The dream of a career in the NFL remains alive for five former Cardinals.
Though their names weren't called at the recent draft, Jhaustin Thomas, Jerod Evans, Jomal Wiltz, D'Nerius Antione and Brandon Stewart have signed undrafted free agent contracts with NFL teams. All are, or will be, participating in rookie camps in attempts to make active or practice squads.
All played key roles in the Cardinals' current streak of having won four straight Southwest Junior College Football Conference championships. Evans (QB), Wiltz (DB) and Stewart (DB) were all members of the Cardinals' perfect 12-0 season in 2014.
Evans and Wiltz will have a chance to remain teammates with both having signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Antione (DB) signed with the Chicago Bears, Thomas (DL) with the Indianapolis Colts and Stewart with the Los Angeles Chargers.
"We are very excited and proud for all of them," said TVCC athletic director/head football coach Brad Smiley. "They were a big part of our program and a reason our program has reached a level where it is among the nation's best," said TVCC athletic director/head football coach Brad Smiley. "They are all outstanding young men and athletes and we wish them the best in pursuit of pro careers."
Evans declared for the draft early after a record-setting junior season at Virginia Tech. That followed a sophomore season at TVCC in which he was named the conference's MVP after throwing for 3,164 yards and 38 touchdowns. He also set a school record with eight touchdown passes in a game.
Before heading off to Iowa State, Wiltz had an all-conference career at TVCC. As a sophomore, he had 79 tackles and 14 pass breakups. He also averaged 30.1 yards per kickoff return.
Antione finished his collegiate career at Southern Mississippi. As a sophomore for the Cardinals, he received All-America honors after recording 69 tackles, three forced fumbles and two interceptions. He also averaged 20.3 yards on punt returns.
In addition to a highly-accomplished football career at TVCC, Thomas also starred in basketball before moving on to Iowa State. He was the SWJCFC's Defensive MVP in 2013 and also a first-team All-America selection. He had 55 tackles and 12.5 sacks as a sophomore.
Stewart took his secondary prowess to Kansas after leaving TVCC. As a sophomore for the Cardinals, he recorded 52 tackles, including 39 solo tackles, and had 19 pass breakups and three interceptions.