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Elon senior invited to NFL rookie camp

Justine Hite / Sports Editor

Elon doesn’t bask in the grace of professional sports very often, so when even a little sunshine can be seen at the end of the tunnel it’s a huge accomplishment.

Senior Dwayne Ijames was signed by the Cleveland Browns and began participating in rookie training camp today. Ijames along with 49 other rookies will be scrutinized and analyzed to the finest detail by Romeo Crennel and his staff over the next three days, with Sunday concluding as judgment day for the players as their football lives could end on that day.

Ijames may return next week as a victim of a training camp cut, or as a member of Elon University’s elite club of former players that have made it to the NFL.

“It means a lot for the program,” junior Chad Nkang said. “It shows that we do have athletes here, and they are athletes who can compete at the next level.”

Along with Ijames are players from around the country, include Chris Barclay, Wake Forest’s all-time leading rusher, Lance Butler, four-year starter at offensive tackle for Florida and all-SEC candidate linebacker Ricardo Hurley from South Carolina.

Barclay is the only rookie smaller than Ijames at the Browns’ training camp.

Standing only 5-feet-11-inches and weighing only 182 pounds, Ijames is small in stature, but as a four-year starter at Elon has been able to put up extensive numbers for the Phoenix.

In four years at Elon, Ijames played in all 45 games, starting 40 of them. He registered 228 tackles, eight for a loss. Ijames forced and recovered four fumbles and made 11 interceptions.

“I’m really happy for him because he’s always been a player who doesn’t get a lot of credit, but has done a lot to help the team and the younger kids,“ Nkang said. Ijames was more prolific on special teams returning punts for the first time as a senior and averaging 8.8 yards per return, near the top in the conference and in three years as a kick-off return man finished second in the conference yards per return with 27.1 and had one 95-yard touchdown. His 27.1 yards per return was good enough for tenth in the nation in Division 1-AA.

Ijames was named to the All-Southern Conference defensive team during his junior and senior years and was named the All-Southern Conference return specialist during his senior campaign.

Contact Justin Hite at or 278-7247.