May 11, 2014
New Orleans - Less than 24 hours following the conclusion of the 2014 NFL Draft, six former Tulane football standouts have either signed on with NFL teams as undrafted free agents or are expected to sign in the coming days.
One day after former TU star receiver Ryan Grant was drafted in the fifth round (142nd overall) by the Washington Redskins, six other Green Wave are readying for professional football. Joining Grant with the Redskins will be defensive tackle Chris Davenport, who has signed on with the team as an undrafted free agent.
Kicker Cairo Santos, running back Orleans Darkwa, cornerback Jordan Sullen and defensive tackle Julius Warmsley have each also signed on as undrafted free agents. Santos has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, Darkwa with the Tennessee Titans, Sullen inked with the Denver Broncos and Warmsley signed with the Houston Texans. Nickleback Derrick Strozier is expected to sign with the New Orleans Saints.
In his lone season in a Tulane uniform, Davenport was an instant impact player who proved to be a force on the Green Wave's defensive line. The Mansfield, La., native transferred to Tulane from LSU prior to the 2013 campaign and started all 12 games he played in. He logged 20 tackles, including 4.5 stops for lost yardage and 1.5 sacks despite being constantly double-teamed on each play. His efforts helped him earn honorable mention All C-USA honors. He played his final collegiate game at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Darkwa concluded his career as three-time All-Conference USA performer and was named the 2013 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Most Valuable Player after rushing for a New Orleans Bowl record three touchdowns. He started all 13 games at tailback in 2013 and earned honorable-mention All-Conference USA recognition after leading the team in rushing attempts (188), rushing yards (863) and rushing touchdowns (12) while sitting second in all-purpose yards (920) and yards of total offense (863), second in points scored (72), eighth in catches (8) and 10th in receiving yards (57). His 12 rushing touchdowns in 2013 ranks third in Tulane single-season history, and he ran for 100-plus yards on three occasions: 118 and a touchdown on 17 carries at ULM on Sept. 28, 103 and a score on 20 carries at UTSA on Nov. 9, and a season-best 137 yards and a touchdown on 17 totes vs UTEP on Nov. 23
Darkwa completed his Tulane career tied for first in rushing touchdowns (39), third in rush attempts (663), third in total touchdowns (39), fourth in rushing yards (2,953) and 100-yard rushing games (10), eighth in rushing yards per game (64.19) and fifth in points scored (236).
Santos, the 2012 Lou Groza Award winner and first team All-America selection, hails from Brasilia, Brazil and prepped at St. Augustine's (Fla.) St. Joseph's Academy. This past season, he was a first team All-Conference USA and All-Louisiana selection during his final season and was also a semifinalist for the 2013 Lou Groza Award and a candidate for the Wuerffel Award. He participated in the NFL Scouting Combine, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl game and Quicken Loans All-Star Football Challenge.
He was twice named the C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week (11/25; 10/14) and was named the Lou Groza Star of the Week and College Football Performance Award National Placekicker of the Week on Oct. 14.
This past season, he knocked down 16-of-23 field goal attempts and all 38 of his PAT attempts for a team-best 86 points. He notched two game-winners (North Texas, East Carolina) and tied for the longest field goal in the nation this season with a 56-yarder at ULM. Santos also tied the school single game record with five field goals against the Pirates.
Santos owned the second longest streak for made field goals in NCAA history with 26. He also handled kickoff duties and has sent 47 of 62 attempts into the back of the end zone and only allowed 13 returns in 2013.
A native New Orleanian, Sullen started all 13 games at cornerback in 2013 and ranked second on the team in pass break-ups (10) and passes defensed (13), tied for second in interceptions (3) and tied for seventh with 44 tackles (33 solo, 11 assists) to go with a half tackle for loss. He registered a career-high 10 tackles (8 solo, 2 assists) with an interception vs. Tulsa on Oct. 26, and also recorded interceptions against Jackson State in the season opener and vs. UL-Lafayette in the 2013 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
A defensive tackle from Baton Rouge, Warmsley started all 13 games and was named to the C-USA and All-Louisiana first team. He accounted for 46 tackles (31 solo), including 18.5 stops for lost yardage and 6.0 sacks. Warmsley ranked 15th in the country for tackles for loss per game with 1.4 and tallied a career-best nine tackles (3 solo) with a tackle for loss at Rice on Nov. 30, and also posted a career-high 4.0 tackles for loss among eight stops (7 solo) vs. Tulsa on Oct. 26.
Strozier, who hails from Orlando, Fla., played in 12 games with 10 starts during his senior season and ranked 15th nationally in passes defended with 1.3 per game. He recorded 14 pass breakups on the year and ranked second on the team in interceptions (2), fifth with 50 tackles (29 solo), including 4.5 stops for lost yardage. Strozier was named both the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week and C-USA and Louisiana Special Teams Player of the Week this past season. He recorded two pass breakups and returned an interception for a 99-yard touchdown against East Carolina, added seven tackles and returned a blocked field goal 62 yards for a score vs. North Texas and recorded an interception at ULM.
Fans can follow the Tulane football program on Twitter (@GreenWaveFB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneFootball.