Carrollton, GA - Another first came for the University of West Georgia football program on Saturday aftenoon, as Dylan Donahue was selected by the New York Jets as the 181st pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, becoming the first player in school history to be selected in the draft. Then, just 11 picks later, Alex Armah was taken as the 192nd pick of the draft by the Carolina Panthers.
Added 7:33PM: In the moments following the 2017 NFL Draft, former UWG star Marcus Sayles signed a free-agent contract with the Buffalo Bills. Sayles was an All-American in the 2016 season and holds the UWG school record for blocked kicks.
The pair of bookend defensive ends are two of the most decorated players in school history, and between the two, may have more career sacks than any other defensive end tandem since West Georgia returned to the ranks of NCAA Division II. Donahue projects as a rush end or even as an outside linebacker at the NFL level, while Armah is likely to end up as a tight end or a fullback.
Donahue was a phenom for the Wolves, as he named a first team member of the 2016 D2Football.com All-America Team, the Don Hansen Division II All-America Team, the American Football Coaches All-America team and the AP Little All-America Team.
His path to the draft included a stop at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, Cal. earlier this year, going up against a roster of mostly Division I talent. He became the second player to represent UWG in the bowl game that attracted more than 200 scouts. The Montana native had one tackle in the contest, picking up the stat in the third quarter of the game.
Donahue was named Gulf South Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and was a member of the All-GSC First Team. He finished fourth in nationwide balloting for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award. Also, Donahue is a nominee for the Cliff Harris Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive player from classifications below NCAA Division I. This is also his second All-American award this season, as he was named as an American Football Coaches Association All-American last month.
Donahue had a record setting season, and career, at UWG. His 13.5 quarterback sacks in 2016 is not only a new school record, it also represents the highest single season sack total in GSC history. Also, Donahue's total of 25.5 career sacks is the most ever for any West Georgia player.
Armah, another senior defensive end for the Wolves in 2016, was a First Team All-GSC selection for the second-straight year and he joins a select group of players who have been named All-Gulf South Conference in three seasons. Armah's distinction goes a step further this past season, as he was also named Second Team All-GSC as a tight end, becoming the first player in conference history to be named All-Conference as an offensive and a defensive player. Armah was a Second Team defensive end as a sophomore in 2014, then has been First Team as an end as a junior and senior.