Cornerback Israel Route - shown during a recent Detroit Lions mini-camp session - is one of three former Green Wave standouts to recently sign pro contracts.
May 31, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Three seniors from the 2006 Tulane University football program have joined the ranks of the professionals as punter Chris Beckman has signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, cornerback Jeremy Foreman inked with the New Orleans Voodoo and corner Israel Route received a free-agent offer sheet from the Detroit Lions.
Beckman, Foreman and Route join quarterback Lester Ricard, who signed a free agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars shortly after the conclusion of the 2007 NFL Draft in late April, among Tulane's newest pro players. Ricard and Route will be in NFL camps during the summer, Foreman is already playing with the Arena Football League's Voodoo, and Beckman was recently picked up by the Blue Bombers, who start their season on June 14.
In addition, former Tulane quarterback Shaun King (1995-98) agreed to terms with the CFL's Hamilton Tiger Cats on Wednesday. Originally a second-round draft pick of Tampa Bay in the 1999 NFL Draft, King spent time with the Buccaneers (1999-2001), the Arizona Cardinals (2002) and most recently, the Indianapolis Colts.
Beckman joined the Blue Bombers after a stellar collegiate career with the Wave where he was a three-time member of the All-Conference USA team. He played in 44 games during his career at Tulane and finished second in the Green Wave career record books in total punts (222), punting yards (9,421) and punting average (42.4).
A member of the Ray Guy Watch List in 2006, which is awarded annually to the nation's top punter, Beckman earned second-team All C-USA honors as a senior when he punted 52 times for 2,207 yards and a 42.4 yard average. Despite missing three games as the punter - he played in all 12 games as the team's holder on place kicks - Beckman placed eight punts inside the 20-yard line.
Foreman was a four-year letterman and two-year starter with the Green Wave, playing in 42 career games with 27 starts. He registered 120 tackles - including 80 solo stops - with one tackle for loss, one sack, 11 pass break ups and five interceptions. Foreman also forced a pair of fumbles and had one fumble recovery.
As a senior last season, he started 10 of 12 games and finished sixth on the team with 49 tackles (34 solo). He broke up five passes in his final year in a Green Wave uniform and ranked second on the squad with a pair of interceptions.
Route, meanwhile, was a part-time starter all four years at Tulane, playing in 42 games with 24 starts. From his cornerback position, he amassed 204 tackles (141 solo) with nine and a half for loss, one sack, seven forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He picked off three passes, had three quarterback hurries and broke up 26 passes.
In addition to his defensive duties, Route returned 32 kickoffs for 666 yards (20.8 average) and one touchdown, and ran back 19 punts for 181 yards (9.5 average).
He earned second-team All C-USA and All-Louisiana honors as a senior in 2006 after finishing second on the team with 70 tackles (56 solo) while posting three and a half tackles for loss, one interception, 12 pass break ups, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Route was named C-USA and Louisiana Sports Writers Association Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 20 when he forced a fumble, recovered it and returned it 42 yards to preserve a 10-9 victory over league foe UCF.
Route will join college and high school teammate Anthony Cannon in the Lions' preseason camp as the former Tulane and Stephenson High School standout was drafted by Detroit in the seventh round of the last year's NFL Draft.
NOTE: Former Tulane All-American and 2001 Lou Groza Award winner Seth Marler was named Arena Football League Special Teams Player of the Month for May after converting 62-of-65 PATs and 10-of-12 field goal opportunities as a member of Tampa Bay Storm. Marler and the Storm are currently seeking a spot in the AFL playoffs and will be in town to play the New Orleans Voodoo on Saturday, June 2, at 7 p.m. (CDT) in the New Orleans Arena.