The Jaguars will have 94 players take the field for mini-camp on Saturday afternoon to signal the beginning of the 2010 season. There will be some familiar faces such as Maurice Jones-Drew, David Garrard and Daryl Smith, but there will be plenty of unknowns embarking on a career in the NFL.
This seems like a good time to introduce the members of the Jaguars 2010 rookie class with a few nuggets of information on each player. Each player's full bio can be found at www.jaguars.com
Tyson Alualu, defensive tackle – The Jaguars' first-round pick knows all about fitting into a team environment and sacrificing for the greater good. Alualu is one of nine children raised by his parents, Ta'avao and Levaa'I Alualu. He has seven sisters: Taimane-Ruta, Tanya, Tasia, Tatiana, Timena, Trinity and Trust, and one brother, Tupu. His father is a pastor at Solid Rock Fellowship Assembly of God in Kalihi and the family celebrated there when the Jaguars made Alualu the 10th overall pick in the draft last weekend. Tyson and his wife, Desire, have two children who will also be making the move to Jacksonville.
D'Anthony Smith, defensive tackle – Nicknamed 'Boo,' Smith will be reunited
with Tyson Alualu as they paired up at the Senior Bowl in January. Smith, who lived in Germany until age three, began his career at Louisiana Tech as a tight end before moving to the defensive side of the ball. The decision proved to be a smart one as he compiled 12.5 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss. The two-time All-WAC selection also took care of business off the field, graduating in less than four years with a degree in psychology while maintaining a 3.0 grade point average.
Larry Hart, defensive end – It's fair to say that Hart dominated the Southland Conference in his two seasons at Central Arkansas. After transferring from Holmes Community College, Hart won conference defensive player of the year honors in his only two seasons for UCA. He registered 21.5 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss while shining the spotlight a little brighter on UCA. He became the highest-drafted player in school history and was the only player selected from a Southland Conference school in the 2010 draft.
Austen Lane (pictured), defensive end – Growing up in Iola, Wisconsin, Austen Lane still remembers being in day care and making the 22-mile trek west to Stevens Point to see a Jaguars training camp practice in 1995. He had the chance to shake hands with quarterback Mark Brunell and the only member of the Pride of the Jaguars, offensive tackle Tony Boselli. Lane was a standout player at Iola-Scandinavia high school but went mostly unnoticed considering his graduating class was a little under 60 students in a city with a population of 2,000. He had one scholarship offer, Murray State in the western part of Kentucky, and he took full advantage of the opportunity to play. He finished his career with a school-record 29 sacks and 55 tackles for loss, but he still remembers where it all started. An Iola ice cream parlor named a new flavor after Lane this week, the Jacksonville Jaguar, and he spent Thursday riding in a fire truck as part of a special sendoff as he embarks on his NFL career.
Deji Karim, running back/kick returner – Karim could write a book on perseverance. The Oklahoma City native was a teammate of 2010 first-round pick Sam Bradford at Putnam City North high, but their futures took different routes. While Bradford earned a free ride to the state university and won the Heisman Trophy for the Sooners as a junior, Karim had to attend Northeast Oklahoma A&M Junior College for two seasons. Karim buckled down, made academics a priority and found a home at Southern Illinois. He played one season for the Salukis before injuring his knee in 2008 and missing the entire season. He used his frustration to his advantage as he came back as a senior with a vengeance. He led the FCS with 1,694 rushing yards and scored 20 total touchdowns, finishing his career as a consensus first-team All-America selection.
Scotty McGee, return specialist – If there is any doubt about the playmaking abilities of Jaguars sixth-round pick Scotty McGee then just ask the Richmond Spiders. With the score tied 31-31 in a 2008 game, the Spiders decided to punt to McGee with 18 seconds remaining, and 69 yards later McGee and James Madison had a victory. The play was voted number one on ESPN's Top Plays list. It was one of McGee's six career return touchdowns which included three of 99-plus yards.
Daniel Baldridge, offensive tackle – The six-foot eight, 311-pound Baldridge couldn't imagine six years ago he would end up in an NFL training camp. After starring on the basketball court in high school, he was persuaded to try out for the football team as a senior. The rest is history. It didn't take long for coaches to see the long-term potential and he spurned offers from big schools such as UCLA to attend Marshall. After redshirting one season for The Thundering Herd, he went on to play in 24 games including 13 starts as a senior.
Kyle Bosworth, linebacker – The four-year letterman at UCLA will be in good hands in Jacksonville as two of the club's marquee players, Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Jones-Drew, both starred for the Bruins. Kyle has a family history of playing the linebacker position as his uncle, Brian, was a former All-American at Oklahoma and former first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks. Kyle and his twin brother, Korey, credit Brian and their grandfather as major influences in their life growing up.
Mike Caussin, tight end – The James Madison Dukes will be well-represented this weekend as Caussin joins his college teammate and Jaguars sixth-round pick Scotty McGee. The six-foot five Caussin scored four touchdowns as a senior including two in the season-opener against Maryland of the ACC.
Jacob Cutrera, linebacker – If Cutrera's drive off the field is any indication of what he can do on the field then it's hard to doubt him. He graduated early from high school, enrolled in LSU for the spring semester of 2006 and played in 11 games as a true freshman. While playing in 47 games in four seasons, he was able to graduate in December of last year with a degree in general studies.
