LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson was selected by his homestate team, the Tennessee Titans, in the fifth round of the National Football League Draft on Saturday.
"This is crazy!" an exuberant Williamson said from his hometown of Milan, Tenn. "It's a great feeling to be at home, I'm very excited.
"I'd also like to say thanks for all the support I've had from my family, the coaches I've had over the years and the Big Blue Nation. I'm thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way."
Williamson had a stellar career at Kentucky. He totaled 102 tackles in the 2013 season, ranking fourth in the Southeastern Conference. It was his second-consecutive campaign over the century mark. He also had four tackles for loss, a quarterback sack, three QB hurries and two fumble recoveries.
Williamson was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference by College Sports Madness and was a second-team all-league pick by The Associated Press, SEC Coaches, ESPN.com, Phil Steele's College Football and Athlon Sports. He also was on the watch lists for the Lott Trophy (nation's best defensive player), Butkus Award (nation's best linebacker) and the Senior CLASS Award.
Williamson notched 135 tackles during his junior season, ranking second in the SEC in total tackles. He garnered second-team All-SEC from College Sports Madness and third-team all-league accolades from Phil Steele's College Football.
Off the field, Williamson was active in the community and was named to the SEC Community Service Team.
Prior to Kentucky, Williamson was first-team all-state at Milan High School and was the 2009 West Tennessee Player of the Year as named by the Jackson Sun. He led his team to the state championship game as a junior and senior, setting a championship game record with 22 tackles as a senior in the 2009 title contest.
Williamson will join former Wildcat Wesley Woodyard in Nashville. Woodyard recently signed with the Titans as a free agent. Although they did not play together at Kentucky, they have met during Woodyard's visits to Lexington.
Williamson is the first Kentucky player ever drafted by Tennessee. The last time a Wildcat was drafted by the franchise came in 1993 when offensive lineman Chuck Bradley was chosen when the team was known as the Houston Oilers.
The pick of Williamson marks the seventh consecutive year that Kentucky has had a player chosen in the NFL Draft and the second linebacker in the last three years. Danny Trevathan, taken by Denver in 2012, led the team last season with 129 tackles as the Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl.