University of Redlands senior cornerback Jeff Hector, who racked up eight interceptions for a No. 22-ranked team in NCAA Division III last season, was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as a free agent last weekend.
It’s something of an achievement for the small-college Bulldogs, who play in a lightly regarded division of college football — no athletic scholarships, no huge bowl games and often neglected scouting by the pro leagues.
Bulldog coach Mike Maynard confirmed the news Saturday night, saying he was the first to turn pro from the Redlands program since QB Danny Ragsdale went to the Arena League in the 1990s.
“Every day,” said Maynard, “was like game day to him. (He) practiced 100 mph.”
Which is likely why Hector was signed by the Ravens.
“Affirmative,” said Maynard.
Hector, who showed up at Redlands from L.A. Southwest College two seasons ago, had an immediate impact on the Bulldogs’ secondary. Redlands immediately lifted itself to back-to-back SCIAC championships once Hector arrived.
Three of his interceptions last season were returned for touchdowns.
It’s unknown how the Ravens initially learned of Hector, who racked up a lengthy list of achievements last season.
A first-team NCAA Div. III Associated Press All-American, Hector was also named first team on the American Football Coaches Association, plus winning first-team All-West Region and All-SCIAC honors.
Every NFL team sits through its annual seven-round draft, but also awaits the end of that three-day period to connect with undrafted players that might have a chance of earning a spot on its 53-man roster or a 10-man practice squad.
Hector was the lone Division III signee by the Ravens, a two-time Super Bowl champion.