Nashville, Tenn. - A pair of Tennessee State University football players signed undrafted free agent contracts with NFL teams over the weekend. Rico Council (Atlanta Falcons) and Donte'e Nicholls (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) inked deals for an opportunity to make the 53-man roster in the fall.
Council, the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year, signed a deal with the Atlanta Falcons. In 11 games last season, the linebacker netted 87 tackles (50 solo), 8.0 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. A native of Chattanooga, Council had 12 tackles in a game at Eastern Kentucky, 11 against Jackson State and 10 against each Murray State and UT Martin.
Council finished his four-year career with 295 tackles, which was second in TSU history behind only his head coach Rod Reed. In addition to being a first team All-OVC selection and Defensive Player of the Year, Council garnered Sports Network FCS All-American and HBCU All-American status.
Nicholls spent three seasons with Tennessee State after transferring from the University of South Carolina. The Pompano Beach, Fla., product played in 33 games in a Big Blue uniform, amassing 89 tackles and 14.5 tackles-for-loss in his career.
"It goes to show you that we are recruiting the right guys," said Reed. "These young men made a considerable contribution to the program. Hopefully, they will do well in camp and make a NFL roster in the fall. This is a great opportunity for them and our program."
These two young men join five other TSU alums already in the NFL: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Philadelphia Eagles), Lamar Divens (Tennessee Titans), Anthony Levine (Green Bay Packers), Cecil Newton (Baltimore Ravens) and Javarris Williams (Houston Texans).
Various NFL rookie camps are expected to begin as early as this week.
TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY NFL UNDRAFTED FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
LB Rico Council - Chattanooga, Tenn. - Atlanta Falcons
DL Donte'e Nicholls - Pompano Beach, Fla. - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-- TSU TIGERS --