GREENVILLE, N.C. - Matt Dodge became the first East Carolina punter ever selected in the National Football League Draft when the New York Giants chose the Pirate All-America performer with the 14th pick (221st overall) of the seventh round Saturday.
Dodge's selection marks the second of two Pirates who were chosen, not only in this year's draft, but by the same organization as the Giants took defensive tackle Linval Joseph in the second round Friday. ECU has had multiple picks on 15 other occasions, but only four times since the draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994 - the last in 2002 when quarterback David Garrard and running back Leonard Henry were chosen by the Jaguars and Dolphins, respectively.
Dodge is the 62nd ECU player taken during the history of the NFL Draft, which for the Pirates began in 1951 when the Cleveland Brown picked Roger Thrift in the 28th round.
In addition to earning first-team All-Conference USA honors as its statistical champion, Dodge also was included on All-America squads by six different media agencies - CollegeFootballNews.com (second team), Phil Steele Magazine (fourth), Pro Football Weekly (honorable mention), Rivals.com (third), SI.com (second) and Sporting News (second) - after finishing second nationally with a 45.8 punting average during the 2009 campaign.
Dodge dropped a total of 24 kicks inside the opponent 20-yard line and averaged over 45 yards per punt in nine games (over 50 on three occasions) as a senior. In all, he drilled 22 punts that traveled 50 yards or more, including a pair that reached 70 yards or longer. He closed the year in strong fashion, averaging 48.6 yards per kick and landing eight inside the 20-yard line in the last four contests against UAB, Southern Miss (divisional clincher), Houston (C-USA championship) and Arkansas (AutoZone Liberty Bowl)
He also served as East Carolina's kickoff specialist, recording six touchbacks and averaging 61.6 yards per attempt.
Including Joseph, Dodge will join other former Pirates QB Carl Summerell (1974), RB Eddie Hicks (1979), DB Clint Harris (1984) and OT Guy Whimper (2006) as Giants' draft picks.