Trio of former ISU Redbirds find new homes as undrafted NFL free agents
today at 8:54 pm
After the NFL draft concluded Saturday, three former Illinois State players – Drew Himmelman, Romeo McKnight and Christian Uphoff — were busy finding new football homes as undrafted free agents.
Himmelman, a senior offensive tackle from Geneseo, signed with the Denver Broncos. Crystal Lake’s Romeo McKnight, a defensive end who played his final season at FBS Charlotte, joined the Cleveland Browns organization. Washington native Christian Uphoff, a junior safety, became a member of the Green Bay Packers.
The 6-foot-10, 325-pound Himmelman earned first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference recognition this spring for the second consecutive season. Himmelman joins a Denver team whose offensive line is coached by Pro Football Hall of Fame member Mike Munchak, who had a 12-year playing career with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1982-1993.
According to ISURedbirds.com, Himmelman graded out at over 90% this season for the Redbirds. He helped ISU pile up 172 rushing yards a game during the abbreviated spring season.
McKnight, who transferred out of the ISU program when the MVFC moved its season to spring 2021, led Charlotte with five tackles for loss in the fall. The defensive end had 24 total tackles for Charlotte, including a career-high 10 stops against Florida Atlantic in October. At Illinois State, he posted 12 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss in 2019.
Cleveland ranked 16th in the NFL last season with 38 sacks.
Uphoff started 15 games in 2019 for the Redbirds, ranking fourth on the team in tackles. He sat out the 2021 spring season to focus on draft preparation and play in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., which is coached by NFL staffs.
Green Bay tied for 18th in the NFL last season with 11 interceptions as a team.