For four seasons, Kindle Vildor was an electric playmaker for the Georgia Southern defensive secondary. He racked up nine interceptions, broke up 25 passes and was in on 94 tackles as an Eagle before putting on a show at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.
This past weekend, all that was left to do was to wait and watch the NFL draft as a lifetime’s worth of work was about to be rewarded.
“I wasn’t too nervous,” Vildor said. “I was sure that I was going to hear my name at some point and I was going to be grateful for whoever picked me, so I was just kind of soaking it all in.”
On Saturday afternoon, with their fifth round pick, the Chicago Bears selected Vildor.
“It was hugs all around for everyone,” Vildor said. “It was just something so special to get that call and to be able to tell everyone in the room that I’m going to the NFL.
“I had an idea that it might be (Chicago). I talked to them at the combine and and we had a meeting the day before my pro day. We looked at some film and talked about their defense and how I could fit in with them. Now I’m excited to get to work with them.”
In the sixth round, Georgia Southern doubled up on its draft class as the Buffalo Bills selected kicker Tyler Bass.
In what has become a prime example of where belief and determination can carry a player, Bass has reached to professional ranks after first stepping onto the field as a walk-on at Georgia Southern.
Bass put in his dues early in his Eagle career and was pegged as the man to take the place of current Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo after his GS career closed. Bass took over primary placekicking duties for the Eagles during his redshirt sophomore season and made the squad’s special teams unit one of the best in the country.
Bass’ 2018 season (19-21 FG, 45-45 XP) earned him All-American honors and he was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team in each of his three seasons as a starter.
“I’m super blessed and fortunate to be picked by the Buffalo Bills,” Bass said on Saturday in a conversation with WJCL in Savannah. “It’s such a surreal moment that I’ve always dreamed of.”
Both Bass and Vildor had been training away from campus prior to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down most NFL scouting. They returned to Statesboro to participate in Georgia Southern’s Pro Day on March 13 and even as they weren’t with their former teammates for most of the last few months, their former team and school were on their minds as both often took to social media to thank fans and accept well-wishes from those rooting them on towards professional careers.
“I want to say thank you to the coaches, special teams players and fans who made my five years (at Georgia Southern) the best,” Bass said. “I look forward to what the future holds and I’ll always be rooting for the Eagles. Hail Southern. Go Bills.”
With many NFL facilities still closed and no set schedule for the run-up to the 2020 season, both Bass and Vildor now find themselves in a bit of a holding pattern. Both will begin attending online team meetings and will continue working out individually until they have a time and place to report for their new jobs.