Football: Six former Owls earn spots on official NFL roster

Alfred Morris and Lucky Whitehead will become the first pair of former FAU players to play for the same NFL team on Sept. 11.

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Cre'von LeBlanc pulls down an interception in last year's game against Western Kentucky. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Contributing Writer

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s NFL teams have trimmed their rosters down to 53 players as of Saturday, several former Florida Atlantic Owls have made an official roster, some have been waived and others have made brief stints in the league since their departure from the school.

Among those who made an official NFL roster are cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc, wide receiver Lucky Whitehead, running back Alfred Morris, linebacker Adarius Glanton, tight end Rob Housler and cornerback Keith Reaser.

LeBlanc was initially signed by the New England Patriots prior to training camp. The team released him but the Chicago Bears immediately claimed the former Owl off waivers.

The undrafted cornerback picked up an injury which prevented him to play in the Patriots final preseason game, but finished the preseason taking 158 snaps, fifth most among the team. In his first NFL appearance he pulled down a one-handed interception in the end zone to cap off a win over the Saints.

Whitehead, who also went undrafted a year earlier in the 2015 draft, was signed by the Dallas Cowboys and made the roster as a wide receiver and the team’s kick and punt returner. He will be the Cowboys fifth wide receiver entering this season.

Morris spent the first four years of his career in Washington after getting drafted by the Redskins in the 2012 draft, but signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent this offseason.

The two-time Pro Bowler, who was a part of the Owls team that won the 2008 Motor City Bowl, and Whitehead will be the first pair of FAU teammates in the NFL.

Glanton played for the Owls in 2012 and 2013 as a transfer. He spent his rookie year playing for the Carolina Panthers practice squad before being signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Housler, who was drafted by the Cardinals in the 2011 draft, spent four years in Arizona before eventually bouncing from the Cleveland Browns in 2015 to the Chicago Bears.

Like Morris, the tight end was also part of the FAU team that won the 2008 Motor City Bowl, contributing three receptions for 27 yards in the victory.

Reaser was drafted by the 49ers in the fifth round after playing for the Owls in 2014. He has totaled eight tackles during his time with San Francisco.

Three former players from the 2016 class signed training camp contracts but didn’t make the official rosters. Brandin Bryant was waived by the Seattle Seahawks, the Baltimore Ravens waived Trevon Coley and Sharrod Neasman was cut by the Atlanta Falcons, but was signed onto their practice squad.

Coley and Bryant still have a chance to make their team’s 10-man practice squad, meaning they would be allowed to practice with the team but would not be on the official roster. They can also be signed by any other team to their 53-man roster.

D’Joun Smith — the highest drafted Owl ever after being selected in the third round of the 2015 draft — was released by the Indianapolis Colts after playing in only four games in his rookie year due to various injuries.

Smith can clear waivers and join the Colts injured reserve list.

Other former FAU players who did not make a roster include Randell Johnson who last played for the Buffalo Bills in 2015, Damian Parms who participated in the Atlanta Falcons training camp this year, Rusty Smith who last played for the Tennessee Titans in 2013, and Lestar Jean who was a part of the Minnesota Vikings 2014 practice squad.

Hans Belot Jr. is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.