Roberts Headlines Marshall Contingent Headed to NFL

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall cornerback Darryl Roberts was selected by the New England Patriots with the 247th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft Sunday afternoon.

Tight end Eric Frohnapfel (San Diego Chargers), linebacker Neville Hewitt (Miami Dolphins), center Chris Jasperse (Cincinnati Bengals) and defensive lineman James Rouse (Houston Texans) also signed free agent contracts with their respective teams minutes after the draft's close.

Roberts, a 2014 first team All-Conference USA pick, became the fifth Thundering Herd player drafted in as many years and is Marshall's 40th since the NFL Draft began in 1936. He is also the first Marshall defensive back drafted since the Cleveland Browns picked Chris Crocker in the third round of the 2003 draft.

Roberts, who ranked in the nation's top 10 in passes defended (18) in 2014, had one interception on the season with 75 tackles (46 solo), with 3.5 for loss and one forced fumble. He had an eye-opening Pro Day before representatives of nine NFL clubs, posting a 4.36 and a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, a 39-inch vertical leap. He also had an 11-1 broad jump, bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times -- topping all cornerbacks who went to the NFL Combine -- and had a 4.08 short shuttle and a 6.66 three-cone drill.

Frohnapfel capped his career by winning the Herd's Chad Pennington Award as the "offensive player who gives his all on and off the field". He finished his career as the team's starting tight end after playing backup to star Gator Hoskins from 2011-13. Frohnapfel was selected to the 2014 C-USA All-Academic Team, carrying a 4.0 in MBA studies and played 53 career games (every game in his four years), with 66 catches for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Hewitt was voted the 2014 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches. He led the Herd defense in a 13-1 season, making 123 tackles, the C-USA high for 2014. He was selected as the Herd's Defensive MVP by his coaches, playing both inside linebacker spots (Mike and Will) in two seasons after coming to Marshall from junior college. For his career, he posted 208 tackles, including 16.5 for loss and 7.5 sacks, with two interceptions, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

Jasperse finished his career as a two-time all-conference first team selection by the league's coaches at center (2013, 2014) after coming to the Herd as a 2010 invited walk-on from Page High School in Greensboro, N.C. He played 4,040 career snaps, which led all 2014 active FBS offensive linemen and was voted a season captain by his teammates in both his junior and senior campaigns. He also started every game in his Marshall career - 53 - (FBS-level school record).

Rouse was a two-time all-league first team selection by the league's coaches, joining former Herd stars Vinny Curry and Albert McClellan as the only two-time first team selections on the defensive line in MU's 10 seasons in C-USA. At Marshall's Pro Day on March 11, the Harrisonburg, Va. native did 38 in the pro bench (reps at 225 pounds), topping the high number for any player at the NFL Combine in February. He finished an injury-interrupted career (receiving a medical hardship season from both the NCAA and C-USA) with two dominant seasons, and compiled 101 career tackles with 25 tackles for loss, including 8.5 sacks.
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