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April 26, 2012
[db]Michael Floyd[/db] became the first Notre Dame player to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft in five years when the Arizona Cardinals tabbed him with the 13th overall pick Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
"So excited, it's a dream come true for me," Floyd said.
Floyd, who set school marks for career receptions (271), receiving yards (3,686) and receiving touchdowns (37), is the first Irish receiver chosen in the first round since Tim Brown was the No. 6 overall pick of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1988. Notre Dame's last first-round selection was quarterback Brady Quinn by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd overall pick in 2007.
Considered a mid-to-late first round selection immediately after his senior season, Floyd's stock took a huge jump in February when he clocked a 4.47 time in the 40-yard dash at the Indianapolis combine. He did nothing to hurt his standing the first week of April during Notre Dame's Pro Day when he and eight other former Irish players auditioned for a bevy of NFL scouts.
Floyd, who caught 100 passes for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns during his senior campaign, obliterated the vast majority of Notre Dame receiving records during his four-year career. He concluded his collegiate career with 92 more receptions, 1,093 more yards, and 10 more touchdowns than the No. 2 man, Jeff Samardzija.
Floyd signed with Notre Dame out of Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minn., four years ago as a five-star prospect and U.S. Army All-American. Rivals.com ranked six receivers as five-star prospects that cycle. Now four of them have been drafted in the first round, Floyd joining A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Jonathan Baldwin.
Going to Arizona means Floyd will reunite with mentor Larry Fitzgerald, another Minnesota product.
"He's a great guy and I'm going to get there and learn from him," Floyd said. "Since he's been in the game so long, he knows the ins and the outs of how to be a good wide receiver."
Floyd also reflected on his off-the-field issues of the past year, which included a DUI arrest a year ago that forced the star receiver to make amends around Notre Dame and with his teammates. If Floyd returned to Notre Dame to get his degree, he changed his work habits in South Bend to get to New York.
"The difference is the motivation to be in this position right now," Floyd said. "I always wanted this since I was a little kid, watching this on draft day, guys picking hats and meeting the commissioner. That's what motivated me even more to become a strong man and a better person."
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