Ferris State Football To Be Well-Represented On NFL Stage As Season Begins

FSU Football

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football squad continues to be well-represented in the National Football League (NFL) as the 2018 season unfolds this week.

The Bulldogs, who had a school all-time best seven individuals take part in NFL preseason training camps this year, had three individuals make NFL 53-man rosters for the regular season openers this week.

Former FSU standout defensive end Zach Sieler (Pinckney), who last spring became the first Bulldog ever to be drafted when he was picked by the Baltimore Ravens in the seventh round, was chosen as part of the Ravens' season-opening roster. They open NFL action on Sunday (Sept. 9) at home against the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m. (ET).

Meanwhile, former Bulldog defensive tackle Justin Zimmer (Greenville) earned a roster invite after a standout preseason with the Atlanta Falcons. After going to training camp with three different teams over the past three seasons, Zimmer earned his first 53-man roster nod for the Falcons' opener on Thursday (Sept. 7) night at Philadelphia, which begins at 8:20 p.m. (ET).

Finally, former Bulldog defensive back Tavierre Thomas (Detroit/Allen), who took part as a rookie in preseason camp with the Arizona Cardinals, was picked up by the Cleveland Browns as part of their 53-man roster for their regular season opener on Sunday at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1 p.m. (ET).

Along with the three alums who were tabbed to rosters, two other Bulldog products were named to practice squads as tight end and former two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jason Vander Laan  (Frankfort, Ill./Chicago Christian) remains with the Carolina Panthers and former linebacker Brady Sheldon (Novi) stayed on with the Cleveland Browns.

The final two Bulldogs who took part in preseason camps, defensive tackle Chris Okoye (Detroit/Catholic Central) with Cincinnati and wide receiver Jake Lampman (East Lansing/Haslett) with Tampa Bay, were both put on the injured reserve list after sustaining injuries late in camp.

Among the group, three have appeared in an NFL regular-season game in the past two seasons. Two seasons ago, Lampman became the first FSU player in 13 years to play on football's biggest stage in regular-season action while he was with the New Orleans Saints while both Vander Laan (Indianapolis Colts) and Sheldon (Oakland Raiders) were called up to the active roster with their respective organizations at the time late last fall.

In late April, Sieler became Ferris State's first-ever NFL Draft choice when he was picked in the seventh round as the 238th overall selection by the Ravens.

The seven Bulldog alums who took part in NFL camps represented the most in school history and the most D2 products of any school. Over the past six years, they've helped the Bulldogs become a national power on the Division II level under head coach Tony Annese, who has compiled the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in Michigan along with the GLIAC with a 61-14 overall mark in his tenure.