8687174.jpg

Seven members of the Northwestern Football Family have new homes following the 2015 NFL Draft, which was held in Chicago April 30 through May 2.


Two members of Chicago's Big Ten Team, Ibraheim Campbell and Trevor Siemian, were among the 256 gifted players to hear their names called over the weekend.


Campbell, a safety, was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round, while, Siemian, a quarterback, was chosen by the Denver Broncos in the seventh round. That duo became the first pair of 'Cats to be taken in the same draft since 2012, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons tabbed Drake Dunsmore and Jeremy Ebert, respectively. Campbell became the highest Northwestern student-athlete drafted since 2010 when Corey Wootton was snatched up by the Chicago Bears with the 109th pick.

 

Campbell was the first Wildcat off the board when Cleveland selected him with the 115th pick. A 2014 co-captain, he finished his tenure in Evanston with 316 tackles, while ranking tied for third in NU annals with 11 interceptions. The Philadelphia native earned All-Big Ten Second Team recognition in 2014, despite being limited to eight games because of injury.


"He was a turnover machine for us," said Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who was at Draft Town in Grant Park as contributor to the NFL Network's coverage when Campbell was selected. "That work ethic he leaves is going to be his legacy at our program."


A few hours later, Siemian heard his name called by the reigning AFC West champions, the Denver Broncos. The signal caller finished his career with the 'Cats ranked fourth in program history in passing yardage with 5,931 yards. The Windermere, Florida, native also ranked fourth among all Northwestern quarterbacks with 550 completions, 27 of which went for touchdowns.


"Trevor Siemian had a productive career as a quarterback at Northwestern," tweeted John Elway, Hall of Fame quarterback and Denver's executive vice president for football operations. "He has raw talent and we think he will develop nicely."


Once the NFL Draft concluded, five more Wildcats inked deals with NFL clubs as unrestricted free agents. Linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo linked up with the San Diego Chargers, while his position-mate Jimmy Hall signed with another AFC West team, the Oakland Raiders.

 

On the offensive side of the ball, center Brandon Vitabile came to an agreement with the Indianapolis Colts. Vitabile anchored the line as he started all 50 games of his NU career, while also starring in the classroom. The Edison, New Jersey, native was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. He was also a 2014 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, one of only 17 from across the nation.


A pair of Siemian's favorite targets, wide receivers Tony Jones and Kyle Prater, also entered the professional ranks. Jones was picked up by the Washington Redskins. The Flint, Michigan, product hauled in 130 receptions in 44 games for 1,445 yards. Jones caught 10 touchdown passes while making 32 starts for the 'Cats.


Prater will join forces with Campbell as a member of the Browns. The Maywood, Illinois, native played in 34 games over three seasons as a member of the Wildcats. He caught 70 passes over that span, including a pair of touchdowns during his senior season. One of his most memorable performances came during NU's upset over Notre Dame on November 15, 2014, when he caught 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown to help the Wildcats win in overtime, 43-40.


The seven Wildcats mark the highest number to enter the NFL at one time since the 2005 Draft. That year three Wildcats, Luis Castillo (San Diego), Trai Essex (Pittsburgh) and Noah Herron (Pittsburgh) were drafted, while six others signed free-agent contracts.