Platteville’s Louis Nzegwu wasn’t among the 253 prospective professional football players that heard their names called at last week’s annual NFL draft.
However, the University of Wisconsin defensive lineman and former Hillmen all-state running back will still have an opportunity to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.
Late Saturday night after the conclusion of the draft the Atlanta Falcons signed Nzegwu as an undrafted free agent.
Nzegwu, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive lineman, who could be moved to outside linebacker in the pros, started all 27 games with the Badgers during his junior and senior seasons. He played in a total of 48 games at Wisconsin after redshirting in 2007 and amassed 53 unassisted tackles, 47 assisted tackles, 17.5 tackles for losses of 74 yards, 11 quarterback sacks, two fumbles caused and one fumble recovered.
Nzegwu’s most memorable college play came in this year’s Rose Bowl against Oregon when he returned a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown.
During his high school career with the Hillmen, Nzegwu totaled 3,315 rushing yards on 491 carries and scored 39 total touchdowns. He also had eight sacks and was a two-time team MVP under coach Scott Statz.
Nzegwu will be familiar with at least two of his Atlanta teammates when he joins former Badgers fullback Bradie Ewing, a Richland Center native and former Southwest Wisconsin Conference standout, and offensive lineman Peter Konz at the Falcons’ Rookie Mini-Camp May 11-13.
Earlier Saturday afternoon the Falcons used their fifth round pick (157 overall) to pick Ewing, who could replace Ovie Mughelli as Atlanta’s starting fullback.
After walking on at Wisconsin, Ewing became an offensive captain as a senior and contributed heavily to the Badgers’ coverage and return units on special teams.
According to information released by the university, Ewing’s blocks resulted in 30 touchdowns last season. He caught all 28 passes targeted to him in his four-year career.
Friday night the Falcons used their first pick in this year’s draft - second round, No. 55 overall - to select Knoz, who could play both center and guard.