NFL Calls: Baylark To Cards, London To Giants, Thompson To Rams, Ihedigbo To Bengals
April 29, 2007
AMHERST, Mass. - Despite not having anyone taken in the 2007 NFL Draft, UMass is piling up players who are agreeing to sign free agent contracts with teams. On Sunday night, wide receiver Brandon London agreed to join the New York Giants, tailback Steve Baylark will be headed to the Arizona Cardinals and guard David Thompson will be off to the St. Louis Rams. On Monday, safety James Ihedigbo was invited to the New York Jets Rookie Mini-Camp which will take place next weekend. He originally agreed to go to the Cincinnati Bengals, but the Jets provided him a better opportunity.
London will be joining former UMass cornerback R.J. Cobbs with the Giants, where Cobbs played in the NFL Playoffs. London was an All-Atlantic 10 performer in 2006 in addition to being named an ECAC I-AA All-Star and Don Hansen All-Northeast Region Honorable Mention. He led UMass in receiving and yards in 2006 with 50 catches for 781 yards. He finished second all-time at UMass in career catches with 150 and third in career receiving yards with 2022. He is also fourth in career TD catches with 15.
Baylark will join the tailback who leads him on every UMass career chart with the Cardinals -- Marcel Shipp. Baylark was a Don Hansen and Sports Network I-AA/FCS Second Team All-American in addition to being named the A-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year in 2006. He played in the East-West Shrine Game after gaining 1,960 yards as a senior. The senior captain tailback became the third player in Division I-AA history to have four 1,000-yard seasons. He joined Jerry Azumah (New Hampshire, 1995-98) and Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern 1996-99). Six players have done it in Division I-A. In his career, he gained 5332 yards on 1104 carries, both second to Shipp, who had 6250 yards on 1215 carries from 1997-2000.
Thompson started all 50 games of his career at UMass at right guard as he was named an Atlantic 10 Second-Team honoree in 2006. Along with Alex Miller, he led the way for Baylark as he set UMass marks. His 50 starts is tied for the most career starts by a UMass player in a career. Leader of a UMass offensive line that has allowed just 37 sacks over the past three seasons in 37 games for 1.0 per game and only one sack every 28 pass attempts dating back to 2004.
As a senior in 2006, Ihedigbo was a Walter Camp All-American, Sports Network First-Team All-American, College Sporting News All-Star and Don Hansen Division I First Team. He had 72 tackles this season to rank sixth on the team along with 5.5 TFLs, 5.0 sacks, four forced fumbles (tops in Atlantic 10), seven pass break-ups and three interceptions.