After months of waiting in NFL lockout limbo, four former members of the Wisconsin football team who went unselected in April’s draft finally got their call up to the big leagues.
WKOW-TV reported Tuesday morning that quarterback Scott Tolzien agreed to a deal with the San Diego Chargers, while the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that running back John Clay and cornerback Niles Brinkey agreed to terms with the defending AFC champions.
Late Monday night, wide receiver and return-specialist David Gilreath confirmed to the Wisconsin State Journal that he will sign with the Indianapolis Colts.
Tolzien won the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given annually to the nation’s top senior quarterback. In guiding the Badgers to a Rose Bowl appearance last season, Tolzien completed 72.9 percent of his passes and finished with a 165.8 passer rating, both single-season bests in school history.
In San Diego, he’ll be expected to compete for a job backing up three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers.
Clay, meanwhile, became a Doak Walker Award finalist during his junior year as one of the top running backs in college football. After registering his second consecutive 1,000-yard season last year, Clay moved up to seventh on Wisconsin’s career rushing list with 3,413 yards.
Clay’s stature – 6-foot-1, 248 pounds – figures to be an ideal fit in Pittsburgh’s traditional power-running game.
Brinkley earned All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches last season, while Gilreath holds Big Ten records for kickoff returns (135) and kickoff yards (3,025).