NFL Teams Load Up on Cougar Free Agents

April 26, 2004

PULLMAN, Wash. --- Washington State standouts D.D. Acholonu, Josh Parrish, and Jonathan Smith all agreed to terms with NFL clubs Monday.

All three players signed with AFC teams, as Acholonu went to Buffalo, Parrish to Pittsburgh, and Smith to Kansas City.

Acholonu racked up 16.5 sacks as a senior in 2003, which tied for the national lead. The, Seattle, Wash., native's 32.5 career sacks is second all-time at WSU. Acholonu forced eight fumbles and recovered five during his four years on the Palouse.

'This has been a tough process. There were 1,000 guys waiting to get their name called this weekend and obviously I was one of them,' Acholonu said. 'As a free agent, I have more to prove if I want a roster spot, but I'm excited about the opportunity to come in and try to do that.

'Going to Buffalo is a great situation for me. I'm going to have to learn to play a new position and the Bills' coaching staff is willing to help me become a linebacker. It's exciting going to the East Coast and an awesome franchise like Buffalo. They have a couple of Cougars on the roster already.'

Acholonu was one of 18 free agents to sign with Buffalo Monday.

Parrish joins the Steelers after starting 37 games as a Cougar and earning first team All-Pac-10 as a senior. The Chewelah, Wash., native was a versatile lineman at WSU, earning conference honorable mention honors as a sophomore at tackle before moving to guard for the final two years of his career.

'It's a good opportunity. They only have three guards right now so there is a better chance to move around and see if I can't make something work,' Parrish said. 'It will be a lot fun.'

Smith transferred to Washington State after a storied two-year run at Pasadena City College. The Gardena, Calif., native rushed for 963 yards as a senior, adding 349 receiving yards and 109 kick return yards. Smith earned second team All-Pac-10 honors in 2003.

'I was shocked at first but I knew that if I received the opportunity I would make something of it,' Smith said. 'I think a lot of people doubted my playing ability because of my size, but the Chiefs are excited about me. They want to give me the chance to play running back, a little receiver, and return punts and kicks. I'm just excited about the opportunity.'

Cougar Draft/Free Agent Recap
WR Devard Darling, Baltimore Ravens (3rd round, 82nd overall)
CB Jason David, Indianapolis Colts (4th round, 125th overall)
FS Erik Coleman, New York Jets (5th round, 143rd overall)
DE D.D. Acholonu, Buffalo Bills (Free Agent)
OL Josh Parrish, Pittsburgh Steelers (Free Agent)
RB Jonathan Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (Free Agent)

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