Six Golden Eagles from the 2015 season have signed with NFL teams
|Chris Whitehead, Assistant Director of Media Relations
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Six teammates from the 2015 Southern Miss football season have been signed to National Football League rosters.
Two Golden Eagles, wide receiver Mike Thomas and cornerback Kalan Reed, were drafted earlier this month during the NFL’s three-day, seven-round draft.
Offensive linemen Norman Price and Rashod Hill, running back Jalen Richard and defensive end Michael Smith each signed as free agents and placed on their respective teams’ 90-man rosters.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Thomas was a sixth-round selection of the Los Angeles Rams, while the 5-11, 198-pound Reed was taken by the Tennessee Titans as the final selection of the draft.
The 6-6, 309-pound Hill signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the 6-4, 311-pound Price signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
The 5-8, 207-pound Richard was signed by the Oakland Raiders, while the 6-4, 25-pound Smith was one of four free agents signed by the Titans and will join Reed in Nashville, Tenn.
Thomas, an All- Conference USA honorable mention selection as a senior, set a single-season Southern Miss records with 1,319 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015. The Chicago native’s 71 receptions in 2015 were the second-most in a season.
The Dodge Community College transfer finished with 112 catches for 1,983 yards and 19 touchdowns in his two-year career in Hattiesburg.
Reed, a first-team All-C-USA selection in 2015, finished with 56 tackles, including four for loss, with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a senior. The Birmingham, Ala., native set a single-season school record with 19 passes defended, including four interceptions.
A three-year starter and four-year lettermen, Reed had 12 interceptions and 35 passes defended in his Southern Miss career.
Hill’s signing with the Jaguars was a homecoming of sorts for the Jacksonville, Fla., native who prepped at Jacksonville Ed White High School.
Hill, a second-team All-Conference USA selection as a senior, was a three-year starter, including 26 consecutive starts at left tackle during his junior and senior seasons. All told, Hill appeared in 45 games in four seasons of play at Southern Miss, including 37 starts over his final three falls.
Price started all 14 games at right tackle in 2015. The Vicksburg native and Hinds Community College transfer appeared in nine games as a junior with five starts.
Richard, a first-team All-C-USA selection, signed with the Oakland turned in a stellar senior season, teaming with sophomore Ito Smith to give the Golden Eagles a pair of 1,000-yard rushers during the 2015 season.
Richard rushed for 1,098 yards on 185 carries, reaching the 1,000-yard plateau and becoming the first Golden Eagle to do so since 2009 against Old Dominion on Nov. 21.
The Alexandria, La., twice rushed for four touchdowns in a game in 2015 and finished with 14 rushing touchdowns, third-best on the Golden Eagles’ single-season chart.
Richard ran for 230 yards and four touchdowns against Texas State, the fourth-highest, single-game rushing total in Southern Miss annals.
He also collected a career-best 284 yards and two touchdowns on 30 catches and added another score on a 95-yard kickoff return at Charlotte.
On his career, Richard finished with 2,084 yards and 19 touchdowns on 397 carries, while adding another 675 yards and five touchdowns on 83 catches.
Smith, a second-team All-C-USA selection, collected 30 tackles in 2015. He had 7.5 tackles-for-loss, including two sacks, and a fumble recovery.
A four-year letterman, Smith started 44 games, including 11 of 12 as a freshman, all as a sophomore and all 14 as a senior. He finished with 116 tackles, with 13 tackles-for-loss, including five sacks.