Growing up, Matt Judon was a big Baltimore Ravens fan.
On Saturday, Judon’s passion for the Ravens increased even more.
Having already selected Michigan’s Willie Henry in the fourth round, the Ravens came back and drafted the Grand Valley defensive end in the fifth round.
“I was always a fan of their black jerseys, and I was always a big fan of Ed Reed growing up,” said Judon, amid a ton of laughing and partying at his home in West Bloomfield. “I was a big fan of their defense.”
Judon, a 6-foot-3, 269-pounder from West Bloomfield, led all NCAA divisions with 20 sacks, and had 23.5 tackles for loss and made 81 total tackles and three forced fumbles.
But Judon had a breakthrough performance in the NFL combine, posting the fifth-best 40 time (4.73 seconds) among 65 defensive linemen, fifth-most bench press (30 reps) and fourth-best 35-inch vertical jump.
Still, the draft process was a bit nerve-racking.
“I was just waiting to hear my name called,” Judon said. “I had no clue (which team was going to draft him). I was getting nervous. But once I heard it, I couldn’t believe how exciting it was.”
Judon spoke briefly with Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens’ general manager, before the draft but had no idea about the Ravens’ level of interest.
“I just told him I’d love the chance,” Judon said.
Judon won the 2015 Gene Upshaw Trophy as Division II’s top lineman and was the GLIAC Defensive Linemen of the Year and made AP Little All-American.
Most draft projections had Judon going in the fourth or fifth round.
“It’s just an amazing feeling,” Judon said.