Eric Peterson, Published July 28 2011
Three former NDSCS football players sign NFL contracts
Three former Wildcats agreed to deals with NFL teams as undrafted free agents this week.
“It would be nice to start a wall up for the guys that are in the NFL,” Parsons said.
Parsons already hangs pictures on his office walls of players who have moved on from the junior college in Wahpeton, N.D., to four-year schools.
“I’ve been smiling from ear-to-ear all day because those guys have this opportunity now,” Parsons said. “We can use that to our advantage and as an example for our program for all the kids that come through here.”
Cornerback Josh Gatlin, who played at North Dakota State after NDSCS, offensive lineman Ricky Henry, who moved on to Nebraska, and defensive lineman Jarrett Crittenton, who moved on to Middle Tennessee State, all found NFL homes.
Gatlin signed with the New Orleans Saints, Henry with the Chicago Bears and Crittenton with the Seattle Seahawks.
“My excitement level is through the roof just because I know how hard these guys have worked from where they came from just to even have an opportunity,” Parsons said.
Parsons, who has been NDSCS head coach since 2007, said this is the first time any of his former players have signed with NFL teams.
Parsons said according to his research a handful of former Wildcats have went on to play in the NFL. Kicker Errol Mann had the most notable career, playing in the NFL from 1967-78. Mann spent his final year in the league with the Oakland Raiders. He was part of the 1976 Raiders team that won the Super Bowl in January of 1977.
NDSCS had four players off last year’s team sign with Division I programs – offensive linemen Jacob Fahrenkrug (Florida State) and Matt Williams (California), wide receiver Cecil Doe (Hawaii) and tight end Colby Kratch (Toledo).
“You just like to see your guys leave here and go on to be successful,” Parsons said. “That’s what you want for all the kids that come through here.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.
Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com