New England Selects RB Laurence Maroney

New England selected Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney with the 21st overall pick of the first round of the NFL Draft held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Maroney is the first first-round selection since former defensive back Willie Middlebrooks was the 24th selection in 2001 by the Denver Broncos. Maroney is also the highest drafted running back and player since Darrell Thompson was the 19th overall selection of the first round in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Laurence Maroney is the 15th Gopher to be chosen in the NFL Draft since Glen Mason became head coach in 1997. This also marks the eighth time in the past nine seasons under Mason that the Gophers have had a player selected in the NFL Draft. This is the third consecutive season that Minnesota has had a running back selected within the first five rounds of the NFL Draft. Maroney follows former teammate Marion Barber III, who was chosen by Dallas in the fourth round (109th overall selection) of the 2005 NFL Draft and Thomas Tapeh, who was selected by Philadelphia in the fifth round (162nd overall selection) of the 2004 NFL Draft. Maroney is the first Minnesota player drafted by New England since offensive tackle Jon Melander was chosen by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 1990 NFL Draft.

Maroney finished his collegiate career as one of the best running backs in Minnesota history. The 2005 Doak Walker and Maxwell Trophy semifinalist became only the third player in Big Ten history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons, joining Wisconsin's Ron Dayne and Michigan State's Sedrick Irvin. The St. Louis, Mo., native ranks second on the school's career rushing chart with 3,933 yards and is also second on the school's career charts in 100-yard games (21) and all-purpose yardage (4,797). Maroney, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten performer, is tied for third all-time in career rushing attempts with 660 and is fourth in career rushing average (5.95 ypc), career rushing touchdowns (32) and career total touchdowns (34). He finished his career ranked ninth all- time in career scoring with 204 points.

In 2005, Maroney became the school leader in single-season rushing yards with 1,464 and tied his own single-season school record (set in 2004) for 100-yard rushing games with eight. Maroney ranked first in the Big Ten and fifth in the nation in average rushing yards per game (133.09 ypg) and set the school record for 200-yard rushing games in a season with three. He finished last season tied for ninth in school history in season touchdowns with 11.

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