Ryan Davis and Jean Fanor sign Free Agent Deals

Ryan Davis and Jean Fanor have signed Free Agent deals with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs respectively. Two other HBCU players will join Davis as undrafted free agents in Jacksonville (Kevin Elliot, WR, FAMU and Antonio Dennard, CB, Langston).

Other HBCU undrafted free agent signees include:

Indianapolis Colts
Micah Pellerin CB, Hampton,

Jacsksonville Jaguars
Kevin Elliot, WR, Florida A&M
Ryan Davis, DE, Bethune-Cookman
Antonio Dennard, CB, Langston

Houston Texans
Mario Louis, WR, Grambling St

Oakland Raiders
Marqutte King, P, Fort Valley State

Dallas Cowboys
Adrian Hamilton, DE, Prairie View A&M

Atlanta Falcons
Casey Therriault, QB, Jackson St

San Francisco 49ers
Brian Tymes, WR, FAMU

2012 NFL Undrafted Free Agents

Ryan Davis passed up on NFL Draft weekend

Every young man who has ever put on a pair of shoulder pads and buckled up a chin strap has dreamed of having his name called on NFL Draft weekend. Unfortunately for Ryan Davis, that did not happen.

The 2011 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year was looking to become the first Wildcat player drafted since the Green Bay Packers selected Nick Collins in the second round in 2005. Davis recorded 65 tackles, 12 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss, and 8 forced fumbles last season.  Davis has the size (6’3”, 260 pounds), speed (4.79 40-yard dash), and fluidity to play either defensive end or linebacker in the NFL.  His versatility and production at the collegiate level will surely make him a sought after undrafted free agent.

Recent NFL undrafted free agents include players such as Arian Foster, Tony Romo, and Victor Cruz.  Anthony Bass, Eric Weems, and Damien Cook are three of the more recent undrafted football players from BCU to make NFL rosters.

South Carolina State’s Christian Thompson was the only MEAC player taken in this year’s draft.  Thompson was selected in the 4th round (pick number 130) by the Baltimore Ravens.

Packers release former BCU Great Nick Collins

Nick Collins

Former BCU Standout, Nick Collins, was released from his NFL contract yesterday afternoon.

The Green Bay Packers released the three time Pro Bowl safety citing doubts about whether Collins should continue to play .

“From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick,” Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said in a statement released by the team. “In the end, we were not comfortable clearing him to play again.  As with all of our players, Nick is a member of our family and we thought of him that way as we came to this conclusion.  Nick is a part of our core, and this is a very difficult day for all Packers. Making this kind of decision is never easy, especially when it involves someone like Nick Collins.  He has meant so much to the community, his teammates and the organization.  He is a good man and will always be part of the Packers family.”

Collins hurt his neck Sept.18 in a game against the Carolina Panthers; he underwent cervical fusion surgery and has not decided whether to try to play for another team, according to his agent. 

Nick was an All-Time BCU Great and a second-round draft pick in 2005.   He will forever live in BCU Football and Super Bowl lore after returning an interception for a touchdown in the Packers’ 2011 Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Check out Pro Interviews’ sit down with Ryan Davis. Good stuff.

Pro Interviews

Ryan Davis played college football in the MEAC at Bethune Cookman University. He was recruited to play TE at BCU, but ended up making the switch to defensive end/outside linebacker. During his four year career, he totaled he was there, he totaled 190 tackles, 44.5 tackles for loss, 24.5 sacks, and forced twelve fumbles. During his senior season, he was nominated to be the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. He is entering the 2012 NFL Draft, and projected to go in the mid-rounds. The interview was conducted before the 2012 NFL Draft. He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Locked and LOADED

Rodney Scott runs a pass route during Saturday's Spring game

Shortly after yesterday’s Spring game, I shook the hand of a high ranking BCU official. The gentleman asked me “did you see what you wanted to see”…to which I replied: “absolutely”!

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret folks.  The Wildcats are loaded. And if you take Coach Jenkins at his word, he will be adding a few more bullets to the team’s arsenal before the kickoff of the 2012 regular season.

I already had lofty expectations for the Cats this season. Saturday’s intra-squad contest gave me more reasons to believe that high expectations are in order for the maroon and gold this year.  Yeah, yeah, I know: it’s only April; the other teams have guys on scholarship too; chemistry matters; you can’t predict injuries; yada, yada, yada.  I am not quite ready to guarantee a couple of playoff victories for this upcoming season, but I am not exactly ruling out that possibility either. Things will sort themselves out beginning in a few short months.  For now, I will simply enjoy the thoughts of what could be and take comfort in knowing that this current year’s squad is the best collection of talent Coach Jenkins has possessed in his BCU tenure.

