East Texas Natives Who Got The Call During The 2022 NFL Draft
East Texas has a long and rich history of sending young men to the NFL but during the first few days of this year's NFL Draft, it looked like for awhile, that the ETX was going to get shut out of sending any our local players to the league. But suddenly on day 3 of the Draft, ballers from all over East Texas from Carthage to Nacogdoches phones started ringing and their dreams and hard work will soon be a reality!
Carthage native Keontay Ingram Was Selected By The Arizona Cardinals
With the 201st pick by Arizona, The Cardinals selected USC running back and Carthage native Keontay Ingram. Ingram played 4 years of college ball, three at Texas and 1 at USC. In total he had 2,722 rushing yards on 495 carries (5.5 avg) with 16 touchdowns. On the receiving side he caught 89 passes for 671 yards for six touchdowns.
Henderson native Trestan Ebner Was Picked By The Chicago Bears
Just two picks after Ingram, the Chicago Bears selected selected Baylor running back and Henderson native Trestan Ebner with the 203rd pick. Ebner was the 2021 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. He finished his career at Baylor as the seventh Bear to compile 4,000 career all-purpose yards. Ebner is Second all-time on Baylor’s all-purpose yards list with 4,542 yards and he has played the most games ever for Baylor at 61.
Marshall native Chasen Hines Was Selected By The New England Patriots with the 210th pick.
The New England Patriots took LSU lineman and Marshall native Chasen Hines with the 210th pick. Hines went to LSU as the No.1 ranked offensive guard in Texas and the sixth best nationally in 2018. A leg injury left Hines sidelined part of this past season but he played in eight games and stared in seven, including the Texas Bowl against Kansas State.
Other East Texas Players Signed To Teams As Unrestricted Free Agents
Players who don't get drafted also have an opportunity to still sign with teams as free agents. Nacogdoches native Josh Thompson was picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted Free Agent. Thompson was a cornerback for the Texas Longhorns and played in 45 games including 22 starts over his five seasons.
Henderson native La’Kendrick Van Zandt signed an undrafted deal with the Dallas Cowboys.
The TCU safety had 10 starts in 2021, placing eighth on the team with 38 stops and tied for fifth with 3.5 tackles for loss.
Whitehouse native Jake Parker signed an undrafted free agency deal with the New England Patriots.
Parker played at Whitehouse and was known as Patrick Mahomes' favorite receiver. While Mahomes ascended into super stardom, Parker had to the long road to reach his pro dreams. Parker played college ball first for TJC and then for Howard Payne. In 2021, Parker was named the American Southwest Player if the Year. He also picked up Region 3 Offensive Player of the Year and AFCA second-team All American status. He led the ASC in total receiving yards, yards per game, receptions and touchdowns. Now he'll get a chance to go up against his former high school teammate. Congratulations to all of our East Texas NFL stars!
Athens Native Travon Fuller Signs With Buffalo Bills
Fuller caught the attention of scouts during his 2021 season at Tulsa, where he locked down receivers at cornerback and intercepted three passes. While he didn't get picked in the first 7 rounds, he quickly signed with the Bills where he will head to camp and battle for a spot on the roster according to The Athens Daily Review.