The New England Patriots signed a pair of second-round selections from the 2011 draft as well as a rookie free agent on August 2. Entering the world of the National Football League with contracts of undisclosed terms are former University of Virginia defensive back Ras-I Dowling, the 33rd overall selection, and running back Shane Vereen from the University of California, the 56th pick. Also signed was rookie free agent Christian Cox, a defensive end from the University of Utah.
The 6-1, 198-pound Dowling started 25 of 40 games at right cornerback for the Cavaliers and amassed 160 tackles (115 solo). He was voted a team captain in his senior year. His collegiate career started quickly when as a true freshman he played all 12 games, starting two.
Vereen, at 5-9, 205 pounds, had a solid career for the Golden Bears rushing for 2,834 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and scoring 29 touchdowns. He added 674 receiving yards with six touchdowns in 74 catches. He also returned 24 kickoffs for 551 yards as well as 10 punts. Vereen's 29 rushing touchdowns tied him for third with Marshawn Lynch on the all-time California list and Jahvid Best. Russell White is the all-time leader with 35 scored during the 1990-1992 seasons. Chuck Muncie is currently second on the list with 32 (1973-1975). Vereen's 4,069 all purpose yards is fifth best in Golden Bears history behind all-time leader Deltha O'Neal's 4,998 yards, White's 4,943 yards, Lynch's 4,574 yards and Muncie's 4,194 yards.
Cox, a 25-year old rookie at 6-3, 250 pounds was named as a first team all conference defensive end. The former walk-on started all 13 games for the Utes and was credited with 53 tackles and 4.0 sacks.
In other news, the Patriots severed practice squad quarterback Jonathan Crompton from the roster. Crompton, in his second year since leaving the University of Tennessee, had been a fifth-round 2010 draft pick of the San Diego Chargers. He was waived by the Chargers on September 4, 2010, signed to their practice squad on September 5th only to be waived by San Diego for the last time on September 7, 2010. The Patriots signed the 6-3, 222-pound Crompton to their practice squad on November 3, 2010.
Crompton had dropped to the fourth spot in a three-man race on the Patriots quarterback depth chart with the signing of third-round draft choice Ryan Mallett.
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