April 29, 2007
NEW YORK – Notre Dame defensive tackle Derek Landri was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round (166th overall), defensive back Mike Richardson was taken by the New England Patriots in the sixth round (202nd overall) and offensive lineman Dan Santucci (230th overall) and safety Chinedum Ndukwe (253rd) each went to the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Sunday.
Three other former Irish players, tight end Marcus Freeman (Baltimore Ravens), defensive end Chris Frome (Chicago Bears) and wide receiver Rhema McKnight (New Orleans Saints) all signed free agent deals with separate NFL teams.
Landri (Concord, Calif.) started 37 games for the Irish at defensive tackle over the past three seasons. He registered 161 tackles (76 solos) with 10.5 sacks for minus-68 yards and 34.5 stops for losses totaling 136 yards. Landri was also credited with 11 career quarterback pressures and four blocked kicks. He even recovered two fumbles, caused another and deflected eight passes.
Richardson (Warner Robins, Ga.) played in 49 career games for Notre Dame, starting 30 in all, and starting every game of the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He totaled 170 career tackles, 119 solos, eight interceptions, 15 pass breakups, 11.0 tackles for loss and three quarterback sacks. In 2006, Richardson was seventh on the Irish with 55 tackles and led Notre Dame with four interceptions, including two in his Notre Dame Stadium finale against Army.
Santucci (Chicago, Ill.) started the final 25 games of his Notre Dame career at guard and was a four-year monogram winner for the Irish. After starting his career on the defensive line, he switched to the offensive line following his sophomore season. Santucci started the last two years for two of most prolific offenses in school history helping Darius Walker eclipse 1,000 rushing yards both seasons and Brady Quinn pass for over 7,000 yards with 69 touchdown passes. An outstanding student-athlete, he received the Knute Rockne Student-Athlete Award from the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley and also was selected to the inaugural National Football Foundation’s National Honor Society.
Ndukwe (Powell, Ohio) played in 46 career games for the Irish, 34 of which as a defensive safety. After opening his Irish career as a wideout in 2003, Ndukwe would start every game for Notre Dame in 2005 and 2006. He registered 157 total tackles, 93 solos, in his career. Ndukwe added four career interceptions, four forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and 12 pass breakups. Last season, he finished second on the team with 98 tackles, including a career-high and NCAA single-game, season-high tying 22 against Air Force.
— ND —