Danny Batten, a sixth-round draft pick of the National Football League's Buffalo Bills, has two staunch supporters in Rector. The grandson of Gene and Brenda Batten of Rector, Batten has made a habit of surprising football "experts", making his way to the most popular professional sport in America from South Dakota State University in the relatively small Missouri Valley Conference.
A defensive end in college, Batten is expected to move to outside linebacker in the Bills' 3-4 defense.
While at SDSU, Batten impressed many on the national scene with his athleticism and hard-nosed play. He was named the 2009 MVC Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, racking up 80 tackles, 37 solo stops, 19.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble in 11 games with the Jackrabbits. He was also named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference first team for the second year in a row, and was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, honoring the best defensive player in the Football Championship Division subdivision.
Batten was a four year starter during his time at SDSU, making an impact in his very first game for the Jackrabbits, recording two tackles.
Prior to SDSU, Batten attended Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Ariz. He was a standout in both football and rugby, earning All-State honorable mention in football and All-State recognition in rugby as a senior.
Batten was the 192nd overall pick in the NFL Draft. At 6'3", 246 pounds, Batten the attention of NFL scouts with a time of 4.72 seconds in the 40-yard-dash during pro day and individual workouts.
His advancement to the pro game comes as little surprise to Brenda.
"He's always been a hard worker. He wanted to play college football, so he made up his mind and went to work. Once he made that happen and was good enough, he decided he wanted to go pro. Now, he has the chance to do that. He's a good person and is willing to put in the work. We'd be proud for him even if he wasn't family."