Six former Grizzlies on NFL rosters this year

Six former Butler football players are on National Football League rosters as the 2011 season kicks into high gear, including three Kansas natives.

The Washington Redskins will feature two former Grizzlies this season. Ryan Torain (#46), who was drafted by the Denver Broncos, signed with the Redskins last year and rushed for 742 yards and four touchdowns for Washington, while also catching 18 passes for 125 yards and two more touchdowns. Torain graduated from Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and after playing two years at Butler, finished his collegiate career at Arizona State, where he earned all-Pac 10 honors as a junior.

The second former Grizzly playing for the Redskins is Markus White (#57). White was the 2007 NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year while at Butler, recording a school-record 24 sacks. He then played three years at Florida State before being drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft. A defensive end throughout college, White has been moved to linebacker by the Redskins.

Elbert Mack (#33) is now in his fourth season at cornerback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A graduate of Wichita North High School, Mack played two seasons at Butler (2004-2005) before transferring to Troy, where he led the nation in interceptions as a senior in 2007. Mack has 61 total tackles and three interceptions in his NFL career to date.

In 2004, Mack was just one of two future NFL players in the defensive backfield for Butler. The other was Jonathan Wilhite (#29), who is now playing cornerback for the Denver Broncos after three seasons with the New England Patriots. Last week against Cincinnati, Wilhite had four tackles and a sack in a 24-22 Broncos victory. Wilhite attended Ouachita Parish High School in Monroe, La. He played one season at Butler, earning first-team NJCAA All-American honors in 2004.

Jeremy Mincey (#94) was originally drafted by the New England Patriots but is now in his fourth season with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a defensive end. Originally from Stateboro, Ga., he played for Butler in 2002 and 2003, helping the Grizzlies win an NJCAA national championship as a sophomore when he was first-team all-Jayhawk Conference. He then played two years at Florida, starting all 24 games in which he played for the Gators. In 2010, Mincey played in 15 games for the Jaguars, starting eight of them and recording 31 tackles.

The longest-tenured former Grizzly in the NFL is Shaun Smith (#93). After career stops in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Kansas City, Smith is in his first season with the Tennessee Titans and his eighth NFL season overall. Smith graduated from Wichita Heights High School and played the 1999 and 2000 seasons at Butler, winning an NJCAA national championship as a freshman. He then played two years for Lou Holtz at South Carolina. Smith already has five tackles for the Titans in two games this season. In his career, he has 213 tackles, three sacks, four pass deflections and two forced fumbles.