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Tarver and Clifford sign free agent contracts
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tarver and Clifford sign free agent contracts

Nashville, Tenn. - Eugene Clifford and Sidney Tarver, both seniors on Tennessee State University's football team last season, signed free agent contracts to play with an NFL team on Thursday.

The signing of the non-drafted free agents occurred during the wake of the NFL lockout that ended Monday.

Clifford (DB) signed with the Baltimore Ravens (7/28) and has a chance to become teammates with former TSU defensive lineman Lamar Divens. At TSU, Clifford was named an All American and All Ohio Valley Conference selection the last three years.

Joining the Tigers in 2008 after transferring from Ohio State, he finished his career at TSU third on the all-time career tackles list with 204 (120 solo). His numbers include seven interceptions for 197 yards, three touchdowns, three forced fumbles and four recoveries. He started 32-of-34 games played and recorded 26 pass deflections.

In 2010, he finished out his career leading the team at the end of the season in tackles (83 - 44 solo) and interceptions (4). He also recorded 10 pass break-ups (Ranked No. 10 nationally), 14 deflections and two forced fumbles.

During the postseason, he was named to seven All America teams which include: the Associated Press FCS, Walter Camp Foundation, Sheridan Broadcasting Network, College Sporting News FCS, Sports Network/, Phil Steele FCS and Box2Row Black College. All were first team selections.

He was also named to the All OVC First Team Defense, a pair of All Star teams and was a national finalist for the Buck Buchannan Award.

Tarver (LB) signed his contract with the Browns on Tuesday (7/26) and was the second undrafted free agent to sign from TSU after Joseph Hills signed with the Tennessee Titans the day after the lockout.

Tarver ended his four-year stint with the Tigers starting 28-of-44 games played racking up 144 career tackles (90 solo) including 11 for a loss. He recorded 4.5 sacks, five pass deflections, three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.

At TSU, he lined up at several positions on defense and was utilized as a 4-3 outside linebacker and a defensive end.

Last season, he finished third on the team in tackles with 62 (42 solo) and second in sacks (3.5). He also added 7.5 tackles for a loss with two quarterback hurries.

In his time at TSU, Tarver only received a Consensus Draft Services Preseason selection, but according to experts, his stock rose after a stellar pro day workout in inclement weather.

He registered a 32-inch vertical leap, a 10-6 broad jump and bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times. Tarver had a 4.24 20-yard shuttle, a 7.30 L-drill and an 11.7 60-yard shuttle, excelling in his linebacker drills. posted the Orange and Brown Report with Aaron Aloysius stating after a three-game study of Tarver, "Tarver's best trait is his impressive length. The 6'3 1/2" linebacker has vines for arms, which become very useful when he takes on blockers. His strong upper body and quick hands allow him to control a tight end, then shed in time to bring down the ball-carrier. And while he doesn't possess the flexibility to bend the edge like DeMarcus Ware (or even Kam Wimbley), he does a decent job in coverage, using his long arms to redirect tight ends off their routes."

The Ravens began training camp on July 27 in Owings Mills, Md. and will visit the Philadelphia Eagles on August 11 to start the preseason schedule.

The Browns start their training camp in Berea, Ohio tomorrow (7/29) and will open the preseason at home against the Green Bay Packers on August 13.