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Published April 23, 2012, 10:49 PM

Veldman ready for shot at NFL

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The NFL Draft begins on Thursday and for hundreds of football players the wait for the phone to ring begins. For a couple of former Bison, they know they'll have until Saturday and the later rounds, which in recent years have been kind to NDSU - ask Joe Mays and Craig Dahl. Matt Veldman hopes he's the next to join that club.

By: Dom Izzo, WDAY

The NFL Draft begins on Thursday and for hundreds of football players the wait for the phone to ring begins. For a couple of former Bison, they know they'll have until Saturday and the later rounds, which in recent years have been kind to NDSU - ask Joe Mays and Craig Dahl. Matt Veldman hopes he's the next to join that club.

Matt Veldman's NFL hopes were almost non-existent this time last year. The 6'7 tight end was injury-prone during his first three years playing at NDSU, but after re-dedicating himself in the weight room, his prospects rose.

Matt Veldman: “I've always wanted to play in the NFL; it’s been a dream of mine. Going into the season I realized I’d been hurt the previous two years and I knew if stay healthy, stay on the field and work hard I’ll get a chance. That was kind of my mindset in August and once scouts show up I realized that if I worked hard and stayed healthy I’d get a shot.”

His shot has now come. Veldman had a terrific senior season, catching 26 passes, three for scores, more importantly, playing all 15 games. His height and speed also had scouts buzzing. He ran a 4.66 in the 40 on pro-day. He also an NFL pedigree - his dad Gregg played for the Dallas Cowboys.

Matt Veldman: “He's just been there. If I call him if I'm struggling he’s always been there for me. He’s been there before, and he know what you’ve got to do. He’s telling me you’ve got to work hard, and whenever I think I've got something figured out, he tells me I don’t.”

Veldman was in New Orleans last week to meet with the Saints staff and knows the NDSU-NFL connection will help his cause.

Matt Veldman: “An FCS guy going to the NFL is a big jump. You look at guys like Joe and Craig can go out there and they can make it. Teams say they must be doing something right at North Dakota State, if these guys can make it there must be more players that are coming out that can play at the next level.”

Veldman is currently projected as a 6th – 7th round pick or possible free agent. Paul Cornick was invited to the combine. He's been rehabbing a back injury and could also either be drafted or get a free agent deal. Rounds four through seven are on Saturday.

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