May 3, 2013

Five Purple Raiders get free agent calls

Two offensive and two defensive players for Mount Union got calls, including Nick Driskill.
Photo by Dan Poel, d3photography.com

The 2013 NFL draft concluded Saturday without any Division III football players being selected. More than a dozen players, however, were signed to free agent contracts or brought into tryout camps.

Mount Union has had five players picked up. Wide receiver Jasper Collins got a contract with the Miami Dolphins, while fellow wideout Chris Denton signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Defender Charles Dieuseul signed with the New York Giants. Nick Driskill is getting a rookie camp shot with the Indianapolis Colts, while fellow defensive back Isaiah Scott was invited to the Carolina Panthers' camp.

While records are incomplete, it's unlikely five players from one Division III team have signed free agent contracts or gotten rookie camp invites in the same year.

Cal Lutheran wideout Eric Rogers gets his shot with the Dallas Cowboys, while UW-Platteville cornerback Ryan McWethy will join the Cleveland Browns and Louisiana College tackle Jeremy Vujnovich is going to the Green Bay Packers. RPI quarterback Mike Hermann was signed by the Raiders, then the Chargers, while Albright receiver Scott Pillar went to the Rams.

“I am definitely floating up with the stars right now,” Rogers shared as he made an appearance at the SCIAC track championships. “Everything I have worked for has paid off and I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue to prove myself on the football field.”

“I was realistic,” said Moores. “Most of the feedback I heard was I would be invited to an NFL rookie camp, but not be selected during the NFL draft.”

Mary Hardin-Baylor linebacker Javicz Jones, the D3football.com Defensive Player of the Year, was invited to the Houston Texans' minicamp. Centre kicker and punter Jordan Gay was invited to the Carolina Panthers rookie minicamp, along with Wheaton offensive lineman Jesse Peterson. James Muirhead, a defensive lineman for Framingham State, was also invited to the Rams' rookie minicamp, while Middlebury guard Ryan Moores, a D3football.com First Team All-American, was invited by the Atlanta Falcons. Dubuque quarterback Wyatt Hanus will be in the Minnesota Vikings' rookie camp, while St. Thomas defensive end Ayo Idowu will try out for the Seattle Seahawks. Birmingham-Southern running back Shawn Morris has a tryout with the Washington Redskins.

"This is just a blessing for me, I can't think of another way to put it," Jones said." There's been a lot of hard work and preparation that’s gone into making this happen and I am really excited to have the opportunity and will try to make the most of it. Being from the Houston area, I've watched this franchise and it is just a blessing to have this chance."

Also, McMurry quarterback Jake Mullin, who was a D3football.com All-Region selection in 2011, was picked up by the Seahawks. McMurry began its transition to Division II this season.

Aside from any signing bonus, money in these free agent contracts is not guaranteed.

Here is the full list of Division III draftees since 1991. However, you might notice London Fletcher's name is not on this list, showing that a lengthy NFL career is possible even without being drafted.

Year Player, pos., school Team Round-overall
2012 Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion Lions 5-148
2011 Cecil Shorts, WR, Mount Union Jaguars 4-114
2008 Andy Studebaker, DE/LB, Wheaton (Ill.) Eagles 6-203
2008 Pierre Garcon, WR, Mount Union Colts 6-205
2007 Michael Allan, TE, Whitworth Chiefs 7-231
2007 Derek Stanley, WR/RET, UW-Whitewater Rams 7-249
2003 Ryan Hoag, WR, Gustavus Adolphus Raiders 7-262
2002 Tony Beckham, CB, UW-Stout Titans 4-115
2002 Michael Coleman, WR, Widener Falcons 7-217
2000 Tim Watson, DE, Rowan Seahawks 6-185
1999 Clint Kriewaldt, LB, UW-Stevens Point Lions 6-177
1996 Ethan Brooks, OL, Williams Falcons 7-229
1992 Nate Kirtman, DB, Pomona-Pitzer Cowboys 9-248
1992 Barry Rose, WR, UW-Stevens Point Bills 10-279
1991 Pete Lucas, OL, UW-Stevens Point Falcons 10-258
1991 Larry Wanke, QB, John Carroll Giants 12-334
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