TUCSON--Graduated senior Andre Torrey, a defensive end starter for the past two years at UA, heads back to Foxboro, Mass., July 29 to continue his battle to make the New England Patriots as a free-agent rookie.
Torrey, who paced the Arizona defense with 13 tackles for loss and five sacks his senior year, is contending for a roster spot as a linebacker on the Super Bowl champions. He attended an initial mini-camp after signing as a free agent shortly after the draft in early June, and was invited back to continue his quest this month.
"I worked as an outside linebacker, a new position for me. It was a great camp," Torrey said before a workout at McKale Center. "These are the world champions. There's a great group of linebackers and it's my first time playing the position."
One of those linebackers is well known to Arizona partisans -- former NCAA sack champ and three-time Super Bowl winner Tedy Bruschi, who plays inside though is questionable this season after a mild stroke in mid February. Another is Willie McGinest, the listed starter at one outside linebacker spot atop the depth chart ahead of several guys ahead of Torrey.
"I'm just trying to work hard and earn a spot on the team. It's a great opportunity. They watch you closely and observe everything you do, and see how you soak up the playbook," Torrey said of the Pats' camp.
One thing he credited for the NFL opportunity was the final work he put into his collegiate career in the first year under coach Mike Stoops and strength coaches Corey Edmond and Mark Hill. "They helped me a lot, a tremendous amount. I wouldn't have this chance at all if it weren't for the way we were instilled with a strong work ethic under coach Stoops. It made a big difference."
Torrey reports July 19 for the rookie camp, and the Patriots are set to begin full camp about 10 days later.
Three other 2004 Wildcats still have chances to make NFL teams as free agents. Tight end Steve Fleming will contend for a roster spot with the Green Bay Packers after spring camp in a tryout with the New York Giants, and offensive tackle Chris Johnson is on the Houston Texans roster entering rookie camp, as is UA tackle Carlos Williams, who will be trying to make the Texans as a defensive end.