Hillenmeyer Goes to Green Bay in 5th Round 4/27/03

Vanderbilt linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, an All-Southeastern Conference pick in 2002, was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers Sunday.

The Packers traded up to obtain Hillenmeyer, getting Philadelphia’s 166th selection by offering their pick later in the sixth round and a seventh-round pick.

Hillenmeyer led all SEC defenders with 116 solo tackles and 168 total stops during the 2002 season. He moved to middle linebacker for the Commodores last year after playing three seasons at outside linebacker.

The Nashville native and graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy was the sixth middle linebacker overall taken in the draft. He will compete against veteran starter Hardy Nickerson among others for the Green Bay job. The Packers used the draft to strengthen their defense, selecting a pair of Oregon State defenders, Nick Barnett and James Lee, and Ohio State defensive end Kenny Peterson in addition to Hillenmeyer.

Hillenmeyer was the first Vanderbilt player selected since four Commodores were taken in the 2001 Draft.

Hillenmeyer also continues Vanderbilt’s tradition of producing NFL-caliber linebackers. He becomes the fourth Commodore backer since 1998 drafted by the NFL, joining Jamie Winborn and Matt Stewart in 2001 and Jamie Duncan in 1998. Another former Vanderbilt linebacker, Shelton Quarles, was a starting linebacker for the 2002-03 Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Hillenmeyer combines excellent physical size (6-4, 242) with a superb understanding of the game, and is expected to benefit at the next level from his experience at both middle and outside linebacker.

The draft marks another honor for Hillenmeyer during his senior campaign. In addition to earning First-Team All-SEC status by conference coaches, Hillenmeyer added two prestigious academic honors this year. Last October, he was named as one of six “National Scholar Athletes” by the College Football Hall of Fame and National Football Foundation. He followed that award by becoming Vanderbilt’s first football player named First-Team Verizon Academic All-American in two decades.



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