After a solid career in Ann Arbor, the Pittsburgh took advantage of a short-lived NCAA rule which allowed student-athletes to complete a final season of eligibility elsewhere without having to sit out a year. Despite only playing one season in Morgantown, Mundy's Mountaineer career was mutually beneficial for both player and school.
For WVU, Mundy was the steady leader in a defensive secondary which finished the previous season ranked among the worst in college football. As the last line of defense, Mundy seldom if ever gave up the big play, and more often than not created big plays of his own.
Too, the well-spoken DB was given the rare opportunity to gain even more experience in the college game, and in the process improve his chances to make it to the league. On Sunday, the decision paid off.
"I knew I had another year of eligibility left and I wanted to use it, especially with the opportunity I had at West Virginia," Mundy said Sunday night in an exclusive interview with BlueGoldNews.com. "I felt like I could make the most of it and I did. It's all worked out."
On Saturday afternoon, Mundy turned on the tube looking forward to watching several of his former teammates get drafted. Offensive tackle Jake Long, who entered Michigan alongside Mundy, was drafted first overall by the Miami Dolphins. Wolverines quarterback Chad Henne was also picked up by the Fins in the second round.
When Sunday rolled around, Mundy was still looking forward to seeing the names of several friends called (i.e. Steve Slaton, Owen Schmitt, Mike Hart, etc.), but was also hoping to see his name appear as well. Knowing that the NFL Draft is always an unpredictable ride, there were no expectations.
With the Steelers on the sixth-round clock, Mundy's phone rang. Just moments later, all of the hard work he had put in paid off.
"They called me and asked me a few general questions," he recalled. "Then, Coach Tomlin got on the phone and asked if I was ready to become a Steeler and I told him ‘Yes sir.' I was definitely excited."
The former Woodland Hills standout grew up watching the likes of Rod Woodson and Carnell Lake patrol the Steelers secondary. With the opportunity to wear the black and gold himself now a very real possibility, Mundy knows that the hard work is just beginning.
Currently, Pittsburgh shows four safeties on its roster, meaning that even a hometown product such as Mundy will face an uphill battle in earning a roster spot. Realistically, the 6'1", 205-pound Pennsylvanian knows that playing special teams could be the best way to earn a place on the team.
"Special teams is more than likely going to be my primary contribution," Mundy acknowledged. "At the same time, I've got to be prepared for anything. I've got to be prepared to play special teams and defense. I'm going to prepare as if I could be starting. We haven't gone into details as to what my role is going to be on the team yet, but I'll learn more as we go forward in the process."
Mundy says the process will continue tomorrow when he makes the short drive from his home to the Steelers' facilities to introduce himself to his new coaches, and "get the ball rolling." Next weekend, Pittsburgh will conduct a mini-camp for Mundy and other rookies to take part in. And though training camp does not begin until July, the work towards earning a spot on the field is already in full swing for Ryan Mundy.
"Growing up in Pittsburgh, you learn to love the Steelers. It's a dream come true and I'm happy with the way things have turned out," he said. "It was a crazy day and it ended well."