Former Idaho stars Sherriden May, Kyle Gary and Keith Neal all signed free agent contracts with NFL teams on Monday.
May, an NCAA Division I-AA All-American running back in 1994, signed with the New York Jets; Gary, an All-American wide receiver in 1994, signed with the Atlanta Falcons; and Neal, a starter at wide receiver, signed with the Houston Oilers. May and Gary will leave Thursday for mini-camps this weekend.
And the Miami Dolphins signed 1990 Eastern Washington guard Gary Needham, a 340-pounder, to a free-agent contract.
“I knew if I didn’t get drafted that I would have a chance through free agency,” said May. “After the draft it was a matter of teams looking at their rosters and figuring out what they needed. I’m just happy to get the opportunity. I’m starting from the ground up again.”
Gary was flown to Atlanta before the draft and was happy the Falcons stuck with him.
“When Cleveland didn’t draft me, Atlanta knew I would still be around after the draft, so they knew they could sign me as a free agent,” said Gary. “Those were the two teams that showed interest in me. This is what I’ve been waiting for… . Now it’s in my hands.”
May was a consensus first team AllAmerican after breaking the I-AA record for career touchdowns with 61. He was ninth in the nation in rushing last season with 1,370 yards. He finished his Idaho career as the school’s career record holder for most yards rushing (3,748), most points (366), most rushing touchdowns (50) and best rushing average per game (113.6). He led the nation in scoring as a sophomore with 25 touchdowns after starting in the Vandals secondary as a freshman. He became just the fifth Vandal to earn first team All-Big Sky honors three times.
Gary played two years at Idaho after transferring from Sacramento City Junior College. He was a second team All-America pick after finishing ninth in the country in receiving yards per game (103.0) and 17th in nearly six per game. He led the Big Sky in receiving yards (1,133), touchdown catches (11) and tied for the conference lead in total receptions (65). Gary was a first team All-Big Sky pick last season. He finished in the top 10 in Idaho career receptions (112) and receiving yards (1,762). Former Washington Redskin Eric Yarber is the only player in Vandals history to play two years or less and have more career receptions and yards than Gary.
Neal, who missed two games last year with injury, had 29 catches for 486 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 19.4 yards per reception in his two-year Idaho career, seventh best in Idaho history. Ten of his 45 career receptions went for scores. He played junior college football at Southwest College in Los Angeles.
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