The Pittsburgh Panthers players are in a New York State of mind.
The Panthers have another player come off the board this time in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. Running back Israel Abanikanda was selected 143rd overall by New York Jets. Abanikanda will again run behind a familiar face, with Carter Warren taken 120th overall by the same team.
Abanikanda is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and was a third-team Associated Press All-American and had first-team All-ACC honors after leading the Panthers with 1,431 rushing yards, tying for the FBS lead with 20 rushing touchdowns and ranking seventh with 1,805 all-purpose yards.
Falling into the third day of the draft seems to have given some extra motivation to the standout running back. Talking to Noah Hiles of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Abanikanda opened up about his mindset going later in the draft.
“It kinda put a chip on my shoulder. I’m used to things like that”, Abanikanda stated. “I was underrated in high school. During my recruitment, colleges would pass on me. It’s been like this my whole life. I always try to prove people wrong. That’s just how it has to be whenever I get that chance.”
It looks like the Jets are giving him just that chance.