Big Rapids, Mich. - A NCAA Division II nation-leading seven former Ferris State University football standouts will take part in National Football League (NFL) preseason training camps as official preparations for the 2020 campaign get underway.
The seven Bulldog alums currently with NFL organizations are the most of any NCAA Division II institution in the country and all seven are expected to challenge for roster spots with their respective franchises.
The Bulldogs' NFL camp invitees include former two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jason Vander Laan (New Orleans Saints), defensive tackle Justin Zimmer (Cleveland Browns), defensive lineman Zach Sieler (Miami Dolphins), linebacker Brady Sheldon (Cincinnati Bengals), wide receiver Malik Taylor (Green Bay Packers), cornerback Tavierre Thomas (Cleveland Browns) and rookie defensive end Austin Edwards (Atlanta Falcons).
A total of 11 different former Bulldogs have now been invited to NFL Preseason Camps over the past four years.
Over the past four seasons, Sieler, Vander Laan, Sheldon, Zimmer, Thomas and wide receiver Jake Lampman have all seen NFL regular-season action after Lampman became the first former Bulldog to do so in 13 years back in 2016. Last fall, during the 2019 season, five Bulldog alums were signed to the active roster and played in at least one regular-season game.
This year, NFL rookies began reporting this past week with veteran players slated to fully report on Tuesday (July 28). Full-contact workouts will not begin until Aug. 17 with the cancellation of preseason contests due to COVID-19. The regular-season is slated to get underway on Thursday, Sept. 10.
All NFL training camps will be held this year at the teams' respective facilities rather than off-site locations. Due to COVID-19, this year's preseason slate includes a 21-day acclimation period for strength and conditioning before full padded practices can begin.
The seven Bulldog alums in the NFL have all played key roles in helping FSU to a nation-best 72-9 overall record over the past six seasons. The Bulldogs have claimed four conference championships, posted four unbeaten regular-seasons, captured three regional titles and reached the national quarterfinals four times along with the national semifinals three times and the national championship game once during the stretch.