Forrest Rhyne didn’t get drafted by a team in the 2022 National Football League draft, but that doesn’t mean he will not get his long-awaited chance to earn a spot on a roster.
Rhyne, a 2017 graduate of Waynesboro Area Senior High School, signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent on Saturday, ending at least some of the gut-wrenching speculation over whether or not the Villanova University standout linebacker will get his foot in the door in professional football.
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Rhyne, a two-time All-State defensive player for the Waynesboro Indians and a 2021 Football Championship Subdivision All-American, will have an opportunity to etch his name on an NFL 53-man roster (or as a member of the Practice Squad).
The Colts, which interviewed Rhyne prior to the draft, did not draft a linebacker. Rhyne seemed a good fit for the club, which is coached by Frank Reich, a Cedar Crest High School alumnus who was drafted in the third round out of Maryland.
Rhyne’s defensive teammate at Villanova, Denzel Williams (cornerback), signed as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens.
Indianapolis signed 14 undrafted free agents, including Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan.
Rhyne, who did not have any offers from Football Bowl Subdivision schools but jumped at the chance to play for an elite FCS team, knows what it’s like to be patient and to work his way up the competitive ladder. He played in 17 games his first two seasons at Villanova, mostly on special teams and as a reserve.
As a junior, Rhyne was in on 116 tackles. He came on strong in his senior season (he was actually a graduate student in the fall, having received an extra season of eligibility due to COVID-19), recording 153 tackles, the most of any team in the FCS.
One of his best games came in a televised game against Penn State at Beaver Stadium. Rhyne recorded 11 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss totaling 14 yards.
His consistency during the 2021 season drew raves from commentators and coaches alike. He was named Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year and was a 2021 Buck Buchanan Award finalist, a national award given to the most outstanding defensive player in FCS.
Rhyne declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft in February and was interviewed by Zach Hall for FanNation All Colts on Feb. 17, 2022.
Near the end of the interview, Rhyne talked about what he wanted to bring to the NFL if he had that opportunity:
“You are going to get somebody that is going to do whatever it takes to bring a Super Bowl home to an organization. I’m willing to work as many hours as they need and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win in the NFL,” said Rhyne.
The Colts will have Organized Team Activities on May 24-26, June 1-3 and June 13-16. The team will hold a mandatory minicamp from June 7-9.
The team also can have rookie development program beginning May 16 and will hold a rookie minicamp. The team’s summer camp begins July 28 in Westfield, Indiana.