By José Umaña/The Sports Pulse Contributor
COLLEGE PARK – Following the results of the 2020 NFL Draft, many talented student-athletes signed with teams after going undrafted.
Several of those are from or played in the metropolitan area and signed as undrafted free agents getting the chance to fulfill their lifelong dreams of playing professional football.
Arguably one of the biggest names to go unselected was Javon Leake, the University of Maryland’s No. 1 rusher during the 2019 season.
He found a home signing with the New York Giants after the draft. As a running back, the Greensboro native posted 736 yards on 102 carries while scoring eight touchdowns during his junior year for the Terps.
“Thank you @nygiants for giving me an opportunity and making my dream come true,” Leake said on his Instagram page.
Leake made his name known with his work as a return specialist as his three kickoff return touchdowns tied a program record. He was awarded the Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year and named the 2019 First Team All-Big Ten Return Specialist after leading the conference with a 26.8 kick return average.
Another member of the Maryland offense picked up following the draft was tight end, Tyler Mabry. The 6-foot-4, 248-pounder signed with the Seattle Seahawks after playing out his senior year with the Terrapins following three years with Buffalo. He started all 12 games, caught 13 receptions for 155 yards and scored three touchdowns during his senior year.
On the defensive side, former DeMatha Catholic High School star Tino Ellis signed with the New Orleans Saints. The Reisterstown native will be joining the 11th ranked defense from last season after posting 71 tackles, 22 pass breakups and one interception during his Maryland career.
Meanwhile, after having his pro day canceled due to COVID-19, star linebacker Keandre Jones was able to sign a professional contract with the Chicago Bears. The former five-star athlete from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School led the team in sacks (7), forced fumbles (3) and quarterback hits (3) while completing 74 tackles.
Defensive back Marcus Lewis (Gonzaga College High School), linebacker Isaiah Davis (St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes High School), and offensive lineman Sean Christie remain unsigned.
Offensive lineman Ellis McKennie III was also not picked up but was in good spirits after his father was released from the hospital after spending two and a half weeks in a coma due to the coronavirus.
Other post-draft signees include Upper Marlboro native John Daka returning to his home state to join the Baltimore Ravens. The former Dr. Henry Wise Jr. High School defensive lineman finished his college career ranking fourth all-time in sacks (27.5) at James Madison University.
Former Morgan State University and Suitland High School wide receiver Manasseh Bailey will head north after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound receiver finished his senior year ranked third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in receiving yards (996) and earned All-MEAC honors.
“Hearing that I will be a Philadelphia Eagle for this upcoming season just seems so unreal,” Bailey said. “All my hard work that I’ve been putting into this game is finally paying off. There’s no greater feeling then knowing that your childhood dreams are coming true.”
Illinois running back Reggie Corbin (Gonzaga College High School), Oklahoma cornerback Parnell Motley (HD Woodson) are two local talents that remained unsigned. They will look to join a team or receive a call to tryout during the training camp period.