Eleven Aztecs are making their mark in the league
SAN DIEGO – Nine weeks into the NFL season, several San Diego State alumni are continuing to perform well in the league.
San Diego State has 11 former players on rosters throughout the league, with two on practice squads and four on injured reserve.
New York Giants linebacker Calvin Munson had a standout game against the LosAngeles Rams on Nov. 5. He made six tackles (three solo, three assisted), a stuff, and forced a fumble. Throughout his rookie season with the Giants, he has started a pair of games, making 21 tackles (13 solo, 8 assisted) with three stuffs, a sack and a forced fumble. Munson, who started all 41 games at outside linebacker from 2014-16 for SDSU, finished his collegiate career ranked sixth in tackles (301) and ninth in sacks (18.0). He was a three-time all-Mountain West pick, including a first-team selection each of his final two seasons. Munson signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent following the 2017 NFL Draft.
His New York Giants teammate, safety Nat Berhe, made one tackle while lining up for six plays on defense and seven plays on special teams versus the Rams. In his fourth season with the New York Giants, he has recorded three solo tackles and assisted on two others with a sack. For his career, he has made 40 tackles, forced one fumble, notched one sack and recovered a fumble. Berhe was a three-year starter from 2010-13 and was the first Aztec safety in the MW era (since 1999) to earn all-conference honors in three consecutive seasons.
Atlanta Falcons free safety Damontae Kazee participated in 13 plays on special teams against the Carolina Panthers. He has played in all eight games during his rookie season with one start, recording 11 tackles (six solo, five assisted) with two forced fumbles. A cornerback in college, Kazee was selected by the Falcons in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Kazee finished his final year with 65 tackles (45 solo), seven interceptions for 156 yards, eight pass breakups, three tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry en route to being named the MW Defensive Player of the Year for a second straight season. Kazee, a three-time all-MW selection over his career (first team in 2015-16, second team in 2014), finished with a school-record 17 interceptions, 30 pass breakups (sixth at SDSU) and 214 interception yards (seventh at SDSU).
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brice Butler caught a six-yard pass against the Kansas City Chiefs, lining up for 27 plays on offense and one on special teams in his team’s third-straight win. The fifth-year pro is averaging 23.7 yards per reception with nine catches through eight games, and four of his plays are for 30 yards or more. In his lone season with San Diego State in 2012 following a three-year career at USC, Butler played in all 13 games with eight starts, recording 24 catches for 347 yards and four touchdowns. He was a seventh-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Recently-signed Baltimore Ravens tight end Gavin Escobar lined up for five snaps on offense against the Tennessee Titans. A fifth-year pro, he has played in 63 games with 11.1 receiving yards per game and eight total touchdowns. Escobar started 23 games during his 39-game career with the Aztecs. He grabbed 122 passes for 1,646 and 17 touchdowns en route to All-American and All-Mountain West accolades each of his three seasons on the Mesa. He became just the 26th player in school history to register 100 receptions during a career.
Arizona Cardinals starting long snapper Aaron Brewer, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Nico Siragusa, Dallas Cowboys defensive back Leon McFadden and Philadelphia Eagles running back Donnel Pumphrey are on their teams’ respective injured lists.
Offensive linemen Daniel Brunskill (Atlanta Falcons) and defensive end Alex Barrett (Detroit Lions) are on their teams’ respective practice squads.