Next stop, the NFL: Nearly a dozen former local stars signing as undrafted free agents

FORT COLLINS, CO - SEPTEMBER 08: Devwah Whaley #21 of the Arkansas Razorbacks is tackled by Dequan Jackson #5 of the Colorado State Rams during the first half on September 8, 2018 in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Photo by Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images) (Timothy Nwachukwu, 2018 Timothy Nwachukwu)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With the NFL draft in the rearview, teams have been stocking up on undrafted free agents. That means more opportunities in the league for players with area ties.

As of Monday afternoon, nine players who graduated from area high schools have signed with NFL teams. One of those, Colorado State edge Dequan Jackson, signed with the Jaguars.

The NFL draft saw a record number of local players selected last Saturday. No players were taken on Thursday or Friday, but a record eight were drafted on the final day. The previous high for area players was seven drafted in 2017. In 1987, 2002, 2010 and ‘18, the area had six players with local ties selected.

Area players who have signed as undrafted free agents

Pos., Player, Local tie, College, NFL team

DB James Campbell, Palatka, Montana State, Seahawks

C Brad Cecil, Bartram Trail, USF, Lions

LB Andrew Farmer, First Coast, Lane College, Chargers

LB Dequan Jackson, Riverside/Lee, Colorado State, Jaguars

OL Ricky Lee III, Riverside/Lee, North Carolina A&T, Panthers

S Devon Matthews, Ribault, Indiana, Broncos

LB Tyler Murray, Baldwin, Memphis, Bengals

K Jack Podlesny, Glynn Academy, Georgia, Vikings

LB Ryan Smenda, Fleming Island, Wake Forest, Rams

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.