/notables/2018/04/gono-goes-to-falcons

Gono leads signees, picked up by Falcons

Mason McKenrick
John Carroll athletics photo
 

For the third consecutive year, Division III was shut out in the NFL draft. However, Wesley tackle Matthew Gono was signed immediately after the draft, picking up a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons, while the Baltimore Ravens signed John Carroll linebacker Mason McKenrick.

McKenrick, a second-team D3football.com All-America selection last season, led the Blue Streaks with 71 tackles, 31 of them solo. He had two interceptions and nine and a half tackles for loss. Gono, a first-team All-America selection, helped anchor Wesley up front and drew notice from 20 NFL teams. Michael Joseph, the first-team All-America cornerback from Dubuque, signed with the Chicago Bears. The only Division III player invited to the Reese's Senior Bowl, and the only one invited to the NFL Combine, Joseph intercepted eight passes for the Spartans this season, and had 16 pass breakups, leaving him with 15 interceptions in three seasons. 

Frostburg State defensive tackle Niles Scott signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent as well. The D3football.com East Region defensive player of the year and a first-team D3football.com All-America pick, Scott finished his final season with 51 total tackles, including 16.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. C.J. Johnson, a linebacker for East Texas Baptist, signed with the Packers. The D3football.com All-South Region pick finished the 2017 season with 8.5 sacks for 44 yards and 11 tackles-for-loss. He recorded 35 tackles and had 13 quarterback hurries. 

Hobart wide receiver Brandon Shed and UW-River Falls defensive lineman Nick Jacobsen were invited to the Minnesota Vikings rookie minicamp. Mary Hardin-Baylor defensive tackle Haston Adams garnered a free-agent minicamp invite from the Arizona Cardinals. Deontez Alexander, a wide receiver for Franklin, did the same with the 49ers. St. John's wide receiver Evan Clark got a minicamp tryout with the Chiefs, while Delaware Valley safety Shawn Miller will be in the Bengals' minicamp. Aaron Lacombe, a wide receiver for Cal Lutheran, will head to rookie camp with the Rams. UW-Oshkosh wide receiver Sam Mentkowski and St. Vincent wide receiver Damon Black were each invited to the Jaguars rookie minicamp. Delaware Valley running back Devauntay Ellis was invited to the Eagles' minicamp. Heidelberg wide receiver Tony Morris received an invite to the Cleveland Browns' minicamp and Washington & Jefferson receiver Jesse Zubik got invited to the Steelers' minicamp. In addition, former Olivet punter Ryan Anderson, who played for Rutgers as a grad student this past season, will be attending the Patriots' minicamp.

Previous recent draftees:

The list remains short

Just seven Division III players have been selected in the past 12 drafts. The majority of Division III alumni in the NFL over this span were signed as undrafted free agents.

Year Player, position School Team Round-overall
2015 Ali Marpet, OL Hobart Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-61
2012 Chris Greenwood, CB Albion Detroit Lions 5-148
2011 Cecil Shorts, WR Mount Union Jacksonville Jaguars 4-114
2008 Andy Studebaker, DE/LB Wheaton (Ill.) Philadelphia Eagles 6-203
2008 Pierre Garcon, WR Mount Union Indianapolis Colts 6-205
2007 Michael Allan, TE Whitworth Kansas City Chiefs 7-231
2007 Derek Stanley, WR UW-Whitewater St. Louis Rams 7-249
         

 

The definitive history of the USFL: Football for a Buck, by Jeff Pearlman. Available now!
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