Kyle Emanuel made an immediate impact, rare among rookie fifth-round picks.
Emanuel played in 15 games and started three. He was a regular in the team’s outside linebacker rotation and he had the second-most (tied) special teams tackles on the squad. And in his very first regular-season game in the Bolts’ 2015 opener versus Detroit, Emanuel recorded an interception, a pressure that led to another, a 13-yard sack, and two tackles for loss.
Emanuel came from North Dakota State, where he won the 2014 Buck Buchanan Award as the Football Championship Subdivision’s top defensive player. He led the FCS with 19.5 sacks and 32.5 tackles for loss.
The Schuyler, Nebraska native enrolled at NDSU after being overlooked by his home state’s schools despite an all-state prep career. It was a fortuitous move as the Bison went 58-3 during his career in the process of capturing four conference titles and four NCAA championships.
This year, Emanuel will be joined in the linebackers meeting room at Chargers Park by a fellow Bison. New linebackers coach Bob Babich spent six seasons (1997-02) as the head coach at North Dakota State.
Shortly after being drafted by the Chargers last May, Emanuel gained notoriety when he sent a tweet seeking congratulations from Hollywood starlet Julianne Hough, who wasted little time in obliging the request from the Chargers’ newest linebacker.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Fifth-round pick (153) by Chargers, May 2, 2015.
2015: NFL debut Sept. 9 vs. Detroit and racked up interception, 13-yard sack, pressure that led to interception by Patrick Robinson and two tackles for loss...on play just prior to Robinson interception, had three-yard tackle for loss to set up 3rd-and-14...touchdown on ensuing possession brought Chargers to within 21-20...sack came on third-down play early in second quarter to cap three-and-out...two early special teams tackles Dec. 20 vs. Miami before leaving game late in first quarter with concussion.
COLLEGE: 2014 Defensive Player of Year by FCS Athletic Directors Association, College Football Performance.com and Missouri Valley Conference...first-team All-America by Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Football Foundation and Sports Network...three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference, first-team in 2014, second-team in ‘13 and honorable mention in ‘12...three-time College Football Performance.com National Defensive Lineman of Week...three-time MVC Defensive Player of Week, two-time Sports Network FCS Defensive Player of Week and two-time College Sporting News FCS National All-Star...finished career with 234 tackles, 35.5 sacks, 58.5 tackles for loss and two blocked field goals...National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society in 2015...Capital One Academic All-America in 2014 and All-District in 2013 and ‘14...FCS Athletic Director’s Association Academic All-Star in 2014...two-time MVC All-Academic (2012-13), four-time MVC Honor Roll (2010-13) and three-time recipient of MVC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award (2011-13)...member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Blue Key Honor Society and St. Paul’s Newman Center...redshirted in 2010...played at North Dakota State from 2011-14...construction management degree.
PERSONAL: Born in Schuyler, Nebraska...two-time all-state and three-time all-district at Schuyler Central High School...two-time all-state and all-conference in basketball...competed in soccer and track and field...three-time academic all-state.