Next stop is Miami for Exeter's Hunter Long who was picked by the Miami Dolphins Friday night in the third round of the NFL Draft.

The cheers went up and the smiles were wide at his family's home as family and friends clapped enthusiastically when Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones announced the Boston College tight end's name as the 81st pick of the draft.

"The Miami Dolphins just made one of the best selections in the 2021 NFL Draft," Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley said in a statement. "We are so excited for Hunter as he starts the next chapter of his football career in the NFL. It was clear from the first time I saw Hunter at practice, he was going to play a big part in our success and he thrived in Coach Cignetti's pro-style offense. We can't wait to watch Hunter play on Sundays this fall."

Exeter High School football coach Bill Ball told Seacoast Current that Long has worked hard to get to this point in his football career and said he deserves all the accolade he has earned.

"He's just a really,really talented young man. I couldn't be happier for him. He worked incredibly hard to get to this point. I've watched it. I was telling people he'd come out here on a Sunday and he'd be one person on that track and he'd be out there working out all by himself," Ball said.

Long on his Twitter account said, "Can't wait to get down there and get to work!!"

He also spoke on the phone with two future teammates after his selection, according to an Instagram post by the Dolphins who said they're looking forward to getting to know him

"We know you're a tough hard nosed guy. A typical BC guy," the player told him. Long is the first BC player selected by Miami since 1995, according to the Eagles.

Long was a second-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, AP, Sporting News, CBS Sports and The Athletic in 2020. He was also a first-team All-ACC selection in 2020 and entered the NFL Draft after 57 receptions for 685 yards (12.0 per) and five scores in 11 starts for the Eagles in 2021.

He was the top receiving tight end in 2020 and led all tight ends nationally in receptions with 57 and ranked second in receiving yards with 685 behind Florida's Kyle Pitts.

Despite his success for the Eagles it was a long road from Exeter to Deerfield to Chestnut Hill for Long who told NFL Now prior to the draft that he bet on himself even when no one else would.

"I didn't have any offers coming out of high school. I kind of had to pave my own way to get to BC and do a fifth year of high school. BC was my only qualified offer. Every part of my journey I've had to prove myself a little extra. The whole way I've bet on myself and nothing's changed now," Long said.

He also helped the 2015 Blue Hawks win a state title before doing a post graduate year at Deerfield Academy.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH


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