HUNTINGTON — While the 2019 NFL Draft did not feature a Marshall player being signed, there were still several who got the call following the conclusion of the draft that will give them the opportunity at an NFL future.
Three Marshall players signed contracts as undrafted free agents (UDFAs) while four others agreed to rookie mini-camp tryouts, which will offer them the chance to earn a contract.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said on Saturday following the Green-White Scrimmage that, no matter where or when the opportunity comes, having that chance is something those players have waited their entire lives to grasp.
“It doesn’t matter where you get picked,” Holliday said. “It’s what happens once you get there. The guy that we had out here as our honorary captain [Albert McClellan], he was a free agent and he’s going on year 10 in the NFL and he’s won two Super Bowls.”
The destinations for many became known shortly after the draft completed on Saturday afternoon.
Malik Gant, the Herd’s former walk-on who turned into one of college football’s top safeties, agreed to a free agent deal with the New England Patriots on Saturday evening. Gant finished as the 2018 Marshall Team MVP after a year in which he had 95 tackles, including nine tackles for loss, with 10 passes defended (two interceptions, eight pass breakups).
One person who was impressed by Gant was Carolina Panthers beat writer Jourdan Rodrigue, who posted on social media as the draft ended without Gant being selected.
“Whichever GM puts a call out to/signs Marshall safety Malik Gant as a UDFA is going to look extremely smart in three years,” Rodrigue said in a tweet.
NFL expert Gil Brandt rated Gant as the top overall unsigned safety and Gant signed with the Patriots over offers from the Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers and more.
Shortly after Gant’s official announcement, wide receiver Tyre Brady made it known that he would head back to his home state of Florida after signing a free agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In two years with the Herd, Brady led Marshall in receiving both years, combining for 133 receptions and 1,944 yards with 17 touchdowns. Last season, Brady caught 71 passes for 1,002 yards and hauled in nine touchdowns.
In Jacksonville, Brady will reunite with former Marshall safety C.J. Reavis, who also signed as a UDFA in 2018 and ended up on the 53-man roster by season’s end.
“My brudda!!! Let’s gooooooo,” Reavis tweeted when he heard the news.
Marshall defensive lineman Ryan Bee also inked a free agent contract with the Washington Redskins on Saturday evening.
Bee, who has played both defensive end and defensive tackle while at Marshall, is a 6-foot-6, 280-pound lineman who commanded plenty of attention along the defensive front and became a four-year starter for the Herd after making a name for himself early in his career.
Bee sent a tweet on Saturday that said, “Want to thank the @Redskins for taking a chance on me, you won’t regret it! Let’s get to work! #HTTR”
In addition to those players signing UDFA contracts, there were another four players who were invited to rookie mini-camps, which will allow them to earn the chance at a UDFA contract.
Two Marshall players are headed to the rookie mini-camp with the Minnesota Vikings — running back Anthony Anderson and linebacker Chase Hancock. Linebacker Donyae Moody will compete at the Indianapolis Colts rookie mini-camp and defensive end/linebacker Juwon Young has a pair of tryouts scheduled with the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions.