The following five Ole Miss athletes have signed free-agent deals with NFL teams:
- DT Uriah Grant - Jacksonville Jaguars
- OG A.J. Hawkins - Kansas City Chiefs
- PF Murphy Holloway - Baltimore Ravens (as a tight end)
- DT Gilbert Peña - Green Bay Packers
- DE Gerald Rivers - St. Louis Rams
Uriah Grant was used mostly as a reserve defensive lineman for the Rebels this past season, taking up minutes to spell the aforementioned Peña and freshman Issac Gross. He did start four games this past season, and seven in the season prior to that. Grant finished his career with 51 total tackles, 9.0 tackles for a loss, and 6.0 sacks. He is listed as being 6'1" and 298 pounds, which will allow him to fit nicely with Jacksonville's multiple defensive sets if he can prove his mettle during camp.
A.J. Hawkins was the leader of the offensive line this past season, starting every single game at right guard. He is listed as a 6'1", 310 pound prospect, so he has the size and experience to contribute at the professional level.
Fan favorite rebel basketballer Murphy Holloway has opted to pursue the NFL. He will take his fantastic athleticism and 6'7" frame to Baltimore, where he will work out for the Ravens as a tight end. I know I'm not alone in hoping that Holloway is the next Jimmy Graham/Antonio Gates type of story.
Another fan favorite in Gilbert Peña will get his shot to play in the NFL, as the senior nose tackle signed with the Green Bay Packers. As we're all well aware, Peña is a mountain of a human being, and really grew into his nose tackle role from the beginning of the season until its completion. Of all of the Rebel seniors, Peña is the one who, to me, seemed most capable of making an NFL roster, and I'm excited to see him as a part of the Packers D.
Gerald Rivers didn't play with Ole Miss last season due to academic issues, but that didn't keep him from impressing scouts enough with his athleticism to earn a deal. He signed with the St. Louis Rams, and will work out as a defensive end. In 2011, he played in all 12 games, starting five.
Congrats to these five Rebels, and best of luck to you all in the NFL.