Two Ferris State Football Alums Signed To NFL Practice Squads

Two Ferris State Football Alums Signed To NFL Practice Squads

Big Rapids, Mich. - Two more Ferris State University football alums will remain in the National Football League (NFL) as two Bulldog products were signed Sunday to NFL Practice Squads by their respective franchises.

Rookie defensive end Austin Edwards, who was the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year as a senior last fall for the Bulldogs, earned a practice squad contract with the Atlanta Falcons after being one of the club's final cuts of camp.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Justin Zimmer will remain with the Buffalo Bills after garnering a practice squad contract on Sunday. He's spent time with the Bills, Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns along with playing in the Canadian Football League since his Bulldog career ended in 2015.

They join three other Bulldog alums in the NFL as a school-record three Ferris State products made active NFL opening day rosters as announced Saturday including wide receiver Malik Taylor (Green Bay), cornerback Tavierre Thomas (Cleveland) and defensive end Zach Sieler (Miami). The three alums named to the active roster following preseason camp are the most in a single-year on an opening day list in school history.

Along with the five Bulldogs who remain with NFL organizations at this time, they were joined in camp by linebacker Brady Sheldon (Cincinnati). In addition, former Harlon Hill winner Jason Vander Laan (New Orleans) decided to opt out of the NFL this season under the COVID-19 guidelines. Former wide receiver Jake Lampman also had an NFL tryout with the New Orleans Saints in August after formerly playing for the organization.

The seven Bulldog alums mentioned who were with NFL organizations this offseason were the most of any NCAA Division II institution in the country. A total of 11 different former Bulldogs have been invited to NFL Preseason Camps over the past four years.

Over the past four seasons, Sieler, Vander Laan, Sheldon, Zimmer, Thomas and 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 at one point and played in at least one regular-season game.

The 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.