Ferris State Linebacker Brady Sheldon Signs With NFL's Oakland Raiders As Training Camp Nears

Brady Sheldon

Big Rapids, Mich. - A fourth Ferris State University football alum is headed to a National Football League (NFL) Training Camp later this month as recent Bulldog linebacker Brady Sheldon (Novi) has officially inked a free agent deal with the Oakland Raiders.

The former Bulldog linebacker, who helped lead FSU to the NCAA Division II Semifinals for the second time in school history last fall, took part in the Raiders' rookie minicamp as an invitee following the conclusion of this past spring's NFL Draft. He was signed this week following a tryout and is slated to join the club for its official training camp, which begins July 24 for rookies in Napa, Calif.

Sheldon ranked among the squad's defensive leaders as a senior last fall when he recorded a personal career-high 54 tackles, including 28 solo stops. He added 26 assisted hits and came up with 2.5 tackles for loss along with three pass breakups while earning All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Honorable Mention accolades.

A four-year letterwinnner, Sheldon helped lead the Bulldogs to three consecutive NCAA Division II Playoff appearances in his career along with two GLIAC Championships and an NCAA Super Region Four title. He finished his FSU career with 111 career stops in 59 career contests while registering 10 tackles for loss.

Sheldon will join three former Bulldog teammates in NFL training camps this summer in preparation for the 2017 campaign. Wide receiver Jake Lampman (East Lansing/Haslett) made the New Orleans Saints' active roster and saw game action last fall while two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winning quarterback Jason Vander Laan (Frankfort, Ill./Chicago Christian) was resigned by the New York Jets near the end of the 2016 season. In addition, former standout defensive lineman Justin Zimmer (Greenville) joined Lampman with the Saints at the end of the year after originally taking part in training camp with the Buffalo Bills last summer. All three, who played their final collegiate football seasons in 2015, have been with their respective NFL clubs this offseason and are expected to contend for roster spots when camp opens.

Unofficially, with Sheldon's signing, at least 15 former Ferris State players have now inked NFL free agent deals. Former defensive back Marvin Robinson inked with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014 with defensive tackle Marcus Cribbs signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015. Those two represented the first since free agent cornerback Angelo Williams with the Minnesota Vikings in 2010. Previously, in 2013, former defensive end Jordan Morgan received a rookie tryout with the New York Giants, but did not sign.

The select group also consists of running back Dave Gagnon (1974-Chicago Bears), outside linebacker Monty Brown (1997-New York Jets), defensive tackle Ed Philion (1994-Buffalo Bills), defensive end Dave Zuiderveen (2001-Atlanta Falcons), flanker Clarence Coleman (2002-Buffalo Bills), tackle Matt McCoy (2004-Detroit Lions), wide receiver Carlton Brewster (2006-Cleveland Browns) and defensive tackle Jake Visser (2009-Houston Texans).

Two other former Ferris State players, offensive guard Bill Bourdlais and safety Patrick Wells, received tryout invitations from the Cleveland Browns in 2008 and participated in the team's rookie minicamp, but did not ink a deal. Several others have also had NFL tryouts including wide receiver Andre Johnson (1989), quarterback Dave DenBraber (1987) and receiver/returner Fred Kirkland (1981). Defensive back James Skodak (2006) also had tryouts with several NFL organizations among other past Bulldog standouts.

Sheldon played a key role last fall in helping lead Ferris State to a school-record 12 wins and the NCAA Division II National Semifinals for only the second time in school history. Ferris State received the program's third-straight NCAA Football Playoff berth and captured the Super Region Four Championship by beating archrival Grand Valley State during a memorable postseason run. The 15-week campaign, which included three postseason playoff wins, was the school's longest in 108 years of Bulldog Football.

Over the last three seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 34-5 overall record and claimed two conference championships, posted two unbeaten regular-seasons, captured a regional title and reached the national semifinals while posting four playoff victories.

In the five seasons under FSU head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 49-12 overall mark in the last five years and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the GLIAC since his arrival.