FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed two rookie free agents; quarterback Major Applewhite and wide receiver T.C. Taylor, and first-year free agent punter Tony Umholtz today. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Applewhite, 23, set or tied 48 records during his collegiate career at Texas, including pass attempts (1,065), completions (611), passing yards (8,353), touchdown passes (60) and 300-yard games (8). The 6-foot, 206-pound quarterback is the only player to pass for at least 2,000 yards in three consecutive seasons at Texas. Applewhite posted a 22-8 record as a starter during his Longhorn career.
Taylor, 23, caught 118 passes for 1,793 yards (15.2 avg.) and 15 touchdowns in only 19 games after making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver during his junior year. He established a Jackson State single-season record with 84 receptions for 1,234 yards (14.7 avg.) and 11 touchdowns as a senior. In two seasons as a quarterback the 6-foot-3-inch, 219-pounder completed 63 of 140 passes for 1,154 yards, including 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 22 games.
Umholtz, 25, originally signed as a rookie free agent with the Tennessee Titans on April 18, 2000, but was released on Aug. 21, 2000. Last year, he signed with the New York Giants on April 10, 2001 but was released on August 14, 2001. The 6-foot, 195-pound punter earned third-team I-AA All-American honors following his senior season. He punted 74 times for a 41.4 average, including 17 punts of 50 yards or more. He was also pressed into service as the team's placekicker and connected on 20 of 21 extra points and four field goals.