Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Notes: Northwest Missouri Star Longacre Gets a Shot with Rams

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Notes: Northwest Missouri Star Longacre Gets a Shot with Rams

Article excerpt

Rams defensive end Matt Longacre is is out to prove himself again.

A team captain and leader at Millard West High in Omaha, Neb., Longacre drew limited recruiting interest before opting for NCAA Division II power Northwest Missouri State largely because of the program's winning tradition. Over the last four seasons, the Bearcats went 46-8, made four playoff appearances and capped a 15-0 campaign in 2013 with a fourth national championship.

And Longacre, a 6-foot-3, 260-pounder who recently signed as a rookie free agent with the Rams, was at the heart of that success. He twice was voted the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association defensive player of the year after finishing as career leader in tackles for loss (47) and sacks (30). As a senior, he was in on 38 tackles, including 12 for loss, with 8 sacks and 17 quarterback hurries.

Despite that production, he went undrafted.

"It would've been nice to be drafted it's a huge honor; everybody wants to hear his name called but I went into the draft knowing my situation and wasn't overly disappointed," he said after taking part in a rookie workout over the weekend at Rams Park. "I'm just happy to be here and looking forward to the opportunity to prove myself."

Longacre said he was in contact with the Rams throughout the final rounds of last weekend's draft.

"I probably signed less than five minutes after the draft ended," he said. "I had some other calls, but I just told them, 'Sorry, I'm a Ram.'

"Going into the weekend, I talked a lot with my college coaches and my agent, and for me, the Rams just seemed like the best fit. This team has one of the best defensive lines in the league and the best defensive line coach (Mike Waufle) in the NFL. I'm looking forward to learning from the best and doing what I can to help."

Rated as the No. 11 small-school draft prospect by D2football.com, Longacre hopes to make an early impact on special teams.

"I'm highly motivated," the 23-year-old said. …

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