career. Burkhead closed his career in outstanding fashion, rushing for 140 yards and a touchdown against Georgia in the Capital One Bowl, while also catching four passes including a touchdown grab.

In addition to his impact on the field, Burkhead continued to earn accolades for his work off the field. The Plano, Texas, native earned Capital One/CoSIDA first-team Academic All-America honors for the second straight season, and became the 15th Husker football student-athlete to be a two-time first-team academic All-American.

He also earned his degree in history in December of 2012, completing his undergraduate work in just 3 1/2 years. Burkhead was also among an elite group of 15 FBS football student-athletes to be named a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete in 2012.

Stafford was a standout in the Nebraska secondary for his two seasons in Lincoln in 2011 and 2012. Stafford started 26 of 27 games in his NU career.

The 6-0, 215-pound Stafford was second on the team with 96 tackles in 2012, including 51 solo stops. He added four tackles for loss and a sack. Stafford made at least seven tackles in 10 of 14 games, including a season-high 11 stops at Michigan State. Stafford racked up 176 tackles in his two seasons at Nebraska, the fourth-best total in school history among two-year players.

Stafford had a knack for finding the football in 2012. He had a team-high four interceptions, all in Big Ten play, and led the league in interceptions in conference action. He also had seven pass breakups, while forcing two fumbles and recovering two others.

The play of Stafford helped Nebraska lead the nation in opponent pass completion percentage, while ranking in the top 10 in pass efficiency defense and passing yards allowed. For his play in 2012, Stafford earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the Big Ten media panel and second-team recognition from the coaches.

Several other Nebraska players are expected to sign free-agent contracts following the completion of the Draft.



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