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Strong Contingent Of Ferris State Football Alums Open NFL Preseason Action This Weekend

Strong Contingent Of Ferris State Football Alums Open NFL Preseason Action This Weekend

Big Rapids, Mich. - A strong contingent of Ferris State University football alums continue their quest to make professional football rostes as they open National Football League (NFL) Preseason action this weekend.

The Bulldogs currently have five former student-athletes taking part in NFL training camps, including defensive back Tavierre Thomas (Houston), defensive lineman Zach Sieler (Miami), wide receiver Malik Taylor (Green Bay), defensive lineman Austin Edwards (Kansas City) and slot receiver Jared Bernhardt (Atlanta).

Bernhardt, who quarterbacked the Bulldogs to the 2021 NCAA Division II National Championship last fall, is slated to play his first NFL preseason game with Atlanta on Friday (Aug. 12) night in Detroit against the Lions starting at 6 p.m. (ET). Meanwhile, Taylor and the Packers will take on San Francisco at 8:30 p.m. (ET).

The other three Bulldogs will all be in action on Saturday (Aug. 13) as Edwards and the Chiefs face Chicago at 1 p.m. (ET) followed by Sieler and the Dolphins against Tampa Bay at 8 p.m. (ET). Finally, Thomas and the Texans host New Orleans at 8:30 p.m. (ET).

In addition to the five currently in NFL camps, former Bulldog offensive tackle Zein Obeid, who was a member of last year's national championship team, took part in the Detroit Lions after being signed as an undrafted free agent, but announced his retirement earlier this week.

The Bulldogs have had a total of 14 different alumni earn rookie camp or training camp invites over the past five years, which is the most of any D2 school in the country. In addition to the six previously listed, the 'Dawgs who have taken part in NFL camps or signed as free agents have included former DT Justin Zimmer, WR Jake Lampman, DT Chris Okoye, LB Brady Sheldon, OT Devon Johnson, WR Keyondre Craig, TE Jason Vander Laan and OT Dylan Pasquali.

Four Bulldog alums made NFL 53-man opening day rosters a year ago, including Thomas, Sieler, Zimmer and Taylor, tops among all D2 schools, while Edwards was signed to Kansas City's practice squad. In 2018, Sieler became Ferris State's first-ever NFL Draft choice when he was picked in the seventh round as the 238th overall selection by the Baltimore Ravens. Eight of the alums have played in at least one NFL regular-season game since 2016 and three former Bulldogs were part of team's that made the NFL Conference Championship Games in 2020 in Taylor, Zimmer and Edwards. 

Over the past seven seasons, Sieler, Vander Laan, Sheldon, Zimmer, Thomas, Lampman, Taylor and Edwards have all seen NFL regular-season action after Lampman became the first to do so in 13 years back in 2016.