Tanner's Perseverance Pays Off, Makes Saints Roster - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Tanner's Perseverance Pays Off, Makes Saints Roster

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Andy Tanner's commitment and overwhelming perseverance has paid off.
 
The former Midwestern State All-America receiver and current Who Dat Nation fan favorite overcame 33 transactions and 16 cuts over the last three years to truly earn a spot on the New Orleans game day roster.
 
Tanner joins a New Orleans receiving corps which includes Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Kenny Stills and Nick Toon. He clearly has Saints' franchise quarterback Drew Brees in his corner, as well.
 
"He's a stud," Brees said in a recent press conference. "He is a guy that has meant so much to this team even though he maybe hasn't seen the field in active duty action in the regular season yet. (Tanner) is a guy who's on the practice squad and makes play after play through the preseason and offseason. We know his opportunity will come. We all just have so much respect for him."
 
Tanner finished the preseason with six catches for 92 yards including a pair of TD receptions in a 31-23 win at Houston after parts of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons on the Saints' practice squad.
 
As a four-year letter winner at Midwestern State, he played a large in helping the Mustangs to their first Lone Star Conference championship in his senior campaign of 2009.
 
Tanner earned D2Football.com and Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-America honorable mention after setting MSU single-season records in receptions (75), receiving yards (1,186), receiving touchdowns (12) and receptions per game (6.25).
 
He amassed at least 90 receiving yards in eight of his 12 games in the banner season including three consecutive 100-yard receiving performances against Incarnate Word, Angelo State and West Texas A&M to earn Daktronics All-Super Region Four first-team honors as the LSC South Division Receiver of the Year.
 
Tanner garnered All-LSC honorable mention status as a junior leading MSU in receiving with 26 catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns.
 
He will be MSU's seventh student-athlete and second wide receiver to take the field in the National Football League following the footsteps of Bryan Gilmore, who played eight seasons (2000-07) in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.
 
Midwestern State now boasts two former players on NFL rosters for the second time in program history as Tanner joins Carolina Panthers guard Amini Silatolu.
 
Silatolu, a consensus All-American at Midwestern in 2011, started 15 games a season ago after the Panthers selected him with the 40th overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was named to the Pro Football Weekly/PFWA All-Rookie squad.
 
Gilmore and former Indianapolis Colt standout running back Dominic Rhodes (2001-10) concurrently earned time on NFL rosters during much of the last decade.
 
Other MSU members to take the NFL gridiron include DB/HB Ray Gene Smith (1954-57), DT Dudley Meredith (1963-68) and PK Ian Howfield (1987-91).
 
Meredith transferred from Midwestern and finished his collegiate career at Lamar, while Howfield played soccer at MSU in 1984 and 1985 before moving on to the University of Tennessee to play football.
 
Tanner makes his regular season debut next Sunday when New Orleans plays host to the Atlanta Falcons at the Superdome.

UNGA RELEASED: Former MSU offensive lineman Joe Unga was released by the Baltimore Ravens Saturday afternoon. Unga garnered third-team All-America mention from Beyond Sports Network last season and was signed as a rookie free agent last May battling to the final cut for the defending Super Bowl champions.