Four Aztecs signed as undrafted free agents to NFL rosters

Kyle Betz and Amber Salas

Then-senior+linebacker+Kyahva+Tezino+flexes+after+making+a+play+during+the+Aztecs%27+48-11+win+over+Central+Michigan+in+the+New+Mexico+Bowl+in+Albuquerque%2C+New+Mexico+on+Dec.+21%2C+2019.

Kareem Jones

Then-senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino flexes after making a play during the Aztecs’ 48-11 win over Central Michigan in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Dec. 21, 2019.

by Kyle Betz, Assistant Sports Editor

Following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft, undrafted San Diego State football athletes got the chance to sign as free agents to NFL rosters.

Among those ending their SDSU campaigns included cornerback Luq Barcoo, linebacker Kyahva Tezino, running back Juwan Washington, offensive lineman Daishawn Dixon, tight end Parker Houston, defensive end Myles Cheatum and defensive back Kyree Woods.

So far, four of these players have signed to a team.

Junior cornerback Darren Hall expressed his disappointment with the lack of his former teammates selected in the draft.

The only Aztec off the board was junior center Keith Ismael. He was a fifth-round selection by the Washington Redskins with the 156th overall pick.

Here are the former SDSU athletes who signed with teams Saturday.

Cornerback Luq Barcoo

From community college to the NFL.

The former Grossmont College cornerback was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent, first reported by Christian Shanafelt.

Per The Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, Barcoo’s deal with the Jaguars gives him $160,000 guaranteed — the most for an undrafted free agent in NFL history:

When the NFL Draft ended, Barcoo was the third-best remaining player, according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

Barcoo came off the bench his junior season and worked his way to the starting lineup on defense as a senior. 

His ball skills and instincts made him an NFL prospect this past season after he was able to haul in nine interceptions during his second year on the Mesa.

That total tied him for the most in Division I, alongside Florida Atlantic senior cornerback Meiko Dotson.

Barcoo’s nine interceptions also rank the second-most for a single season in program history (Ed Ricketts had 12 in 1951).

His most memorable game was on Oct. 5, 2019 against Colorado State, when he recorded three interceptions on three consecutive defensive snaps — the first time that had happened in FBS play since at least 2012.

As a result, Barcoo won his first Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week award on Oct. 7.

The San Diego native was first on the team in passes defensed (25), including 16 pass breakups. He also racked up 55 tackles with five tackles for a loss and 0.5 sacks.

Barcoo is the first-ever SDSU defensive back to be given All-American honors.

Following the season, he was named an AP third-team All-American and a Walter Camp second-team All-American.

Barcoo was also a semifinalist for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the best defensive back in the country.

Linebacker Kyahva Tezino

Tezino was an undrafted free agent and signed with the New England Patriots Saturday, first confirmed through a tweet by his mother:

Tezino joins a linebacker group headed by two-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion Dont’a Hightower.

He was a force at linebacker for Rocky Long’s defense during his time on the Mesa.

The Los Angeles native showed his strengths as a downhill linebacker with 288 total tackles (148 solo), 31.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and 14.5 sacks, including 8.5 two seasons ago.

Tezino also showed his ability to play coverage in 2019, collecting two interceptions and three pass breakups.

The middle linebacker ended his career on a high note in the 2019 New Mexico Bowl against Central Michigan. He was named the game’s defensive MVP after recording three tackles (1.5 tackles for a loss) with 0.5 sacks, a pass breakup and an interception.

Tezino finished 2019 as an honorable-mention All-American by Phil Steele Magazine and Pro Football Focus.

He was also a first-team all-Mountain West selection and the SDSU John Simcox Memorial Trophy MVP his junior and senior seasons.

He entered the scene as SDSU’s defensive scout player of the year in 2015 and worked his way to a starting spot in the second half of the 2017 season.

In preparation for the draft, Tezino trained at Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue, Washington and posted his progress on his Instagram page.

 

Offensive lineman Daishawn Dixon

Dixon was another Aztec to sign with an NFL team Saturday, inking a deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

Dixon confirmed the deal on his Twitter account Saturday afternoon.

 

He helped former Aztec running back Rashaad Penny tally a Division I-best 2,248 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns in 2017.

At left guard, Dixon started next to Ismael for the majority of his SDSU career. In three seasons, he started 37 times and appeared in 52 total games.

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound guard was given second-team all-Mountain West honors for the first time in his career in 2019. He was also an honorable mention selection to the Pro Football Focus Mountain West Team of the Year.

He was also named to Pro Football Focus’ National Team of the Week and Mountain West Team of the Week after SDSU’s 31-10 win over New Mexico State on Sept. 14, 2019.

Dixon showed durability as a senior, playing in 889 out of 962 offensive snaps.

The San Antonio native appeared in two bowl games in his career — the Armed Forces Bowl (2017 season) and New Mexico Bowl (2019).

During his virtual pro day, Dixon ran a 5.06-second 40-yard dash and totaled 22 reps in the bench press.

Tight end Parker Houston

Houston signed with the Arizona Cardinals Saturday evening, adding to a tight ends corps consisting of Maxx Williams and Dan Arnold.

Houston is a blocking tight end who also has pass-catching ability.

At SDSU, he was an essential blocker in jumbo/heavy sets and also appeared at fullback after starter Isaac Lessard was injured last season. Another aspect of his arsenal is his ability to long snap on PATs and field goals.

He tallied 45 receptions for 420 yards and three touchdowns during his four-year career.

His most productive statistical game was a 14-11 loss to Hawaii on Nov. 23 last season. Houston caught five passes for 47 yards — both career-highs.

The Sparks, Nevada native was named to the all-Mountain West second team in 2019.

But what sets him apart from others is his leadership qualities.

In 2019, he was voted a captain by his teammates as a senior and was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy — an award that celebrates academics, athletics and leadership.

He was also given the SDSU President’s Award for High Academic Achievement and was named to the Mountain West Fall All-Academic Team all four years of his career.

This story was updated at 8:00 p.m. on April 25.

Kyle Betz is a junior studying journalism. Follow him on Twitter @KyleBBetz.

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