Tank Taken By Steelers
April 26, 2009
LAS VEGAS - When Elbert "Ickey" Woods became the highest NFL draft pick in UNLV football history in 1988, no one thought that more than two decades would pass before another Rebel rusher would be selected. However, Frank "The Tank" Summers on Sunday became the first UNLV back to be picked since Woods shuffled his way to the pro ranks 21 years ago.
Summers was chosen in the fifth round by the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers with the 169th overall selection. The graduate of Oakland's Skyline High School led UNLV in rushing each of the last two seasons (1,668 total) after signing with head coach Mike Sanford's program out of Laney College. Also an outstanding receiver out of the backfield, Summers scored a combined 20 touchdowns as a Rebel (14 rushing and 6 receiving).
"I'm just very blessed and excited to be part of a great organization like the Pittsburgh Steelers," said Summers by phone from his hometown of Oakland. "I had a gut feeling about them drafting me and when I went out there for a visit I got such a great feeling that I wanted to commit to them like I was back in college."
Summers said he had already spoken with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
"He asked if I could do a lot of different things like run the ball, catch it and also block on special teams. I told him that's exactly what I planned on doing for them and he said that's what he wanted to hear."
Not invited to the NFL Combine, Summers performed well on offense and on special teams at the Texas vs. Nation All-Star Game in held in El Paso in January and then turned in a strong pro day on campus in March to catch the eye of scouts.
Summers becomes the sixth Rebel runner in history to be drafted and only the second since 1980. He became the 11th UNLV player to be drafted since the school joined the Mountain West Conference in 1999 but only the second from the offensive side of the ball (center Dominic Furio went in the seventh round to the Eagles in 2004) since wide receiver Henry Bailey (seventh round) in 1995.
Summers also became the fourth Rebel in history to be drafted by the Steelers, following Bailey in '94, offensive lineman Lonnie Palelei in 1993 and receiver Nate Hawkins way back in 1972.
Woods, who would go on to take his team to the Super Bowl as a rookie sensation, led all of college football in rushing as a senior in 1987 with 1,658 yards and was drafted 31st overall (second round) by the Cincinnati Bengals. While other Rebel lettermen have played running back in NFL games since that time, including James Wofford and Larry Croom, none was drafted.
Frank Summers UNLV CAREER OFFENSIVE STATISTICS YEAR GP-GS ATT YDS AVG TD LG REC YDS TD LG 2008 12-12 183 740 4.0 8 45 13 150 2 48 2007 12-12 202 928 4.6 6 49 23 252 4 56 Tot. 24-24 385 1,668 4.4 14 49 36 402 6 56