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Texas State Sends Five Players to the NFL

Undrafted free agents Terrence Franks, Will Johnson, and 'Rak join draft picks Mayo and Mager as Texas State more than triples its current representation in the NFL.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

After a pleasantly surprising draft where Craig Mager and David Mayo went higher than expected to the Chargers (3rd round) and Panthers (5th round), respectively, the Texas State Bobcats saw three more players get a chance to play in the NFL as undrafted free agents.

One of the UDFA's was no surprise.

Orakpo's comeback from his ACL/MCL injury and his freakish athleticism had him on the edge of the 7th round draft pick/UDFA divide. His 2014 season was cut short by that aforementioned injury, but his 2013 season may be a harbinger of what's to come in Phoenix if he stays healthy; 'Rak led the team in sacks (2.5), tackles for loss (10), and forced fumbles (3) whilst playing with draft pick David Mayo.

There was another player whose signing as an undrafted free agent was also unsurprising.

Will Johnson was an often invaluable asset to Texas State as a punter whenever the offense would (sometimes inexplicably) stall, as he averaged 43.8 yards per punt in 2014, stuck 21 of them inside the opponent's 20 yard line, and booted 16 punts for 50 yards or more.

He also improved drastically from an inconsistent 2013 as a placekicker by going 11 of 15 on field goals and stuck a 49-yarder. He can boot field goals from even longer than that, but he'll need to work on his consistency and accuracy at the next level.

Texas State's other undrafted free agent signing was well deserved, if a bit surprising.

Franks, a Brad Wright recruit who consistently fought for a spot in a oft-talented backfield--consider that he's competed against the likes of Robert Lowe, Marcus Curry, Chris Nutall, and Tim Gay--rushed for 2045 yards and 24 touchdowns in his career. He's often been tabbed along with CJ Best as one of the fastest players on the team, and his ability to burst into the open was very much on display during his unforgettable performance against Idaho.

Although his size (5'10") may concern some scouts, he can stay low to the ground and showed his versatility as a player when he blocked a punt against New Mexico State and returned it for a touchdown.

Texas State putting five players in the NFL makes this draft one of their most productive in history and is indicative of the culture change that Dennis Franchione has brought to San Marcos with his coaching and recruiting. They'll join Atlanta's Joplo Bartu and Houston's Darryl Morris in the NFL, who both were former players under Coach Fran as well.

Best of luck to each of the Bobcat signees, and here's hoping they all make a roster spot.