Three Football Monarchs Set to Sign Pro Contracts
Former Monarch defensive linemen Ronnie Cameron (Westbury, N.Y.) and Edmon McClam (Cowart, S.C.) will sign free-agent contracts with NFL teams, while former quarterback Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) has reached an agreement to play with the Canadian Football League, it was announced Saturday night.
Cameron, the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year, will sign with the Chicago Bears, while McClam will sign with the Detroit Lions. DeMarco will be signing with the 2011 Grey Cup champion BC Lions.
Cameron is the most decorated Monarch since the program restarted in 2009, having earned CAA Defensive Player of the Year, CAA Football Student-Athlete of the Year and All-America honors from seven different publications in 2011. He was awarded first team honors from the AFCA, The Sports Network and Beyond College Sports Network, as well as second team accolades from the AP and Phil Steele.
A first team All-CAA honoree, Cameron ranked second on the Monarch squad with 73 tackles (28 solo, 45 assisted) to go with a team-leading 17 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. He averaged 5.6 tackles per game, which was fourth among defensive linemen in the CAA, and finished second in the league in tackles for loss, averaging 1.31 per contest. He also captured a career-high 11 tackles along with a season-best 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks against CAA champion Towson, and made 10 stops with three for loss against James Madison.
“I am excited about Ronnie signing with the Bears. After considering the options that he had for free agency, this was clearly what we felt was his best situation to make a team,” said ODU coach Bobby Wilder. “He had plenty of interest from a number of NFL teams. We are all disappointed that he was not selected as part of the seven-round draft, however we are very excited that he is a Chicago Bear.”
McClam finished his ODU career with seven blocks – six blocked PATs and one blocked field goal – and was just one block shy of tying the FCS career record in blocks. In the 2011 season, he totaled 42 tackles (15 solo, 27 assisted) along with 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, and tied his career high with seven tackles against No. 3/2 Georgia Southern in the second-round playoff matchup. McClam also registered six tackles against Hampton, which included two sacks for a loss of 12 yards, and forced a pair of fumbles against the Pirates. He made five stops in games with CAA champion Towson and in the regular-season finale at William and Mary.
“We are thrilled that Eddie is a Detroit Lion. He made a solid impression on a number of teams at his pro day at ODU and his individual interviews with various teams,” said Wilder. “After consulting with Eddie on the phone this evening, we felt like the Lions presented the best opportunity for him to make an NFL team. We are grateful to all the NFL teams that showed interest in Eddie. It is now time for Eddie to focus on becoming a Detroit Lion.”
Cameron and McClam are the second and third Monarchs to have signed NFL free-agent contracts, joining Deron Mayo ’11, who signed with the Denver Broncos last year.
DeMarco, a two-time Walter Payton Watch List member, started in 27 consecutive games as the Monarchs’ signal caller, totaling 51 passing and 30 rushing touchdowns in his career. He completed 417 of his 816 passes, averaging 163.8 yards per game in the air. DeMarco also recorded 1,456 yards on the ground, averaging 41.6 per contest.
As a junior in 2010, he ranked seventh nationally in total offense, averaging 289 yards per game, throwing 23 touchdown passes and averaging 250.5 yards passing, which included a career-high 407 yards at Monmouth. In ODU's inaugural season in 2009, DeMarco was the second-leading quarterback in the FCS and seventh among FCS student-athletes in scoring, averaging 9.45 points per contest. He averaged 255.7 yards of total offense a game and completed 137 of his 255 attempts while throwing only four interceptions, to go along with 21 touchdown passes.
“We are all very excited about Thomas and the BC Lions of the CFL reaching an agreement on a contract,” said Wilder. “Thomas had a phenomenal workout for the BC Lions, and both Thomas and I got the sense at his workout that they were serious about signing a contract and bringing him to their preseason camp.
“Thomas will be reporting to camp on May 27, with an opportunity to be a professional quarterback in the CFL. I know Thomas is a competitor – he was at Old Dominion – and I know he can not only make their roster, but that he can compete for the starting position.”