Norfolk (Release via ODU Athletics) – Old Dominion University Football set a program record with three players taken in the NFL Draft on Saturday. Offensive lineman Nick Saldiveri was the first player taken on Saturday to begin the fourth round by the New Orleans Saints, Tre Hawkins went in the sixth round to the New York Giants and Zack Kuntz was selected in the seventh round by the New York Jets.

Saldiveri was taken in the fourth round, No. 103 overall by the Saints.

A two-time all-conference selection, Nick Saldiveri was a three-year starter at right tackle for Old Dominion. Saldiveri started 35 career games, including 34 at right tackle and one in 2022 at right guard.

In 2021, he helped lead the way for Blake Watson become the second player in ODU history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. In 2022, Saldiveri helped Watson to a single-game ODU record 259 rushing yards in a 49-21 win over Coastal Carolina.

Saldiveri became the third player in ODU history to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl and the sixth player to compete at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was the first ODU offensive lineman to participate in both the Senior Bowl and the Combine.

Hawkins was taken in the sixth round, No. 209 overall by the Giants.

A two-year starter at cornerback, finished fourth on the team with 57 tackles this past season. He tied for the team lead in interceptions with two and finished second with six pass breakups. He tied for the Sun Belt Conference lead with three fumble recoveries.

He was named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in ODU’s win at Coastal Carolina, as he had 10 tackles, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

In 2021, he set an ODU record with 76 tackles by a cornerback and added seven pass breakups.

Kuntz was grabbed by the Jets in the seventh round, No. 220 overall.

A transfer from Penn State, Kuntz finished the 2021 season second in the country among tight ends with 73 receptions for 692 yards and five touchdowns. He led ODU in receiving 9-of-13 games and had five games with eight catches or more. He earned first-team All-Conference USA honors.

His 2022 season was cut short due to injury. In five games, he caught 12 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He had six grabs for 83 yards and a touchdown at Virginia, and in ODU’s win over Arkansas State, caught three passes for 46 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown. Kuntz became the fifth Monarch to compete in the NFL Combine and recorded a record-setting performance as he ran a 4.55 40-yard dash and became the tallest player with a 40-inch vertical jump.

The three players selected are the most in program history, surpassing the two taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. Oshane Ximines was taken in the third round by the Giants and was the first ODU player ever taken in the draft, while Travis Fulgham was taken in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions.

The three players selected are the most by a Sun Belt Conference team.