Following the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft on May 1, five former San Diego state soccer players signed with NFL teams.
Safeties Tariq Thompson, Dwayne Johnson Jr., offensive tackle Kyle Spalding, offensive guard Jacob Capra and long snapper Turner Bernard (Minnesota Vikings) are officially on the NFL rosters, signing as undrafted free agents.
The five players join former Aztec cornerback Darren Hall to sign with a professional team. Hall was selected by the Atlanta Falcons the third day of the draft round 4.
It was also announced that all six student-athletes will graduate from SDSU with their bachelor’s degree.
Fun Fact: ALL SIX of San Diego State Guys recruited / signed with the NFL today will leave with their bachelor’s degrees, a few with their masters.
Clearly 6 guys who have done all the little things right the last few years. Glad to see their hard work pay off.
– Taylor Long (@taylorrlong) May 2, 2021
Some members of the 2019 New Mexico Bowl champion team attended the SDSU Pro Day in March after COVID-19 deprived them of their chances to attend a college-led professional day. Those contestants included linebacker Kyahva Tezino, tight end Parker Houston, offensive lineman Daishawn Dixon, defensive back Kyree Woods and punter Brandon Heicklen.
Houston, Tezino and Dixon signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents last offseason but did not make lists of 53 players.
The only potential prospect for the 2020 Aztecs squad not to receive a phone call was punter Tanner Kuljian.
Tariq Thompson (Buffalo Bills)
Thompson is heading to Buffalo, New York after signing as an undrafted free agent with the Bills.
God is big
– Tariq (@tariq__thompson) May 1, 2021
The San Diego native has had 11 interceptions during his SDSU career. Thompson caught just one pick in the shortened 2020 season, but still showed his cover skills with three defended passes. He also had 41 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovered in 2020.
Over the course of his college career, Thompson had 210 tackles, 23 defenses, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
The four-year-old starter’s ball instinct shows glimpses of the free safety of current Bills Micah Hyde, who has more than 500 tackles and 17 interceptions in his career.
Dwayne Johnson Jr. (Atlanta Falcons)
Johnson Jr. keeps San Diego state ties alive in Atlanta, joining Hall to become the second Aztec on the Falcons roster.
– Dwayne Johnson Jr (@__DwayneJohnson) May 2, 2021
My brother we are coming back !!! @__Dwayne Johnson https://t.co/KZRMwkcJMH
– DH23 (@_Darrenhall) May 2, 2021
After a 2019 breakout season, Johnson Jr. has consistently put in good numbers in seven games in 2021. 40 tackles, one sack and three defensive passes were good enough to earn Johnson Jr. Mountain West Conference honors.
Now Johnson Jr. will look to put together a solid offseason to potentially make it to the Falcons roster for Week 1.
Kyle Spalding (Los Angeles Chargers)
Spalding, a left-wing tackle who originally engaged in the SDSU as a tight end, remains in Southern California to begin his professional career.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound lineman from McKinleyville, Calif., Took home All-MWC first-team offensive honors in 2020. Last season, Spalding allowed just one sack in 216 assists. In more than 550 shots in total, he was penalized once.
SDSU OT Kyle Spalding to Chargers, By Source
$ 7,500 Signing Bonus
– Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) May 1, 2021
Spalding will look to be part of a squad that has focused heavily on building their offensive lineman this offseason.
Jacob Capra (Green Bay Packers)
Capra, who transferred from Oregon in 2019, also moved from attacking tackle to guard in 2020. The transition has paid off for both Capra and the Aztecs.
San Diego State OG Jacob Capra at the #Packers
– Shane P. Hallam (@ShanePHallam) May 2, 2021
Capra was appointed to the Pro Football Focus National Team of the Week last November, after the resounding victory of Scarlet and Black over the state of Utah.
At 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, Capra’s measurables and potential could be the reasons the Packers signed him in the post-draft process.
Turner Bernard (Minnesota Vikings)
Bernard, a semi-finalist for the Patrick Mannelly Award (best varsity snapper) in 2019, was signed by the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday.
The 6-foot-1, 230-pounder from Glendale, Ariz. Started four years at SDSU after tearing his ACL in 2016.
– T (@ TurnerBernard1) May 2, 2021
Bernard hopes to follow in the footsteps of former SDSU players Tyler Schmitt and Aaron Brewer by creating a roster of 53 players.