Three University of Northern Iowa football players are headed to NFL camps following the 2012 NFL Draft. Tight end Austin Wells has signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent, linebacker L.J. Fort has been invited to rookie camp with the New Orleans Saints, and offensive lineman Jay Teply has been invited to a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings.
Wells played in all 13 games for the Panthers in 2011 after transferring from Nebraska-Omaha. He caught eight passes for 63 yards on the season.
Fort finished 2011 as the Division I FCS national leader in total tackles (184) and tackles per game (14.15), setting the UNI single-season record. He was named the FCS National Defensive Player of the Year by both College Sporting News and College Sports Madness, as well as the runner-up for the Buck Buchanan Award as The Sports Network's FCS national defensive player of the year.
Fort claimed the Missouri Valley Football Conference's top honor as the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. He earned first-team All-America recognition from five different organizations following the season.
Teply was named a third team All-American by the Beyond College Sports Network following 13 starts at left tackle in 2011. He was a first team All-MVFC pick and earned MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors following UNI's win over Southern Utah on Nov. 12.