This past Saturday, Derek Carrier'12 (pictured below), a four-year veteran of the Beloit College Football team as a wide receiver, signed a free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL.
Though he wasn’t selected in the NFL Draft, which ended on Saturday, he still became one player on a very short list of Beloit College players to have a chance at earning a spot on the roster of a National Football League team.
The first--at least since 1950--was Jack Erickson, a tackle who was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round in the 1953 draft. Erickson spent just one year at Beloit, playing on the freshmen football team before finishing up at the United States Military Academy at West Point. But in the official NFL Draft History he is listed as attending Beloit/and serving in the U.S. Army.
Quarterback Rod Hermes’58 (above), was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the sixth pick of the 30th round in 1956 (only five picks away from being the draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” the last player chosen). A native of Racine, Wis., where he earned all-state honors for Horlick High School, he transferred to Beloit after playing freshmen ball at the University of Wisconsin. But after being converted from quarterback to wide receiver (much to his dissatisfaction), he moved on to Milton College before landing at Beloit.
Hermes was the 1955 Most Valuable Player after passing for a now-pedestrian 652 yards and rushing for 200 more. Drafted with a year of eligibility remaining, he also led the 7-1 Buccaneer squad in scoring, with eight touchdowns, nine extra points and a field goal.
According to the college's then-Director of Public Relations Dave Mason in a letter to Green Bay Press Gazette sports editor in January of 1956, Hermes “would have had a considerably high passing percentage than what he finished with (37-85, 43.5%) except that Beloit was relatively weak at end and some of the receivers had trouble holding his bullet-like tosses.”
Neither Erickson or Hermes made their respective team’s active roster.
Hermes likely would have fared better with his completion percentage had he been throwing to Carrier. The all-time leading receiver in Beloit history, he caught 189 passes for 3,111 yards and 29 touchdowns. He had 15 100-plus yard receiving games during his career and was an All-Midwest Conference selection three times, including as a First-Teamer as both a junior and senior.
The dream is still alive for Carrier.
UP AHEAD IN BUCCANEER ATHLETICS
Go to www.beloit.edu/bucs to get the entire schedule and catch up on last week’s results.