John Estes, center – A four-year starter in college, Estes should fit in nicely in the Jaguars offensive line meeting room. He will be surrounded by two former Hawaii standouts in guard Vince Manuwai and tackle Kynan Forney. Estes started 54 consecutive games for the Rainbows and was a three-time All-WAC selection. He was rated as one of the country's top centers and had a strong performance at the East-West Shrine game.
Josh Gordy, cornerback – Known for his quiet demeanor, Gordy let his actions do the talking in four seasons as a starter at Central Michigan. He finished his career with 10 interceptions including a 100-yard return for a touchdown as a freshman against Akron. It wasn't the first time he went the length of the field to score. As a senior at Washington County High School, he returned an interception 101 yards for a touchdown in the state semifinals at the Georgia Dome.
Jason Harmon, wide receiver – The former collegiate tight end will make the move to wide receiver in the NFL. He was part of an explosive offense at Florida Atlantic led by quarterback and Jacksonville native Rusty Smith. Harmon, who sat out the 2008 season with an injury, finished his career with 1,745 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Trevor Harris, quarterback – Jaguars general manager Gene Smith had no problems finding out the "inside scoop" on Trevor Harris before deciding to sign him as a rookie free agent. Smith and Edinboro head coach Scott Browning were on the same staff at the school from 1989-94. Browning was a graduate assistant at Idaho State from 1980-81 while Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter played there under his father, Jim Koetter. Harris left Edinboro as one of the most prolific passers in Division II history and didn't do any favors for his brother, Cody, who will follow in his footsteps as the starter in 2010. Trevor threw for 100 career touchdowns and passed for nearly 12,000 yards in four seasons as the starter. He was 50 of 76 passing for 630 yards and five touchdowns in his final collegiate game.
Kevin Haslam, offensive tackle – At over 300 pounds now, it's hard to believe that Haslam weighed only 195 pounds as a senior at Mahwah High School in New Jersey. He transformed his body and became a formidable lineman who has the versatility to play both guard and tackle. He joins three former Rutgers players in Jacksonville in guard Cameron Stephenson, wide receiver Tiquan Underwood and safety Courtney Greene.
Chris Hawkins, cornerback – A good word to describe Hawkins is experienced. He went through the weekly rigors of Southeastern Conference play in four seasons at LSU. He played in 51 games with 24 starts for the Tigers and had five interceptions.
Chad Kackert, running back – Forgive Kackert if he is a little overwhelmed when he takes the field on Saturday for the club's first mini-camp practice. The running back has come a long way since playing eight-man football as a freshman at Grace Brethren High in Simi Valley, Calif. The move to 11-man football didn't hurt his statistics as he finished his high school career with 131 rushing touchdowns including a state-record 56 as a senior. He produced 25 rushing touchdowns in four seasons at New Hampshire and his stock was raised with a reported 4.31 forty-yard dash time at his pro day.
Robert Malone, punter – Known for having a powerful leg, Malone had a much better senior season than most people are aware of. His 44 punts didn't meet the minimum requirements to be considered in the rankings, but his 45.2-yard average would have ranked second in the nation. Malone finished his career with a 42.6-yard average on 120 punts with 44 punts downed inside the 20.
Chris McGaha, wide receiver – McGaha has a reputation for his consistency and flair for making the difficult catch. Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter
recruited McGaha at Arizona State and played him as a true freshman. Plenty of other schools were knocking on the door considering he had 82 receptions for 1,500-plus receiving yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior at Moon Valley High School in Phoenix. He also showed his athleticism by winning the Glendale High School City Dunk Contest following his junior season. McGaha went on to play 50 games for the Sun Devils including 42 consecutive starts to end his career, finishing with 150 receptions and 2,000 career receiving yards.
Aaron Morgan, linebacker – Morgan listed on a website earlier this year that his favorite hobby is fishing and his favorite food is fried shrimp. He will have no problem finding either on the First Coast. The hybrid-linebacker/pass rusher finished his career with a school-record 22 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss, the second-most sacks in Sun Belt Conference history. His stock took a rise after a senior season with nine sacks and 16 tackles for loss.
Kommonya Quaye, defensive tackle – Quaye, who goes by 'Ko,' arrived on the campus of South Dakota as a 225-pound freshman. Five years later, he had developed into a 300-plus pound defensive tackle who earned all-conference honors as a senior. Following the Jaguars mini-camp, Quaye plans on returning to campus to complete classes for his computer science degree and participate in graduation ceremonies in May.
Ben Stallings, fullback – The Indianola, Mississippi native is on a journey he doesn't want to end anytime soon. Stallings played three seasons at Delta State before transferring to Lambuth as a senior. He finished his college career with 16 rushing touchdowns while also adding two receiving scores.
Roren Thomas, wide receiver - The speedy receiver was recruited to Tennessee-Martin by Matt Griffin, the current Jaguars offensive assistant who served as head coach at the school for three seasons. In three seasons for the Skyhawks, Thomas totaled 90 receptions and 14 touchdowns. He decided to transfer to Lindenwood in St. Louis to play in his hometown as a senior and led the school to the best season in school history with an appearance in the NAIA championship game.
Terrell Whitehead, free safety – Regarded as one of the premier safeties in the Football Championship Subdivision, Whitehead arrives in Jacksonville with an impressive list of credentials. He was the school's first-ever three-time FCS All-America selection and finished his career with 18 interceptions.