|Photo by Dan Poel, d3photography.com|
Wesley quarterback Joe Callahan, UW-Oshkosh tight end Joe Sommers, Wheaton tackle Matt Snebold and UW-Eau Claire guard Isiah Cage headline Division III’s free-agent signings after the 2016 NFL draft.
Following a banner spring of 2015 in which Division III football saw Hobart lineman Ali Marpet go in the second round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Division III didn't do nearly as well in this year's draft. And that would be the norm, as just seven Division III players have been drafted, total, in the past decade.
The UW-Oshkosh student newspaper, the Advance-Titan, announced that UWO tight end Joe Sommers signed with the Chicago Bears immediately after the end of the draft. Wesley quarterback Joe Callahan has signed with the Packers.
Wheaton (Ill.) tackle Matt Snebold signed with the Atlanta Falcons, while UW-Eau Claire lineman Isiah Cage was picked up by the Colts. Tre Jones, the Mount Union cornerback, signed with the Chiefs, while Albright kicker Daniel Sobolewski signed with the Jets.
Concordia-Moorhead receiver Brandon Zylstra was invited to the Minnesota Vikings' camp, as was Dubuque offensive lineman Dominique Ravenell, while St. Thomas tight end Charlie Dowdle was invited to the Bears' rookie camp, Mount Union receiver Roman Namdar was invited to camp by the Bucs, Ohio Northern receiver Devon Price was invited to the Titans' camp, Lakeland receiver Michael Esiobu was invited by the Giants and Wisconsin Lutheran receiver Mitch Skarban was invited to rookie camp by Green Bay.
On the defensive side of the ball, Shenandoah defensive end Jake Payne was invited by the Jets, Utica defensive end Nick Woodman and Ithaca linebacker Schnayder Termidor were invited to the Giants' camp and Rowan linebacker Josh Popper got an invite from the Arizona Cardinals.
Joe Sommers, TE, UW-Oshkosh
Sommers had a solid workout at UW-Madison's pro day back in March after a Titans career that included two All-Region selections and an All-America nod in 2014. Sommers missed three games for the Titans this season and was held to one catch for 13 yards in his return, the playoff loss to UW-Whitewater.
Joe Callahan, QB, Wesley
At 6-1, 216, the Gagliardi Trophy winner and D3football.com first team All-America selection at quarterback, Wesley's Joe Callahan is a little undersized to play quarterback in the league but the Packers have expressed interest in him.
Matt Snebold, T, Wheaton
At 6-4, 300, Matt Snebold, a third-team D3football.com All-America selection at tackle from Wheaton, has an outside shot at getting drafted, at least according to one draft service. Before Marpet's selection last season, the last time a D-III lineman was selected in the draft was in 1996.
Isiah Cage, G, UW-Eau Claire
Cage might be the best sleeper among Division III football NFL prospects. Coming from a program that had a dismal 0-10 season, Cage nonetheless turned heads at UW-Madison's pro day and stands 6-3, 313.
Tre Jones, CB, Mount Union
Jones, a second-team D3football.com All-America selection at cornerback, ran a 4.56 in the 40 at his pro day at Akron. He intercepted just one pass last season as teams threw away from him, but he broke up 13 passes for the national champion Purple Raiders.
K Daniel Soboloweski, Albright
Sobolewski was named a first team All-American by D3football.com after making 15 of 21 field goal attempts and converting 49 of 51 extra point attempts. He tied his own school record by connecting on a 52-yard field goal against Stevenson.
Generally about a half-dozen Division III players sign free agent contracts after the draft in any given year. Others are invited, unsigned, to rookie minicamps. Others are brought in as camp arms or camp wideouts to help teams look at other players they consider better prospects, but any chance to get looked at is a positive one.
Previous draftees, from 1990 onward:
|Year||Player, pos., school||Team||Round-overall|
|2015||Ali Marpet, OL, Hobart||Buccaneers||2-61|
|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|
|1997||Bill Schroeder, WR, UW-La Crosse||Packers||6-191|
|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|
|1990||Chris Warren, RB, Ferrum||Seahawks||4-89|