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Don Hansen's Football Gazette Blog of information, comments, notes, and tidebits on Small College Football. NCAA 1-AA & Mid Major, Division II & Mid Major, Division III, NAIA, and NCCAA

Thursday, May 04, 2006

James Signs With Ravens; Cobbs Agrees To Deal With Vikings; Williams To Buccaneers

AMHERST, Mass. - Two UMass football players signed free agent contracts with NFL teams on Sunday after the conclusion of the NFL Draft. Two-time All-American Shannon James signed with the Baltimore Ravens while versatile R.J. Cobbs agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings. Defensive end Keron Williams was invited to Tampa Bay Buccaneers mini camp on Monday. Williams, who was a 2005 Atlantic 10 First Team member, is set to make his way to Florida to participate with the Bucs later this week.

"We are very excited that three of our players will have a chance to reach the pinnacle of football," said UMass head coach Don Brown. "Both Keron, Shannon and R.J. will have a chance to play at the next level and will have to make the most of their opportunities."

James was named a First Team All-American by seven outlets including the Associated Press, Walter Camp, Sports Xchange, Sports Network, The Sporting News, and Walter Camp All-America teams, as well as an All-ECAC All-Star, All-New England and first-team All-Atlantic 10.

James is the all-time leader in interceptions at UMass and his 20 career picks were the most of any active player in Division I through the end of the 2005 season. A 2004 All-American James had a strong senior season with 55 tackles and four interceptions. He finished fourth in career solo tackles with 253. He was named the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 in addition to being a A-10 First Team pick. He started all 47 games of his career and scored four touchdowns while at UMass.

Cobbs played three seasons with the Minutemen and moved around the football field during his time at UMass playing tailback, cornerback, wide receiver and finally finishing as a tailback again in 2005.He also returned kicks and punt in his career at UMass. In his 30 career games, Cobbs rushed for 1,365 yards in his career including 19 touchdowns -- the 11th most by a UMass player ever. He also had 37 catches for 280 yards. Playing in the secondary in 2004, Cobbs made 38 tackles and had two interceptions including one returned for a touchdown. He returned 25 career kickoffs for 474 yards and seven punts for 39 yards.

As a freshman in 2002, Cobbs was named the A-10 Rookie of the Year and ECAC Rookie of the Year as well as being an A-10 Second Team member. He rushed for 1,067 yards, a school-freshman rushing record and 14 touchdowns. He tied the school record for rushing touchdowns in a game with five against Rhode Island on Nov. 23, 2002.

Williams was stellar up front in 2005 finishing with 56 tackles, four sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss of yards. He was also named to the New England Football Writers Division I-AA All-Star Team in 2005. In his career, he had 33 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He was an A-10 Third Team selection in 2004.

In 2005, he finished fourth on team in tackles with 56 including 10.5 tackles for loss of 57 yards, also has 4.0 sacks for 31 yards. He had at least one TFL in 10 of 11 games last season.

Jason Yellin
Assistant A.D./Media Relations
UMass Athletics
250 Boyden Gym
Amherst, Mass 01003
Office: 413-577-3061

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