Falcons Sign 19 UDFAs and Add 22 Tryout Players For Rookie Minicamp

The Atlanta Falcons announced 19 official undrafted free agent signings earlier today including: linebacker Derek Akkune (North Texas), defensive tackle Chris Brown (Tarleton State), wide receiver Marquez Clark (Central Oklahoma), offensive tackle Cody Clay (Azusa Pacific), defensive back Terell Floyd (Louisville), cornerback Mike Lee (Fort Valley State), offensive tackle Eric Lefeld (Cincinnati), linebacker Derrick Malone (Oregon), defensive tackle Joey Mbu (Houston), cornerback Jordan Ozerities (Central Florida), safety Damian Parms (Florida Atlantic), wide receiver Joshua Stangby (Ottawa University), safety Robenson Therezie (Auburn), center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke (New Mexico State), running back Terron Ward (Oregon State), cornerback Kevin White (Texas Christian) and wide receiver Shane Wynn (Indiana). The 19 signings bring the Falcons roster total to 90, giving them a full slate heading into the summer. All of them were signed to three-year contracts with minimum salaries.

The Falcons are also bringing in 22 tryout players for the team’s rookie minicamp which begins this week. They will be trying to earn an opportunity to get signed to contracts. Those players include: quarterbacks Caleb Berry (Lamar) and Austin Dodge (Southern Oregon); running backs Rob Hollomon (Central Connecticut State) and Donovonn Young (Illinois); fullbacks Travis Dickson (LSU) and Mike Kinville (Central Michigan); wide receiver Dominic Rufran (Wyoming); tight end Katrae Ford (UTEP); offensive tackles Jacob Gannon (Iowa State), Kevin Henry (Central Michigan) and Matt Huffer (South Dakota); guard Tyler Sulka (Arizona State); defensive end Sam Meredith (San Diego State); defensive tackle Damon Wiliams (Abilene Christian); linebackers Boris Anyama (UL-Lafayette); Charles Harris (Memphis), Derek Largent (San Diego State), Art Norman (N.C. State) and Ladrius Owens (Auburn); cornerback Jonathon Mincy (Auburn); safeties Brandon Alexander (Central Florida) and Marcus McNorris (Furman). The team will also tryout kicker Sergio Castillo (West Texas A&M), who spent part of last offseason on the team a year ago.

Akkune was a team captain and three-year starter at both inside and outside linebacker at North Texas. As an outside linebacker this past year, he led North Texas and Conference-USA with 108 tackles. He also added 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 forced fumbles on his away to first team All-Conference honors. He finished his career with 308 tackles and 23 tackles for loss in 39 starts. At his pro day, he measured in at 5’11” and 236 pounds, and ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash, lifted 225 pounds on the bench press 19 times, and had a 35.5-inch vertical jump.

Brown was all over the country for his college career before settling down at Tarleton State this past year where he appeared in eight games, totaling 21 tackles, three for loss and a sack. Prior to his arrival at Tarleton State, Brown went to Kansas State where he played in nine games as a reserve in 2013. Prior to that he was at Washington State, but sat out the 2012 season after transferring from Scottsdale Community College. As a sophomore at Scottsdale, he had 68 tackles, 13 for loss and six sacks in 2011. He tipped the scales at 333 pounds at his pro day, measuring in at just over 6’3”. He ran a 5.52-second 40-yard dash and had 21 reps on the bench press.

Clark was a prolific receiver and returner, especially during his junior 2013 campaign at Central Oklahoma. There he earned Division II All-American honors by leading the nation with 2,249 all-purpose yards. He caught a school-record 82 passes for 1,348 yards with five touchdowns. He added a pair of scores on punts, averaging 18.1 yards per return. He also averaged 23.1 yards on 23 kickoff returns. Injuries sapped Clark as a senior, resulting in him catching just 35 passes for 327 yards and a touchdown in nine appearances. He also scored twice on 10 rushing attempts for 77 yards, and saw his production as a returner decline. He finished the year, averaging 5.8 yards on five punt returns and 28.1 yards on 13 kickoff returns. Clark set NJCAA record with 98 receptions as a sophomore in 2011 before transferring to Central Oklahoma. He also had 1,639 yards and 14 touchdowns that year and was an All-American at Navorro College. He caught 28 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman. At his pro day, Clark measured in at 5’10” 179 pounds and clocked a 4.55-second 40-yard dash.

