LOS ANGELES — De’Mard Llorens and Shakeir Ryan, two of the most productive players in Northwestern State football history, made the most of their tryouts over the weekend at rookie mini-camp with the Los Angeles Rams.
Both have been signed to free agent contracts, the Rams announced Monday afternoon. The Demons were two of only three players brought in on a tryout basis who were signed after the mini-camp, bringing the Rams roster to 89 players — including their former NSU teammate, offensive tackle Pace Murphy, who made the Rams roster as an undrafted free agent last year.
Former Demons center and assistant coach Bill Johnson joined the Los Angeles coaching staff as the defensive line coach earlier this year under new coach Sean McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
There are two other Demons active on NFL rosters, veterans Jeremy Lane (Seattle) and Deon Simon (New York Jets), plus second-year receiver Ed Eagan, who was on the Buffalo practice squad roster ending last season. Former Demon player and coach Barry Rubin is the veteran strength and conditioning coach for Kansas City, after earlier stints in Philadelphia and Green Bay.
Ryan and Llorens jumped onto the Rams’ radar with exceptional performances at NSU’s Pro Day March 22. Ryan ran a 4.34 40-yard dash and Llorens was clocked at 4.43 while recording a 41-inch vertical leap and a 10-7 standing broad jump as a Rams scout watched. Llorens had the best 20-yard shuttle time (4.14) and trailed only Ryan (11.09) with an 11.80 in the 60-yard shuttle drill. Ryan had the second-best standing broad jump, 10-2.
Ryan (5-8, 162) was honorable mention All-Southland Conference last fall as a punt returner after he finished second in the conference with his 10.1 punt return average. The Lafayette-Northside product finished his career second all-time at NSU with 140 career receptions.
Llorens (5-11, 213), a hometown product and Natchitoches Central graduate, was a first-team All-Southland running back last fall. He finished 10th all-time in Demon history in rushing yards (2,381 yards) and scored 180 career points (30 touchdowns, 25 rushing).
He led the Southland with an 85-yard overall rushing average in 10 games (12 yards better than the second-ranked runner) and a 99-yard average (nearly 17 yards ahead of No. 2) in eight conference contests. That included an abbreviated outing at Central Arkansas where on his second carry, he sustained a shoulder injury that benched him for the rest of that game and the next contest.
Discounting that brief appearance, Llorens’ averages would jump to 94 yards rushing overall, 112 yards per conference game, and he would also have topped the league in all-purpose yardage in conference play (133 ypg).
Finishing with 853 yards rushing on 134 carries (a 6.4 average per carry), Llorens ran for eight touchdowns. He caught two TD passes while making 158 yards with his 19 catches.
Llorens finished fifth in school history, tied with Sidney Thornton (1973-76), by scoring 25 touchdowns on the ground. He added five pass reception scores, with his 180 career points ranking sixth in school history for non-kickers, trailing only Derrick Johnese (212 from 2002-04), Shelton Sampson (198 from 2002-05) and Tony Taylor (198 from 1998-2001), Joe Delaney (188 from 1977-80) and Charlie Tolar (182 from 1956-58).
Llorens’ older brother, former Demon cornerback Kendrick Llorens, was an undrafted free agent signee by the New York Giants in 2001.