Former Stony Brook defensive back Gavin Heslop attempts to take down a Bryant football player in the Stony Brook Football home opener on Aug. 29, 2019. On Saturday, April 25 after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft, he announced that he had signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. EMMA HARRIS/THE STATESMAN

Immediately after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft on Saturday, April 25, former Stony Brook defensive back Gavin Heslop announced that he had signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Heslop said in a press release. “All of the hard work over the past five years at Stony Brook has paid off. I could not be more excited for this opportunity.”

Heslop was seen as the top attraction among this year’s group of Seawolves draft-eligible players, earning praise from insiders such as ESPN’s Rich Cimini and USA Today’s Art Stapleton. He gained attention during Stony Brook’s pro day on March 11, one of the last pro days held by schools before the NFL canceled all pro days and prospect visits due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

During his pro day testing, Heslop ran a 4.57 40-yard dash, a 4.18 in the short shuttle and a 6.88 in the 3-cone drill. He measured in at 6’0” and 197 pounds with a 32-inch armspan and a 34.5-inch vertical jump.

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In four seasons with Stony Brook, Heslop recorded 196 tackles with 21.0 for loss, starting in 37 consecutive games and recovering four fumbles, two for touchdowns. He was selected to the All-Conference Second Team in 2018 and All-Conference Third Team in 2019.

A team captain during his senior year, Heslop became the 14th Stony Brook player to reach NFL training camp over the last three seasons. Stony Brook has never had a player selected in the NFL draft.

The 2020 draft was unusually low in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) selections, with only six of the draft’s 255 picks being selected from the lower subdivision of NCAA Division I football, an all-time low since the draft was shortened to seven rounds in 1993. Since 1993, an average of 18.4 FCS players have been drafted each year.

Two of the six FCS picks hailed from Stony Brook’s conference-mates in the Colonial Athletic Association — Rhode Island wide receiver Isaiah Coulter, taken in the fifth round by the Houston Texans, and James Madison quarterback Ben DiNucci, selected in the seventh round by the Dallas Cowboys.

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