The NFL Draft weekend was a historic one for the Archbishop Stepinac High School football program as one alum—Malcolm Koonce—was drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders and two more—Trill Williams and TJ Morrison—signed as undrafted rookie free agents with the New Orleans Saints and Raiders, respectively.
The three are looking to join Stepinac graduate Gavin Heslop of the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. The Seahawks signed Heslop to their practice squad before adding him to their active roster during the 2020 season.
“We are very proud of these alumni accomplishments in college and now signing with NFL teams,” Stepinac football coach Michael O’Donnell told CNY. “Each one of these guys took a different path to get to the NFL. The hard work really begins now but we are confident they all will be successful.
“The Crusader Nation is very excited that we have now put four student-athletes in the NFL in the last two years. It is quite an accomplishment for our guys. It's great for the CHSFL (Catholic High School Football League) and New York football.”
Koonce, a defensive lineman from Peekskill, was selected with the 79th overall pick in the third round out of the University of Buffalo, where he earned first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors the last two seasons. He finished with 30 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks in his senior season.
At Stepinac, Koonce helped the Crusaders to an undefeated season and state championship in 2015 as a senior, finishing with 58 tackles and six tackles for a loss to earn second-team all-state honors from the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Williams, a defensive back from Yonkers, declared for the NFL draft in the middle of his junior season at Syracuse University. He started 15 of the 28 games played over three seasons and finished with 93 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and six pass breakups.
In 2017 at Stepinac, Williams received first-team all-state honors from the state sportswriters association and the CHSFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
Morrison, a defensive back from Yonkers, had 109 tackles in 40 career games at Stony Brook University, where he was a captain this past season.
A 2016 graduate of Stepinac, Morrison collected 131 tackles and nine interceptions in three seasons of varsity football with the Crusaders.