Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

On the verge of history

SPORTS

In the short nine years of FAU football’s existence, the program has never produced a player that was drafted into the NFL. That looks to change this year as several players from arguably the team’s best offense in history enter the draft.

Players like Willie Rose, Jason Harmon and Rusty Smith lead the way for a senior class full of NFL hopefuls that will be waiting to see if their names are called in the NFL Draft, which runs from April 22 to 24. Becoming the first FAU players drafted will not only put their names into the history books, but will also end an unpleasant drought for the university.

“I just hope that this year is the year that FAU gets someone drafted, whether it’s me or not,” said Smith, the lanky quarterback who led the Owls to consecutive bowl game victories in 2007 and 2008.

A shoulder injury prevented Smith from finishing his senior year in 2009, but that didn’t stop him from striving for the pros. After rehabilitation and physical therapy, Smith was back in time for the Texas vs. The Nation all-star game earlier this year, and he gained attention from NFL scouts in the process.

Teams that have expressed interest in Smith are the Miami Dolphins and the Tennessee Titans. Miami has invited Smith to a workout, while Tennessee asked Smith to meet with its coaching staff and undergo a physical on March 30.

“The draft in the NFL is a funny thing,” said Smith. “If I do get drafted, not only would it be good for me but for the FAU program.”

Harmon has also held workout sessions with NFL teams, specifically the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although Harmon played tight end for FAU, scouts view him as more of a hybrid back or wide receiver at the next level.

As far as wide receiver Cortez Gent is concerned, he doesn’t care who drafts him, as long as he gets to play in the NFL.

“It doesn’t matter which team picks me,” said Gent. “It could be the best team, like New Orleans, or the worst team. I’ll go anywhere.”

If not selected in the seven-round draft, both Smith and Gent shared their plans to try free agency in the NFL, a route most of FAU’s players may have to end up taking. If that doesn’t pan out, they will take their talents to Canada and try out for the Canadian Football League.

“I’m going to keep pushing,” said Gent “I know I can play somewhere; I can feel it in my heart. I want to continue playing football.”

A step in making that happen is being selected in the draft. While FAU’s players most likely won’t get chosen until the latter rounds, that would still be an unprecedented accomplishment.

 

Rusty Smith, Quarterback
-768 completions
-10,113 yards
-76 touchdowns
-36 interceptions

Cortez Gent, Wide receiver
-161 receptions
-2,478 yards
-20 touchdowns

Jason Harmon, Tight end
-158 receptions
-1,745 yards
-13 touchdowns

Willie Rose, Fullback
-198 carries
-980 rushing yards
-92 receptions
-756 receiving yards
-14 combined touchdowns

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