MSU's Silatolu Drafted by Carolina!

With the 40th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers selected Amini Silatolu of Midwestern State during Friday night's second round.

The announcement was made by former Pro Bowl defensive end Mike Rucker, who slipped by calling Silatolu, "Amani."

"He can't get the beast's name right," analyst Bucky Brooks said. "That's a good move by the Carolina Panthers. He's a gifted player, but he's raw. I'm telling you right now, he's a starting guard with Pro Bowl potential."

Silatolu becomes the second MSU player to go in the NFL Draft and the first since defensive tackle Dudley Meredith was taking with the 251st overall pick of the 21st Round by the Detroit Lions in 1957. Meredith went on to play six seasons with the Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills of the AFL from 1963-68.

He will also be the fifth Midwestern State player to play in the joining Meredith, running back Dominic Rhodes (2001-10), wide receiver Bryan Gilmore (2000-07) and defensive back Ray Gene Smith (1954-57).

"I hoped he was going to go last night," MSU coach Bill Maskill. "I'm so happy for Amini. He put in the work and had the patience. He came in and earned the confidence and respect of his teammates. He works really hard and has a ton of ability. This is all about him and it's super for him."

Silatolu leaves MSU as one of the most decorated student-athletes in school history. He was a consensus All American last fall after leading the Mustangs to their first unbeaten season in school history at 10-0.

The 6-3, 311-pounder from Tracy, Calif. was runner-up for the 2011 Gene Upshaw Award presented to the top lineman in NCAA Division II. He earned first-team All-America nods from the Associated Press, National Football Coaches' Association, Daktronics, and Don Hansen's Football Gazette.

Silatolu anchored a front unit that paved the way for NCAA Division II's top offensive attack both in term of total yards (531.9) and points (48.6) per game.

Silatolu was nearly a two-time consensus All-America selection as he also earned first-team honors from the Associated Press, American Football Coaches' Association and and was a second-team Daktronics pick as a junior in 2010 after transferring in from San Joaquin Delta College.

Silatolu is the first Lone Star Conference player selected in the opening two rounds since Abilene Christian's Danieal Manning, who went to the Chicago Bears with the 42nd pick in 2006. His was the highest selection since Texas A&M-Kingsville's Jermane Mayberry was taken with the 25th pick of the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996.

Silatolu is just the third offensive lineman drafted out of the Lone Star Conference within the first two rounds. The others are Mayberry and NFL Hall of Famer and Texas A&M-Kingsville great Gene Upshaw, who was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 17th overall pick in 1967.