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Thursday, November 27, 2014
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McNeese State junior tight end Nic Jacobs signed with the Saints on Sunday as an undrafted free agent. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

McNeese State junior tight end Nic Jacobs signed with the Saints on Sunday as an undrafted free agent. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Jacobs leads trio of Cowboys who sign contracts with NFL

Last Modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 2:19 PM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

For the fifth straight year, no McNeese State player heard their name called during the seven rounds of the NFL Draft. But three Cowboys will still get their shots at cracking a roster.

Tight end Nic Jacobs signed with the Saints on Sunday as an undrafted free agent. Quarterback Cody Stroud has been invited to try out for the Carolina Panthers and wide receiver Diontae Spencer has a tryout with the Chicago Bears.

Though they are coming from the same place, the three are taking very different paths toward their dreams.

Jacobs declared himself draft eligible as a junior, which by NCAA rules prohibited him from returning to McNeese even if he went undrafted.

Though he received an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine and plenty of attention at McNeese Pro Day, that’s exactly what happened.

It isn’t necessarily a disaster for the Many native, who is assured of a place with his home state team in this summer’s training camp after signing as a priority undrafted free agent. Jacobs caught 32 passes for 453 yards and four touchdowns in his lone season as a Cowboy after transferring from LSU.

Stroud and Spencer are trying to capture the attention of team personnel at rookie mini-camps this week as they vie for the opportunity to be added to the roster this summer.

Spencer turned heads at his Pro Day with two sub-4.4 second 40-yard dashes and 40-inch vertical leap, and also scored a touchdown in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl all-star game.

Those efforts weren’t enough to vault Spencer into the draft or the same priority free agent status as Jacobs, but he will still get his shot.

Pro Day arguably went the best of all for Stroud, whose performance throwing balls to Jacobs and Spencer earned the attention of Carolina.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Stroud said. “I’ve been working on this goal for 10 years. As of right now I’m the only quarterback they’re bringing to the mini-camp, so that’s good news. It depends on what I do this weekend to get to camp this summer.”

Stroud was the 2013 Southland Conference offensive player of the year after throwing for 2,935 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Unlike the charming young scamp in the popular NFL Play 60 commercial, Stroud isn’t gunning for Panthers starter Cam Newton’s job, or vying to become his mom’s favorite player. He’s just trying to catch on.

“I’m just looking for an opportunity,” Stroud said. “You could have a good camp and they bring you in, or someone else can find out about you.”

Of other local interest, Leesville High graduate Je’Ron Hamm joins Jacobs as a Saints signee. Injuries limited his playing time at Louisiana-Monroe last season.

The 6-foot-4, 233-pound wideout caught 62 passes for 915 yards and six touchdowns as a junior.

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