April 30, 2012
ATHENS, Ohio - Three former Ohio football players signed professional contracts this past weekend with NFL teams. Wide receiver Phil Bates, punter Paul Hershey and linebacker Noah Keller inked NFL deals with the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams, respectively.
Bates (Omaha, Neb.) contributed through the air, on the ground, as a receiver and in the return game for the Bobcats in 2011. During his senior season, Bates caught 15 passes for 197 yards and one touchdown. He also threw a pair of touchdowns. In his two seasons at Ohio, the Iowa State transfer totaled nearly 1,000 yards of total offense.
Hershey (Fremont, Ohio) finished his senior season with 54 punts for 2,198 yards (40.7 yards per punt), dropping 25 punts inside the 20-yard line. In the Bobcats' season-opener against New Mexico State, Hershey drilled the longest punt in school history as he hit an 80-yard punt. During his junior season, he was named as a Phil Steele 2010 All-MAC selection.
Keller (Kearney, Neb.) concluded his collegiate career after with a team-best 116 tackles and 8.0 tackles for loss during his senior en route to earning All-MAC Second Team, Phil Steele All-MAC Second Team and Collegesportsmadness All-MAC First Team honors. The three-time Ohio captain, finished his career with 438 tackles. Prior to his junior season in 2010, he was named to the Nagurski Trophy Watch List.