Big Rapids, Mich. - Former Ferris State University defensive back Jamar Slade(Macomb/L'Anse Cruse North), who completed his Bulldog career under head coach Tony Annese this past fall, has received an official invitation to attend the 2013 National Football League (NFL) Super Regional Combine.
Slade recently was tabbed as one of the top players at a regional combine event held in Cleveland and was among only 10 of more than 150 players from the event to be invited to the super regional combine, which will take place April 7-8 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
The NFL Super Regional Combine provides exposure for players overlooked by the official scouting combine held each year in Indianapolis and the event is both ran in identical fashion to the NFL Scouting Combine and will also be covered the NFL Network.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity to display my talents on one of the biggest levels imaginable," Slade said. "Especially coming from Division II, we're kind of overlooked and considered underdogs, but everybody loves an underdog and it's a position I'm used to being in, so it's one I like.
"The NFL has always been a dream in the back of my head since I could remember, and I've been working towards it my whole life. To see it actually beginning to unfold is more surreal than I have ever imagined," he added.
A year ago, a total of 87 players who attended an NFL Regional Combine and/or the NFL Super Regional Combine found their way to an NFL training camp, including 39 who received invitations to the super regional. More than 25% eventually received NFL contracts as four were drafted and 83 others inked as free agents. A total of 14 players opened the year on 53-man active rosters and another 14 were placed on NFL practice squads.
Roughly, only about 250 players from around the country get invited to the super regional out of more than 3,000 participants. Last year, nearly 80 evaluators representing all 32 teams attended the super regional combine.
In addition to receiving the super regional invitation, Slade was also selected by scouts in Cleveland to receive an interview from the NFL Network and asked to perform extra drills to display his talents.
The NFL launched the NFL Regional/Super Regional Combines program in 2012 to serve as a supplement to the League's National Scouting Combine. They are designed to provide an opportunity for participants to display their pro potential and to help ensure that no worthy player is overlooked.
NFL Regional Combines are conducted specifically for persons eligible for the NFL draft that are not participating in the National Scouting Combine, free agents who have never signed a pro contract, and free agents with some pro experience. NFL Regional Combines are generally held in NFL club facilities and participants are tested and reviewed by experienced NFL scouting personnel.
As a senior this past season for the Bulldogs, Slade had his best season as a Bulldog and served as one of the squad's emotional leaders while playing in all 11 games. He tallied 18 solo tackles with 14 assists for 32 total stops while also registering five pass breakups along with both a sack and a tackle for loss. For his efforts, he claimed the squad's Defensive Skill Player of the Year honor.
In four years with the Bulldogs, Slade appeared in 35 career games and netted 56 total tackles on 27 solo hits and 29 assisted stops. He also had seven breakups along with 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
Slade's efforts this past fall helped lead to a successful debut season for the Bulldogs under Annese, who guided Ferris State to a 7-4 overall mark in his first campaign.
This past season, the Bulldogs recorded several impressive wins under Annese's direction, including beating archrival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic for the first time since 1999, snapping a 10-year losing streak to Michigan Tech and topping defending national runner-up Wayne State for the first time in five years.
FSU also managed to win seven games for only the second time in the past decade despite facing one of the nation's two toughest schedules in Division II football during the regular-season, according to the Massey Ratings.