Nathan Shepherd is headed to the New York Jets.
The Fort Hays State product was taken by the Jets with the eighth selection in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday night.
Shepherd, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive tackle, was the 72nd player selected overall.
"One of my favorite players in the draft," NFL analyst Mike Mayock said after Shepherd's selection.
The Ontario, Canada native was a three-time All-MIAA selection, recording 168 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 10 sacks as a Tiger. He was an All-America first-team pick by three organizations in his senior year — the American Football Coaches Association, D2Football.com and the Don Hansen Football Committee.
"I definitely think he's a lot more pro ready than a lot of people think," New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles said during a press conference with the New York media Friday night. "When they saw, 'Raw,' they don't mean years away. ... He's got heavy hands, he's quick off the ball, stays low and he's got a great drive. He'll be ready once he goes through training camp."
Shepherd started his career at Simon Fraser University in Canada before leaving the school because of financial difficulties. He worked several jobs to save money and then found a home at Fort Hays for the 2016 season.
Shepherd, 24, jumped on the radar for several teams after a breakout performance in the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
"These are the guys that you kind of get excited about," Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan told the media. "Although they're maybe slightly older, they're kind of interesting guys that aren't in the normal path of high school to college and in big programs and stuff like that. Obviously he's from Canada and he had an interesting start to his career where took a little time and worked.
"When you find a guy that's overcome a lot of things like that and really sort of persevered, he had a lot of things that we felt like (were positive) from a character standpoint. We think he has a lot of potential, but not only that, the character and work ethic kind of fulfill it."
Shepherd helped led the Tigers to an 11-1 record and an MIAA championship last year as a senior.
He was the first NCAA Division II player taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. He joins Frankie Neal and Steve Crosby as players out of Fort Hays State selected in the NFL Draft. He is the first selection for FHSU since Neal was taken by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 1987 draft.