Chapel Hill, N.C. - University of North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer was selected Saturday in the first round of the NFL Draft (29th overall) by the San Francisco 49ers.
Balmer is the 17th first-round draft pick in school history and the first since Julius Peppers (2nd overall) and Ryan Sims (6th overall) in 2002.
"It's an honor to be picked in the first round, to represent the University of North Carolina and to go to a great organization like San Francisco," said Balmer, who watched the draft at the Kenan Football Center in Chapel Hill. "I appreciate everything Coach Davis and Coach Blake did to prepare me this year for this moment. It's an unbelievable feeling."
Balmer, a native of Weldon, N.C., was a standout for the Tar Heels in 2007, finishing second on the team with 59 tackles, including 9.5 for losses and three sacks. He was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference pick and earned honorable mention All-America honors from Pro Football Weekly.
"I'm tremendously thrilled for Kentwan," said North Carolina head coach Butch Davis. "All the teams loved his versatility. He was able to play in a pro system here at North Carolina and he flourished under the direction of defensive line coach John Blake. He can play in a 4-3 defense or a 3-4 scheme. He's going to a productive player for the 49ers."
Balmer is the 29th first-round pick Davis has coached or recruited and the first at North Carolina. Davis recruited or coached 28 first-round picks while coaching at the University of Miami.