New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced Thursday the 16 undrafted rookie free agents that have agreed to terms with the team. Joining the Saints are wide receivers Todd Blythe and Evan Moore, offensive linemen Jason Boone, Nate McManus, Akim Millington and Kevin Tuminello, linebackers JoLonn Dunbar and Luke Sanders, defensive end Jeremy Geathers, running back Lynell Hamilton, quarterback T.C. Ostrander, punter Waylon Prather, safeties David Roach and Rocky Schwartz, long snapper Ryan Senser and fullback Olaniyi Sobomehin.
Speaking at the conclusion of the draft Sunday, Head Coach Sean Payton spoke of the important role that the signing of college free agents plays each year.
"Each of the last couple of years, we've been able to a find a player through free agency," Payton said. "Our message to those guys is no different than to any draft pick once they're on board; it doesn't really matter to us how they got here, they have an opportunity to make the team. When you look at it, there have been a number of free agents that not only have made teams, but have been Pro Bowl players."
The following is an outline of the 16 players signed who will be coming to New Orleans to participate in the team's rookie minicamp, scheduled to take place May 8-11.
Todd Blythe – Wide Receiver, Iowa State (6-5, 214):Blythe is an athletic and rangy receiver who was a standout receiver as a four-year starter for the Cyclones, catching 176 passes for 3,096 yards and 31 touchdowns in 45 career games on the collegiate level. The Indianola, Iowa native was named first-team All-Big XII in his sophomore season of 2005 when caught 51 balls for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. He set a career-high as a senior with 52 catches, earning honorable mention all-conference honors.
Jason Boone – Tackle, Utah (6-4, 300):Boone started for two seasons on the offensive line at Utah, and was an honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference selection in his junior year of 2006, which turned out to be his final season of college ball. He suffered a torn ACL in the Utes' first fall practice of his redshirt senior season, forcing him to spend the '07 campaign completing a successful rehabilitation of the injury.
JoLonn Dunbar – Linebacker, Boston College (6-0, 226):A two-year starter and captain for the Eagles, Dunbar earned second-team All-ACC honors in his senior season as he tallied 90 tackles and an interception for the nationally-ranked program. Over his 46-game career for Boston College, he made 269 tackles (161 solo) and had 2.5 sacks with two interceptions. A career highlight came in his junior season when he returned two fumble recoveries for touchdowns in a win over Maryland.
Jeremy Geathers – Defensive End, UNLV (6-2, 245): Geathers played two college seasons in Las Vegas after transferring to UNLV from Butler (Kan.) Community College and started 22 of 23 games he played for the Rebels, recording 72 tackles with 11 sacks. The son of former Saints and NFL star defensive lineman Jumpy Geathers, he was born in New Orleans and grew up in Andrews, South Carolina.
Lynell Hamilton – Running Back, San Diego State (6-0, 235):Hamilton is a powerful and explosive runner who starred for the Aztecs in his first two collegiate seasons prior to battling a knee and ankle injuries later in his career. Overall, he ran for 2,052 yards on 480 attempts with 14 touchdowns and caught 57 passes for 360 yards and three scores. The Stockton, California native was a freshman All-American in 2003, rushing for 1,087 yards in only 10 games before suffering a broken ankle.
Nate McManus – Guard, Georgia Tech (6-3, 300):A three-year starter on the offensive line for the Yellow Jackets, McManus started 32 consecutive games at Georgia Tech before being sidelined midway through his senior season with a shoulder injury. A right guard throughout his collegiate career, the native of Birmingham, Alabama also filled in at center at times when called upon.
Akim Millington – Tackle, Illinois (6-6, 313):A one-time college teammate of Saints left tackle Jammal Brown at Oklahoma, Millington transferred to Illinois and was a two-year starter for the Fighting Illini, anchoring the offensive line for a team that made its first Rose Bowl appearance in over 20 years in his senior season. Born in Trinidad, he hopes to follow in the path of former Illinois players Steve Weatherford and Pierre Thomas who have earned spots on the Saints' opening day roster after signing with the team as undrafted free agents in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
Evan Moore – Wide Receiver, Stanford (6-7, 236):A one-time two-sport star for the Cardinal, having also played basketball at Stanford in his first two years on campus, Moore signs with the Saints and becomes the tallest wideout on the roster. He finished his collegiate career with 103 catches for 1,555 yards and 12 touchdowns, playing in 38 games over five seasons (he was granted a medical redshirt after suffering a season-ending dislocated hip in the opener of his original junior season of 2005).
T.C. Ostrander– Quarterback, Stanford (6-3, 215):Ostrander played in 30 games over his collegiate career at Stanford with 12 starts, taking over the reins of the Cardinal offense at the departure of current Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards. He finished with career totals of 297 completions on 580 attempts, good for 3,783 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Ostrander missed one game during his senior season of 2007 after suffering a seizure, but returned to action the next week and closed out his career with a win over Cal.
Waylon Prather – Punter, San Jose State (6-3, 225):A four-year punter for the Spartans of San Jose State, Prather averaged 40.0 yards per kick over the course of his career and dropped 80 of his 235 punts inside the 20-yard line. The Ben Lomond, California native was named first-team All-Western Athletic Conference as a junior when he averaged 43.9 yards per punt and also served as the team's holder for his final two seasons.
David Roach – Safety, Texas Christian (6-2, 215):Roach was a two-year starter in the secondary for the Horned Frogs, notching 166 tackles in 47 career games while playing both free and strong safety spots at times. He was a second-team All-Mountain West Conference selection as a senior as he posted a career-best 76 tackles with an interception and two forced fumbles.
Luke Sanders – Linebacker, Louisiana State (6-5, 242):Sanders played in 44 games in his career in Baton Rouge and started 22 times, including opening 11 games during his senior season of 2007 that saw the Tigers win the national championship. The Monroe native can play both inside and outside linebacker and totaled 75 career tackles with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles for LSU.
Rocky Schwartz – Safety, Houston (5-10, 200):Schwartz was a four-year starter on the college level and tallied a total of 313 tackles despite missing nearly all of his junior season after going down with a knee injury early in the year. He twice led Houston in tackles, including this past season as he racked up 103 stops with two interceptions along with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a senior.
Ryan Senser – Long Snapper, Ohio (6-3, 227):Senser served as the long snapper for the University of Ohio Bobcats for three seasons after transferring from Arizona State. The Westerville, Ohio native snapped in 36 career games and made seven special teams tackles along with a fumble recovery.
Olaniyi Sobomehin – Fullback, Portland State (6-1, 230):After playing two years at Oregon State, Sobomehin transferred to his hometown school of Portland State and played in 19 games with eight starts over his final two campaigns. He led the Vikings in rushing as a senior with 515 yards on 110 carries with eight touchdowns and also caught 40 passes for 377 yards with three scores. Despite playing in only nine games after suffering a broken wrist, he was named a second-team All-Big Sky Conference selection.
Kevin Tuminello – Center, Georgia Tech (6-4, 285):A three-year starter at center for Georgia Tech, Tuminello was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference pick for the Yellow Jackets as a senior. He closed his career with 39 consecutive starts in the middle of the offensive line and was also a two-time Academic All-ACC selection.
Loomis also announced that the team has waived defensive tackle McKinley Boykin, running back Jamaal Branch, wide receiver Carlton Brewster and defensive end Josh Cooper. Boykin, Branch and Cooper each first joined the Saints in 2006, while Brewster was signed as a free agent earlier this offseason.