Alleman Sainted

“University of Akron offensive guard Andy Alleman was selected with the 88th overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft Saturday night by the New Orleans Saints. Alleman was the fourth-highest UA player to be drafted in the NFL behind Charlie Frye, Jason Taylor and Dwight Smith.”

University of Akron offensive guard Andy Alleman was selected with the 88th overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft Saturday night by the New Orleans Saints.

Alleman was the fourth-highest UA player to be drafted in the NFL behind Charlie Frye, Jason Taylor and Dwight Smith. His selection marks the third-consecutive year that a Zips player has been chosen in the April draft.

Alleman described his initial reaction to the selection as emotional.

I had been waiting the whole night, Alleman said. I started to get nervous – the picks kept going by. Then, I got a phone call and it was great.

Alleman will join a Saints team that won the NFC South division, going 10-6, and made it to the NFC Championship game for the first time in team history last season. Saints head coach Sean Payton was named the 2006 Coach of the Year in his first season.

In 2005, the Saints had the league’s second-worst record at 3-13.

The improvement the franchise has made over the past year is not lost on Alleman, and has the 6-foot-4, 302-pound offensive lineman excited to join the team and help build on the success of 2006.

I’m really excited to join them, Alleman said. They have Reggie Bush (and) Deuce McAllister. They were a game away from the Super Bowl last year.

They went from the outhouse to the penthouse in one year. They’ve got young players. It’s going to be fun to get down there and go to work.

Akron head coach J.D. Brookhart points to Alleman’s dedication to the game and hard work as reasons for his success.

Andy’s work ethic has always been good, Brookhart said after UA’s Blue-Gold Game April 15. Andy is good because of his work ethic. He’s always been a weight room guy.

Brookhart said that Alleman has improved his technique over the last year and a half.

Alleman’s selection ends a continuous string of workouts and team meetings that began with the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis in late February and ended less than two weeks before the draft.

Alleman compared the process to when he was being recruited to play college football.

It’s been a great experience, he said. It’s like college recruiting all over again, except they pick me instead of me picking them.

The entire football program benefits when a player is able to play professionally. It brings recognition and credibility to the program, Brookhart said.

I think it’s great, he said. It’s something for recruits to look at – you don’t have to go to Ohio State to make it into the NFL. It validates what we’re doing.

Senior offensive lineman Mike Schepp, who played alongside Alleman at times as a backup last season, said that each UA player who plays professionally benefits current players by bringing attention to the accomplishments of the team.

Any time one of your teammates has a chance to go on and play at the next level, it’s great for him and a great opportunity for us, Schepp said. It brings more people to pay attention to what we’re doing here. He’s definitely opened doors for a lot of people.

Brookhart sees common traits between Charlie Frye, Domenik Hixon and Alleman – the three players drafted during his tenure at UA.

We’ve had good kids (and) good players, Brookhart said. If you look at the kids that have been drafted, there’s pretty common ground that, not only are they all good football players, but handle themselves well off the field.


” #1.1362002:2787779844.png:05ez1k40.png:Andy Alleman is the third UA player in three years to be drafted by the NFL. Charlie Frye and Domenik Hixon are the other two.:PHOTOS COURTESY MCT AND JEFF HARWELL / ZIPS SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY / DESIGN BY KIEL FLEMING / THE BUCHTELITE”