Shut out of draft, D-III free agents sign

Nate Trewyn, a first team D3football.com All-America selection last season for UW-Whitewater, signed as an undrafted free agent with Tampa Bay, the last franchise to draft a Division III football player.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
 

The WIAC, Midwest Conference and CCIW were represented in the early Division III football free agent signings, after the entire division was shut out for a fourth year in a row.

UW-Whitewater All-America center Nate Trewyn was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tampa Bay Bucs, where he will be bidding to join Ali Marpet along the team's offensive line. Trewyn participated in the National Football League Players Association Collegiate Bowl on in January in Pasadena, California, the only Division III player to do so. He helped the Warhawks lead the WIAC in scoring offense (39.2 points per game), rushing offense (240.5 yards per game) and total offense (435.8 yards per game).

St. Norbert kicker Spenser Thompson-Meyers has been invited to the Cleveland Browns' rookie minicamp. Thompson-Meyers was a D3football.com first team All-America pick last season. He finished his career as the St. Norbert leader in made field goals with 38 and made point-after conversions with 176. He converted 13 of 18 field-goal attempts this season and was 49-for-50 on extra-point tries for a team-high 88 points. Thompson-Meyers, who is second in St. Norbert career scoring with 292 points, had 33 touchbacks on 65 kickoffs, averaging 62.3 yards per kickoff. He is a four-time first-team All-Midwest Conference selection. 

Jordan Powell, a 2017 D3football.com first team All-America selection from Widener, will sign with the Bears. He had six defensive scored in 2017 and posted 51 tackles in 2018 with nine tackles for loss and two sacks. He also had 10 passes defended -- an interception and nine breakups. In addition, D.J. Coker, an All-America tackle with Rhodes, signed with the Houston Texans as a center.

Mount Union wide receiver Jared Ruth, who was second on the team with 52 catches and 883 yards, while scoring 15 touchdowns in just 11 games, was invited to the Detroit Lions' minicamp. Wheaton cornerback Tyler Sigler, a two-time All-North Region representative, will be in minicamp with the New York Giants. He racked up 50 tackles, including four and a half tackles for loss and one sack. Sigler, who was listed at 6-3, 213 this past season, picked off one pass and broke up three more for the Thunder in 2018. Cleveland also will bring in Carthage safety Amani Dennis. The D3football.com All-North Region selection picked off five passes for the Redmen in 2018 and is listed at 5-11, 175. He will be a minicamp invitee. North Park defensive back David Simmons, who blocked six kicks for the Vikings last season, will get a tryout with the 49ers, while Dawson Brown and D3football.com All-America selection Kyle Kilgore got invites from the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings.

This roundup will be updated as needed.

Yep, it's a short list

Just seven Division III players have been selected in the past 13 drafts. The majority of Division III alumni in the NFL over this span were signed as undrafted free agents.

Year Player, position School Team Round-overall
2015 Ali Marpet, OL Hobart Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-61
2012 Chris Greenwood, CB Albion Detroit Lions 5-148
2011 Cecil Shorts, WR Mount Union Jacksonville Jaguars 4-114
2008 Andy Studebaker, DE/LB Wheaton (Ill.) Philadelphia Eagles 6-203
2008 Pierre Garcon, WR Mount Union Indianapolis Colts 6-205
2007 Michael Allan, TE Whitworth Kansas City Chiefs 7-231
2007 Derek Stanley, WR UW-Whitewater St. Louis Rams 7-249