Jackson’s one-time rival, pro wrestler’s son headline Ravens’ UDFA signings

May 01, 2020 | Luke Jones

A quarterback who once got the best of 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson headlined the initial list of undrafted free-agent signings announced by the Ravens.

Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley was a three-year starter and co-Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year last season, but his high school defeated Jackson and Boynton Beach to win a Florida district title in 2014, something the Ravens star hadn’t forgotten when reports surfaced about Huntley joining Baltimore. At 6-foot-1 and 196 pounds, Huntley is undersized for the position and doesn’t have the strongest throwing arm, but his athleticism and accuracy — he owns the Utah record for career completion percentage at 67.2 percent — make him a rookie to watch during the preseason.

Huntley passed for 3,092 yards, 19 touchdowns, and just four interceptions while rushing for 290 yards and five touchdowns last season.

The other notable signing was Kennesaw State fullback Bronson Rechsteiner, the son of professional wrestler Rick Steiner and nephew of former WCW heavyweight champion Scott Steiner. The 5-foot-10, 223-pound fullback averaged 8.1 yards per carry last season and rushing for 1,496 yards and nine touchdowns in 48 collegiate games.

Rechsteiner has expressed interest in eventually following in the footsteps of the Steiner Brothers, who are regarded as one of the better tag teams in professional wrestling history. He posted on his Twitter account that he was working out with WWE Hall of Famers Diamond Dallas Page and Jake “The Snake” Roberts on Friday.

On Thursday and Friday, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta also announced the signings of Missouri center Trystan Colon-Castillo, Redlands cornerback Jeff Hector, and Alabama Birmingham kicker Nick Vogel. Considering Baltimore’s history of developing successful specialists, Vogel is in a good environment to learn from three-time Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker and put himself in position for a potential NFL job elsewhere.

Announcements of undrafted signings have been more deliberate than usual so far with the realities of the coronavirus pandemic making what can already be a chaotic post-draft signing process more difficult with front office members, coaches, and scouts not allowed at the team facility in Owings Mills. However, director of player personnel Joe Hortiz praised the pre-draft preparation of player personnel coordinator Mark Azevedo, who runs point on the undrafted rookie signing process for the organization.

Many more signings are expected to be announced in the coming days.

“It’s been constant dialogue in the buildup for what’s about to happen,” Hortiz said toward the conclusion of the draft on Saturday. “We’re organized. We’re ready to go, and the main thing in free agency is everything is done via communication — phone calls to the agent, phone calls to the players. Our guys have been doing that throughout the process leading up to this.

“Once this draft ends, we’re going to get rolling on it and knock it out hopefully quick. The technology we have with Zoom and Webex, we’re able to communicate to each other through that, so I expect it to go off without much of a hitch.”

The Ravens normally hold their annual rookie minicamp the weekend following the draft, but teams are limited to virtual workouts and meetings this spring.