Football Cornerback Jamal Agnew Drafted by NFL's Detroit Lions

Football Cornerback Jamal Agnew Drafted by NFL's Detroit Lions

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The Detroit Lions selected University of San Diego senior cornerback Jamal Agnew in the fifth round of Saturday’s National Football League Draft. The 165th player chosen overall, Agnew joins current New York Giants quarterback Josh Johnson, who was a fifth-round pick in 2008 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as the only Toreros selected.

"We were happy with the good news for Jamal," USD Head Coach Dale Lindsey said. "It is a testament to his hard work, dedication, attention to detail, and doing what he is supposed to be doing. All of that has shot him to the fifth round of the NFL Draft and we are all so very proud of him. We wish him nothing but the best with the Detroit organization."

Agnew, 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, had spent the third day of the draft watching alongside family at his grandmother’s home, was obviously thrilled when his name was called.

"You have no idea how excited me and my family are right now,” he said. “First of all, I want to thank Mrs. Ford, Mr. Quinn and Jim Caldwell for the opportunity to be a Detroit Lion. I went out there for a visit and I had a blast. Great people I met out there, great facilities and I'm just so excited to be a Lion,” he said. "I'm just looking forward to going in there and competing with the other guys, the other draftees, possible free agents and veterans and just looking to get better."

Agnew, a two-time team Defensive MVP and a first team All-Pioneer Football League performer in 2016, finished his outstanding Torero career as the program's all-time leader in passes defended with 59. In 44 career games he totaled 148 tackles (118 solo), with 12.5 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery and 11 interceptions.

This past season he helped guide the Toreros to a 10-2 overall record and perfect 8-0 PFL championship title. The Toreros earned the school's and PFL's first FCS playoff victory with the team's 35-21 first-round win at Cal Poly. He finished the 2016 season with 31 tackles (24 solo), 13 passes defended, one blocked kick, one quarterback hurry and two interceptions. He also returned 17 punts for 216 yards (12.7 average) and returned a 63-yarder for a touchdown against Valparaiso.

He was selected Second Team All-PFL in both 2014 and 2015. In 2014 he led the nation in passes defended for FCS players with 23 (2.1 per contest). During his freshman campaign he was All-PFL honorable mention and USD's Outstanding First Year Player.

Asked in a conference call with reporters about his strengths and weaknesses, Agnew credited the system he played in at USD and Coach Lindsey for helping him become a better football player.

"He teaches us to be physical,” Agnew said. “You've definitely got to be smart. You've got to be in the playbook 24/7. I'm always watching film and that's just how I play. I feel like that's how the culture is in Detroit and that's one of the other reasons why I'm real excited to go in there. Just go in there and compete, get better, get the team better and my teammates around me better."

One of Agnew’s key strengths is his quickness at the corner position. Agnew had risen up on draft boards after he ran a blistering 4.34-second 40-yard dash at his pro day on the USD campus. “I would say (speed) is a big part just because of the position I play, you need speed. It definitely is a factor."

The Lions, who play in the NFC North with Green Bay, Minnesota and Chicago, were one of the teams he visited during the pre-draft process. He said he felt good about his visit to Detroit.

"It was great just because of the culture there,” Agnew said. “It felt like I was around my own family. They're so thoughtful. They're so warming and just everybody there that I met was fantastic. That's why I'm so excited and that's why my family is so excited, just because I tell them I went there and it felt like home. We're excited that I get to a call a second place home.”

—USD Athletics and USD News Center reports

Jamal Agnew, a senior cornerback at USD, was selected by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.Jamal Agnew, a senior cornerback at USD, was selected by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.

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