Tulane’s Bradwell, McCleskey and Montano ink NFL free agent contracts

Press release from Tulane athletics:

The Tulane University football team will send five players to the National Football League for the second consecutive season.

Tulane’s list of professional players grew to five after running back Darius Bradwell, wide receiver Jalen McCleskey and offensive lineman Christian Montano each signed free agent contracts with the Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.

The three free agent signees added to the Green Wave’s professional football 2020 class which also included wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who was drafted in the fifth round (pick No. 173) by the Chicago Bears and cornerback Thakarius Keyes, who was selected in the seventh round (pick No. 237) by the Kansas City Chiefs.

In 2019, Donnie Lewis Jr. headlined the group of Tulane alums that pursued a professional football career, as he was selected in the seventh round (221 overall) by the Cleveland Browns. Former Tulane offensive linemen John Leglue and safety Roderic Teamer Jr. inked free agent contracts with the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers, respectively. Rounding out the group, was former Green Wave tight end Charles Jones II and wide receiver Terren Encalade as both invited to rookie minicamp by the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers, respectively.

Bradwell earned his free contract from the Chargers following a collegiate career which saw him rush for over 2,000 yards. His 2,062 yards rushing rank 10th all-time in program history. Bradwell also played a key role in guiding the Green Wave to back-to-back bowl wins. As a junior in 2018, Bradwell rushed for a career-best 150 yards in the AutoNation Cure Bowl en route to earning Most Valuable Player honors.

McCleskey inked a free agent deal from the Falcons after he finished his collegiate career with 2,446 yards receiving and 21 receiving touchdowns in 56 career games. The Covington, Louisiana, native arrived at Tulane after he spent four seasons at Oklahoma State. In his final season in college, McCleskey owned a team-best 15.7 yards per catch. He finished his career on a high note, as he caught a pair of passes for 87 yards, including one touchdown in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

Montano signed with the Steelers thanks to a strong season at center where he helped pave the way for the nation’s No. 11 rushing attack. In his final season as a student-athlete, Montano started every game and helped guide the Green Wave to a second straight winning season. Following the season, he was selected as the 2019 Walter Camp Football Foundation Connecticut Player of the Year.

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