Five undrafted free agents sign

Hunter a hero for Appalachian State in Division I-AA playoffs last year

The Green Bay Packers picked up where the NFL Draft left off Sunday evening by signing at least five players who were not selected in any of the seven rounds over the weekend. The Packers are expected to sign more undrafted free agents prior to their first off-season mini-camp, which begins on Friday.

Though the Packers have not officially announced any of the signings, published reports and sources close to the players have indicated that the following players will report to Green Bay on Thursday for a physical, and if they pass, practice:

Jason Hunter, DE, Appalachian State
Chris Francies, WR, UTEP
Montez Murphy, DE, Baylor
Byron Santiago, OLB, Louisiana Tech
Josh Bourke, OT, Grand Valley State

Hunter is the most intriguing of the five rookies. In 2005, Hunter turned in one of the most impressive seasons ever by an Appalachian defensive end. The Fort Bragg, N.C. native racked up 101 tackles, including 13 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss, and scored three defensive touchdowns as a senior. The 13 sacks were just one shy of a school record and the 24.5 TFL were seventh-most in ASU history. Even though he didn't make a start until his senior season, he finished his career with 24 sacks, good for fifth on the school's all-time list. For his efforts, Hunter was a consensus All-American, grabbing first-team honors from and Football Gazette and second-team recognition from the Associated Press and The Sports Network.

In the Division I-AA playoffs last year, Hunter made two plays that led the Mountaineers to their first-ever national title. The first was his hit on Furman quarterback Ingle Martin that forced a fumble which ASU recovered to seal a berth in the national title game in the waning seconds of its 29-23 triumph over the Paladins in the national semifinals (ironically, Hunter and Martin, selected in the fifth round by the Packers, are now teammates in Green Bay). One week later, Hunter scooped up a fumble forced by fellow defensive end Marques Murrell and returned it 15 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in Appalachian's 21-16 win over Northern Iowa in the national title game. Hunter's dominating play in the postseason earned him I-AA Playoffs MVP accolades from The Sports Network and

The 6-foot-6, 256-pound Murphy, a junior college transfer, played two seasons at Baylor. The speed-rusher had 52 tackles and 9.5 sacks over the past two seasons.

Francies (6-1, 194) was a three-year starter for UTEP. He caught 44 passes for 774 yards and five touchdowns as a senior. As a junior, he caught 33 passes for 558 yards and four touchdowns.

Santiago (6-2, 233) played in 44 games at Louisiana Tech, starting 27 at outside linebacker.

Bourke (6-6, 306) was a three-year starter and all-conference selection after his junior and senior campaigns for Division II Grand Valley State. He was named G.L.A.I.C. Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2005. Bourke played right and left tackle, but started every game at left tackle last year last season. The Ontario, Canada, native missed the 2004 season with a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee.

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