FCS champion Dukes hopeful over NFL prospects

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(STATS) - If no player from FCS national champion James Madison hears his name called during the NFL Draft, it won't stay that way afterward.

While many pre-draft projections don't have any of the Dukes' seniors getting selected in the three-day, seven-round draft, the group is deep and talented, and will be coveted quickly with free agent contracts.

Since 21 NFL teams attended JMU's pro day March 16, second-year coach Mike Houston said offensive guard Mitch Kirsch, running back Khalid Abdullah, cornerback Taylor Reynolds, and wide receiver/punt returner Rashard Davis have drawn the most interest.

Kirsch, who sat out James Madison's playoff run to the national title, and Davis (punt returner) made the 2016 STATS FCS All-America first team. Including the four postseason games, Abdullah led the FCS in rushing yards (1,809) and touchdowns (25), and was a second-team selection. Reynolds made the third team.

Linebacker Gage Steele, the Dukes' leading tackler, offensive guard Matt Frank and wide receivers Brandon Ravenel and Dom Taylor also hope to draw free agent contracts.

"At the end of the day," Abdullah said, "I think they're looking for people who ooze that confidence and are willing to go out there and put their best foot forward no matter what the scouts are asking you to do."