The Philadelphia Eagles selected Rockville native Mack Hollins in the fourth round of the NFL Draft last weekend.
Hollins, 23, was the draft’s 118th overall selection and became the first former Wootton player selected in 16 years. In 2001, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Temple offensive lineman Mathias Nkwenti in the fourth round with the 111th overall pick.
During his high school career at Wootton, Hollins went virtually unnoticed on the gridiron and received little interest from major college scouts while sporting the Patriots uniform.
“He was under the radar,” explained Wootton head coach Eddie Tolliver, “because he didn’t play his junior year.”
Despite playing as a freshman, sophomore and senior, Hollins was not scouted by the bigger college programs according to Tolliver.
“He didn’t get looked at by a lot of schools for whatever the reason,” said Tolliver. “The biggest school that wanted him was Appalachian State.”
After a stint at Fork Union Military Academy, Hollins landed at the University of North Carolina as a walk-on. From there, his career took off.
He finished as one of the school’s all-time top receivers, amassing 81 career receptions for 1,667 yards and 20 touchdowns.
He also set the school’s career record for yards per reception [20.6 avg] and led the NCAA in yards per reception [24.8 avg] as a junior in 2015.
During his tenure in Chapel Hill, Hollins caught 20 touchdowns, a feat that ranks third all-time in program history.
Hollins was also named the Tar Heels’ special teams captain in four straight seasons.
As a junior, Hollins finished the 2015 campaign with 30 receptions for a team-high 745 yards and eight touchdowns and was named all-conference for his performance.
“He did his job and he did his job well,” said Tolliver, a lifelong Redskins fan. “He deserved to get picked in the fourth round. I just wish the Skins would [have taken] him.”
Tolliver, who grew up a stone’s throw away from FedEx Field, said he plans to be in attendance when the Redskins host the Eagles in the regular season opener on September 10.
“I still would have loved to see Mack stay home and help the Skins out,” said Tolliver.
Meanwhile, former Gaithersburg High standout Billy Brown signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Eagles.
Brown, a former Shepherd wide receiver, is projected to play tight end in the National Football League.
“It’s a new position,” said Brown, who earned Shepherd’s Most Valuable Player award last season. “It’s going to be a whole new experience but I’m ready for it.”
Notes: Blake graduate Folarin Orimolade and Georgetown Prep graduate Jerry Ugokwe also signed undrafted free agent deals with NFL teams. Orimolade, a Dartmouth linebacker, signed with the Los Angeles Rams and Ugokwe, a Williams & Mary offensive lineman, signed with the Indianapolis Colts.