Valdosta, GA - Valdosta State offensive guard Edmund Kugbila made history on Saturday as he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fourth round of the National Football League draft.
Kugbila's selection as the 108th pick in the draft, and the 11th selection of the fourth round, made him the highest drafted Blazer in 32-year football history.
Kugbila was a three-years starter for Valdosta State on the offensive line and played in 45 career games, starting 32. He graded out at 84.7 percent for his four-year career and recorded 187 knockdown blocks. He was especially dominant during his junior and senior season, both of which saw him earn All-America honors, as he graded out at 92.0 percent and did not allow a sack during the 24 game span.
Kugbila played as a true freshman in 2009 and saw action in all 10 games while grading out at 61.1 percent on the year while playing tackle. The next year, he stepped into the starting lineup as he started 10 out of 11 games, with his only non-start coming in VSU's Senior Day game, and graded out at 77.6 percent while finishing second on the team with 65 knockdown blocks.
Kugbila moved to guard at the beginning of the 2011 season and went on to start eight out of 10 games, during which he graded out at 89.7 percent and recorded 43 knockdown blocks. He was named third-team All-America by Don Hansen's Football Gazette and was a unanimous selection to the All-Gulf South Conference team. He capped off his career by earning All-America honors from both Don Hansen's Football Gazette and D2Football.com as a senior while earning first team All-GSC for the second straight year. He graded out at 93.8 percent in his final season with the Blazers and had 64 knockdown blocks while allowing only one quarterback hurry and no sacks.
Kugbila was not the only Blazer to learn Saturday that their football career would be extended as fellow lineman Ryan Schraeder was picked up as a free agent by the Atlanta Falcons while the same could be said for Matt Pierce and the Tennessee Titans.
Schraeder earned All-America honors both years he played for Valdosta State and finished as runner-up for the Gene Upshaw Award as the top Division II lineman in the nation in 2012. In his final season with the Blazers, Schraeder led Valdosta State with 69 knockdown blocks and graded out at 95.5 percent while starting all 14 VSU games.
Meanwhile, Pierce finished his career ranked second on the Valdosta State career record list in passes broken up 35 and added eight interceptions to go along with 174 career tackles. Pierce was also a threat in the return game as he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in his career, the second coming on the opening kickoff of the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championship game, a contest VSU went on to win 35-7.