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ASU pair take undrafted free-agent route

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | May 2, 2021 at 2:09 a.m.

Arkansas State University had two players sign as undrafted free agents Saturday at the conclusion of the NFL Draft.

Wide receiver Jonathan Adams signed with the Detroit Lions, while defensive lineman Forrest Merrill had a deal with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Adams, a 6-3, 220-pound Jonesboro native, caught 166 passes for 2,306 yards and 21 touchdowns across four seasons with the Red Wolves.

Adams, the son of a former ASU star, joined the Red Wolves in 2017 and appeared in 17 games during his first two seasons with the program. He enjoyed a breakout year in 2019 when he had 62 receptions and five scores and was named third-team All-Sun Belt performer.

He burst onto the national scene as a senior in 2020 with a slew of attention-grabbing catches and a three-touchdown performance in ASU's 35-31 win at Kansas State on Sept. 12. Adams finished his final season at ASU as the nation's third-leading pass catcher with 79 receptions for 1,111 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning him Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year and second-team All-American honors.

Merrill, a 6-1, 338-pound tackle notched 117 tackles and 8.5 sacks in three seasons with the Red Wolves.

He played in all 13 games and recorded 58 tackles in 2018 after transferring from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, and was named second-team All-Sun Belt. A torn bicep limited his 2019 season to five games.

Merrill returned in 2020 to make 42 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss, and was once again named second-team all-conference.

A Red Wolves player has not been selected in the NFL Draft since 2014.

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