Former Panthers at the Division I Level

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NFL Players
Bob CryderBob Cryder (1971-73) • OL
New England Patriots/Seattle Seahawks (1978-86)

Attended University of Alabama where he played for legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.  In 1977, he won the Jacobs Award for top blocker in the SEC.  During his career at Alabama, he played in 3 Sugar Bowls and the Liberty Bowl and his teams finished #2 in both polls in 1977, and #1/#2 in the final polls in 1978.  Cryder also played in the 1978 Senior Bowl (College All-Star game). 

After his stellar career with the Crimson Tide, he was a first round draft choice (18th overall pick) by the New England Patriots in the 1978 NFL Draft.  From 1978 to 1986, Cryder started at left guard or right tackle.  In 1983, with Bob at tackle, the Patriots led the NFL in team rushing average at 4.84 yards per carry. With the Patriots, Bob played in 75 games from 1978 to 1983 and started in 36 of them including a playoff game in 1982.  He had 4 fumble recoveries in his career.  At 6'4", 282 lbs, Bob was timed at 5.1 in the 40 and 2.8 in the 20.

In 1984, Cryder signed with the Seattle Seahawks where his team went 12-4 and reached the playoffs.  He played in 2 playoff games that year and started or played in every game through 1985.  In 1986, he played in 1 game concluding his successful 9 year NFL career. 

News Releases: New England Patriots Biography | Pro-Football Reference

Other Panthers that were drafted, signed or played professionally...
Duane BennettDuane Bennett (2004-06) • RB
Green Bay Packers (NFL) (2012)

Duane played his college ball at the University of Minnesota and started all 4 seasons. He was a member of the Big Ten All-Freshman team and ended up 13th on Minnesota's rushing list. In 2012, the Green Bay Packers signed Duane to a free-agent contract. Bennett held and still holds many OTHS rushing and special teams records.  


News Releases: Packers 2012 Bio

Troy WagnerTroy Wagner (2002-04) • TE
Cleveland Browns (NFL) (2010)

Troy played college ball at Indiana University and started his last two seasons at tight end. He was signed by the Cleveland Browns at the conclusion of the 2010 NFL Draft and attended rookie mini-camp in Cleveland.  


News Releases: Yahoo Sports

Rashad BarholomewRashad Bartholomew (1994-1996) • RB
Tennessee Titans (NFL) (2001)

Attended Yale University where he broke Yale's career rushing record with 3,015 yards and 23 TD's.  He is 2nd in season yardage with 1,232 yards and was 1st and 2nd Team All-Ivy League 3 out of 4 years.  Became the 3rd Yale RB to rush for over 200 yards in September of 2000. 

On April 27th, 2001 the Tennessee Titans signed Rashad to a Free Agent contract.  

News Releases: Yale Athlete of the Week | Four Horseman saddle up for the NFL

Rodney Byrd Rodney Byrd (1989-1991) • RB/DE/LB
Tennessee Titans/New England Patriots (NFL) (1997-1998)

Attended University of Illinois where he was the starting fullback for three seasons.  During this time, he blocked for the all-time leading rusher in Illinois history (ex-Rams FB Robert Holcombe).  He was named team captain of the Illini in 1996 with fellow NFL-er's Dennis Stallings and Ty Douthard.  Played in the Holiday Bowl and Liberty Bowls during career with the Illini.

In 1997 he was acquired via Free Agency by the Tennessee Titans and in 1998 signed as a Free Agent to play with the New England Patriots under former USC coach and current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.  Both years he played on the team's practice squad and in preseason games.  Also a member of the OTHS wall of fame after earning all-state honors his senior year.    

News Releases: Illinois Team Captain List | Illinois All-Time Starter List
News Releases: New England Patriots Alumni Page

Jay CarmackJay Carmack (1991) • DE/TE
River City Rage/St. Louis Renegades/Columbus Wardogs/Peoria Pirates (ARENA LEAGUE)

Attended Joliet Junior College and Western Illinois University before signing and playing with several Arena League teams, including the River City Rage and St. Louis Renegades in St. Louis.  During his 5 year Arena League career, he also played with the Columbus Wardogs and Peoria Pirates.

A Belleville West transfer during his junior year, Carmack made several first team all-area squads and was among the area leaders in QB Sacks.  At 6'3, 290 lbs while in the Arena League, he now spends his spare time in the mixed martial arts world of ultimate fighting. 
News Releases:  River City Rage Press Release

Rob KirklandRob Kirkland (1986-87) • DE/TE

Attended SEMO after a stellar career at OTHS in which he was a part of the first ever playoff team and was also a member of the first ever quarter final team. Rob played for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League after graduating from SEMO.


Rob KirklandVince Ancell (1970) • DE/TE
St. Louis Cardinals (NFL)

Attended Arkansas State University after graduating from OTHS. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Vince in the 15th Round of the 1974 NFL Draft.

News Releases:  1974 St. Louis Cardinals Draft Picks