The selection gives Florida multiple picks in the NFL Draft for 32 consecutive years after the Seattle Seahawks took Jaye Howard in the fourth round.
Rainey is the first Florida running back drafted since the Green Bay Packers took DeShawn Wynn in the seventh round of the 2007 draft. Rainey is the highest Florida running back taken since the Minnesota Vikings selected Ciatrick Fason with the 112th pick (4th round).
“I’m excited to hear that Chris has been selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Florida head coach Will Muschamp said of Chris Rainey. “He loves to play the game and can impact the game on offense and special teams.”
The Steelers have now drafted 24 Gators, the most of any NFL team.
It’s also a chance for Rainey to reunite with some familiar faces. He played in college and at Lakeland High School with Steelers Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Steelers’ offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert also played with Rainey in college.
“It will be good for him to reunite with Maurkice – he is someone that Chris has spent a great deal of his life around," Muschamp said. "He will do whatever he is asked and is eager to begin his professional career.”
Rainey was a 2011 All-SEC First Team selection as an all-purpose athlete. He appeared in 52 games during his college career with 19 of them being starts. He totaled 2,464 yards rushing, ninth on the all-time list at Florida, and 13 touchdowns. He also added 795 yards and six touchdowns on receptions.
Rainey also brings special teams value. He holds the school and SEC record with six career blocked punts.