Patriots Sign 19 Rookie Free Agents
BOSTON (CBS) – With their weekend rookie minicamp beginning on Friday, the New England Patriots announced the signing of 19 rookie free agents.
And wouldn’t you know, Bill Belichick has inked another Rutgers defensive back.
Rutgers corner Brandon Jones is the fourth Scarlet Knight to join the Patriots since last week, joining draft picks Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon and Steve Beauharnais. Jones will join Ryan and Harmon in competing for a spot in the Patriot secondary, which is anchored by another Rutgers alum in Devin McCourty.
Another interesting signing is Missouri wide receiver TJ Moe, who is seen as a prototypical slot receiver.
Belichick spoke to the media on Friday morning, breaking down what he and the team hopes to accomplish during the camp.
“We’re looking forward to getting out on the field over the next three days and working with a lot of new guys, new faces. Obviously we have a lot of information to give them in every area, not just football, but the whole transition in becoming a professional athlete and in most cases for these guys, relocating to a part of the country they’re not too familiar with,” said Belichick. “We have a lot of ground to cover but I think it’s a group that so far seems attentive and eager. Like a lot of groups at this time of year, this group of guys is a similar group to many that we’ve had in the past. We’ll take it day by day and one step at a time with a lot of ground to cover and hopefully we can catch them up as soon as possible so they can compete with some of the other guys that are on our team as we move into the spring and eventually get ready for training camp.”
Here is the full list of players signed and their bios — courtesy of the New England Patriots:
P Ryan Allen (Louisiana Tech), FB Ben Bartholomew (Tennessee), DL Dewayne Cherrington (Mississippi State), S Kanorris Davis (Troy), OL Elvis Fisher (Missouri), TE Brandon Ford (Clemson), DL Cory Grissom (South Florida), RB Quentin Hines (Akron), CB Brandon Jones (Rutgers), OL Josh Kline (Kent State), OL Chris McDonald (Michigan State), WR TJ Moe (Missouri), CB Stephon Morris (Penn State), LB Ian Sluss (Portland State), OL Matt Stankiewitch (Penn State), TE Zach Sudfeld (Nevada), WR Kenbrell Thompkins (Cincinnati), DL Joe Vellano (Maryland) and LS Mike Zupancic (Eastern Michigan).
Allen, 23, began his career at Oregon State before transferring to Louisiana Tech. The 6-2, 215-pounder, was named the Ray Guy Award winner in 2011 and 2012, becoming the first player to claim the award in back-to-back seasons.
Bartholomew, 23, played in 31 games with 13 starts during his career at Tennessee. The 6-2, 252-pounder, also participated in shot put for the Tennessee track and field team.
Cherrington, 22, began his college career at Holmes (Miss.) Community College where he was a two-way standout before walking on at Mississippi State. The 6-3, 335-pounder earned a scholarship in his final year in 2012.
Davis, 23, played as a linebacker in college where he helped Troy win the Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2011 and 2012. The 5-10, 203-pounder, finished his college career with 207 tackles and 10 forced fumbles.
Fisher, 24, returned to the field in 2012 at Missouri after being awarded a hardship by the NCAA after being forced to miss the 2011 season with an injury. The 6-5, 300-pounder, was a starter at left tackle during his college career and was named a team captain in 2011 and 2012.
Ford, 23, served as a backup tight end in 2010 and 2011 before earning a starting position in 2012 where he finished with 40 receptions for 480 yards and eight touchdowns. The 6-3, 240-pounder finished his college career with 12 touchdowns, which tied a school record for most receiving touchdowns by a tight end.
Grissom, 22, appeared in 46 games with 40 starts at South Florida and posted 105 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The 6-2, 316-pounder, was named second-team All-Big East as a senior in 2012.
Hines, 22, began his college career at Cincinnati in 2008 and appeared in one game in 2009 after redshirting in 2008. The 5-11, 190-pounder missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons before finishing his career in 2012 at Akron.
Jones, 23, played in 13 games with 12 starts as a senior, posting 31 tackles, nine passes defensed and a team-leading five interceptions. The 6-1, 187-pounder was also a standout special teams player during his time at Rutgers.
Kline, 23, saw action at right guard, right tackle and on special teams during his college career at Kent State. The 6-3, 310-pounder earned second-team All-MAC honors as a senior in 2012.
McDonald, 23, was a four-year letterman at Michigan State, who played in 43 games with 39 starts at right guard. The 6-5, 298-pounder, was named an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection after being the only Michigan State player to start in every game in 2012 on the offensive line. He is the younger brother of Patriots OL Nick McDonald.
Moe, 22, played in 48 games over his four seasons at Missouri, totaling 188 receptions for 2,101 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 6-0, 200-pounder, also had 12 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown and 34 kick returns for 793 yards. He was named a team captain in 2012 and posted 40 receptions for 399 yards and one touchdown.
Morris, 22, played in 49 games with 24 starts over his college career at Penn State and finished with 148 tackles, one interception and 13 passes defensed. The 5-8, 186-pounder was named honorable mention All-Big Ten as a senior.
Sluss, 23, earned All-Big Sky Conference honors in 2012 and was also selected as the Portland State team MVP after leading the team with 104 tackles, with four interceptions and four fumble recoveries. The 6-foot, 225-pounder, played two seasons at the University of Redlands before transferring to Portland State and redshirting in 2010.
Stankiewitch, 23, started all 25 games at center as a junior and senior at Penn State. The 6-4, 290-pounder was named a team captain for the East in the East-West Shrine game.
Sudfeld, 23, received a medical redshirt in 2012 at Nevada after an injury in the 2011 opener. The 6-7, 225-pounder caught a career-high 45 passes for 598 yards and eight touchdowns for Nevada in 2012.
Thompkins, 24, played two seasons at Cincinnati after transferring from El Camino Community College. The 6-1, 190-pounder, caught 78 passes for 1,077 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Vellano, 24, played defensive tackle as a sophomore and junior before being moved to end as a senior at Maryland. The 6-2, 285-pounder, was elected as a team captain in 2011 and 2012 and was All-ACC First-Team as a senior in 2012 after finishing with 61 total tackles and six sacks.
Zupancic, 23, earned three letters as the long snapper for Eastern Michigan. The 6-5, 240-pounder, never missed a game in his four-year career, playing in all 48 games.