Clay was a two-year starter at left tackle at Azusa Pacific where he tutored under Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, who served as his position coach. Before arriving at Azusa Pacific, Clay played at Fullerton Community College, where he earned first team All-American honors as a sophomore. He participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl along with Falcons seventh-round pick Jake Rodgers. At his pro day, Clay measured at 6’5” 304 pounds, ran a 5.27-second 40-yard dash and lifted 30 times on the bench press.

Floyd was a three-year starter at cornerback at Louisville. He started the 2014 season as a starting safety before the emergence of Gerod Hollimon led to his return to cornerback. He finished the year with 49 tackles, five tackles for loss, one interception and seven pass breakups. He combined for seven interceptions his two previous years as a starter. Along with Clay and Rodgers, he too was a participant in the NFLPA’s postseason all-star game. At his pro day, he measured at 5’10” 194 pounds and ran a 4.57 40-yard dash.

Gardner originally signed with Northern Arizona out of high school in 2008 but went on his LDS mission. The 25-year old returned to Mesa Commnity College before making his way to NAU in 2011. He did not earn his way into the starting lineup until his senior year, catching 28 passes for 412 yards and five touchdowns. The athletic tight end measured in at 6’4” and 253 pounds at his pro day, where he clocked a 4.72-second 40 time, 7.12-second three-cone drill, 22 bench press reps and 41-inch vertical jump.

Herring only started seven career games at Wisconsin, but was a regular part of the rotation playing across their defensive line. He mostly split reps at nose guard and defensive end. He missed five games this past year due to a knee injury, but still finished with 17 tackles, two for loss. His most productive year came as a junior when he had 17 tackles, six for loss and four sacks. He originally was a tight end prospect when he arrived in Madison, and his athleticism was apparent at his pro day where he timed at 5.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash, had a 35-inch vertical jump and lifted the bench press 28 times. He measured at 6’2” and 287 pounds.

Lee originally was at Massachusetts, quickly earning his way into the starting lineup as a freshman. His sophomore year was shortened by injury and he was kicked off the team as a junior in 2012 due to a violation of team rules. He finished his UMass career appearing in 18 games with 13 starts, totaling 53 tackles, four for loss, two interceptions and seven passes broken up. He wound up at Fort Valley State this past year, where he recorded 41 tackles, 1.5 for loss, three interceptions, eight pass breakups in 10 games. He grew up a Falcons fan in nearby McDonough, Georgia. His uncle is Van Jakes, who played defensive back for various NFL teams from 1983 to 1990. At his pro day, he measured at 6’ and 180 pounds, ran a 4.48-second 40, 6.96-second three-cone, had nine bench reps and a 39.5-inch vertical jump.

Lefeld was a four-year starter at Cincinnati, earning All-Big East (2012) and All-AAC (2013 and 2014) honors his last three years while staring a combined 38 games at left tackle. He started seven games at right tackle as a freshman after making the switch from defensive line. At his pro day, he measured in at 6’6” and 298 pounds, while running a 5.25-second 40 and lifted the bench press 12 times.

Malone served as a starter at inside linebacker the past two years at Oregon, combining for 190 tackles, five tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, seven passes defended and a pair of forced fumbles. Shoulder and knee injuries limited him to just six starts as a senior. He was a three-time All-Pac-12 academic honoree as well. He measured in at 6’1” and 230 pounds at Oregon’s pro day, clocking 4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 7.09 seconds in the three-cone and lifting 225 pounds 25 times on the bench press.

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Houston DT Joey Mbu at Senior Bowl

Mbu was noted for his leadership and high character at Houston, serving as a team captain. He finished his career with 34 career starts and earned first team All-AAC honors this past year. As a nose tackle, he totaled 88 tackles, 9.5 for loss, and four sacks during his three years as a starter. He also added eight pass deflections and a pair of interceptions in that span. He was invited to the Combine, where he weighed in at 6’3” and 313 pounds, while running a 5.54-second 40 time. At his pro day he was able to lift the bench press an impressive 21 times despite possessing 35-inch arms. He was a participant on the South squad alongside Falcons fifth-round pick Grady Jarrett at the Senior Bowl.

Ozerities was a two-year starter at cornerback at Central Florida, totaling four interceptions and 17 pass breakups in that span. As a freshman, he returned his lone interception 100 yards for a score. At his pro day, he measured in at 5’9” and 189 pounds, while running a 4.72-second 40, 6.75-second three-cone, lifting the bench press 15 times and having a 30.5-inch vertical jump.

