Attempting to address personnel needs across the board, the Green Bay Packers have signed 11 undrafted free agents to their 2003 roster, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced Friday.
The newcomers, added in search of both speed and depth, include seven on offense, among them a quarterback and three linemen, and four on defense – including a pair of linemen.
The quarterback is 6-3, 224-pound Jose Fuentes of Utah State, a record-breaking, three-year starter as a collegian.
The mix also includes one who is bidding to become a "second generation" Packer, cornerback Quentus Cumby of Kentucky, the nephew of George Cumby, a first-round draft selection by Green Bay in 1980. George Cumby, the 26th player chosen, went on to wear a Packers uniform for six seasons and help Green Bay earn a playoff berth in 1982.
Those signed, in addition to Fuentes and Cumby:
Cornerback Keith Burnell of Delaware
Fullback Tommy Collins of Connecticut
Tight end Matt Huebner of St. Cloud State
Defensive tackle/defensive end Cullen Jenkins of Central Michigan
Linebacker Shantee Orr of Michigan
Tackle David Porter of Iowa
Defensive end Eric Powell of Florida State
Guard/tackle Jamil Soriano of Harvard
Halfback J.R. Taylor of Eastern Illinois
Fuentes, who earned starting status in the third game of his sophomore season, made a wholesale assault on the Utah State record book, setting 18 game and career marks. They include career records for pass attempts (1,270), completions (704), touchdowns (60) and total offense, (8,791 yards).
Along the way, he also set single-season marks for pass completions, 260, and most consecutive passes attempted without an interception, 184.
Burnell, who hails from the University of Delaware, where he played running back for most of the 2002 season, intrigued Packers scouts and coaches with his straightaway speed, having been timed at 4.3 seconds for 40 yards.
Burnell, moved to cornerback by the Green Bay coaching staff in preparing for the team's current mini-camp, started the final nine games of last season at running back and posted a career-high 956 yards on 222 carries (a 4.3) average, with nine touchdowns.
A versatile athlete, he played tailback, receiver and defensive back at Virginia Tech before transferring to Delaware – in order to stay at tailback – for his final season. Over his collegiate career, he gained 1,788 yards on 395 carries in 34 games, and scored 19 touchdowns.
Collins, 6-3 and 252 pounds, appeared in 42 games at fullback for the University of Connecticut and later went on to start a total of 16 games at tight end, including the entire 2002 season. In the latter role, he posted 69 career catches for 802 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a senior, when he served as team captain, Collins made 39 receptions – the fifth-best single-season total by a tight end in UConn history. His six TDs in 2002 and his 10 career scores also were the second best in school annals for a TE.
Cumby, 6-1 and 207 pounds, started every game of the 2002 season for Kentucky's Wildcats and led the team with a career-high 87 tackles (52 solos). Playing in 42 regular season games overall, with 18 starts, Cumby closed out his college career with 155 tackles, 12 pass break-ups and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Huebner, a 6-4, 274-pound native of Rhinelander, Wis., closed out the 2002 season as St. Cloud State's No. 2 receiver with 46 receptions for 641 yards, a 13.9-yard average, and 6 touchdowns.
Jenkins, 6-3 and 294 pounds, was a three-year starter at Central Michigan after playing in 9 games in 1999 as a true freshman. He recorded 40 tackles – 20 solos and 20 assists – while closing out his collegiate career in 2002, posting 7 tackles for 39 yards in losses and 4.5 quarterback sacks for 37 yards in losses.
Porter, 6-5 and 317 pounds, earned All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention for Iowa's Hawkeyes, starting all 12 games and collecting 52 key blocks as the offense averaged 432.5 yards per game. A two-year starter at right offensive tackle, he was an All-Big Ten Conference second-team selection as a junior in 2001.
Orr, a three-year letter winner at Michigan, elected to test his skills in the NFL rather than return for his senior season at Ann Arbor. Overall, he played in 35 games for the Wolverines, recording 79 tackles (59 solos), with 13 quarterback sacks for a minus-90 yards, 26 stops for losses of 113 yards, 9 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles and 3 kick blocks. A defensive end for the Wolverines, he has been moved to linebacker on Green Bay's roster.
Powell, a highly-regarded performer coming out of junior college, received a medical redshirt in 2001 when he was wounded in an off-field incident and missed the last 10 games of the season. Returned to health and the field in 2002, he played in all 14 games for the Seminoles, posting 34 tackles (23 solos), 5.5 tackles for 20 yards in losses, 2 sacks for a minus-6 yards and was credited with 10 hurries.
Soriano, 6-4 and 310 pounds, was an All-Ivy League, All-Eastern College Athletic Conference and All-New England first-team selection following the 2002 season. Starting all 10 games at right tackle for Harvard, he registered 102 key blocks/knockdowns to pave the way for one of the most explosive aerial attacks in the Division 1-AA ranks as Harvard ranked eighth in the nation with an average of 426.7 yards per game.
Taylor, a 6-1, 229-pound running back, led Eastern Illinois last season with a career-high 1,522 yards rushing on 254 attempts (a 6.0 average) and 18 touchdowns and was an All-American first-team choice by The NFL Draft Report, Associated Press and the Sports Network. A model of consistency for the Panthers, he carried 636 times for 3,705 yards (a 5.8-yard average) over his collegiate career, scoring 49 touchdowns in 44 games.