Santa Rosa's Koa Misi, a legendary player at Montgomery High and Santa Rosa Junior College, was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday by the Miami Dolphins.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Misi, an all-Western Athletic Conference defensive end at Utah, was selected No. 40 overall. He is the highest NFL draft pick from the Redwood Empire since Cardinal Newman's Jerry Robinson of UCLA was selected in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1979.Misi is expected to vie for a spot at outside linebacker on a defense that ranked 22nd in the NFL last year and lost two perennial Pro Bowl linebackers in Joey Porter and Jason Taylor during the offseason.“I've been told outside linebacker is pretty open,” Misi said. “We'll see what happens.”
Misi watched the draft from Salt Lake City with about 40 relatives, many of whom live in the area. He said the moments after he received a phone call from a Dolphins representative were chaotic and emotional. In fact, a few hours later, Misi thought he spoke with Dolphins executive vice president Bill Parcells, but he wasn't sure.“It was crazy,” Misi said. “Just getting that phone call and having someone telling you that you're going to be a Miami Dolphin. Just crazy. My emotions started coming out, and and I started tearing up. My whole family started tearing up.”Misi had 10½ sacks and 26 tackles for loss as a three-year starter at Utah. Despite his relatively small stature, Misi excelled due to his freakish athletic ability. Misi has a 38-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot, 7-inch standing broad jump and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.69
Montgomery coach Jason Franci said Misi's raw ability made it clear he had NFL potential in high school. Misi didn't play football until his freshman year at Montgomery.
“We had him at middle linebacker, and he flew from sideline to sideline,” Franci said. “Then sometimes we'd put him in at tailback and he'd run over everyone. He was a man among boys. He was so gifted physically. He was amazing.”
Misi took a year off from football following high school after tiring of the recruiting process. But he says he never relinquished his dream of reaching the NFL.
“It probably started at Montgomery,” Misi said. “I remember coaches telling me I was a special player and I'd be doing big things with my life. It's always been a dream of mine.”
Misi will fly to Miami on Thursday for a minicamp and return to Utah on Sunday.
Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Tony Moll (Sonoma), Oakland Raiders defensive end Greyson Gunheim (Analy) and Chicago Bears running back Kahlil Bell were the only players from the Empire to appear on the active rosters of NFL teams last season. Bell, a Santa Rosa native, played at Montgomery before graduating from Marin Catholic.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Posted by news update at 12:27 AM