AMHERST, Mass. – The end of the NFL Draft on Saturday didn’t mean the end of the action for UMass football players with the pro teams. Several players signed deals or are gaining tryouts with NFL teams. Victor Cruz has joined the New York Giants, Jeremy Horne was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, safety Jeromy Miles will be heading to the Cincinnati Bengals and Chris Zardas is going to the Philadelphia Eagles. Kyle C. Harrington has a tryout with the Miami Dolphins.
The details of these players’ actual signing or deal are unavailable.
The five players follow offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse, who was drafted in the second round by the New York Jets on Friday night. He became UMass’ highest selected player since Greg Landry was the 11th overall pick in the first round by the Detroit Lions in 1968.
Cruz was a sensational starting receiver and return man at UMass. He was named 2009 CAA All-Conference First Team, 2009 College Sporting News Preseason Third Team All-American, 2009 Consensus Draft Services Hon. Mention All-American. He finished fourth in career catches list with 131. All but one of those catches in came in junior and senior years. He is fifth all-time at UMass in career receiving yards (1,958), behind No. 4 Brandon London (2,022). He became 9th UMass player with 100 career catches vs. UNH and is tied for 12th all-time with 11 career receiving touchdowns. Cruz ranked third in the CAA and 27th in the NCAA in receiving yards per game (78.9) with team-best 868 yards in 11 games on 59 catches, 5.4 per game – third in the CAA and 40th in the NCAA. He finished with a 22-game catch streak dating to Sept. 6, 2008.
Horne was a starting receiver who returns as a weapon wideout.. The Syracuse transfer also returns kickoffs. He finished 13th in career receiving yards in UMass history with 1,343 and ninth in career kickoff return yardage (922). The 2008 All-CAA receiver, third on team with 23 catches this season for 302 yards in seven starts, playing all 11 games. He was the team-leader with 22 kick returns for 425 yards. 11th in CAA in yards per return (19.3).
Miles was a decorated senior captain free safety. He was named a 2009 Walter Camp First Team All-American, 2009 CAA All-Conference First Team, and 2009 New England Writer All-Star. He was a Buck Buchanan Award Candidate as top FCS defensive player and a 2009 Preseason Consensus First Team All-American. He started 47 games in a row, including all 36 games at UMass. As a senior, he tied for fourth on team in tackles with 62 (5.6 per game), also two interceptions, two fumbles forced and five passes defended.
Zardas played in the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game and scored a touchdown earlier this year. He was UMass starting fullback for second year in row in 2009 and also played some tailback. He was the 2009 CAA All-Conference First Team Fullback and named a 2009 New England Football Writers All-Star. Recovered from serious knee injuries twice in career at UMass. As a senior, he played in all 11 games with 43 carries for 164 yards with three TDs along with seven catches for 46 yards and a TD. Zardas was a key blocker all season as UMass has had seven games with a 100-yard rusher (five by Tony Nelson and two by Jonathan Hernandez).
Harrington was a three-year starter at nose tackle, who emerged in spring practice in 2007. Bench-press 435 pounds of strength, ranks second all-time in UMass history. He was a 2009 CAA All-Conference Second Team and 2009 College Sporting News Preseason Second Team All-American. As a senior, started all 11 games this season and had 43 tackles and 6.5 TFLs for 15 yards and half-sack.