Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan was selected by the Atlanta Falcons as the third pick in the 2008 NFL draft Saturday afternoon, becoming BC's highest draft pick ever. Later, offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus was drafted by Detroit as the 17th pick overall. This marked the ninth year in a row a BC offensive lineman has been drafted and only the second time in BC football history two players were drafted in the first round.
"Right now, I'm just pumped to be a Falcon" Ryan said.
Ryan, the 2007 ACC Player of the Year and recipient of the Johnny Unitas and Manning Awards, finished his BC career third on the all-time passing yardage list (9,313) and set a BC single-season record for passing yardage (4,507). He is BC's career leader in pass completions (807) and finished with a 25-7 record in 32 career starts.
"I couldn't be happier for Matt," BC Coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "Not only did Atlanta get a great quarterback, they got a man of great character to lead their organization."
"Obviously we are really excited for Matt and for our whole program," senior linebacker Brian Toal said. "Matt is a great person, a great leader, and he's what BC football is all about. Matt is what BC players in the future should aspire to be."
Ryan's center this past year, Matt Tennant, agreed. "We're all really proud of Matt," Tennant said. "I think it's a great thing. Matt did so much for BC, he really put BC football on the map. We're all very excited. He'll do a great job in reviving the Falcons."
Ryan became the first BC player to be drafted in the first round since Mathias Kiwanuka in 2006 (32nd) and was BC's highest draft pick ever. Quarterback Don Allard was selected fourth overall in the 1959 NFL draft by Washington.
Two hours after Ryan was selected, offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus was drafted by the Detroit Lions as the 17th pick overall. Cherilus, a Somerville native, was a mainstay in the BC offensive line the past four years and was switched from right tackle to left tackle this past season.
When Cherilus was chosen, it marked only the second time in BC football history two Eagles were chosen in the first round, but Ryan and Cherilus both were selected higher overall. In 2002, William Green was picked 16th by Cleveland and Marc Colombo was chosen 29th by Chicago.