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Sun Belt Has NFL Draft Success

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Seven Sun Belt prospects were selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The NFL Draft was a showcase for the fast-rising Sun Belt.

Seven conference players were selected, tying a league mark of prospects chosen from 2010. Louisiana offensive lineman Robert Hunt was picked 39th overall as an early second round selection by the Miami Dolphins. He stands as the third-highest drafted player in program history, the fourth second round pick overall. Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans, nabbed 93rd overall by the Tennessee Titans, became the highest-drafted running back in Sun Belt history; over the last quarter century, in fact, only two other running backs from schools in the state of North Carolina have been drafted higher.  

Appalachian State, with Evans and linebacker Akeem-Davis Gaither going 107th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, Louisiana, with Hunt, offensive lineman Kevin Dotson going 135th to the Pittsburgh Steelers and running back Raymond Calais going 245th to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Georgia Southern, with cornerback Kindle Vildor going 163rd to the Chicago Bears and kicker Tyler Bass going 188th to the Buffalo Bills, all had multiple picks. Three of the Sun Belt's biggest names, their brands, over the weekend, extended to the next level.

Louisiana had three players drafted for the first-time ever.

While the 13th consecutive year that the Sun Belt has had a prospect drafted, the last few days came with extra validation. This is a league on the rise, one with high-profile programs, coaches and players alike. In addition to the seven players selected, many more, at least 14, immediately received free agent contracts. Professional scouts are well-aware of the talent in the conference, a notion recently results clearly indicate. Even more opportunities will soon be on the way.  

The Sun Belt draft class of 2020 will move forward with both momentum and meaning, representing all of their peers. This conference has a proud history and a bright future all the same.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports