Record Six UMass Products Make NFL Rosters
Sept. 5, 2010
AMHERST, Mass. -- A school record six former UMass football players have made NFL rosters for 2010. That includes three players from the 2009 team: lineman Vladimir Ducasse, drafted in the second round by the the New York Jets; receiver Victor Cruz an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants and receiver Jeremy Horne, with the Kansas City Chiefs, also after going undrafted. They join James Ihedigbo (Jets), Jeremy Cain (Jaguars) and Matt Lawrence, who is on the Physically Unable To Perform list with the Baltimore Ravens.
The previous high mark for UMass products in the pros came in 1968, when UMass had five players combined between the NFL and AFL, prior to the leagues' merger in 1970. That year, tight end Milt Morin played for the Cleveland Browns, quarterback Greg Landry was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions, quarterback John McCormick played for the Denver Broncos and halfback Terry Swanson and lineman Ed Toner suited up for the then-Boston Patriots.
Cruz has been the national story of the preseason as he had a breakout game on ESPN in the first-ever game at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Aug. 16. He became the first played since Terrell Owens in 1998 to have three touchdowns in a preseason game that night and became a national sensation. Cruz tied for the NFL preseason lead with four receiving touchdowns and led the league with 297 yards.
With the Jets, Ihedigbo led the team in preseason tackles with 13, including 11 solo stops playing in the secondary and on special teams. Ducasse will be a back-up offensive lineman after losing his battle with Matt Slauson to start at left guard.
Horne made the Chiefs with solid work as a receiver and on special teams. He scored a touchdown on his only catch of the preseason, a 6-yarder vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also had two special teams tackles.
Cain will continue to be the Jacksonville Jaguars starting long snapper as he begins his fifth season in the NFL and second with the Jags. He snapped in all 16 games last year.
Lawrence will begin the year on the PUP list with a knee injury. Last year, he posted 16 special teams tackles and carried the ball four times (0 yards) and had one reception (4 yards) in his first career games.
Two alums who were in camps were released on Saturday, receiver Brandon London by the Pittsburgh Steelers and defensive back Jeromy Miles by the Cincinnati Bengals. Miles was later re-signed to the Bengals' practice squad on Sunday.