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Free agent running backs trying to impress

With the rookies all arriving at Gillette Stadium, a couple of undrafted free agent running backs that had productive college careers are trying to make their mark.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis produced at not one, but two, Division I schools over his college career. Yet, the draft came and went without Green-Ellis hearing his unusual name called by an NFL team.

Green-Ellis began his career at Indiana, where he had two solid seasons before transferring to Ole Miss. At Mississippi, Green-Ellis recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Rebels, despite playing on one of college football's worst passing teams. In four years of college ball, Green-Ellis ran for 3,869 yards and 25 touchdowns. But even after proving himself at a high level in college, the former Ole Miss standout was forced to wait by the phone, hoping for a call when the draft had completed.

"There are some things you have no control over and the draft is one of those things," Green-Ellis said about being passed over. "I only worry about things hat I can control, like coming out here and working hard. God blessed me by putting me here and now all I can do is go out and work hard to try and make the team better."

Green-Ellis is one of the better-known undrafted players but it's not just for what he did on the field. He has one of the most unique names in all of sports. So much so that it caused one local Boston sports radio host to declare, "My favorite player in the draft is BenJarvus Green-Ellis. I don't know much about him but what a great name."

"It just something my mom made up," Green-Ellis said about his uncommon first name. "It's kind of catchy and everyone kind of liked it so I've been rolling with it for 22 years now."

Green-Ellis didn't get to experience the thrill of being drafted but he's happy to be in New England and for the chance to prove he belongs on an NFL roster.

"This is a great organization with a great history," Green-Ellis said. "It's an honor to be a part of this team and to get a chance to show them what I can do."

While Green-Ellis is the most notable of the Patriots rookie backs this year, Troy's Kenny Cattouse is another interesting prospect. According to the Troy Trojans athletic web site, Cattouse had a tryout with New England on Friday and is hoping to show enough potential to be offered a contract.

At 5-10, 200 pounds, Cattouse has the frame to be a third-down pass catching back in the NFL similar to Kevin Faulk. Cattouse didn't put up huge numbers on the ground in college but one reason for that is Troy employs a pass happy spread offense. He did make a big impact as a receiver coming out of the backfield for the Trojans. Cattouse caught 37 passes as a senior, to go along with his 824 rushing yards and 5.9 YPC average.

Nicknamed "The Moose," Cattouse is trying to prove he belongs in the NFL, despite not being used a lot in college. Some pre-draft scouting reports even believe Cattouse could have a more productive pro career than he did at Troy because in the spread offense Cattouse was forced to share carries with quarterback Omar Haugabook.

"I really couldn't get the ball consistently like I wanted to, the carries I needed to have big games," Cattouse told "Some games I did take advantage of when I did get the carries and I had bigger games. I always knew I had the talent and what it took to get to the next level, it was just the coaches giving me the opportunity, giving me the ball. When I did get the ball I was productive."

Like any other undrafted free agent, Cattouse has an uphill climb to make an NFL roster, but he's confident he has the ability to turn some heads.

"Right now I'm the underdog, so I just want to come out there and sneak up on them," Cattouse said about being an undrafted player trying to catch on with an NFL team. "So I'm just going to shock them. Whatever it takes, I'm just going to go out there and prove them wrong and keep working hard. If you don't believe in yourself, nobody will."

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