SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Missouri Valley Football Conference saw a record eight players drafted in last weekend’s NFL Draft, including two players from South Dakota State.

SDSU has had just two players taken in the NFL Draft in the past four years, but that changed this year when running back Pierre Strong Jr. was taken in the fourth round by the Patriots.

“I’m really excited for Pierre. He had the dream, he worked tremendously hard. What we talk about is the yards and the touchdowns and the touchdown passes, but all the stuff he did off the field, he deserves this opportunity,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said.

Three rounds later, another former Jackrabbit was taken in quarterback, Chris Oladokun.

“He wanted to play, he wanted to have an impact on our team or a team and we were lucky enough to be the team he ended up on,” Stiegelmeier said. “I think it’s a great story, to pursue your dream and never give up on your dream.”

Oladokun and Strong Jr. were the only local players drafted, but several others received undrafted free agent offers such as Don Gardner, Michael Griffin II and Aron Johnson.

“I know everybody wants to be drafted, but as a free agent, you get to pick what team you go to and as a draftee, you don’t,” Stiegelmeier said. “I think there is some benefits to being a free agent. If you look at the depth at your position. Bottom line is all five of those guys have a chance to play in the NFL.”

SDSU wasn’t the only local school to see players reach the NFL. Former USD linebacker, Jack Cochrane signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, while safety Elijah Reed was invited to the Jets mini camp.

“Me and my agent felt like it was a great situation for me. I had a really great relationship with the coaches. Coach Reid, coach Spagnuolo, coach Daly and just looking at the roster, I felt like it was a spot where I could go in and compete,” Jack Cochrane said.

“The Jets reached out to me. Coach Willingham, he reached out to me and wanted to keep in touch throughout the draft, just to build a little connection, you know what I’m saying, a little bond,” Elijah Reed said.

Oladokun and Strong Jr. are the first two Jackrabbits to be taken in the same draft in the modern draft era.