Five Southeastern Lions pursue NFL dreams

From SLU Athletics

HAMMOND – Five former Southeastern Louisiana football players will participate in upcoming NFL rookie mini-camps with the hope of earning an opportunity of playing at the next level.

The former Lions either were signed as undrafted free agents or received mini-camp invites. The group includes defensive back Todd Washington (Arizona Cardinals), defensive back Theo Alexander (Houston Texans), offensive lineman Gasten Gabriel (New York Jets), linebacker Cqulin Hubert (New Orleans Saints) and linebacker Devan Walker (Kansas City Chiefs).

Washington, a Lutcher native, was an honorable mention All-Southland Conference selection for the second straight season despite a season-ending injury in late October. In his three seasons with the Lions after transferring from Memphis, Washington played in 27 games. If he had not suffered the injury in 2013, most draft analysts expected him to be the second SLU defensive back to be drafted in as many years and to follow in the footsteps of 2013 second round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons Robert Alford.

Alexander, who hails from St. Louis, was a stalwart on the Lion defense as a senior, earning All-Southland accolades for the Southland Conference champions. Playing in all 14 games, Alexander finished the year second on the team with 81 tackles to go with a pair of interceptions.

Hubert, a Houston product, raised his game to another level as a senior after transferring to SLU from Texas Tech. The 2013 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year and AFCA All-America selection led the Lions with 90 tackles to go with 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, an interception and two blocked kicks.

Gabriel, a Jackson, La. native, earned All-Southland Conference honors for the third straight season in 2013. A first team all-league choice, Gabriel was the standout on an offensive line that cleared the way for an explosive SLU offense that averaged 38.4 points and 483.3 yards per contest.

Walker, who hails from Baton Rouge, will be invited to an NFL camp for the second straight year. Following his final 2012 season, the Lion pass rusher was invited to camp by the San Diego Chargers. Undaunted by not being picked up by the Chargers, Walker continued to dedicate himself to his dream of playing professionally. As a senior at SLU, Walker was a second team All-Southland and All-Louisiana choice after leading the Lions with 12.0 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

Several former Lions have seen recent success at the professional level. In addition to Alford, who was a key member of the Atlanta secondary as a rookie, former Lion Kevin Hughes played several games on the offensive line for the St. Louis Rams and was on the Green Bay Packers' practice squad, while former SLU quarterback Nathan Stanley has thrived for the AFL's San Jose SaberCats.