On April 28, Colgate wide receiver and 2018 football team captain Thomas Ives was signed to the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent. This is the second Colgate prospect in two years to find himself on a NFL team the day after the draft, with Pat Afriyie signing with the Chargers post-draft last year. It will be a homecoming for Ives, who hails from Hinsdale, Illinois, a suburb 30-minutes outside of Chicago.
“It has been an honor to coach Thomas for four years. He is one of the hardest working, most competitive players we have ever had,” Colgate Football Head Coach Dan Hunt said. “He is part of a senior class that is the most accomplished in our history, with multiple playoff wins in multiple years, and he was a huge part of that. He is also a fantastic leader, and an even better teammate.”
Colgate Football has had remarkable success over the past couple of years, but playing in the NCAA FCS, which is a lower level of D-1 football compared to the FBS, leaves many Raiders at a dis- advantage when attempting to go on to the NFL.
“We don’t really coach our players with the NFL in mind, we just try to make them the best player they can be, and the best teammate they can be. We do know which ones are being considered [for the NFL], the scouts start looking at our players during their junior year, so we know who will have a chance as seniors,” Hunt said. “As college coaches, all we can do is tell the scouts the strengths of each player, and they do the rest. It is a very long and detail oriented process. While they have not been drafted, we do get players into camps fairly regularly. The last one we had was Pat Afriyie, who is with the L.A. Chargers. It is happening more and more as our talent level keeps improving.”
Hunt believes that the opportunity to go to the pros will become more available to Colgate players in the future.
“The players work very hard after the season to get ready for the testing that the NFL will put them through, we had four to five other guys who are still trying to get on with a team, and it could happen down the road. I’m just so happy for Thomas and his family. He deserves all of the recognition he is getting,” Hunt said.
At Colgate, Ives was the team captain and was a massive contributor to the Raiders’ historic 2018 season which saw the team win the Patriot League, earn a top-five national ranking and advance to the National Quarterfinals where they lost to eventual national champion North Dakota State.
Ives’ best performance was during his junior year. He scored seven touchdowns including three in a late season win over Georgetown. He finished his Colgate career with 865 receiving yards as well as nine total
touchdowns. Ives stand at 6’5’’ and weighs over 215 pounds, a considerable size for a wide receiver. Despite this, he was able to run a 4.48 40-yard dash at his pro-day. His combination of height, size and speed have made him an intriguing prospect for many NFL scouts. Nevertheless, it will still be an uphill battle for Ives. As an undrafted free agent, he has no guarantee of making an NFL roster and will have to compete with up to 20 other players for five remaining spots in the Chicago Bears Rookie Camp.
“He is extremely competitive, and very coachable. His talent, mixed with that will make him an appealing prospect,” Hunt said.
While many scouts and sites currently do not have any Colgate players on their 2020 draft lists, the Raiders remain hopeful that the successes of Ives and Afriyie can be replicated.