Former Colorado defensive backs Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon were both selected Friday night in the NFL Draft, with Awuzie going No. 60 to the Dallas Cowboys and Witherspoon being selected No. 66 by the San Francisco 49ers.
The Buffs have now had 268 players selected in the NFL Draft, which ranks No. 22 overall among colleges, and fourth in the Pac-12. The last time CU had two defensive backs taken in the same draft was six years ago when Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown were both selected.
"'Chido' is just a phenomenal person. He graduated in three-and-a-half years [and was] an excellent teammate on and off the field. He's everything that represents a true college student-athlete," Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre said in a released statement. "For him to have the opportunity to now go play for the Dallas Cowboys is awesome for him.
"The Dallas Cowboys have a special person and a special player. I do have heartstrings in Dallas. A lot of the same people are still there in the front office and player personnel [from when I coached there]. I'm excited knowing the people he's going to be around."
As seniors in 2016, Awuzie earned first-team all-conference honors, while Witherspoon led the nation with 23 pass breakups. They helped lead a CU secondary that ranked No. 5 in the country in pass efficiency defense at 104.3. Opposing quarterbacks completed just 49.8 percent of their passes and averaged only 193.6 passing yards per game against the Buffs last year.
"I'm really happy for Ahkello," MacIntyre said. "He's from Northern California and I imagine that's a dream come true for him. He's long and athletic and every year just kept getting better and better for us. He's going to be a great pro corner. [49ers General Manager] John Lynch being a defensive back himself, I know made a great pick on getting Ahkello in San Francisco.
"I recruited him out of high school and he wasn't very big. But he kept growing and we recruited him out of junior college and got him here. He was a young man who just kept developing. I saw great skills in him and he had a great work ethic and developed those skills. He's a very intelligent young man and I'm very excited for him. In another year he's going to be bigger and stronger and he's going to be an excellent, excellent NFL player."
Going into the third day of the NFL Draft on Saturday, beginning with the fourth round, former Buffs Tedric Thompson and Josh Tupou hope to hear their name called.