FAYETTEVILLE — Running back Knile Davis’ final season at Arkansas didn’t go as planned after returning from the ankle injury that sidelined him throughout 2011.

It didn’t deter Davis from entering the 2013 NFL Draft with one season of eligibility remaining. And it finally paid off late Friday night.

Davis became the first Arkansas player selected, going to the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round with the 96th overall selection. It was a surprise pick, considering most of Arkansas’ pre-draft publicity for the early rounds centered on quarterback Tyler Wilson. But Davis stood as the only player selected after two days.

The Chiefs snatched Davis because of his potential after rushing for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2010. He missed the 2011 season because of a broken ankle suffered in preseason practices and struggled when he returned, rushing for just 377 yards and two touchdowns last season.

But Davis went to work in the pre-draft process determined to show NFL teams he was healthy and worth a selection this week. He made his biggest impression at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in February, testing among the top of the running back class in most categories. Davis also performed well during an on-campus pro day.

“Every team I’ve talked to has definitely said I’m a first-round talent,” Davis said earlier this week as he waited for the draft. “That’s not a question. But just the injuries and the season I had kind of brought that down a little bit. But I just want to get picked in a reasonable round and go to work.”

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau