THREE SKYHAWK FOOTBALL PLAYERS EARN OPPORTUNITIES WITH NFL SQUADS
May 12, 2014
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MARTIN, Tenn. – Former University of Tennessee at Martin football players Jeremy Butler, Ben Johnson and DJ Roberts will all get a chance to showcase their talents for a spot on an NFL roster, as Butler and Roberts agreed to terms with the Baltimore Ravens while Johnson inked a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Butler and Johnson signed undrafted rookie free agent contracts while Roberts was invited to minicamp on a tryout basis.
Butler and Roberts will be joining a Ravens squad that went 8-8 under head coach John Harbaugh in 2013, one year after capturing their second Super Bowl championship. Baltimore, who competes in the AFC North division, selected nine players during the 2014 NFL Draft – including one wide receiver and one linebacker. Butler was the only undrafted free agent wide receiver inked by the Ravens while Roberts will compete against two other linebackers.
Johnson is the only linebacker added by the Chiefs in the NFL Draft or in the undrafted free agent pool. Last season, Kansas City went 11-5 in the regular season under head coach Andy Reid before falling 45-44 to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC wild card round of the playoffs.
Butler rewrote the Skyhawk record books in only two seasons (2012-13), ranking first in UT Martin history in 100-plus yard receiving games (eight), second in touchdown receptions (20), third in receptions (141) and fifth in receiving yards (1,953). The Bradenton, Fla. native was named a 2013 All-American by five different media outlets after ranking sixth in the nation in receiving yards (1,203) and seventh in receptions per game (7.5).
Roberts is expected to make the transition from defensive line to outside linebacker in the professional ranks. The Knoxville, Tenn. native earned first team All-Ohio Valley Conference accolades after putting together a career-high 53 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss and four sacks. He concluded his Skyhawk career with 12.5 sacks (ninth all-time) and three straight seasons of at least 11 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
Johnson led the OVC in tackles (102) for the second straight season in 2013, after accumulating 131 stops in 2012. The Primm Springs, Tenn. native tallied 12.5 tackles for loss (exactly half of his career total) in 2013 alone, garnering first team All-OVC honors in addition to an All-American honor by Phil Steele Publications. He accounted for 330 tackles in his career, which puts him in seventh place in the UT Martin record book.