USM players drafted by NFL - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

USM players drafted by NFL

Kalan Reed and Mike Thomas. Photo credit: WDAM. Kalan Reed and Mike Thomas. Photo credit: WDAM.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Two Southern Miss athletes have been selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Southern Miss wide receiver Mike Thomas was chosen in the sixth round by the Los Angeles Rams Saturday.

Thomas earned the 206th overall pick by the Rams as it also marked the fifth consecutive year that Southern Miss had at least one player taken in the draft. Defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches earned a sixth-round selection by the Kansas City Chiefs last season. 

In 2016, Thomas established single-season school records with 1,391 yards receiving and 14 touchdown catches as he collected 71 catches. His totals included seven 100-yard receiving games, including 190 yards and a pair of touchdown catches in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl against Washington.

Thomas broke the Southern Miss single season records for receiving yards in a season and also for receiving touchdowns in a season. Thomas finished top five in the country in touchdown receptions, top 10 in the country in yards and yards per game while top 15 in the country in yards per reception. The senior transfer concluded his tenure at Southern Miss with 1,983 yards on 112 receptions and 19 touchdowns.

Thomas is the first Southern Miss player taken by the Rams organization since center Barry Caudill got taken in the 12th round in 1977.

Cornerback Kalan Reed was selected by the Tennessee Titans with the 253rd and final pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

In the 2015 season, Reed broke the Southern Miss record for pass break-ups in a single season and ranked top ten in the nation in passes defended per game. A four-year letterwinner for the Golden Eagles, Reed finished his career with 152 tackles, 35 pass breakups, eight interceptions, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.

Both athletes played in the Fifth Annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January of 2016.

The Southern Miss football team returned to the top with a tremendous 2015 season. The Golden Eagles finished the year 9-5, including a 7-1 mark in Conference USA play. Southern Miss won the C-USA West Division title and competed for the league championship. The Golden Eagles returned to a bowl for the first time in four years, playing Pac-12 opponent Washington in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl. Throughout the season, the Southern Miss football team compiled new records and received numerous accolades. 

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