Kurt Warner, Warren Moon, and John Randle – what do these three guys have in common? All three are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and undrafted free agents. Those three are famous cases, but what about the other UDFA who don't have a Hall of Fame career? What every UDFA takes with them is grit, heart, and determination to make the 53-man roster.
The Green Bay Packers know something about that as they sign players with those three traits. Players like cornerback Willie Wood, fullback John Kuhn, tight end Paul Coffman, and cornerback Sam Shields. These are examples of Packers who were undrafted that went on to have successful tenures in GB.
Those success stories don't end there though. The Green Bay Packers 2023 UDFA could be filled with future contributors who have a chip on their shoulders. Here's a look at those players and their journies.
Green Bay Packers 2023 UDFA Players & Their Journeys to Pro Football
Despite being a four-time All-Mountain West honoree (2019 & 2021 Second Team, and 2020 & 2022 Honorable Mention), Keshawn Banks went undrafted.
Up to this point, Banks has had a good football career. Banks played varsity for Rio Rancho High School in Rio Rancho, N.M., where he led the Rams to a 13-0 record and a state title in 2016.
Banks has been a durable player throughout his career, as he played all 47 of his final collegiate games.
Brenton Cox Jr. a star high school player, started off his career at Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, Ga. Cox Jr. transferred to Stockbridge High School in Stockbridge, Ga., to play for longtime Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley. A five-star recruit, Cox Jr. committed to play at Georgia, where he played one season for the Bulldogs before transferring to Florida.
During his college career, Cox. Jr. was a two-time SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll (2019-20), Two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll (2020-21), and earned his Bachelor's in Education Sciences in 2022.
On the gridiron, Cox Jr. was Co-SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week in Week 1 of last season. Additionally, Cox Jr. was AP-All SEC's second team in 2020.
Chuck Filiaga played high school football at Aledo High School in Aledo, Texas. Filiaga led a unit along the offensive line that was strong in throwing the football (3,851 yards) and running the ball (4,656 yards). A four-star recruit, Filiaga played in the 2017 All-American Bowl and first ever Polynesian Bowl. Filiaga was also named USA Today All-USA Texas First-Team as a senior.
Filiaga started his collegiate career at Michigan, where he appeared in 39 career games with eight starts at left guard and three at right guard.
Ahead of the 2022 season, Filiaga transferred to Minnesota, where he started all 13 games at right guard. He helped block for a potent Minnesota offense that rushed for 2,698 yards and threw for 33 touchdowns.
Filiaga was named All Big-Ten third team and honorable mention in the 2022 season.
Malik Heath was an accomplished high-school player, as he was named the No. 1 player in Mississippi by ESPN, Rivals, and 247 Sports. Heath was then selected for Under-Armor All-American Game as a senior.
Heath started his career at Copiah-Lincoln Community College (2018-19) before playing two seasons at Mississippi State (2020-21) and a season at Mississippi (2022). In the 2022 season, Heath was named All-SEC Third Team by PFF.
Before making the switch to the defensive line, Jason Lewan was quite the offensive player at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, Ill. Lewan had 30 catches for 461 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior and was also a two-time academic all-conference selection.
Lewan saw action in 47 games with 41 starts in five seasons (2018-22) for Illinois State.
A four-star prospect in California, and a top-ranked tight end by ESPN and Rivals, Camren McDonald played in 58 games for the Seminoles totaling 74 catches for 874 yards and five touchdowns.
He is the recipient of the Bob Crenshaw Award in 2022. The award is given to the player who displays the biggest heart in FSU Football.
A three-star prospect out of Texas, Christian Morgan recorded the top Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, and Quickness (SPARQ) score of 144.00 in the state.
Morgan was a three-year starter for Baylor, totaling 163 tackles (110 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and seven interceptions in 47 games. He was selected as All-Big 12 honorable mention in 2020 and 2021.
Even better in the classroom, Morgan was on the Big-12 Commissioners Honor Roll all four years and was awarded a 2022 Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 honor.
A three-star prospect in New Jersey, Henry Pearson caught 28 balls for 393 yards and five touchdowns as a senior. He was named Second-Team All-Linebacker on the All-Non-Public Football Team for NJ.com.
In high school, Pearson was also a solid lacrosse player, as he had 44 goals in his junior year. He played tight end for the Mountaineers but was listed as a fullback by the Packers. Pearson finished with 58 catches for 897 yards and 11 TDs in 59 games (43 starts) for Appalachian State. He was named Second-Team All-Sun Belt in 2022.
Jimmy Phillips Jr. was named First-Team All-District as a junior at Poteet High School in Mesquite, Texas.
Phillips Jr. saw action in 59 games from 2018-2022 for SMU, which tied the school record for career games played. He finished with 179 tackles (117 solo), 15.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two INTs, nine passes defensed, a forced fumble, and two blocked kicks.
In 2021, he was named Honorable Mention All-AAC by Pro Football Focus. Phillips Jr. is also the recipient of the Make a Difference Challenge Award through Cowboys U and Jason Garrett's Starfish Charities.
Benny Sapp III Played at Eden Prairie High School in Eden Prairie, Minn. He was a three-star recruit and No. 2 overall recruit out of Minnesota.
Sapp III played in 24 games at the University of Minnesota (2018-19) before appearing in 30 games for the University of Northern Iowa (2020-22). In three seasons at Northern Iowa, he recorded 138 tackles (83 solo), 1.5 tackles for a loss, nine INTs, 16 passes defensed, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
He was named FCS Third-Team All-American and First-Team All- MVC. He was the first Northern Iowa Panther to be named on the 2023 Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List.
Kadeem Telfort played high school football at Miami Norland, where he helped the Tornadoes into a 2016 appearance in the FHSAA Class 4A State Championship
Telfort started his career at the University of Florida before playing three seasons at UAB, where he appeared in 31 games with 28 starts from 2020-22. He was named First-Team All-Conference USA at left tackle. Telfort helped engineer the eighth-ranked rushing offense in the FBS.
Duece Watts began his career at Jones County Junior College (Ellisville, Miss.), where he was named All-MACJC before playing three seasons (2020-22) at Tulane. He saw action in 37 games for the Green Wave registering 81 receptions, for 1,407 yards with 16 TDs. Watts earned second-team All-AAC honors from the College Football Network.
What Is Compelling About a UDFA Player's Story?
Imagine an athlete's story like a blank canvas on a painting. All of these players came from different colleges, and some took different routes to get to this point. Some of these UDFA playerss even went to community college before transferring to bigger schools.
Going undrafted, there are feelings of disappointment and opportunity. But, opportunity comes knocking when you sign with a team and get to showcase your talent on the football field.
A story from a UDFA would be inspirational and tell about continuing to work hard to achieve their goals. Any of these 2023 Packers UDFA players could be a great guest speaker at your next event.
Packers Booking Agent Contact Information
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MSM has certainly earned a reputation of being the one to call for booking top athletes for events and shows. To learn more about Packers players' appearance costs and booking fees, please call us today.
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