Jan 4, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT
Check the NFL Pro Bowl Rosters announced Dec. 27 and one will see CAA Football is the only FCS conference represented in the initial release. Former Towson Tiger Jermon Bushrod and former New Hampshire Wildcat Corey Graham will represent the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears in Hawaii, respectively.
|Jermon Bushrod (credit: Michael C. Hebert)|
A fifth-year member of the Saints and a third-year starter at left tackle, Bushrod admitted he was “pretty shocked” to learn he had been named to the Pro Bowl.
“Just having the opportunity to be voted in is such an extreme blessing,” said Bushrod, a fourth-round draft pick out of Towson in 2007. “I never would’ve thought in a million years I’d have this opportunity, in the same way as winning a Super Bowl two years ago.”
Bushrod, who has only allowed three sacks this season, has developed into a major part of the Saints’ offensive success. He is one of five members of that prolific offense selected to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, joining quarterback Drew Brees, guards Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks and tight end Jimmy Graham, a fellow first-timer.
“Guys have good seasons if the team’s doing well,” the King George, Va. native said. “And I just think as a team, we’re jelling right now. We just have to keep it up.”
|Corey Graham (credit: Bill Smith)|
Graham, 26, has compiled 13 tackles, 11 solo, with three interceptions, three passes defended and a forced fumble for the Bears this season. The 6-foot, 196-pound DB contributes on five of the team’s special team units: punt and kick coverage, punt and kickoff returns and field goal blocks.
A team captain during his 2006 senior season, Graham was a four-year starter for the Wildcats who compiled 302 career tackles, 195 solo, with 12 interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns. He added 31 pass breakups and returned 65 kickoffs for 1,787 yards and two touchdowns. His collegiate career highlight was a 99-yard kick return for a TD versus Georgia Southern in the opening round of the 2004 NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) Championship tournament.
Graham became the 12th UNH football player ever drafted when the Bears selected him in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, coincidentally following in the footsteps of fellow UNH alum Jerry Azumah (Worcester, Mass.), who was Chicago’s fifth-round pick in 1999. The parallels don’t stop there. Graham, like Azumah, was named to the Pro Bowl for special teams-play in his fifth season, though Azumah was feted as a kick-return specialist.
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