Pitt Players Ink Rookie Free Agent Deals

Ray Graham, Mike Shanahan, Ryan Turnley and Hubie Graham have signed rookie free agent contracts to play in the NFL.

For a second consecutive year, and fifth time since 1997, the NFL Draft went through without a Pitt player getting drafted.

However, that hasn't deterred anyone from signing rookie free agent contracts with various teams. A lot of players have had success in recent years. Two years ago, Henry Hynoski declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft after his junior year. He signed a rookie free agent deal, and went on to win a Super Bowl with the New York Giants.

First to sign was Mike Shanahan, who bulked up to 241 pounds to give tight end a shot. Shanahan signed with the New York Jets. Ryan Turnley, who also came to Pitt in the 2008 recruiting class with Shanahan, signed with the Buffalo Bills. Paul Posluszny, a 2003 graduate of Turnley's Hopewell High School, was drafted by the Bills in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

Turnley's versatility got a major boost when he moved to center his junior year, and where he eventually earned all-Bug East honors as a senior.

It was then tight end Hubie Graham--who despite battling a nagging collarbone injury that limited him as a senior--who got a mini-camp invite to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He's reunited with former Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt, and former position coach Brian Angelichio who holds the same position with the Bucs. Graham transferred to Pittsburgh in 2010, and had to sit that season out--the final Pitt season under Wannstedt. Therefore, he never technically played for the former Pitt coach.

Ray Graham, widely considered the Panthers' best shot at a draft pick, surprisingly went undrafted after rushing for over 1,000 yards in his senior year, earning All-Big East honors two years in a row, and despite finishing second on Pitt's all-time rushing list.

More rookie free agent signings could be announced later Saturday night.

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