A college football player has drawn widespread criticism for a late hit on a quarterback who was already down.
Solomon Thomas, a 191cm-tall and 125kg defensive lineman who grew up on Sydney’s beaches, has been selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Jarryd Hayne’s old NFL team was desperate to add a pass rusher to what has been a dismal defensive line in recent seasons.
Thomas was born in Chicago and when he was two-years-old his father, an executive at consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, moved the family to Sydney.
They lived in Australia for five years, a period Thomas says he fondly remembers, including eating fish and chips and spending long days at the beach.
“It was great as a kid to be exposed to a different culture, a different way of living,” Thomas told FOX Sports in the US.
“Be around a beautiful place.
“Get to go to the beach all the time.
“Start (life) in kind of an unconventional way, coming from Australia to the United States.
“It definitely gave me a different perspective on life and definitely shaped me for life.”
The 49ers know 21-year-old Thomas well as he was a star at Stanford University, just a short drive to the NFL team’s Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Thomas wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks in college with 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks for Stanford in the 2016 season.
The Cleveland Browns selected another pass rusher, Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the No.1 pick.
The Chicago Bears made a surprise move by doing a deal with the 49ers, who had the second pick, to trade up to second for North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
The Bears gave the 49ers the No.3 pick and a pick next year.
Australia’s top chance is punter Cameron Johnston, who after an outstanding stint at Ohio State, is a long shot of being a late round selection or picked up as an undrafted free agent.
The three day draft is being held in Philadelphia.