RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Joel Bitonio, offensive tackle from the University of Nevada, has just been drafted to the Cleveland Browns.
He was projected to be a first or second round pick and was selected third in the second round, 35th overall. Bitonio becomes the second-highest former Wolf Pack football player drafted in modern school history, just a few spots behind former WR Alex Van Dyke.
Bitonio was a first-team All-Mountain West selection in 2013, and a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Wolf Pack. He is the tenth Nevada player selected in the last four years and 44th Pack player to ever by drafted in the NFL.
"I am thrilled for Joel Bitonio and his family for being selected with the 35th pick in the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns," Nevada coach Brian Polian said. "Joel is everything we want a Nevada Wolf Pack football player to be and I have no doubt that he will represent our University in a first-class manner for years to come."
"Having spent a great deal of time in Cleveland and knowing the passion that the community has for the Browns, I don’t think they could have found a better fit for their organization. Joel epitomizes everything that Cleveland and Northern Ohio stand for – humility, work ethic, loyalty and toughness. This a great fit for both Joel and the Browns. Congrats to them both!"
Bitonio is the second Nevada player ever picked by Cleveland. The other was James-Michael Johnson, who went two years ago and is now in Kansas City. Bitonio is the first Nevada offensive lineman drafted since Tony Moll went in the fifth round in 2006 to the Green Bay Packers.
Bitonio graduated in December with a degree in economics, and was a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Award. He was a multi-year selection to the academic all-conference team and just last month was named to the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society – one of just five players from the Mountain West conference to earn that distinction.