April 27, 2009

Wha…? Gregory Not Drafted?

Forgive the confusion of Franklin & Marshall football fans everywhere. For some time leading up to the NFL Draft, Diplomats linebacker, James Gregory, was projected to land on teams like the Seattle Seahawks as high as the 25th pick of the first round.

Gregory was fresh off of a senior season in which he rolled up 84 tackles, including a tied for team best three sacks. Gregory, an All-Centennial Conference First Team choice in 2008, also picked off a pair of passes and broke up another pair. The selection was Gregory’s third to the All-Conference team. He also piled up his third appearance on the Centennial’s Academic Honor Roll.

Diplomat nation held onto to high hopes for seeing their first NFL star since Mike and Tom Caterbone did respective stints with Miami and Philadelphia in 1987. Then, inexplicably, Gregory’s stock plummeted. The Rockville, Maryland, native went from being a first day lock to a seventh round projection. ESPN assumed him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a pick acquired from Baltimore. It seemed like a logical steal with Tampa Bay having former Centennial Conference backup quarterback and former Baltimore Ravens intern, Justin Sheridan, hunkered down in its war room, but everyone was dismayed that he was projected to go three picks after Colby’s Alex Halls. 

ESPN Page 2 Senior Mock Draft Analyst, Gregg Easterbrook, offered no explanation in his column and Mel Kiper was unable to be reached for comment. Hopes once again rose when the Business, Organizations, and Society major was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s Hampshire Society, an honor society for four year football players who are starters or key reserves with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.

Those hopes were dashed Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs made South Carolina kicker, Ryan Succop, Mr. Irrelevant. The 2009 draft passed without Washington & Jefferson graduate, Roger Goodell, calling Gregory’s name. Unlike Larry Beavers of Wesley and Pete Ittersagen, Gregory did not get a call from an NFL club offering a contract. Instead, Gregory will have to settle for the disappointment of a degree from one of the top 50 liberal arts schools in the country in two weeks.

“Of course I was disappointed that I wasn’t picked,” said Gregory in a phone conversation late Sunday night. He was still sitting in the ‘Aaron Rodgers” chair. “I guess I will have to go make six figures the honest way like the rest of the former F&M football players who majored in business.”