2017 NFL Draft: Washburn’s Cody Heiman, BYU’s Travis Tuiloma among local, small-college prospects

With the 2017 NFL Draft just a week away, here’s a look at some local talents and other small-college prospects who might have a chance to hear their names called during the three-day selection process April 27-29 in Philadelphia.



This linebacker from Baileyville played five years at Washburn and switched from running back to linebacker in 2014. Heiman had 251 total tackles during his time at WU, with five interceptions (including one for a touchdown), two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks. He had 101 tackles and seven pass deflections during his senior year and ranks 12th all-time in total tackles at Washburn and fourth in fumble-return yardage. He was a second-team All-MIAA player as a junior and a first-teamer as a senior. He likely would be asked to be play fullback and special teams at the next level.

Heiman also ran for 426 yards and six touchdowns in 2013.


The super-athletic linebacker will likely hear his name called on the third day of the draft. Scouts say he’s built like a pro wrestler, and after an impressive pro day at Missouri State, he’s likely to end up on some team by the time training camp rolls around. He put up an impressive 32 reps in the 225-pound bench press, besting the top number at the NFL Combine — 27 reps by Michigan’s Ben Gedeon. He also beat the best numbers from the combine on the vertical jump, checking in at 39 inches, while Houston’s Tyus Bowser had the best vertical at the combine at 37.5.


Quarterback Garrett Fugate isn’t likely to be on a lot of teams’ radar, but he has worked out with the Kansas City Chiefs, so that’s something. The former Blue Valley Northwest star completed 271 of 425 passing attempts for 3,655 yards, 31 touchdowns and 9 interceptions last season for the Mules and added eight scores and 457 yards on the ground. Considering the Chiefs have 10 picks in this year’s draft, they may burn a seventh-round pick on this hometown prospect.


This super-tough defensive end with a background in wrestling is another MIAA player who is likely to have a shot at the pros this training camp. The long lineman with giant hands broke multiple records during his time playing for the prestigious football program, including the single-season record for tackles for loss (26.5) and the single-season sacks record (15.5) in 2015.


This big defensive tackle from Topeka was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List at the beginning of the season but was hampered by injuries for the second year in a row, only playing in five games. He posted 68 tackles, including three sacks and 11 tackles for loss, during his time with the Cougars. He has a pro’s body at 6-foot-2, 301 pounds but isn’t likely to get drafted. However, he could get a chance to sign with an NFL team as a free agent and prove he is worthy of a roster spot.

Tuiloma was a consensus First-Team All-State Selection at Washburn Rural and was rated the No. 13 recruit out of Kansas at the time by Rivals.com. Regardless of where he falls, it’d be cool to see a Topeka kid get a shot at the pros.



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