With a successful draft having concluded over the weekend, the Jets continued to add to their roster today when they announced that 15 undrafted college free agents had agreed to terms.
Of the 15, there are four wide receivers, three offensive lineman, two tight ends, three defensive linemen, a linebacker, and two defensive backs.
Last season, NT Damon Harrison was an undrafted free agent out of William Penn who eventually earned a final roster spot.
The process will soon begin, a week from Thursday for the start of the rookie minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, to see if any of these undrafted prospects will be running out of the tunnel at MetLife Stadium when the regular season opens Sept. 8 against Tampa Bay.
Zach Rogers (6’0″, 172 / Tennessee / Nashville, TN) — In 2012 Rogers was part of a stellar Tennessee receiving corps that featured first-round pick Cordarrelle Patterson and second-rounder Justin Hunter. As a senior, Rogers started six games and finished second on the Volunteers with seven receiving touchdowns. He also was fourth with 491 receiving yards and fourth with a career-best 32 receptions. Not only did Rogers excel on the field during his time in Knoxville but he also was a model student in the classroom, earning a spot on the All-SEC Academic teams in both 2010 and ’11.
Ryan Spadola (6’3″, 200 / Lehigh / Howell, NJ) — Spadola finished his college career with 232 receptions for 3,611 yards and 24 TDs. His father, Don, passed away when Ryan was in high school and he mentioned in a Sunday article in the Express Times that he and his dad attended Jets games together when he was growing up. The article also quoted Spadola expressing how he was glad that he no longer had to wait on getting a call from a team. “I’m relieved I have a home and can finally focus on what’s most important,” he said.
KJ Stroud (6’3″, 205 / Bethune-Cookman / Brooklyn, NY) — After spending his first two collegiate seasons at Rutgers, Stroud transferred to Bethune-Cookman, where he played his junior and senior seasons and helped the Wildcats to a 9-3 finish in 2012 with 26 receptions for 293 yards. His most impressive performance came Oct. 20 when he hauled in four passes for 60 yards and one TD in B-CU’s 48-3 thrashing of Norfolk State.
Antavious Wilson (6’1″, 198 / Marshall / Pahokee, FL) — After an impressive 60-reception, 724-yard freshman receiving campaign, Wilson’s numbers declined his sophomore and junior seasons. He responded as a senior, though, with his best season — 69 catches, 741 yards and nine touchdowns. In a 45-38 loss to C-USA foe Tulsa last October, Wilson caught seven passes for 123 yards and two TDs.
Dalton Freeman (6’5″, 285 / Clemson / Pelion, SC) — Freeman joins the NFL ranks after garnering 49 starts in 53 collegiate contests, with the starts, all at center, tying for the most in Clemson history. Besides his great experience, he was a two-time All-ACC first-team selection, a two-time Rimington Trophy finalist, and a 2012 AP All-America second-teamer.
Trey Gilleo (6’6″, 280 / Northern Arizona / Kingman, AZ) — Gilleo started the final 33 games of his career and as a senior earned All-Big Sky second-team honors. He also allowed only one sack in 2012. At Northern Arizona’s end-of-season banquets the past two years, he was recognized as the John G. Yost Memorial Award recipient as offensive lineman of the year and the winner of the Competitive Greatness Award.
Mark Popek (6’7″, 299 / South Florida / Plant City, FL) — After redshirting as a freshman back in 2008, Popek started 21 of 24 games over his final two seasons. The three games he missed during that span were due to an ankle injury. He earned All-Big East second-team honors in 2012 and enters the NFL with his degree in criminology.
Chris Pantale (6’6″, 255 / Boston College / Wayne, NJ) — Pantale had a terrific four-year career in Chestnut Hill. His junior season was his most productive as he earned the BC College Coaches Award as well as garnering a spot on the John Mackey Award Watch List. He also finished 2011 third on the Eagles with 236 receiving yards. His senior campaign wasn’t as noteworthy, primarily because he missed the first five games with a foot injury.
