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Lopez, Brightwell Lead Class of Cats to NFL

May 1, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. – A handful of Wildcats had their professional dreams realized when they joined the NFL ranks following Saturday's third day of the 2021 NFL Draft. Roy Lopez Jr. and Gary Brightwell were selected back to back with the 195th and 196th selections of the sixth round while Lorenzo Burns quickly signed as a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals immediately following the draft.

The Houston Texans selected Lopez Jr. with their sixth-round pick after his standout graduate senior season with the Wildcats in 2020. An All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention selection in Arizona's COVID-19 shortened season of just five games, Lopez Jr. tallied 18 total tackles, including a team high four for a loss with a sack.

Brightwell was selected after Lopez Jr. by the New York Giants. He capped his four-year career at Arizona as an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention as he lead the Wildcats in rushing in the condensed 2020 season. With 409 yards on the ground (78.0 per games), Brightwell finished eighth in the Pac-12 in rushing despite Arizona having two of its games cancelled. He eclipsed 100 yards rushing in two of his five games and tallied a season-high 132 total yards against USC in the season opener. The Chester, Pennsylvania native amassed 1,305 yards rushing in his career at Arizona with nine touchdowns.

Four-year standout Lorenzo Burns was signed by the Arizona Cardinals immediately following the draft where he will rejoin his former defensive backfield partner Jace Whittaker. Burns was an Honorable Mention selection from the Pac-12 Conference in 2020 for the second consecutive year. The California native amassed 42 career starts as a Wildcat, which were the second most starts accumulated by a Pac-12 player during the 2020 season. He graduates from Arizona with nine career interceptions, 192 total tackles, eight for a loss and a pair of sacks.

Former Wildcat Tony Fields II, who graduated from Arizona in 2020 before transferring to West Virginia, was also selected in this year's NFL Draft. Fields II was picked by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round.