They are part of the fortunate few.
Saint Francis’ Lorenzo Jerome (49ers) and Wagner’s Julian Stanford (Jets), neither of whom was drafted, made the cut when NFL teams were required to submit their initial 53-man regular season rosters on September 2 at 4:00 pm ET.
For Jerome, it’s another milestone during what has been a remarkable past 12 months. The span includes leading SFU to its first-ever NEC title last November, forcing five turnovers over the course of two exclusive collegiate all-star games, going undrafted in April despite high prospects, immediately turning heads as an UDFA during San Francisco’s rookie camp and OTAs, starting at free safety for the 49ers’ first two preseason games and now becoming the first Red Flash representative to make a NFL roster in more than 60 years.
Jerome, a four-time all-NEC first teamer, made 18 interceptions for Saint Francis during a collegiate career that featured All-America honors as both a kick returner and defensive back. After earning MVP honors at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, the native Floridian accounted for three takeaways while becoming the first-ever NEC player to participate in the prestigious Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Stanford, who initially entered the professional ranks as an UDFA with the Jaguars in 2012, was an active member of the Jets’ roster for much of the 2016 campaign after being signed by Gang Green in December 2015.
Stanford, who was an all-NEC selection at linebacker in 2011, has played in 43 regular season NFL contests. He played in all four preseason games for the Jets this summer and logged 13 tackles, including eight stops against the Giants in the Snoopy Bowl.
The following NEC alumni were WAIVED by their respective NFL teams prior to the official roster cutdown deadline and will hope to latch on with another club or land on a practice squad: Duquesne’s Larson Graham (Falcons), Robert Morris’ Marcelis Branch (Falcons), Wagner’s Najee Harris (Raiders), Duquesne’s Christian Kuntz (Patriots)