Red Wolves in the NFL
Sep 4, 2017
By Kevin Hulett
The Arkansas State Red Wolves’ first game of 2017 is in the books, and now we’re knocking on the door of the NFL season. While A-State has a new cast of great talent, there are a few stars from yesteryear that are currently on NFL rosters, living every college football player’s dream. Let’s take a look at former Red Wolves in the NFL.
Derek Newton – Offensive Tackle, Houston Texans
The most veteran Red Wolf still playing in the NFL is the 6’5″, 315-lb. from Utica, MS, Derek Newton. First attending Hinds Community College, he came to A-State in 2008 and was named to the 2009 Second Team All-Sun Belt and 2010 First Team All-Sun Belt teams. Newton was drafted in 2011 by the Houston Texans in the 7th round and has remained with the team ever since. In early 2015 he was re-signed to a 5-year, $25.6 million contract. In six years, Newton has played in 76 games and started 62 of them.
Demario Davis – Linebacker, New York Jets
Another former A-State standout is the 6’2″, 242-lb. from Collins, MS, Demario Davis. Davis anchored the Red Wolves’ defense for multiple seasons and was named to the 2011 First Team All-Sun Belt team. In 2012, he was drafted by the New York Jets in the 3rd round and was compared to Ray Lewis by his new coach, Rex Ryan. In 2016, Davis signed a 2-year deal with the Cleveland Browns worth $8 million, and in 2017 he was traded from Cleveland back to the Jets.
Don Jones – Defensive Back, San Francisco 49ers
4-year journeyman, Don Jones has called several places home throughout his football career. Originally from Town Creek, AL, Jones came to Arkansas State in 2009 to play running back under Steve Roberts. After one season he transferred to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where he moved to the safety position. After one season there, in 2011 Davis returned to A-State to play defensive back and linebacker for Hugh Freeze. In 2013, the 5’11”, 191-lb. Red Wolf was drafted by the Miami Dolphins, where he would play for one season. Over the next few seasons he would play for the Patriots, Dolphins again, Saints, Browns, and Texans before landing where he currently resides, the 49ers. Davis is currently under contract for two years in San Francisco.
J.D. McKissic – Running Back, Seattle Seahawks
J.D. McKissic, 5’11”, 193 lbs., hails from Phenix City, AL. McKissic had a historic college career at A-State, playing wide receiver, where he amassing 289 career receptions, the most in Sun Belt Conference history. He went undrafted in 2016 and was promptly signed by the Atlanta Falcons. In December 2016, he was waived and then claimed by the Seattle Seahawks, which is where he currently resides.
Chris Odom – Defensive End, Green Bay Packers
The newest Red Wolf in the NFL is the 6’4″, 256-lb. defensive end, Chris Odom. As a senior, Odom racked up 12.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. He went undrafted after the 2017 NFL draft but was then signed by the Falcons. After not making the final roster, he was signed by the Green Bay Packers where he will begin his NFL career. We wish Chris Odom the best as he begins this new journey.