July 27, 2011 – Just one day after the National Football League lockout ended, the floodgates of free agent signing opened and crested with an all-time high for the Fort Valley State University Wildcats. With the signing of Ricardo Lockette, Dionte Dinkins, Darnell Burks and Narada Williams, it was the first time in the school’s history that four players were signed as free agents in the same year.
News of the first FVSU player signed as a free agent came early on Tuesday, July 26, when speedster Ricardo Lockette was hired by the Seattle Seahawks. While barely missing selection in the NFL draft, Lockette, a native of Albany, Ga., was the first wide receiver to be drafted as a free agent. At 6’2, 215 lbs, Lockette finished the 2010 season as the Wildcats’ third leading receiver with a total of 23 receptions for 262 yards. He averaged 11.4 yards per catch and had one touchdown grab. As the team’s kick return specialist, he averaged 24 yards per return.
The next FVSU player contracted as a free agent was defensive back Dionte Dinkins, who joined the St. Louis Rams. At 6’2, 195lbs, Dinkins is the prototypical defensive back. Despite an early injury, he finished the 2010 FVSU season with 16 tackles, one interception, five pass break-ups, six passes defended, one forced fumble and two blocked kicks.
Interest in defensive back Darnell Burks was extremely high among the NFL franchises. After all, Burks was noted as one of the fiercest defensive backs in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and finished fifth for the Wildcats in tackles during his senior campaign. With offers from multiple teams, Burks decided to play for the New York Giants. In 2010, the Shellman, Ga. native tallied 54 tackles for FVSU. He also had 10.5 tackles for losses totaling 71 yards and registered 5.5 sacks for 50 yard. Burks had two interceptions on the season along four pass break ups, six passes defended, two quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, and one blocked kick.
The day concluded with word that the Detroit Lions nabbed FVSU’s Narada Williams as a free agent. Williams, 6’4, 255 lbs, finished the 2010 FVSU season with 35 tackles and eight tackles for losses. He also had 4.5 sacks and one fumble recovery. Williams is fromDouglasville, Ga.
Charles Ward, SID
FVSU Department of Athletics
(478) 825-6437; email@example.com