The talk of the town

Broadrick Waters

The buzz circling around Daytona Beach after the Spring game centered largely on “that kid wearing #2” (Broadrick Waters) and playing quarterback for Bethune.  Folks were talking about him at the (Derbyshire) Park .  I heard a few people at the Shell gas station talking about him, and I received a number of telephone calls asking about Waters as a prospect. Waters looked like the best athlete on the field during Saturday’s contest.  He demonstrated the type of explosiveness and elusiveness that Wildcats fans grew accustomed to seeing from players like Allen Suber and Pa’tel Troutman.  No really, he was that impressive (albeit it in an April scrimmage).

David Blackwell was also very impressive and received his fair share of compliments from the fans in attendance.  Blackwell started two games at quarterback in 2011 for the Cats.  He switched over to wide receiver in the spring and it looks like a natural fit for him.  Blackwell did a nice job of catching the ball with his hands and using his large frame to shield defenders.  Once the ball was in his hands, he was able to make a few guys miss and run away from others.

Quarterback Quentin Williams had a nice showing opening the game with a 70 yard touchdown drive.  Williams got the ball out of his hands in rhythm and seemed to make the right decisions in the passing game.

Harold Love was the most disruptive player along the defensive front and linebacker Jarkevis Fields just seemed to find the ball carrier and be on the end of more tackles than anyone else.

BCU opens the 2012 season on September 2nd in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando.  Alabama State you are on the clock.

What to watch for at the Wildcats’ Spring Game

The 2012 Spring Game will be played on April 21st at 4:00 p.m. at Municipal Stadium

In less than 72 hours, the maroon and gold faithful will receive their first glimpse at the 2012 version of the Fighting Wildcats.

I must admit that the actual Spring Game means very little in the grand scheme of things.  Coaches only install a fraction of their offensive and defensive systems during Spring drills, the starters receive fewer reps than they normally would during the regular season, and half of this year’s recruiting class have yet to even graduate from high school.   However, the Spring game is the best and only real football-like barometer that we can use to measure our favorite football squads in late April.

So with that disclaimer, here are some of the players and positions that I will be paying keen attention to during Saturday’s glorified scrimmage.

Anthony Jordan (Running Back) —  The 230 pound bruiser from North Atlanta High School led the squad with 9 rushing touchdowns last season.  He has been one of the most raved about players in Spring drills this year.  Jordan, who  has an exceptional work ethic, is trying to prove to the coaching staff that he can be more than just a short yardage back.

Lavon McCoy (Offensive Guard) —   BIG Lavon McCoy; and by BIG I mean almost 400 pounds BIG, was a highly touted prospect with offers from USC, Oregon, and the University of Washington coming out of high school.  He is one of those players that Coach Jenkins has mentioned that we’re very fortunate to have.  Last year, McCoy played exclusively on the defensive side of the ball.  He demonstrated very good foot work and quickness at defensive tackle.  This year he is moving to the offensive side of the ball and is expected to play offensive guard.  His Junior College highlight film shows him playing both defensive tackle and offensive guard.  McCoy looks great as a defensive tackle prospect but even better as an offensive guard.  It will be interesting to see how productive McCoy can be against FCS competition.

Tavarus Dantzler (Linebacker) — Tavarus Dantzler has been penciled in as the next big thing at linebacker for the Wildcats.  He has good size at 6’3″, 230 lbs, but his game is built on speed.  Dantzler can flat out fly.  Defensive Coordinator Yogi Jones has stated that he believes Dantzler can be a very special player and an all conference performer.  Let’s hope that Dantzler rises to the occasion and fulfill his potential.

Defensive Line Ryan Davis was simply the best defensive player in HBCU football last year.  I am not quite sure that one player will be able to fill the void left by Davis’ departure.  Instead, the Wildcat defensive front may look to maintain last year’s productivity levels by committee.  Harold Love, Anthony Woodard, and Tevin Toney all had very good campaigns last year.  Erik Williams rejoins Coach Earl Lane’s defensive unit after being sidelined with an injury a season ago.  Brandon Bryant and LeBranden Richardson are UCF transfers who will look to have an impact on the defensive line as well.

Jim Pry (Offensive Coordinator) — Okay, so we will not be able to make any legitimate or rational assessments about new offensive coordinator, Jim Pry’s, play calling after Saturday’s contest.  But what I hope to see is Pry’s influence on the passing game; and how the quarterbacks and receivers are understanding the principles of Pry’s passing attack.  Pry is a disciple of the vertical passing game.  His route combinations are not stagnant or predefined.  Instead, receivers have options on each route (think Mike Leach and the Air Coryell offenses).

Quarterback —  Jackie Wilson ended last season with a 66% completion rate and showed tremendous growth as the Wildcats primary signal caller.  But Wilson is not a shoe-in to be the starting quarterback in 2012.  Former Florida Mr. Football, Quentin Williams, is competing with Wilson and Broadrick Waters (La Tech transfer) to be Brian Jenkins’ trigger-man come September.