CHARLOTTE, NC. - Eight former NJCAA football players will be a part of the action of Super Bowl LIII this Sunday in Atlanta, Ga. That list is split evenly between four for the New England Patriots and four for the Los Angeles Rams.
|Name||Pos.||NJCAA Program||NCAA Program||NFL Team|
|Cordarrelle Patterson||WR||Hutchinson (KS)||Tennessee||New England Patriots|
|Ufomba Kamalu||DT||Butler (KS)||Miami (FL)||New England Patriots|
|Brandon King||LB||Highland (KS)||Auburn (AL)||New England Patriots|
|Trent Brown||OL||Georgia Military||Florida||New England Patriots|
|KhaDarel Hodge||WR||Hinds (MS)||Prairie View A&M (TX)||Los Angeles Rams|
|Gerald Everett||TE||Hutchinson (KS)||UAB (AL)/South Alabama||Los Angeles Rams|
|Josh Reynolds||WR||Tyler (TX)||Texas A&M||Los Angeles Rams|
|Trevon Young||DE||Iowa Western||Louisville||Los Angeles Rams|
One of the bigger names this weekend is Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson, a wide receiver for the Patriots is approaching 2,000 career receiving yards in the NFL. In his first season in Foxborough, Patterson has recorded 21 receptions and three receiving touchdowns.
While at Hutchinson, Patterson recorded several Blue Dragon career records; 113 career receptions, 1,832 receiving yards, and 36 touchdowns (24 receiving, six rushing, six kick return). Elite performances landed him NJCAA All-American status twice, a rare feat. Highly touted coming out of the junior college ranks, Patterson went on to play at Tennessee for one year where he continued his multiple-position status. At Rocky Top, he recorded 10 total touchdowns and earning First Team All-SEC honors before declaring early for the 2013 NFL Draft where he was selected in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings with the 29th pick. Patterson has been selected twice to the Pro Bowl (2013, 2016) and has recorded 23 career touchdowns.
Ufomba Kamalu didn't start the season with Patriots. In fact, this is his third team in this year alone, but it's hard to argue with getting to play in the Super Bowl. Furthermore, Kamalu-- a native of Aba, Nigeria-- didn't start playing football until he was 14. The defensive end has seen limited playing time this season but did see the field in the Patriots final two regular season games.
Kamalu was a standout in his one season with Butler. Recording 54 tackles, 14 for loss, and 7.5 sacks in El Dorado, Kamalu went on to play for three seasons at Miami (Fla.). recording 48 total tackles. He was voted the team's Defensive MVP during his senior year.
Like Patterson and Kamalu, former Highland Scottie Brandon King came from the talent-rich KJCCC. During his time as a Scottie, King was an impactful player on defense jumping in immediately in his freshman season and making an impact but busting out for a huge sophomore campaign notching a school-record 122 total tackles in a season. Over his two seasons at Highland he amassed 199 total tackles, ranking number one in school history for a career. After two seasons at Highland King played two seasons at Auburn where he played three different defensive positions.
King already has a Super Bowl ring, winning with the Patriots two years ago over the Atlanta Falcons in the historic comeback. King has recorded 43 career tackles in his four-year NFL career with the Patriots.
Trent Brown rounds out the former NJCAA talent on the 53-man roster of the Patriots. The offensive line tackle played for two seasons for run-heavy Georgia Military. A dominant 2012 season netted him NJCAA All-American honors. Standing at 6-foot-8 and 363 pounds, Brown was the biggest lineman in Florida Gators history when he continued his career there.
Heading into this season's playoffs, Brown had started every game for the Patriots. That brought his career total to 47 games played and 44 started-- an impressive mark for a career that started in Milledgeville, Ga.
The Los Angeles Rams have four former NJCAA players appearing on their 53-man roster, too.
KhaDarel Hodge was a "bounceback" player for Hinds in 2014 after spending a redshirt season at Alcorn State. While at Hinds, Hodge made the transition from quarterback to wide receiver. Hodge continued on to play at Prairie View A&M, where he recorded 104 receptions for 1,805 yards and 21 touchdowns. His senior year alone accounted for 844 yards and 12 touchdowns of his total line.
Hodge signed on as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Rams on 2018. He was cut ahead of the September 4th 53-man deadline and signed to the Rams practice squad. Just three weeks later, Hodge was promoted back on to the 53-man roster where has remained since. Appearing in 14 games so far this year for the Rams, Hodge has recorded two receptions and five tackles on special teams.
Tyler's former one-year wonder Josh Reynolds will be in Atlanta, too. Reynolds recorded 39 receptions for 718 yards and 11 touchdowns in his one year in Tyler. His yards per catch (18.4) and touchdown marks ranked top 10 in the NJCAA in 2013. Reynolds was recruited by several big-time programs, including highly-ranked Oregon and TCU.
Reynolds would ultimately stay in-state, signing to Texas A&M. He would make an immediate (and big) impact for the Aggies. In his sophomore campaign alone, Reynolds notched 842 yards on 52 receptions, good for 13 touchdowns-- a school record. Reynolds would increase his yardage output each subsequent season, finishing his time in College Station with 2,788 yards and 30 receiving touchdowns.
Like the Patriots' Patterson, Gerald Everett made a stop in Hutchinson, too. Following two seasons in the heart of Kansas, Everett moved on to play for UAB for a year before their program was temporarily ceased. He moved to South Alabama for his two final years of eligibility, earning All-Sun Belt honors in both years and highlighted by a stat line of 717 yards and four touchdowns as a senior.
That success prompted an invitation to the 2017 Senior Bowl, where he impressed scouts enough to be selected in the second round of 2017 NFL Draft by the Rams. He became the first-ever play from South Alabama to be drafted. Now in nearly two full seasons with the Rams, the tight end has recorded 49 receptions, 576 yards, and five touchdowns.
Trevon Young played for one season at Iowa Western. In that one year, Young produced elite numbers; 44 tackles, two fumble recoveries, and four passes broken up (for a defensive lineman). His most impressive line though was 13.5 sacks for -116 net yardage.
Young signed with Louisville and was there for the next three years. Recording 13 sacks in his time with the Cardinals, Young was named the ACC's Brian Piccolo Award recipient, a superlative award that goes to the "Most Courageous" player in the conference. He was taken in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Much like teammate Hodge, Young was initially waived and signed to the practice squad. in November. On December 11th, Young was promoted back to the 53-man roster where he remains heading into Super Bowl Weekend.
Original photo courtesy: Randy Smith/Butler CC Athletics; Tracy Duncan/Hinds CC; Bert Williams/Georgia Military College Athletics; Don Kohler/Iowa Western Marketing; Mike Smith/Highland CC Athletics; Steve Carpenter/Hutchinson CC Athletics