Although the Youngstown State University football team came up empty in having a player selected in the 2013 NFL draft, three former Penguins will get the opportunity to capture their professional dreams.
Shortly after the draft ended on Saturday night, YSU’s Jamaine Cook, Lamar Mady and Will Shaw agreed to undrafted free agent contracts with three different NFL teams.
Cook and Shaw will remain in the Midwest. Cook, the Penguins running back for the past three seasons, signed with the Cleveland Browns, while Shaw, the starting tight end for the past two seasons, inked a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mady, YSU’s starting right offensive guard for the past two seasons, will have a lot more traveling to do. He agreed to terms with the Oakland Raiders.
All three players earned Missouri Valley Football Conference honors for their performances this past season as the Penguins went 6-4 and missed the playoffs. Mady was an All-Conference Honorable Mention, while Cook and Shaw were named second-team All-MVFC.
With a well-documented four-year career at YSU, Cook set the school record for career all-purpose yardage. By racking up 5,220 total yards, he also leaves the Penguins with the second most rushing yards in school history.
In 43 games, he ran for 4,052 yards on 811 carries while scoring 39 touchdowns. He is also second all-time in 100-yard rushing games with 22. This past season, he ran for 1,279 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns.
A Cleveland native, Cook will compete for a roster spot behind Brown’s starting running back Trent Richardson.
As for the Brown’s division rival, the Steelers receive a raw, but physically-gifted tight end in Shaw.
At 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, Shaw converted from safety to linebacker in 2010. He then made his final position switch to tight end in 2011.
With the 2012 season being his first full season at tight end, he caught 35 passes for 429 yards and five TDs.
At Heinz Field — home of the Steelers — against the University of Pittsburgh in YSU’s season opener, Shaw caught three passes for 51 yards and two scores.
Another reason that Shaw received an NFL tryout was that he had an impressive performance at the Penguins Pro Day in early March. He bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times, recorded a vertical jump of 34.5 inches and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.73 seconds.
Mady also impressed the NFL scouts, although he did so at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind. in late February. He recorded the second-most bench press reps at the combine with a total of 35.
Further promoting his abilities, Mady participated in the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Game in early February.
In 2012, he anchored a Penguins offensive line that allowed only eight sacks, the fewest ever for a season in YSU history. In Oakland, he will join former YSU defensive back Brandian Ross.
The Raiders and Browns rookie minicamp will take place on May 10-12. The Steelers rookie minicamp will occur Friday and last through Sunday.