Former Boise State cornerback Jerrell Gavins will head to Tampa next week for a three-day rookie tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gavins confirmed the news to the Press-Tribune Saturday night after he wasn’t selected in the NFL Draft.

“All I asked for was an opportunity from God and I got it,” Gavins said in a text message. “Now I know it’s time to capitalize.”

Boise State had just one player selected in the NFL Draft, corner Jamar Taylor to Miami in the second round Friday. It was the first time since 2010 that they didn’t have multiple selections.

Gavins, who started at defensive back in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, had 31 tackles in 13 games last season with two interceptions, four pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. He had three interceptions in three games in 2011 before tearing his ACL and missing the rest of the season.

Former Boise State running back D.J. Harper was close to a free agent deal Saturday night but told the Press-Tribune he didn’t want to comment until the deal was finalized. Harper rushed for 1,137 yards and 15 touchdowns last season as a senior.

Linebackers Tommy Smith and J.C. Percy, defensive tackle Mike Atkinson, fullback Dan Paul and defensive lineman Darren Koontz are also candidates to be signed as non-drafted free agents in the coming days.

Four former Vandals get NFL deals

Former Idaho Vandals safety Gary Walker, punter Bobby Cowan, wide receiver Justin Veltung and cornerback Aaron Grymes signed free agent NFL contracts. Walker signed with the Baltimore Ravens,  Cowan with the Oakland Raiders, Veltung with the Seattle Seahawks and Grymes with the Green Bay Packers.

Walker, who led Idaho with 99 tackles, had six pass break-ups, a fumble recovery and a 94-yard interception return last season. He initially tweeted that it was between Oakland and Buffalo before later tweeting that he would be reporting to Baltimore on Thursday.

Cowan could replace Shane Lechler as the starting punter in Oakland. He had 70 punts for an average of 43.1 yards per punt and had 20 punts of at least 50 yards. He landed 13 inside the 20-yard line.

Kicker Trey Farquhar, who went 19-for-25 on field goals and hit five from beyond 50 yards, is also a candidate to sign a free-agent deal in the near future.

ISU  lands two in NFL

Former Idaho State wide receiver Rodrick Rumble and tight end Josh Hill will get a shot at the NFL. Rumble landed a free-agent deal with the Indianapolis Colts and Hill signed with the New Orleans Saints.

Rumble set Idaho State career records with 223 receptions and 2,863 receiving yards and ranks fifth and sixth respectively in FCS history.  He had 74 catches for 1,006 yards and six touchdowns last year despite missing the first two games.

Hill was named a third-team AP All-American last year after catching 70 passes for 630 yards and five touchdowns. He had 143 catches for 1,270 yards and nine touchdowns in his career at Idaho State.

Mountain View’s Thornton drafted by Indianapolis

Former Mountain View High product and Illinois offensive lineman Hugh Thornton was drafted in the third round Friday by the Indianapolis Colts. Thornton, who was selected with pick No. 86 overall, is a 6-3, 320-pounder that played left tackle, right tackle and guard at Illinois.

B.J Rains covers Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press-Tribune. He also makes daily appearances on ESPN Boise.

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