Parms was a productive starter at strong safety the past two years at Florida Atlantic. He combined for 162 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, seven pass deflections and three forced fumbles in that span. At his pro day, he measured in at 6’1” and 201 pounds, clocking a 4.59-second 40 time, 21 bench reps and 36-inch vertical. He also participated for the East team in the East-West Shrine Game.

Stangby was a highly productive receiver and returner at Ottawa University in Kansas. But his college football career began at Los Angeles Valley College where he averaged 19 and 37 yards respectively as a punt and kick returner as a freshman. His sophomore year, he led the school with 62 receptions for 993 yards and eight touchdowns, earning first team All-State honors as a wide receiver. He trasnferred to Ottawa in 2013, earning All-KCAC honors as both a returner and receiver. He led the NAIA in kickoff return yards with 1,036, averaging 28 yards per return and having two scores. He caught 32 passes for 507 yards and five touchdowns as well that season. He earned first team All-KCAC honors as senior receiver, catching 56 passes for 1,046 yards and 14 touchdowns.. He averaged 17.5 yards on 13 kickoffs. At his pro day, he measured in at 5’10” and 180 pounds, running a 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and leaping 40.5 inches in the vertical jump.

Therenzie played the “STAR” position at Auburn, a hybrid between linebacker and safety. He finished his career with 117 tackles, 99 of them coming his final two years as a starter. He led his team with four interceptions as a junior, and returned one 78 yards for a touchdown. That prompted him honorable mention All-SEC honors. Therezie measured in at 5’10” and 205 pounds at his pro day, blazing a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, along with a 7.03-second three-cone drill, 19 bench reps and a 34.5-inch vertical jump.

Ume-Ezeoke was a team captain and finished his career with 43 career starts at center. He led his team with 62 knockdown blocks as a senior on his way to first team All-Sun Belt honors, and only gave up a single sack in his entire collegiate career. At his pro day, he measured at 6’2” and 305 pounds, running a 5.44-second 40 and lifting the bench press 25 times.

Ward is the younger brother of current Denver Broncos starting safety T.J. Ward. At Oregon State, the younger Ward split carries the past two years at running back, earning only eight career starts. He was leading the team with 696 yards and 10 touchdowns this past year until a torn meniscus in his knee sidelined him for the year. He led the team as a junior with 521 yards on 113 carries and five touchdowns. For his career, Ward rushed for 1,843 yards on 377 carries (4.9 average) and 22 touchdowns. He also caught 87 passes for 664 yards and three more scores. At his pro day, he measured in at 5’7” and 197 pounds, running a 4.54-second 40 and lifting 225 pounds 20 times on the bench press.

White was a three-year starter at cornerback for TCU. He shined as a senior, gaining notoriety for shutting down first-round wide receiver Kevin White over the final three quarters of their matchup against West Virginia this past fall. West Virginia’s White finished the game with just three receptions for 28 yards. TCU’s White finished the year with 51 tackles, four for loss, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups to earn his way onto the All-Big 12 second team. His two previous years as a starter, White combined for 77 tackles, four interceptions and 16 pass breakups. White was also participant in the Senior Bowl where he drew comparisons from NFL.com’s Mike Mayock to Jason Verrett, who was a former TCU teammate that was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. White played with Jarrett and Mbu on the South team. At his pro day, White measured in at 5’9” and 183 pounds, clocking a 4.63-second 40 time, 6.86-second three-cone, 18 bench reps and 35.5-inch vertical jump.

Wynn was named team captain alongside Falcons third-round pick Tevin Coleman this past year at Indiana. He led the team in receiving while Coleman handled the load on the ground. Wynn finished the year with 56 catches for 708 yards and three scores. He also led the team in receiving as a sophomore with 68 catches for 660 yards and six more scores. As a junior, Wynn caught 46 passes for 633 yards and a team-leading 11 touchdowns. He added two more scores, including one for rushing and one on a kickoff return. It was Wynn’s dynamic return skills that earned him more notoriety at Indiana, as he averaged 21.8 yards on 85 career kickoff returns, including that scores as a sophomore. He also scored on a punt return as a junior, finishing his career averaging 8.4 yards on 20 returns. Wynn contributed 210 rushing yards on 16 carries along with three additional scores as well. At his pro day, he was measured at 5’6” and 167 pounds, but blazed a 4.3-second 40, 6.89-second three-cone and had a 36-inch vertical jump.

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Aaron Freeman
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