Five More Utes Join NFL Ranks

They weren’t among the 261 athletes selected in last weekend’s NFL Draft, but that hasn’t necessarily ended the professional aspirations of five U football players.

While teammates Cliff Russell and Ed Ta’amu were chosen in the third and fourth rounds, respectively, fellow Utes Dameon Hunter, Doug Kaufusi, Ma’ake Kemoeatu, Yohance Scott and Adam Tate have all gone the rookie free agent route.

As NFL teams attempt to fill their rosters while simultaneously trimming bloated salary caps, they make common practice of bringing in undrafted former collegians for tryouts and last-ditch shots at making the big leagues.

For some, the opportunity results in placement on a team’s practice squad or, on even rarer occasions, on a regular season roster.

For those five former Utes, they’ll be hoping to take advantage of this opportunity.

Three of the five will at least be going through it together, as Hunter, Kemoeatu and Scott all signed with the Baltimore Ravens, while Kaufusi latched on with the San Diego Chargers and Tate inked a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Hunter and Tate split time at running back for the Utes over the past two years, with the former establishing himself as the U’s top grinder this past year, racking up 1,396 yards?the second-best single season total in school history. Tate added 819 yards on 160 carries.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-5-inch, 308-pound Kaufusi was a four year starter who saw action in 10 of the Utes’ 12 games last year at left tackle, Kemoeatu was the team’s starting nose tackle, and Scott was a corner who led the U with six pass break-ups.

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