Former Ram John Skelton Named Starter for Arizona Cardinals
Sept. 4, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. -
There are only 32 of them in the National Football League and now one is a Fordham University graduate. Former Ram quarterback John Skelton was named the 2012 starter for the Arizona Cardinals, marking the first time in his three-year pro career that Skelton has been named the starting quarterback to kick off the season.
Skelton, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Cardinals, took over as the starter last year, leading the Cardinals to a 6-2 record over their final eight games. He completed 151 of 275 passes for 1,913 yards and 13 touchdowns.
A 2009 Second Team All-Patriot League selection, Skelton wrapped up a record-shattering career for the Rams that fall, closing out the year completing 284 of 441 passes (64.4%) for 3,708 yards and 26 touchdowns. He set new school marks for completions and passing yards, breaking Kevin Eakin's former school records of 247 completions for 3,072 yards set in 2003 as well as breaking Steve O'Hare's completion percentage record of 63.1% set in 1997. Skelton led the NCAA FCS in passing yards/game (337.09) and was ranked second in total offense (348.18 yards/game), fourth in completions per game (25.82) and total passing yards and tenth in passing efficiency (149.95).
Skelton threw for over 300 yards eight times in eleven games in 2009, including four 400-yard games. He completed 20 of 27 passes for 420 yards and five touchdowns against Cornell on October 17th, breaking the school record of 413 passing yards set by Joe Moorhead in 1995 and coming up one shy of the school record for scoring passes of six, set by Kevin Eakin in 2003. Skelton then broke his own record two weeks later, completing 43 of 67 passes for 427 yards, all school records, against Holy Cross on October 31st. He finished one passing attempt shy of the NCAA FCS record for most pass attempts in a game without an interception, just missing the national mark of 68 set by Marshall's Tony Petersen against Western Carolina in 1987 (Peterson completed 34). Skelton surpassed his own school record of 420 passing yards in a game while breaking Matt Georgia's 1999 records of 36 completions and 65 attempts.
Skelton isn't the only former Ram on an NFL roster as defensive back Isa Abdul-Quddus begins his second year with the New Orleans Saints this fall and his brother, Stephen, was signed to the Cardinals' practice roster.
Abdul-Quddus returns for his second year with New Orleans, after signing with the Saints as a free agent prior to the 2011 season, Last year, he appeared in all 16 games, making 16 tackles and forcing five fumbles.
Over his career, Abdul-Quddus, who was a two-year starter in the defensive backfield, had 193 total tackles, 134 solo, including 12 for loss and three sacks. He also amassed ten pass deflections and three interceptions. Abdul-Quddus tied a school record with three interceptions in a game at Cornell in 2009.
Stephen Skelton, who spent the summer in the Cardinals' camp but was cut by the team on Friday, was resigned to the Arizona practice roster on Monday. He also spent time on the Cardinals practice roster last year.
Skelton emerged as a pass-catching tight end in 2009, hauling in 63 passes from his brother John, for 634 yards and six touchdowns. The 63 receptions were the most all-time for a Fordham tight end and the fifth best total in school history. Skelton had two 100-yard receiving games that fall, a ten-reception, career-high 138-yard game against Old Dominion on October 3rd and a career-high 13-catch, 102 yard contest against Holy Cross on October 31st. Skelton ranked fourth in the Patriot League in receptions per game (5.7), 31st in the NCAA FCS, and ninth in the conference in and 81st in the NCAA receiving yards per game (57.6).
Over his career, Skelton recorded 127 receptions for 1,313 yards and ten touchdowns, all career-highs for a Fordham tight end. He is seventh on the school's all-time receptions list and tied for eighth in career touchdown receptions.
The three aren't the only former Rams currently playing professional football as Tad Kornegay is a member of the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He is in his eighth season in the CFL and has played in four Grey Cup games, winning championships in 2007 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and last year with the British Columbia Lions.
Kornegay was a standout with the Rams from 2001-04, capping his career by winning the 2005 Vincent T. Lombardi Award as Fordham's Male Athlete of the Year.
The Lombardi award was one of a long list of honors for Kornegay, a consensus First Team All-American in 2004. He was named 2004 First Team Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Walter Camp Division I-AA and Sports Network I-AA All-American as well being named one of 40 players named to the I-AA.org All-Star Team. Kornegay was also a finalist for the 2004 Buck Buchanan Award as the NCAA I-AA Defensive Player of the Year as awarded by the Sports Network, finishing 14th in the voting.
The Arizona Cardinals will open the 2012 season by hosting the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday while the New Orleans Saints get the season started with a visit from the Washington Redskins on Sunday. The Calgary Stampeders are currently 5-4 in the CFL West Division and play next on Friday at Edmonton.