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Ball St. outshines other Indiana schools in draft

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Ball State quarterback Nate Davis waited nearly 24 hours to take the call from San Francisco.

Teammate Robert Brewster found out where he was headed much sooner.

The Dallas Cowboys took Brewster midway through the third round of Sunday’s NFL draft, making the 6-foot-4, 312-pound offensive tackle the 75th pick overall, the highest selection out of Ball State since the New York Jets took Shafer Suggs 33rd in 1976.

“It is a new chapter, the next step in life,” Brewster said. “I’m ready to go to work and do the same things I did at Ball State.”

The highest pick among players from Indiana schools was Purdue defensive lineman Alex Magee, who was the third selection in the third round, 67th overall. He went to Kansas City, which will use the 6-3, 295-pound tackle to form an imposing defensive line along with Glenn Dorsey, the Chiefs top draft pick in 2008.

“We’re going to get to the quarterback,” Magee told Chiefs reporters.

This was an unusually light draft for the Indiana schools, which were shut out in the first two rounds on Saturday.

Notre Dame, which has traditionally produced more NFL players than other state schools, only had one player chosen. Safety David Bruton went to Denver at 114th midway through the third round. That gave the Irish the same total in the draft as Franklin Central High School, which produced Ohio State defensive back Donald Washington, who also went to the Chiefs in the fourth round at No. 102.

Ball State and Purdue each had two players selected.

Davis, who decided to leave school early when his draft stock soared toward the end of last season, was still available until San Francisco took him late in the fifth round, at No. 171. NFL scouts were concerned about Davis’ unconventional grip and questioned how quickly he could learn the playbook, factors that didn’t scare off the 49ers.

Davis thought the reason he didn’t go higher was more about image than substance.

“I think the big difference is (Matthew Stafford) went to Georgia, and I went to Ball State. (Mark) Sanchez went to USC, and I went to Ball State. It’s a bigger school, and unfortunately they had better competition, but it all worked out.”

Coach Mike Singletary acknowledged Davis has a form of dyslexia, meaning coaches will have to teach Davis in different ways. Should the 49ers coaches need suggestions, they can always hook up with former Ball State coach Brady Hoke, who helped turn Davis into a draftable player. Hoke will be just down the coast at San Diego State.

Other state schools didn’t fare as well.

Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter was the only other player chosen from an in-state school. He went to his home-state Indianapolis Colts late in the sixth round, 201st overall.

IU’s Hoosiers, meanwhile, were shut out.

The Hoosiers’ top prospect, receiver Andrew Means, played baseball in the Cincinnati Reds minor-league system last summer but declared early for the draft so he could focus on football. Also left out were Purdue running back Kory Sheets and receiver Greg Orton.

Bruton spent the day at home with his family, hoping some of his teammates would get called.

They didn’t.

According to Notre Dame’s media guide, it matched the second lowest total of Fighting Irish players ever selected. Notre Dame also had one player selected in 1998 and 2000, and had no players taken in 1937 and 1977.

“Hopefully, all of those (Notre Dame) guys will get called,” Bruton said before the draft ended. “But I’m a workaholic, I could have gone in the seventh round or not gotten picked at all and I would have gone to work the same way.

“It really has been a long day.”

© 2009 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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