Southeastern cornerback Mark Myers is one step closer to becoming the first NFL player ever produced by his college.
Myers was one of nearly 30 players, mostly undrafted rookies, who participated in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' rookie mini-camp this weekend on tryout contracts. At the conclusion of the camp, the Buccaneers signed a pair of those tryout prospects to their 90-man offseason roster, both from decidedly small football programs: Myers and University of Indianapolis guard Ruben Holcomb. They will stay in Tampa for the remainder of the team's offseason workout program and presumably join the team for training camp later in the summer.
Tampa Bay started the weekend with a full roster, which means those two additions had to be balanced by some releases. The Bucs actually waived three players: safety Josh Liddell, wide receiver Devin Lucien and linebacker Antonio Simmons. Liddell and Simmons were both undrafted rookies signed by the Buccaneers two weeks ago; Lucien joined the team's practice squad in late December and then was signed to a 2018 contract in January. The combination of moves on Sunday leaves the Buccaneers with one open spot on the offseason roster.
Myers could be a trailblazer for the Lakeland-based Southeastern University, which only began fielding a football team in 2014. The 5-10, 185-pound Myers was part of the school's original football recruiting class and he's one of two Fire players who are now on NFL offseason rosters, along with LaQuvionte Gonzalez. Gonzalez signed with the Los Angeles Rams last week. Myers broke up 25 passes and logged nine interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, over 33 games for the Fire. He also saw action as a kick returner.
It's a similar story for the 6-4, 320-pound Holcomb, who played at the Division II University of Indianapolis. Holcomb could be just the second UIndy product to play in the NFL, and the first in over 60 years. Defensive back/halfback Dick Nyers played 12 games for the Baltimore Colts in the 1950s. Holcomb was a Division II first-team All-America selection this past season.
The Buccaneers have been conducting a post-draft rookie camp with tryout players for more than a decade, and they tend to lead to a bit of roster adjustment in the week that follows. The most recent success story for a tryout player is wide receiver Adam Humphries, a Clemson product who turned his shot in rookie camp into a roster spot and eventually a significant role on offense as the team's slot receiver. Myers and Holcomb took care of the first necessary step, earning a spot on the training camp roster. Now they'll try to duplicate Humphries' success, and make history at their respective alma maters, by making the regular-season roster.