Valdosta Daily Times

Breaking News:

Local Sports

April 28, 2013

Panthers take VSU’s Kugbila in 4th round of NFL Draft

VALDOSTA — Edmund Kugbila has been chasing a dream, and on Saturday that dream turned to a reality.

Surrounded by his family, friends and former teammate, Jake Thomas, Kugbila was selected in the fourth round with the 108th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in Saturday’s NFL Draft, becoming the highest drafted player in Valdosta State football history.

“When you come to DII, you hear, ‘You're not good enough,’” Kugbila told the Times, minutes after being selected. “Everybody’s dreams come true. My dream is coming true right now. It is an unbelievable feeling.”

A two-time All-Gulf South Conference selection (2011-12) and a third team All-American in 2012, Kugbila joins former Valdosta State linebacker Larry Dean, the school’s all-time leader in tackles, as active NFL players that once wore the Blazers’ black and red.

“My heart is racing and it feels like the national championship but even more exciting,” said Kugbila, who helped lead the Blazers to the 2012 Division II national championship this past December. “I can’t talk right now. I am just speechless.”

Carolina’s pick of Kugbila came just 10 picks after the Philadelphia Eagles selected Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley to open the fourth round.

After he helped lead the Blazers to the 35-7 win over Winston-Salem State in the national championship game in Dec., Kugbila did not return to Valdosta State for classes this spring. He, instead, moved home to Gwinnett County and began working out, training for the NFL.

He participated in the NFL Combine in Feb. before         returning to Valdosta for his pro day on April 18. Kugbila then worked out for several NFL teams, including the Panthers. But he still had no idea the Panthers would be calling his name in the draft.

“Their O-line coach came down to work me out after pro day, and I talked to them a little bit, but that was it,” Kugbila said. “I had no idea they were going to take me.”

But, the Panthers did take Kugbila, who now has a future in the National Football League, fulfilling a quest and a dream he has had since his family integrated to the United States from Ghana in 2000, when he was 10.

He began playing football shortly after, graduating from Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, where he received offers from Alabama, Georgia and other various top schools from throughout the south.

Low-test scores prevented Kugbila from qualifying with a Division I school, so he signed with Valdosta State, where he started 32 of the 44 games he played in as a Blazer.

“I'm excited and proud to be a Panther,” Kugbila tweeted later in the day. “I’m coming in humble and hungry and ready to work. #GATA.”

Kugbila will travel to Carolina next week to meet his new coach and teammates.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Hall_Maddux.jpg Hall of Braves

    The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
    "Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
    "The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • Hall_Cox.jpg Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches

    Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Valwood_Henderson.jpg Area teams hoping to get over the hump

    Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
    That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
    It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • VHS little cats camp 1.jpg Valdosta hosts fundamental camp for ‘Little ’Cats’

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • VHS practice1.jpg Getting Back to Work

    Friday officially began the 2014 season for the Valdosta Wildcats and both the offense and defense came out and made statements.
    After holding spring and summer workouts, the Wildcats will practice four more times without pads before beginning full pad practice next week.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lowndes_Brooks1.jpg Lowndes second-most dominant program in state since 2004

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Falcons_Jones.jpg Falcons open camp with ‘sense of urgency’

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Padres_braves.jpg Padres, Hahn silence Braves

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Blazer Kugbila out for season

    Now, after missing the 2013 season with a knee injury, this signals another hardship for the promising guard.

    July 25, 2014

  • LHS baseball signing Two Lowndes grads sign scholarships

    Lowndes graduates Henry Hoff and Nick Higginbotham decided to take the next step in their respective baseball careers together on Thursday as both signed a letter-of-intent with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog
More