Seven Jayhawks Pick Up NFL Free Agent Deals
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Following the 2015 National Football League Draft in which three Kansas football players were selected, seven more Jayhawks found their way to the league via the free agent route. Nick Harwell, Nigel King, Jimmay Mundine, Trevor Pardula, Tony Pierson, Michael Reynolds and Cassius Sendish signed either a free agent contract or earned a rookie mini-camp invite with their respective teams.
Harwell, a wide receiver, started all 12 games for the Jayhawks in 2014, and was the first KU player to catch multiple touchdown passes in a game since 2011 when he snagged two scoring reception against both SEMO and Baylor. He finished the season as KU’s second-leading receiver with 44 receptions, while ranking third among Jayhawk receivers with 470 receiving yards. Harwell topped all KU players with five receiving touchdowns.
The Missouri City, Texas native, was tabbed the Jayhawk Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt 76 yards for a score at West Virginia. He finished the 2014 campaign ranked second in the Big 12 in punt returns and earned third-team All-Big 12 honors from Phil Steele Magazine for his efforts.
In his lone season as a Jayhawk, King hauled in 29 receptions for 518 yards and one touchdown. Included amongst his 29 receptions was a 78-yard highlight-reel catch against TCU that was considered one of the top plays in the NCAA in 2014.
Mundine concluded the 2014 season leading KU in receptions with 45, and receiving yards with 584. He also finished his career as a Jayhawk with the most touchdown receptions by a tight end with 11 scoring catches. The Denison, Texas native was honored as a John Mackey Award semifinalist as one of the top-six tight ends in the nation at the conclusion of the year. At season’s end, Mundine also earned an All-Big 12 Second Team nod by conference coaches, 247sports.com, ESPN.com, the Associated Press and Phil Steele Magazine.
Pardula, a punter, concluded his two-year Jayhawk career ranked second on KU’s punting average list averaging 44.0 yards-per-kick. He also ended his career with the seventh most punts in Kansas history with 167 over just two seasons. Pardula set the KU single-season record for punting yards in a season in back-to-back years with 3,668 yards in 2013 and 3,673 yards in 2014. He was named first team All-Big 12 following his senior season after picking up honorable mention honors as a junior.
Pierson, an honorable mention All-Big 12 honoree, saw action at both running back and wide receiver during his KU career. He finished his time as a Jayhawk with 1,684 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 284 carries. He also hauled in 75 receptions for 871 yards and four scores. Pierson has a 200-yard rushing game and a 100-yard receiving game to his credit.
Reynolds started all 12 games in 2014 at the BUCK position. He finished the year ranked fourth in the nation and first in the Big 12 Conference in forced fumbles with five. A Wichita, Kansas native, Reynolds led the Jayhawks in tackles-for-loss (14.5), and sacks (7.0), while finishing sixth on the team with 45 total tackles. He concluded the 2014 campaign ranked fourth in the conference in tackles-for-loss and fifth in sacks.
Sendish started all 24 games of his two-year Kansas career at safety. He ranked third on the team in 2014 with 69 total tackles, including 57 solo stops. The Waldorf, Maryland native tallied four passes defended and 1.5 tackles-for-loss as a senior. He recorded one interception, which he returned 30 yards and he also picked up one fumble and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown at Oklahoma. Sendish, who was voted a team captain for the 2014 season, was named KU’s Nolan Cromwell Award for Leadership winner following his senior campaign.
Linebacker Ben Heeney (5th, Oakland Raiders) and cornerbacks JaCorey Shepherd (6th, Philadelphia Eagles) and Dexter McDonald (7th, Oakland Raiders) were each selected on the third day of the 2015 NFL Draft, giving KU three draft picks for the first time since 2010. Combined with the seven Jayhawk NFL free agents, Kansas has 10 players heading off to their various mini-camps this weekend. Kansas’ three 2015 NFL draft picks ranks fourth among teams in the Big 12 Conference.
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