Eleven Great West Football Players Sign NFL Free Agent Contracts
April 30, 2004
Eleven Great West Football Conference players signed free agent contracts to play in the National Football League (NFL) this week following the NFL Draft which took place on April 24-25.
Included in those players are four athletes from Northern Colorado (Paul Hubbard - Cincinnati Bengals, Adam Matthews - St. Louis Rams, Andrew Martin - Houston Texans, Cabel Rohloff - New Orleans Saints), three players from South Dakota State (Scott Connot - Kansas City Chiefs, Ben Studer - Chicago Bears, Andy Wagstrom - Miami Dolphins), two players from UC Davis (Brad Lekkerkerker - Houston Texans, Forest Vance - Green Bay Packers) and a player apiece from each Cal Poly (David Richardson - Jacksonville Jaguars) and North Dakota State (Mike Sheppard - Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
Northern Colorado's Matthews broke 13 records in his senior season. He finished as the Bears' No. 1 rusher of all-time (3,325 yards) and the No. 1 all-purpose yardage leader (4,104) in this history of the program and earned numerous I-AA All-America accolades (Sports Network - 2nd Team; Associated Press - 3rd Team) in 2003. Martin was a four-year letterwinner for the Bears and a starting left tackle for the past three seasons. Martin was a second-team All-Colorado pick this past season on the offensive line and was also tabbed a second-team I-AA Independent selection on the offensive line. Hubbard led the nation (NCAA Div. II stats) in quarterback sacks this past season with 16 1/2 stops and named second-team All-American by the Sports Network and earned third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press and I-AA.org. Rohloff was an honorable mention I-AA Indepedendent squad selection in 2004. He was also an honorable mention all-Colorado selection by the National Football Foundation. He ranked second on the team in total tackles (68) and was selected to participate in the Whataburger Cactus Bowl on Jan. 9, 2004 where he notched three total tackles for the West squad in the game that was won by the West squad, 30-27 in overtime.
South Dakota State's Wagstrom, a four-year letterman, earned second-team All-North Central Conference honors his senior year and participated in the Cactus Bowl. Connot earned first-team all-conference honors as a senior after leading SDSU in tackles for the second straight year. He was also an academic all-conference selection and was awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. Studer was a first-team all-North Central Conference selection in 2003.
UC Davis' Lekkerkerker was named to the Division I-AA Independent All-Star first-team last season after starting all 10 games. He anchored one offensive tackle position while his brother Cory anchored the other one. Vance started all 48 games of his Aggie career. He played tackle the first three seasons before moving to guard as a senior. He was named to the Division I-AA Independent All-Star team last season following a junior season in which was named first-team All-America by D2Football.com. He was also selected to the Associated Press Little All-America third team.
Cal Poly's Richardson earned a spot on the AFCA's Division I-AA All-America Team. The cornerback was selected to play in the Las Vegas All-American Classic (formerly the Paradise Bowl) last January, returned two interceptions for touchdowns last fall. He finished with five interceptions in 2003 and 10 for his Mustang career. Twice in his Cal Poly career Richardson intercepted two passes in a game, including the Saint Mary's contest last fall. He finished his senior season with 50 tackles (27 solo stops), including one sack and four tackles for lost yardage.
North Dakota State's Sheppard recorded 83 total tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss, in 2003 while also adding three sacks and making five pass deflections. That performance earned him All-NCC first-team honors.
2004 GWFC NFL Free Agent Signees