Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap made a promise to his mother when his family agreed that he should leave the Florida Gators after three stellar seasons and pursue an NFL career.
Dunlap vowed he would return to Florida early in his professional career and complete his degree, despite any level of success he was having in the league.
The No. 54 overall pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Dunlap has been a tremendous asset for the Bengals. He’s racked up 49 sacks and 12 forced fumbles in five seasons, getting named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2015.
Dunlap never forgot his promise, though. The 27-year-old has returned to UF across multiple offseasons to complete his degree, and he was set to walk at graduation in Gainesville, Florida, this weekend.
One problem: Cincinnati and the league asked him to appear at the 2016 NFL Draft to announce a selection.
Dunlap made the most out of the request. He may not have been able to walk the graduation stage in his cap and gown, but the NFL Draft stage was an even greater one to showcase a crowning achievement in his life.
Dunlap not only took the stage in his cap and gown, he Gator Chomped before he began speaking, dropped a “Go Gators!” and threw his cap in the air before announcing the pick.
Check it out.
— NFL (@NFL) April 30, 2016
On a night filled with special moments, Dunlap’s appearance certainly stood out. The genuine smile on his face – he obviously felt a sense of tremendous accomplishment – simply cannot be beat.
As it turns out, Dunlap was not the only former Gators player to announce a draft pick on Friday during the second and third rounds. Defensive end Jevon Kearse stood on stage for the Tennessee Titans, and running back Fred Taylor was featured with the Jacksonville Jaguars.