DURHAM, N.H.-- University of New Hampshire football players Jason Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) and Jon Oosterhuis (Guelph, Ont.) have both earned opportunities to play football in the pros next season. Ball, a center, recently signed a free agent contract with the National Football League's San Diego Chargers. Meanwhile, Oosterhuis, a defensive end at UNH, was a first-round pick (eighth overall) by the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League draft.
Ball, a co-captain in 2001 at UNH, completed an outstanding senior campaign for the Wildcats in which he was named a third-team All-American by "The Sports Network" and was selected to the first-team All-Atlantic 10 squad. Ball was also named first-team All-New England by the New England Football Writers and was first-team All-ECAC. He leaves for the Chargers' minicamp today (April 25).
Oosterhuis, also a UNH co-captain in 2001, bounced back from knee surgeries over the summer and started all 11 games as a senior for the 'Cats. He was the team's eighth leading tackler with a total of 45 last season (22-23-45), while also posting four sacks for a loss of 39 yards, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
Ball joins three other UNH players in the NFL. Jerry Azumah is presently a defensive back with the Chicago Bears. Dan Kreider is a fullback with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Randal Williams is a receiver with the Dallas Cowboys.
Oosterhuis joins two former UNH players on the Calgary roster. Kamau Peterson is a wide receiver and Joe Fleming is a defensive lineman for the Stampeders. In addition, Steve Charbonneau, a former Wildcat defensive lineman, is playing that same position with the Montreal Allouettes.