Two former Hutchinson Community College student-athletes earned spots on 2011 NFL rosters as that league gets set for its opening weekend beginning on Thursday.
There is a bit of a twist to the current Blue Dragon entries into the NFL. Only one played football at Hutchinson. The other was a sprinter for Pat Becher’s track and field team.
Veteran quarterback Shaun Hill begins his 10th season in the NFL and will be starting his second with the Detroit Lions. Hill, who was inducted into the HCC Quarterback Club Hall of Fame last February, was a two-year starting quarterback for the Blue Dragons in 1998 and 1999.
The other former Blue Dragon to earn a roster spot is Armond Smith, who was a sprinter at HCC in 2005 and 2006. Smith signed a free-agent contract with Cleveland and made the Browns’ 53-man roster.
After running for two years at HCC, Smith transferred to Shorter College and eventually to Union College in Kentucky to play football. The Stone Mountain, Ga., product was named the 2010 Mid-South Conference West Offensive Player of the Year after averaging 125.1 yards per game. He set numerous school records, including rushing for 312 yards in a single game, 1,376 yards in a single season and five rushing touchdowns in one game and 16 rushing touchdowns in a single season.
Smith was Cleveland’s leading rusher in the 2011 preseason, running for 192 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry. Smith also caught four passes for 28 yards.
While at HCC, Smith was a two-time indoor NJCAA All-American, finishing fourth in the 2006 NJCAA Indoor Championship 60-meter hurdles and 60-meter dash. Smith is still the record-holder in the 60-meter hurdles at 7.84 seconds. He was the 200-meter outdoor record-holder until Teddy Poole shattered that mark in 2007.
Smith is the third NFL player that Becher has coached on the Blue Dragon track team.