BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There’s several stories about UB football players making it to the NFL but Ja’Marcus Ingram is using two in particular as encouragement ahead of Bills rookie mini camp.
“Just looking at Jaret’s [Patterson] story he’s not the biggest and he did go undrafted so it’s like going undrafted it just gives you another chip on your shoulder to make the team. It gives me some extra motivation because it’s like dang that’s inspiring to see someone make the roster,” Ingram told News 4 Sports.
Trying to make the NFL as an undrafted free agent after playing for UB, Ingram is following in a similar path to former Bulls running back, Jaret Patterson who is now with the Washington Commanders. Ingram also looks to former Bulls cornerback and current Bills defensive back, Cam Lewis as another form of inspiration.
“Just listening to his story as well going undrafted and playing for the Bills, it’s crazy just to even know that you beat every odd because they say it’s only like 1% who make it so just to see them make it and to be right there and be that close to them and walk the same path that they did at Buffalo and to be able to have this opportunity it’s crazy,” Ingram said.
Ingram played his last college season with UB as a cornerback for the Bulls after transferring from Texas Tech. He started all 11 games he played in for the Bulls and ended with 47 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and three pass breakups. It also helped playing for head coach Mo Linguist who has NFL coaching experience.
“It prepared me well, Coach Mo he came from the Dallas Cowboys and he gave me a lot of knowledge and just helping me play the game within the game out on the field and being able to prepare myself for the next level,” Ingram said.
“We all have that goal of playing at the next level and with him having that experience he’s able to teach us more than just about the game of football but also about life and how to handle yourself as a professional because at this level it is a business and you have to carry yourself like a professional.”
After going undrafted Ingram got a call from his agent the Sunday after the draft saying the Bills invited him to their rookie mini camp.
“Everything happened so fast and it was like ‘dang ok I got this opportunity, I know I’m gonna take advantage of it’ and it was just a lot to take in at one time. And then I was like okay somebody believes in me so it’s my opportunity to go out there and just show them what I can do and I’m gonna give it my all,” Ingram smiled.
He’s been using these past few weeks to train in his hometown of Dallas doing three workouts a day to get ready for camp. Ingram also said he’s been watching previous Bills game and footage to study up on their defense, do as much prep work and see what kind of coverages and schemes they ran in the past.
With how much of a whirlwind everything has been leading up to this week, Ingram still hasn’t had a chance to fully process it all.
“I don’t think it’s gonna hit me until I walk in the locker room and then actually grab the helmet and put the jersey on and stuff like that and just be able to be like ‘dang I’m actually participating with the Buffalo Bills, it’s like for real, for real now,” Ingram explained.
“So I think it’s gonna hit me then but right now I’m just trying to stay focused and stay in the moment and enjoy the process because it’s gonna be fun once I get to go in that locker room and get out there on the field and compete.”
Ingram said he’s also talked with his former UB teammates who are also getting their chances in the NFL as Kevin Marks Jr. signed a free agent deal with the Chargers, Josh Rogers signed with the Seahawks and Kadofi Wright signed with the Broncos.
And now they all look to continue following the same story as guys like Jaret Patterson and Cam Lewis, hoping there’s a similar ending.
“It’s like everything comes full circle you know dreaming about this opportunity as a kid then having the chance to go play at the University at Buffalo but not only that then come back and participate in the rookie mini camp for the Buffalo Bills, that’s like full circle to me and I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” Ingram said.