April 30, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. – In addition to the three Stanford football players selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, six additional former players will get their chance to play professionally after being signed to free agent or rookie minicamp deals.
Outside linebacker Chase Thomas has signed a free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints. An outside linebacker at Stanford, Alex Debniak has signed with the San Francisco 49ers, reportedly as a fullback. Terrence Brown has also signed a contact with the cornerback headed to Cincinnati. Fellow Cardinal teammates Drew Terrell (Kansas City), Terrence Stephens (Jacksonville) and Daniel Zychlinski (San Francisco) have earned rookie minicamp invitations.
Stanford has had a rich tradition of producing NFL players through both the Draft and free agency. Of the 25 Stanford football players on active NFL rosters, 12 started their journeys as undrafted free agents.
Thomas was second on the Cardinal with 71 tackles including 43 solo stops. He was also tied for second on the team with 14.5 tackles for a loss. Chosen as Stanford’s Jim Reynolds Award for courage and dedication to the game in his senior season, Thomas collected 7.5 sacks in 2012 to finish his career with 27.5, fourth all-time at Stanford. All told, he finished fifth at Stanford with 50.5 career tackles for a loss.
A former Sporting News All-America and three-time All-Pac-12 Conference selection, Thomas had several notable performances as a fifth-year senior. He recorded a pair of sacks and 10 tackles in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game victory over UCLA. Just six days earlier he had another two sacks in a division-clinching win against the Bruins. Against Cal in the Big Game, he led with a team-high seven tackles, 3.0 TFL and a seven-yard sack that forced a fumble.
Debniak turned a strong performance at Stanford’s Pro Timing Day into an opportunity with San Francisco after working out at numerous positions and impressing scouts with his work out of the backfield. As a linebacker at Stanford, Debniak played in 38 career games and totaled 52 tackles, five sacks with two forced fumbles, both of which came in 2013. He shared the team’s Outstanding Senior award with Zach Ertz who was drafted by Philadelphia.
Brown started all 14 games and was fourth on the team with 65 tackles including a team-best 47 solo tackles. An All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection this year, Brown came on strong towards the end of his Stanford career, registering 108 combined tackles, 14 passes defended and two interceptions in his final two seasons.
Terrell started 11 games this season and caught 33 passes for 463 yards and four touchdowns. He converted all 13 of his third-down receptions for first downs and ranked among the nation leaders in punt returns at 12.1 yards per return.
Stephens started seven of the 11 games he appeared in this year and played in 42 career games. He totaled 28 tackles with eight tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.
Zychlinski had a phenomenal Pro Timing Day after a fine senior season which culminated in two of his best efforts. He averaged 45.5 yards per punt with a 54 yarder and two inside the 20 against Wisconsin in a Rose Bowl Game victory and played the game of his career at then-No. 1 Oregon, averaging 45.7 yards including 58- and 62-yard punts. He placed five punts inside the 20-yard line and three inside the 10 against the Ducks. For the season he recorded 66 punts for 2,846 yards and a 43.1 average - fifth-best in school history.
Stanford’s 2013 senior class finished their Cardinal careers with three straight BCS bowl games and a 25-2 record at Stanford Stadium.