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Colts continue to stock up via collegiate free agencyPosted Monday, April 26, 2010, at 3:26 PM
Much has already been made of the Indianapolis Colts' 2010 NFL draft class. Scrutiny began almost immediately as rabid fans absorbed the picks that draft wunderkind, Bill Polian, and his crack staff made to bolster a talented roster that capped an NFL record decade of cumulative victories. Add to that an appearance in last season's Super Bowl and the average fan might find that there should be few holes to fill via draft and free agency. However, what has made the team so successful over that decade is what the team has added via draft and the ensuing collegiate free agency period.
One of the most intriguing collegiate free agent signees includes a player with a very familiar last name.
Javarris James, a 6'0, 208 lb. running back out of the University of Miami, has some pretty good blood lines when you consider that his older brother is the Colts' career rushing leader with 9,226 yards during seven years with the team. If you haven't guessed it yet, Javarris is the younger brother of Edgerrin.
Javarris James went undrafted after a Hurricanes' career that saw him appear in 46 games at Miami where he rushed for 2,162 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The Colts also agreed to terms with Western Michigan quarterback Tim Hiller; place-kicker Brett Swenson and wide receiver Blair White of Michigan State; Florida kick returner Brandon James; Ohio cornerback Thad Turner; Buffalo safety Mike Newton; Cincinnati offensive tackle Jeff Linkenbach; William & Mary safety David Caldwell; Arizona linebacker Vuna Tuihalamaka and Purdue cornerback Brandon King.
Hiller might be the most well-known of the signees after a career that saw him set the school passing mark with 11,329 career yards with 99 touchdowns and 1,013 completions in 1,607 attempts.
Not that Peyton Manning's job is in jeopardy with the signing, but he gives the Colts another warm body in camp since Curtis Painter wasn't exactly a world beater last season and Jim Sorgi has since moved on to the Giants via free agency.
Brandon James comes in as someone who can give former IU Hoosier, Ray Fisher, some competition as a special teams performer in kick and punt returns. James set four SEC and 11 Florida records for kickoff and punt returns. The dimunitive, 5'7, 185-pounder averaged 26.1 yards with a TD on kickoff returns and averaged 7.4 yards on punt returns. He returned four career punts for scores.
Michigan State's White is another large receiver at 6'2, 200 lbs. and he caught 70 passes as a senior for 990 yards and nine touchdowns.
If there's any doubt about the Colts' proficiency at finding talent via collegiate free agency, the roster currently includes 11 players that signed as collegiate free agents after the draft. The list includes: linebackers Gary Brackett and Ramon Humber, safeties Melvin Bullitt and Jamie Silva, cornerback Jacob Lacey, defensive lineman Eric Foster, long-snapper Justin Snow, wide receivers Sam Giguere and John Matthews, and tight ends Gijon Robinson and Colin Cloherty.
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