Former Mountaineers make their NFL debuts

Silas Albright, Sports Editor

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Former App State football players Tae Hayes, Clifton Duck and Austin Exford made their NFL preseason debut Thursday night. 

Jacksonville Jaguar cornerback Hayes picked off former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorely in the third quarter of Jacksonville’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. Hayes started and played against McSorely in the near-upset season opener of 2018 between the Nittany Lions and Mountaineers. Hayes also had three tackles and defended a pair of passes.

Courtesy of App State Athletics
Junior cornerback Clifton Duck performs agility drills at App State Pro Day.

Cornerback Duck was off to a hot start in training camp with the Chicago Bears, picking off at least three passes in practices. In his first preseason action against the Carolina Panthers, Duck continued his strong play, tying for the team lead with six tackles and a defended pass.

Safety Exford recorded two tackles for the Houston Texans against the Green Bay Packers. Both of his tackles stopped a Packers touchdown and set up a fourth down. 

Hayes, Duck and Exford, along with the New York Jets’ running back Jalin Moore and defensive lineman MyQuon Stout, make up the group of 2018 Mountaineers in the NFL. Both Moore and Stout did not play in the Jets game against the New York Giants. 

The trend of App State players continuing on to play at the highest level has proven strong in recent years, and the Mountaineer presence was felt around the league on the first night of the young 2019 NFL season.