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April 28, 2013

Taylor, Tweedy Sign In NFL

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There's plenty of ways for college football players to make it into the NFL. Sure, being selected in the draft yields more of a financial investment and is more glamorous than the flurry of free-agent signings after the draft. But in the end, it's all the same for players like Bruce Taylor and Alonzo Tweedy: they made it.

Taylor, the Hokies' defensive leader in 2012, was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals last last night. Tweedy, a special teams guru and linebacker/safety, was signed by the New York Giants. Both organizations are consistent playoff teams, and both Virginia Tech graduates are excited to begin a new chapter in their careers.

"It feels good, man," Taylor told HokieHaven.com. "I've just been waiting, and I'm finally glad that it's all over with. Now I'm able to focus on what I need to do."

The inside linebacker said that he spoke with linebackers coach Paul Guenther briefly, and he's going to send a playbook to Taylor on Monday. He has about two weeks until rookie minicamp starts. While he wasn't among the 254 athletes chosen in the draft, it all means the same for Taylor since he's in the NFL.

"They had a good draft rating on me," Taylor said. "But they said their center tore his pectoral last week, so they had to draft a center in the sixth round, which is where they were looking at me. I don't know if it's true or not, but I don't really care."

Taylor's father was also very excited that his son his moving on to the next level.

"We are thankful and blessed at the same time," Taylor's father, also named Bruce Taylor, said.

While it's unlikely Taylor will be competing for a starting position right away on defense, he understands what needs to be done in order to find himself on the field.

"I did my fair share of special teams when I was younger at Tech," the younger Taylor added. "I know that's what I'm gonna have to do at the next level, so I'm just gonna get ready for it."

Tweedy, who projects as a special teams player, has captured the dream although he only started four games at Virginia Tech. That proves just how productive the speedster is on the third-phase of the game.

"We definitely had solid interest from multiple teams and we had multiple offers," Tweedy's agent, Adam Sattler, told HokieHaven.com. "At the end of the day, we thought what the Giants were offering was the best, not necessarily for the money, but also the best fit. We're definitely excited."

Sattler mentioned that the Giants not only loved his special teams abilities, but also could envision Tweedy as a safety, considering they like to use three or four safeties on the field at once.

"They said they saw him as a core special teamer- so that means all four spots on special teams," Sattler said. "They also liked the fact that he played in the box at Tech as a linebacker. He can defend the read-option stuff that Virginia Tech runs and there's a couple teams in the NFC East that run a lot of that. They felt they could work him in at safety as well."

Tweedy was beaten out by Jeron Gouveia-Winslow for the past three years for the WHIP linebacker spot, but never gave up. It was feared that Taylor would never be able to regain his old form after a Lisfranc injury two years ago, but he overcame that and is now a professional football player as well.

Other former Hokies who weren't drafted, but were signed as free agents were offensive lineman Nick Becton by the San Diego Chargers and defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wide receiver Marcus Davis told HokieHaven.com today that he signed with an NFL team last night, but has been advised by his agent not to make it public yet.


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