Trio of Owls Continue Playing Career as NFL Free Agents
Harrison Bryant became the 10th FAU player to be drafted on Saturday afternoon as his name was called in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft within the 115th pick by the Cleveland Browns.
In addition to Bryant, three other Florida Atlantic University football players will see their professional careers begin as NFL free agents.
CB James Pierre, LB Rashad Smith, and OL Brandon Walton are off to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, and Buffalo Bills respectively.
Pierre will be one of six Owl defensive backs currently listed on an NFL roster and one of two players with the Steelers.
He played in 39 games during his three-year collegiate career, missing just one opportunity in 2019, and tallied 120 career tackles, including 8.5 for a loss of 27 yards.
Pierre (photo below) defended 18 passes and came away with three interceptions, all three in 2019.
As a freshman, he was a part of the Owls’ first Conference USA Championship and Boca Raton Bowl and was instrumental in FAU repeating both championship feats in 2019.
With the selection, Pierre will have the opportunity to join former teammate and current Steeler running back/kick returner Kerrith Whyte.
Smith (photo above) contributed in every aspect of the Owls' defense and was the 2019 Boca Raton Bowl Defensive MVP.
Smith’s signature will mark the 48th Owl to extend his football career with an NFL team since 2004 when long snapper Brian Pare signed with the Bears, becoming the first Owl to ink his name on an NFL contract. Smith is the second in as many years to do so after running back/kick returner Kerrith Whyte was drafted by the Bears in 2019.
The linebacker appeared in 51 games as an Owl and was all over the field tallying 316 tackles, including 31 for a loss of 113 yards, of which 11.5 were sacks. He had seven interceptions, defended 15 passes, forced two fumbles and recovered six. The quiet leader led the Owls to two Conference USA titles in three seasons and two Boca Raton Bowl championships.
With the completion of the deal, Smith will join former teammate Azeez Al-Shaair, who is with San Francisco, and Adarius (Glanton) Taylor, who is with the Cleveland Browns, as one of three linebackers.
Walton (photo above) paved the way for Florida Atlantic University’s running backs the last four seasons, and will be afforded the opportunity to reunite with current Bills’ running back Devin Singletary, the Owls’ record holder in nearly every rushing category.
Walton played in 44 collegiate games, was part of two Conference USA Championship teams and he started in both Boca Raton Bowl victories, the first at right tackle, the second at left tackle. He provided protection for not only potential future teammate Singletary, but also for Buddy Howell, who is with Houston, and Kerrith Whyte who plays for Pittsburgh. He also bought time for three quarterbacks, two of which were record-setting. Walton worked under the direction of three different coordinators, all of whom ran variations of an up-tempo offense.
With the completion of the deal, Walton will join 15 Owls currently listed on an NFL roster. He is the lone offensive lineman among them.
FAU in the 2020 NFL Draft - FAU Owl's Nest
FAU Tight End Harrison Bryant Drafted By Browns - FAU Owl's Nest