Eagles going pro
With the end of the academic year here, and most athletic teams either wrapping up competition for the year or already done, thoughts of graduating seniors inevitable turn to “what’s next for me?” For a handful of EMU graduates each year, playing sports professionally is a realistic possibility.
Initially things weren’t going well for EMU grads. Tavelyn James, who has now certainly secured her place not just in the EMU Athletic Hall of Fame but as one of the top Eagles of all time, slipped through the WNBA draft without hearing her name called. Eight MAC football players were chosen in the NFL draft, none of them from EMU, but none were expected.
This week the breakthroughs came.
On Monday, the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx signed Tavelyn James to their training camp roster. The downside is that the Lynx will need to cut the roster from 18 to 11 by the time their season starts, and they have 9 players returning from last summer’s championship squad. That probably leaves James as one of 9 new players — including draft picks — competing for just two open spots.
Then, in the CFL draft today, the British Columbia Lions traded up to the #2 pick overall to take former EMU defensive lineman Jabar Westerman. With the retirement of defensive end Brent Johnson, the Lions had a hole to fill, and it seems likely that Westerman will be an immediate starter.
Then, this evening, the Indianapolis Colts signed free safety Latarrius Thomas. Although most UDFAs wind up either on a practice squad or cut before the season, I think Thomas has the physical ability to make an NFL roster if he can stay healthy — his history of injuries probably kept him from a draft spot — and the Colts are in a bit of turmoil, what with a new general manager, a new coaching staff, and a whole new offensive squad.