Mike Shanahan (6’5″, 225 / Pittsburgh / North Huntingdon, PA) — Although he maintains the same name as the current Redskins head coach, there is no relation between these pair of Shanahans. Despite that, Pitt’s Shanahan of Pittsburgh may be the most highly regarded of the Jets’ undrafted free agent bunch. He exited the Big East school as an All-Big East second-team honoree and four-time Big East All-Academic Team selection. As a senior he helped lead the Panthers to the BBVA Compass Bowl, where they lost to Ole Miss, and ended the year with career highs in catches (62) receiving yards (983) and touchdowns (six). After previously earning a bachelor’s degree in history, Shanahan is pursuing his master’s in Pitt’s School of Education.
Spencer Nealy (6’5″, 277 / Texas A&M / San Antonio, TX) — Nealy was a key contributor at DE for the 2012 Aggies, who captured the Cotton Bowl and upset No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. His junior season was his most memorable as he led the A&M D-line with eight tackles for loss and earned All-Big 12 honorable mention. His father, Ed Nealy, played 10 seasons in the NBA, enjoying stints with the Kansas City Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. With the Bulls, Ed was a member of the Bulls’ 1992-93 NBA Championship team.
Roosevelt Holliday (6’3″, 297 / Eastern Illinois / Bolingbrook, IL) — As a senior, Holliday finished sixth on EIU’s defense with 58 tackles from his DT spot, including 8.5 for loss. In the process he helped the Panthers capture the Ohio Valley Conference title and was an All-OVC selection. The previous year, he started all 11 games and totaled 41 tackles. With his signing to the Jets, Holliday joined TE Dirk Androff, a UDFA in 1983, as the only EIU players believed to have signed to play for the Green & White.
Jake McDonough (6’5″, 290 / Iowa State / Urbandale, IA) — McDonough’s career at ISU got off to a rocky start. As a redshirt freshman, the D-tackle played only one game due to a concussion, hamstring injury and illness. Things slowly progressed, though, and McDonough’s senior year turned out to be pretty special. He had a season-high seven tackles during an October 37-23 Cyclones win at TCU. In the final game of his collegiate career, a Liberty Bowl loss to Tulsa, he had five tackles. Aside from football, McDonough has a strong passion for producing music, as described in this Sept. 14 Des Moines Register article. You can bet at some point he’ll talk tunes with another musical artist on the Jets, S Josh Bush.
Troy Davis (6’2″, 249 / Central Florida / Lawrenceville, GA) — Davis capped his four-year career by being named to the All-C-USA first team. Even though Conference-USA is not highly prominent in college football, Davis capitalized whenever the Knights faced bigger schools. Against Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State on Sept. 8, he racked up seven tackles, a half sack and a fumble recovery. As a senior, in 14 starts he led the Knights with 11.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
Mike Edwards (5’10″, 180 / Hawaii / Cleveland, OH) — Edwards’ college journey had its share of ups and downs. Enrolling at the University of Tennessee out of high school, he played in eight games and had five tackles as a freshman. Shortly following the season, following an arrest, he transferred to Coffeyville CC in 2010. Then he finished his college career with two seasons at Hawai‘i. In 2012 he showcased his versatility, leading all college football players with 1,215 kickoff return yards and a 30.4-yard average. He also had a UH single-season-record three kickoff returns for touchdowns and was named the Mountain West Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year. In Cleveland, Edwards attended Glenville High School, where he was teammates with Jets CBs Donnie Fletcher and Royce Adams.
Rontez Miles (6”1’, 210 / California (PA) / Braddock, PA) — Miles was one of the top players at the Division II level over his final two seasons. In 2012 he had four interceptions and totaled at least 10 tackles in three games for the Vulcans. As a junior, he had five INTs and received numerous accolades, including AFCA All-American first-team, AP Little All-America first team, and PSAC West Defensive Player of the Year. On a side note, he was Woodland Hills HS teammates with Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski.
Tags: Antavious Wilson, Chris Pantale, Dalton Freeman, Damon Harrison, Holliday, Jake McDonough, KJ Stroud, Mark Popek, Mike Edwards, Mike Shanahan, Rontez Miles, Roosevelt, Ryan Spadola, Spencer Nealy, Trey Gilleo, Troy Davis, undrafted free agents, Zach Rogers
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