Northern Illinois University left tackle Matt Scharping was selected in the second round of the 2019 National Football League Draft by the Houston Texans Friday.
“It was an amazing feeling getting that phone call,” Scharping said. “I can’t wait to be a Texan. It’s an unbelievable feeling, and I can’t wait to get down to Houston.”
The 55th overall selection, Scharping became the 38th NIU player all-time chosen in the NFL Draft, and the first since Kenny Golladay, who was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 96th pick in 2017. The Green Bay, Wis. native is the ninth Huskie taken in the NFL Draft since 2007 and the highest since Jimmie Ward was selected 30th in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers.
A three-time first team All Mid-American Conference selection who started all 53 games during his four-year career and helped lead the Huskies to the 2018 MAC Championship, Scharping is the first Huskie offensive lineman taken in the Draft since Doug Free went to the Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2007 Draft. The 6-5, 327-pound left tackle becomes the highest NIU offensive lineman to be selected in the Draft, surpassing NIU Hall of Famer Ryan Diem who was the 118th selection in 2001.
“Those guys have been amazing to me over the years,” Scharping said of Diem and Free. “I’ve gotten to know them over the years and I cannot stress enough how good they’ve been to me. To even be mentioned with those guys is amazing. Hopefully, I can live up to those guys during my NFL career as well.”
An honorable mention All-American by College Football News, Scharping allowed just eight quarterback pressures on 513 pass blocking opportunities in 2018 and surrendered just one sack over his last three seasons. He played right tackle in 2015 and 2016 before moving to the left side in 2017 and ’18.
Scharping also excelled in the classroom earning Google Cloud Academic All-American honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America in 2017 (second team) and 2018 (first team) and was one of 13 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, one of the most prestigious awards in college football.