With the 149th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected University of Florida kicker and Fort Payne native Evan McPherson on Saturday.
The former Fort Payne High School special teams standout bypassed his senior season at Florida for an opportunity to pursue his dream of playing professional football.
McPherson was one of 10 Bengals draft selections this weekend. The team made it a mission to reload in the trenches, picking seven linemen in this year’s draft.
McPherson joined LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (fifth overall) and Michigan running back Chris Evans (202 overall) as Cincinnati’s draftees.
Prior to his college career, McPherson kicked and punted for Fort Payne High School for four years. He helped the Wildcats capture a Class 6A state postseason berth under former head coach Paul Ellis. He was selected to the Under Armour All-American Team and was the No. 1-ranked kicker and No. 5-ranked punter by the Kohl’s Kicking Camp.
While at Fort Payne, McPherson made a 60-yard field goal during his senior season that was a yard shy of the AHSAA state record. He also recorded an 84-yard punt in a game, which was also a yard shy of the state record.
McPherson chose Florida over Mississippi State and went 2 for 2 on PAT kicks during his participation in the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game.
Among some of McPherson’s notable moments in games with Florida in 2020 were a 55-yard field goal against Mississippi and a 53-yard field goal against Texas A&M. Field goals of 50 and 51 yards against Georgia earned him SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.
In three seasons, McPherson appeared in 36 games, kicked 49 field goals and 148 extra points.
McPherson and Florida finished the 2020 season with a 55-20 loss against Oklahoma in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Dec. 30.
During his pro day, McPherson made 21-of-22 field goal attempts, which included a successful 60-plus-yarder. His lone miss was from 58 yards.