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April 27, 2012

Upshaw wait ends

TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw lasted a day longer than expected in the National Football League Draft, but the Eufaula native's wait finally ended Friday night when he was chosen by the Baltimore Ravens, 35tth overall in the second round.

"To be playing for Coach Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome and playing with Ray Lewis and with a couple of my teammates from Alabama, that '09 championship there, it's going to be great," Upshaw told NFL Network. "I'm real excited right now."

Upshaw became the fifth UA player selected in the draft, joining first-round picks Trent Richardson (Cleveland Browns, No. 3 overall), Mark Barron (Tampa Bay Buccanners, No. 7 overall), Dre Kirkpatrick (Cincinnati Bengals, No. 17 overall) and Dont'a Hightower (New England Patriots, No. 25 overall).

"It would have been special last night as well, but you know you can't let it hold me back," Upshaw added. "I'm very excited. I'm sure I would have been the same last night, but hey, like I say, I'm ready."

Upshaw led Alabama in tackles for loss and sacks last season as the team's primary pass rusher. The Ravens run a 3-4 defense similar to that which Upshaw played in at Alabama. In the Ravens, Upshaw joins one of the top defenses in the NFL.

"Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, those guys on that defense, it's going to be crazy," Upshaw said. "I already know it."

Alabama's next most likely draft choice is cornerback DeQuan Menzie, who has been projected as high as the third round.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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