EAST HARTFORD, CT – SEPTEMBER 21: Devin Gardner #98 of the Michigan Wolverines feels the pressure of Jefferson Ashiru #32 of the Connecticut Huskies in the first half at Rentschler Field on September 21, 2013 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
North of 100 college football players decided earlier this year, in some form or fashion, to forego their remaining collegiate eligibility for an early shot at the NFL. In the end, roughly seven out of every 10 of those players felt a draft.
In mid-January, the NFL announced that 96 players “have been granted special eligibility for the 2016 NFL Draft.” Another 11 players with eligibility remaining “have in timely fashion under NFL rules officially notified the league office that they have fulfilled their degree requirements” and were eligible for the draft as well.
Add it up, there were 107 players who left collegiate eligibility on the table. And, in the end, exactly 30 of those players were left without a seat once the draft music had stopped.
Below is the list of players who will hope to gain a foothold on an NFL club as an undrafted free agent:
Bralon Addison, WR, Oregon
Dominique Alexander, LB, Oklahoma
Travis Blanks, LB, Clemson
Peyton Barber, RB, Auburn
Dariusz Bladek, OG, Bethune-Cookman
Beniquez Brown, LB, Mississippi State
Trenton Coles, DB, Duquesne
Elijah Daniel, DT, Murray State
Terrell Davis, LB, British Columbia
Eric Enderson, P, Delaware
David Grinnage, TE, North Carolina State
Cayleb Jones, WR, Arizona
Denver Kirkland, OT, Arkansas
Darius Latham, DL, Indiana
Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green
Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers
Jalin Marshall, WR, Ohio State
Brett McMakin, LB, Northern Iowa
Marquez North, WR, Tennessee
Joe Powell, DB, Globe
Tyvis Powell, S, Ohio State
Alex Redmond, OL, UCLA
Aldrick Rosas, K, Southern Oregon
Tyrell Smith, OT, Massachusetts
Ron Thompson, DE, Syracuse
Corey Tindal, DB, Marshall
Quinn van Gylswyk, K, British Columbia
Cleveland Wallace III, CB, San Jose State
De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State
Avery Young, OL, Auburn
In the run-up to the Notre Dame-Ohio State Fiesta Bowl following the 2015 regular season, many a pundit pounded the pulpit on the plethora of potential next-level players* who would litter the field that night. At least in this instance, said pundits absolutely nailed it.
As the dust has settled in Chicago and the 2016 NFL draft has been put to bed, the tally is official: a whopping 19 Buckeyes and Fighting Irish players who took part in or were on the roster for OSU’s 16-point win in the desert were selected in the seven rounds of the annual selection meeting.
The Buckeyes, who entered Day 3 with a record 10 players drafted the first two days, finished with 12 players plucked by various NFL clubs. While that total is impressive, it falls just short of the record of 14 set by… the 2004 Buckeyes.
They did, though, set one record on the day, and at their own expense.
— #NFLDraft (@nflnetwork) April 30, 2016
The Irish, meanwhile — and if you can calculate at a third-grade level — saw seven players selected in the draft. While it was a good haul, it was tied fourth, along with Alabama and Florida, behind OSU’s 12, Clemson’s nine and UCLA’s eight.
There were nine schools that had five players each drafted: Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Stanford, TCU and West Virginia.
(*Alarmed at a little alliteration?)
While Miami had not yet confirmed it, one of the most talented Hurricanes on the defensive side of the ball, Al-Quadin Muhammad (pictured, right), underwent a successful but unspecified surgical procedure recently. And just how did we know that initially? Because the player posted a picture of himself laying in a hospital bed and clothed in hospital garb, that’s how.
Subsequent to Muhammad’s social media revelation, the university confirmed that the lineman had undergone “a small surgical procedure… on his knee.” Muhammad is expected to resume football activities in a couple of weeks.
The redshirt junior played in 12 games in 2015, leading the team in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (five). He’ll enter summer camp, provided he doesn’t suffer a setback, as arguably the Hurricanes’ top pass rusher.
Sadly, tragedy has hit the college football community yet again.
Troy confirmed in a press release that Trojans football player Nathan Harris has passed away due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident earlier Saturday. Harris was just 19 years old.
Other than the accident occurred in Gulf Shores, Ala., no details were made available.
“This is an unthinkable tragedy and the thoughts and prayers of the Troy Athletics Department and the Troy University community are with Nathan’s family and friends,” Troy athletic director Jeremy McClain said in a statement. “It is devastating to see a young life end in such a heartbreaking way, and we will provide support and comfort for his teammates, friends and coaches as they go through the grieving process.”
“Nate was a tremendous person and a very caring young man,” a statement from Troy head coach Neal Brown said began. “While his time here at Troy University was brief, his impact was felt by many. He was loved by his teammates and had a positive effect on our team’s culture in a short time.”
Harris, who starred as a quarterback at Gulf Shores High School, joined the Troy football team as a walk-on this past semester. During the course of spring practice, Harris had worked his way up to being the Trojans’ starting holder. He was listed as a safety on the school’s online roster.
The sudden passing is hitting the Gulf Shores community particularly hard.
“We are struggling here,” Harris’ high school coach, Ben Blackmon, told WALA-TV, adding, “He has gone to live with God.”
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Harris’ passing.