Here’s the latest on the athletes who played last year for Notre Dame, were not drafted and are now trying to make an NFL team:
CHRIS BROWN: There are actually two players named Chris Brown on the Dallas Cowboys roster as of right now. The first is the Notre Dame graduate who was a great complement to Will Fuller in the 2015 Irish receiving corps. The second is a former Cal Poly QB who was invited to a minicamp to prove himself as a wide receiver. In a Tuesday post, SB Nation’s Ryan Ratty wonders aloud if Notre Dame’s former standout could push fellow Cowboys WR Devin Street off the roster.
Obviously, Brown will have a tougher road, as Street has the advantage of knowing the offense and being more familiar with the rest of the roster. But Brown will be given the opportunity to jump right in and prove himself. Brown’s workout numbers were impressive. It’s worth mentioning that he was a stud track jumper and sprinter in high school. If Brown can put on weight to match his speed, which he likely will with an NFL weight room and conditioning program, the Cowboys will be getting a unique player that can do a lot for this offense.
AMIR CARLISLE: Carlisle, who is sporting #81 in camp, has survived the first round of cuts with the Arizona Cardinals. SB Nation’s Jess Root, who profiled the former Irish receiver Wednesday for the Revenge of the Birds blog, said Carlisle’s long-term viability with the Cardinals is in doubt: “Carlisle will have a very hard time even sticking on the practice squad. The receiver room is stacked right now. However, his versatility could prove valuable. Nonetheless, he is likely just a camp body.”
MATTHIAS FARLEY: Like Carlisle, Farley signed with the Arizona Cardinals after going undrafted. I haven’t been able to find any news about Farley since his May 1 signing.
EVERETT GOLSON: Golson transferred to Florida State after graduating from Notre Dame in 2015. He started the season for the Seminoles, but was benched by season’s end and skipped the Peach Bowl for personal reasons. He returned to Notre Dame for Pro Day. After the draft, Golson accepted an invitation to tryout with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are low on quarterbacks, so they invited Golson and former Irish adversary, UMass’ Blake Frohnapfel, to throw and “to help the practices function.” I haven’t seen official word on how the event went. But the Colts claimed former Liberty QB Josh Woodrum off waivers on Tuesday, so it’s safe to assume that the Golson/Indianapolis relationship may soon be at an end.
JARRETT GRACE: Grace, who started for the Irish at middle linebacker in 2013 before a devestating leg injury, participated in Notre Dame’s March 31 Pro Day. While his performance was not enough to be drafted, the Chicago Bears have extended a mini-camp tryout invitation. The mini-camp begins this weekend.
EILAR HARDY: Hardy, a former Irish safety perhaps best known for his inclusion in the “Frozen Five” academic scandal, was invited to tryout with the Cincinnati Bengals. That happened May 6. On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman tweeted that Hardy has been offered a second tryout with the Buccaneers. Hardy returned for the final five games of the 2015 season, then spent his senior season at Bowling Green. He returned to Notre Dame for its Pro Day.
MATT HEGARTY: The former Irish center, who finished his career at Oregon, was invited to the San Francisco 49ers’ rookie minicamp, which took place last weekend. The 49ers start organized team activities in two weeks. To my knowledge, they haven’t announced any signings or cuts.
ROMEO OKWARA: Okwara signed as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants. There’s not much news coming out of camp about him. The Twitter account of Big Blue United, a popular Giants-related site, said Okwara was an “extreme long shot to make it past the first cut at training camp.”
ELIJAH SHUMATE: Undrafted, the former Notre Dame safety signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the conclusion of the draft. Shumate, wearing #41 for the Bucs, had an interception – one of at least three on the day – off former Alabama and Toledo QB Philip Ely during the Saturday session. Shumate, a film, television and theatre major, graduates this weekend from Notre Dame!
Rookie Mini-Camp Check In ????
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) May 8, 2016
Shumate told the Essex (N.J.) News Daily that he plans on a career in the NFL.
“That been a dream of mine since I was 6, but I also want to work with inner-city kids and help change the environment to not only a comfortable environment but also a confident one, too. I want kids to feel they have the sources to put them in good standing with kids that are more fortunate. Some of my fondest memories growing up in East Orange was having everything I needed, within a matter of a few steps from my house; a park that I not only had fun in, but also help make me become the person I am today. Stemming from either competing on the court or even as little as talking to a girl, (I) just did not want to lose and that is one of the biggest character traits that I carried.”
ISHAQ WILLIAMS: Williams, whose last competitive game was in December 2013, impressed New York Giants personnel enough to earn a contract at the conclusion of his tryout. In a Giants.com video, the WFAN’s Paul Dottino said Williams may have gotten a look due to a recommendation of new Giants strength and conditioning coach, Aaron Wellman, who worked in a similar capacity for Notre Dame. The only problem with that thought: I’m not sure how much interaction Wellman would have had with Williams, who the NCAA ruled ineligible for the 2015 season. It may have been because Williams was New York State’s 2010 Gatorade Player of the Year and a standout in nearby Brooklyn, N.Y. Regardless of why the Giants invited him, Williams is providing much needed depth for Big Blue at the defensive end position. Williams is currently three classes short of graduation.