The Patriots announced the signing of nine rookie free agents, including the younger brother of former New England first-round pick Benjamin Watson.
The players signed are: Bowling Green tight end Tyler Beck, Oklahoma running back Roy Finch, Oklahoma State safety Shamiel Gary, Michigan linebacker Cameron Gordon, Delaware defensive back Travis Hawkins, Indiana running back Stephen Houston, East Carolina tight end Justin Jones, Mississippi State linebacker Deontae Skinner, and North Carolina State tight end Asa Watson.
Harvard long snapper/tight end Tyler Ott also agreed to a free agent deal with New England, but he will not join the team until he completes finals this week, which is why the team has not yet announced that he has signed.
Ott is one of four Crimson players to get a rookie free agent deals; tight end Cam Brate (Vikings), defensive tackle Nnamdi Obukwelu (Colts), and defensive back Brian Owusu (Chargers) are the others.
Beck, listed at 6 feet 2 inches, 257 pounds, played in 49 games during his career. He totaled 25 receptions for 348 yards and three touchdowns in that time, with 10 catches and 177 yards coming his senior season.
Finch had nearly 3,000 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns with the Sooners over 47 games. Listed at 5-7, 167, he played in 13 games with two starts in 2013 and finished with 59 rushing attempts for 347 yards and caught 12 passes for 91 yards; he also had 47 kickoff returns for 1,099 yards and a score.
Gary began his career at Wyoming (2009-10) before transferring to Oklahoma State, and started every game over the last two seasons at strong safety. Gary (6-0, 210) had 47 tackles last year.
Gordon, 6-3, 237, began his career with the Wolverines as a receiver before moving to safety and then linebacker. Last season, he played in 12 games with two starts and finished with 38 total tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble.
The 5-10, 195-pound Hawkins began his career at Maryland before transferring to Delaware. He was an all-conference selection last year after recording 66 total tackles, 4 interceptions, and 8 passes defensed.
Houston finished his career at Indiana fourth on the school’s all-time list with 25 rushing touchdowns; he recorded 29 total touchdowns and 2,304 rushing yards. The 6-foot, 230-pound back rushed for 753 yards on 112 attempts for 6.7-yard average and 5 touchdowns last season.
Jones, 22, was a three-year starter at East Carolina and finished his career with 52 receptions for 598 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 6-8, 277-pounder was not eligible to play last season. As a junior in 2012, he played in 13 games with five starts and caught 25 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns.
A three-year starter at Mississippi State, Skinner (6-2, 250) played in 11 games last year with 64 tackles.
Watson, listed at 6-3, 237, played in 36 career games for North Carolina State. He had 29 receptions for 351 yards and a touchdown.Shalise Manza Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.