BOONE, N.C. — Two members of App State’s record-setting football season in 2019 agreed to free agent deals with NFL teams following the conclusion of the 2020 draft.
The Buffalo Bills signed safety Josh Thomas, and linebacker Jordan Fehr signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Earlier in the weekend, the Tennessee Titans drafted running back Darrynton Evans in the third round (93rd overall) and the Cincinnati Bengals used the first pick of the fourth round (107th overall) to select linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither.
App State led Sun Belt Conference programs by ending the 2019 season with eight alums on NFL rosters. The rookies joining that list played key roles for a 13-1 team that finished with a top-20 national ranking in both FBS top 25 polls.
Davis-Gaither and Thomas were members of teams that went a combined 54-12 in their five seasons and part of just the fifth class in college football history to win five bowl games and four conference championships. Evans and Fehr, meanwhile, won a conference title and bowl game in each of their four seasons with the Mountaineers.
Thomas, Fehr and Davis-Gaither were multi-year starters for defenses that, in 2018 and 2019, ranked No. 4 and No. 21 nationally in fewest points allowed per game. Offensively, Evans helped App State score a Sun Belt-record 73 touchdowns in 2019 while ranking No. 9 nationally at 38.8 points per game.
Thomas, who participated in the CGS College Gridiron Showcase in Texas after his App State career ended, started in 30 of his 56 games for the Mountaineers and was a team captain in each of his final two seasons. He received first-team All-Sun Belt Conference recognition from the grade-based PFF College site as a senior and second-team recognition as a junior.
As a senior, Thomas posted a career-high 72 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, one fumble return for 37 yards and one interception return for a 16-yard touchdown. His regular-season coverage grade from PFF College ranked No. 2 among all Group of Five safeties.
Fehr, a two-time All-Sun Belt pick, played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in mid-January at the Rose Bowl in California.
Fehr recorded 195 of his 211 career tackles in his final two years, highlighted by a senior year in which he served as a team captain and had a team-high 109 tackles for a defense that allowed just 20.0 points per game. Facing Power Five competition, he recorded a career-high 16 tackles during the 34-31 win at North Carolina and had 12 more tackles (with one sack and two tackles for loss) in the win at South Carolina.
Fehr was named a Campbell Trophy semifinalist (recognizing the nation’s top scholar-athlete) in 2019 with a 3.77 GPA, and elite-level athleticism led to him ranking No. 3 among FBS linebackers on The Athletic’s annual “Freaks List” thanks to his ability to bench press 415 pounds, run a 4.45 40-yard dash and vertically jump 40.5 inches with a 230-pound frame.