Minnesota TE Matt Spaeth Picked by Pittsburgh

Matt Spaeth, a 6-7, 262-pound tight eend from Minnesota, was selected by Pittsburgh with the 77th overall pick of the NFL Draft Saturday. Spaeth, the Mackey Award winner and an Associated Press first-team All-America pick, became the highest-drafted Gophers tight end since Keith Fahnhorst, a second-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers (35th overall) in 1974, who became a Pro Bowl tackle.

Matt Spaeth joins a Pittsburgh Steeler team that already has Heath Miller and a 2005 first-round draft pick on its roster. Spaeth will play for new coach Mike Tomlin.

"I am so excited to be part of a great football tradition like the Pittsburgh Steelers," Spaeth said. "I don't think it has completely hit me yet, but I am looking forward to contributing to their new regime and helping the Steelers to future success."

Spaeth is coming off shoulder surgery at the end of last season. He said he will be 100% before training camp.

Spaeth, a St. Michael native, is the first Gophers' tight end drafted since 1986, when Kevin Starks was chosen 224th overall by the Atlanta Falcons. He also is the 19th Gophers player to be drafted in the past 10 years.

Spaeth was second on the team in receptions (47) and receiving yards (564) last season. He had four touchdowns. Spaeth became the school's all-time leader in career receptions (109) and receiving yards (1,293) by a tight end last year, surpassing Colts tight end Ben Utecht in both categories.

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