July 26, 2011

D-III free agents sign contracts

Mike Preston
Heidelberg D3football.com All-American wide receiver Mike Preston will be signing with the Tennessee Titans.

Undrafted free agents, including a number of quality Division III players, have been waiting three months through a most unsettled NFL offseason. But as the lockout ended, a handful of D-III alumni got picked up right away, and more players could be signed. The initial training camp roster has been expanded to 90 players, opening up plenty of opportunities.

Tyler Beiler, the first-team D3football.com All-American wide receiver from Bridgewater, was signed by the San Francisco 49ers. Beiler caught 61 passes for 1,342 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Eagles last season, helping them to an 8-2 mark.

"We're happy for Tyler to be making the move to the next level and for his opportunity with the 49ers. His hard work has gotten him to this point in his career and we wish him all the best as he looks to become the first Bridgewater player to earn a spot on an NFL roster," said Bridgewater coach Michael Clark.

Beiler signed a three-year contract, although NFL contracts are not guaranteed.

Mount Union tight end and long snapper Kyle Miller followed his former Purple Raiders teammate, Cecil Shorts, in signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Miller has NFL size at 6-5, 258, but is projected as a long snapper. 

Mike Preston, a third-team All-America selection at wide receiver for Heidelberg, is signing with the Tennessee Titans. Preston caught 76 passes for 1,213 yards and 15 touchdowns last season for the Student Princes.

UW-Stevens Point wide receiver Jared Jenkins has reportedly signed with the Detroit Lions. Jenkins was a D3football.com All-American, albeit as a punter. Jenkins, who also helped lead the UW-Stevens Point basketball team to the 2010 Division III men's basketball national championship, caught 67 passes for 946 yards and 10 TDs and is the Pointers' No. 2 receiver all-time.

Whittier wide receiver Giovanni Stanley caught just two passes for the Poets this past season after hauling in 16 balls in 2009 but was signed by the San Diego Chargers. The Poets completed fewer than 10 passes per game and Stanley battled hamstring injuries but is 6-3, 200, and had a great pro day, according to his agent.

The New Orleans Saints signed Millsaps receiver and return man Michael Galatas. Galatas is the school's career leader in kick return yards (1,670) and touchdowns (four). He is also tied for first all-time in receiving touchdowns (20) and second all-time in all-purpose yards (4,242). Galatas turned heads at the D2/D3 Pro Day when he broke the 40-yard dash record with a 4.25, an event record. 

Keith Darbut, Baldwin-Wallace defensive lineman, signed as a linebacker with the Cincinnati Bengals. Darbut had 15 tackles for loss and 10 and a half sacks for the Yellow Jackets.

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