Sloman first Miami kicker to be drafted

From center Paul Dietzel in 1948 to defensive back Quinten Rollins in 2015, National Football League teams included 39 Miami players in its annual college player draft.

On Saturday, Sam Sloman became the 40th Miami product to be picked – and the first kicker.

“I did not know that,” Sloman, 22, said Monday by cell phone from the Oxford-area house he shares with other Miami students. “That is really, really cool. There’ve been some really good kickers come out of here in the past.”

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The Los Angeles Rams picked the 5-foot-8, 205-pound Sloman in the seventh round of the annual NFL draft, conducted virtually this year instead of in Las Vegas because of restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sloman was the 248th overall selection.

Shortly after the final pick was announced, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed 6-2, 295-pound Miami defensive tackle Doug Costin as an undrafted free agent.

Sloman, a Roswell, Georgia, native and kinesiology major still finishing up his bachelor’s degree work online, watched the draft at home with his parents, Jay and Judi.

“I’d had some previous contact with the Rams a little bit throughout the process,” Sam Sloman said. “They called me a little before the pick came in, but to see my name come across on TV was still surreal.

“I thought I had a shot,” added Sloman, one of three kickers to be drafted. “Two or three kickers usually go most years. There was a lot of interest. We just had to wait to see how things played out. One of the things I knew was the Rams had a last shot at picking a kicker, and they had two picks left in the seventh round, so we were eyeing that.”

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Shortly after the pick Sloman talked to Rams coach Sean McVay, a Miami graduate and former RedHawks’ receiver.

Sloman finished his Miami career ranked second with 49 field goals and 112 extra points, third with 62 attempts and a .790 percentage, and fourth with 259 total points. He set as a senior program single-season records with 26 field goals on 30 attempts on his way to being named second-team All-Mid-American Conference and second-team All-America by The Athletic. He was named Special Teams Player of the Game after going 4-for-4 on field goals with none shorter than 33 yards in Miami’s 26-21 win over Central Michigan in the MAC Championship Game, as well as being voted by RedHawks players and coaches as the team’s 2019 Most Valuable Player.

“That was a huge honor,” he said. “It goes to show how much my teammates had my back and how important specials teams are here. We had starters on offense and defense also on kickoff and punt teams. It’s a great feeling that the guys voted for me.”

The MVP honor emphasized the importance of special teams to Miami’s MAC championship. Sloman went 4-for-5 on field goals of longer than 50 yards, including a 53-yard game-winner at Ohio with less than four minutes to play in a 24-21 triumph.

Helping Miami to its first MAC championship since 2010 left Sloman with a special feeling, but he was equally as proud of his role in helping turn around the program as a freshman in 2016, when the RedHawks rebounded from a 0-6 start to win their last six regular-season games, earning a MAC East Division co-championship and berth in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Bowl.

“Winning the MAC championship is No. 1,” he said. “That was such a great feeling. That’s our goal every year – winning that – and to do it, especially in my senior year, was awesome. Being part of those two teams was really cool.”

Besides his studies, Sloman works out, including kicking a couple of times a week at Yager Stadium. He anticipated participating in virtual meetings with Rams coaches until being able to finally get to California.

The 22-year-old Costin was a three-year starter for Miami, capping his career by being named first team All-MAC for the 2019 season.

“Such a surreal feeling but this is just the beginning it’s time to go to work,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Costin was named Miami’s Defensive MVP after racking up 58 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and four sacks as a senior. He contributed seven tackles and two tackles for loss at Ohio.

Costin played in 50 games in his career, logging 178 tackles, 16-1/2 sacks, 32-1/2 tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

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