Former Wyoming running back Brian Hill was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. He was the 16th running back selected in the draft and the 156th overall selection.
Hill finished fourth in the nation in rushing yards his junior year before leaving Wyoming early for the draft. Those 1,860 yards broke his own single-season program rushing record from the year before. Hill, Wyoming’s first 3,000- and 4,000-yard rusher, also holds Wyoming records for career rushing yards (4,287), career rushing touchdowns (35), single-season rushing touchdowns (22) and single-season total touchdowns (22).
His 289 rushing yards at Nevada last year were the most by a Mountain West player in any game last season. He remains the Mountain West record holder for all-purpose yards in a game, going for 387 as a freshman at Fresno State in 2014.
Hill earned first-team all-Mountain West honors in 2016 and was named third-team all-American by College Football Madness. He was one of two Cowboys to participate in the NFL Combine, along with offensive lineman Chase Roullier.
He is the first Wyoming player drafted since Mark Nzeocha (seventh round, Dallas) in 2015 and the first Wyoming running back drafted since Ryan Christopherson (fifth round, Jacksonville) in 1995. Hill is the 81st Wyoming player drafted into the NFL.
Hill, the first running back picked in the fifth round, was the fourth Mountain West player selected in the draft and the first not from San Diego State. The Aztecs’ Nico Siragusa (fourth round, Baltimore), Donnel Pumphrey (fourth round, Philadelphia) and cornerback Damontae Kazee (fifth, Atlanta) were picked ahead of Hill.
The Falcons went 11-5 last season, first in the NFC South. The Falcons reached the Super Bowl, where they fell 34-28 to New England. Atlanta had a 1,000-yard rusher last season in Devonta Freeman (1,079), and his backup, Tevin Coleman, rushed for 520 yards.
Hill is the first Wyoming player drafted by Atlanta since defensive end John Burrough (seventh round, 245th overall) in 1995. The Falcons also drafted former Poke defensive back John Salley in 1983 and tackle Nick Bebout in 1973.