2024 NFL Draft: Six Independence Bowl Alumni Selected


SHREVEPORT, La. (April 29, 2024) – The 2024 NFL Draft is in the books, and a new crop of Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl alumni have achieved their dreams by being drafted to the National Football League. Six former Independence Bowl players were selected in the seven-round draft.

The highest-selected player was offensive tackle Patrick Paul, who played for Houston in the 2022 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl. Paul was taken in the second round, 55th overall, by the Miami Dolphins. At 55th overall, Paul is the highest-selected Independence Bowl alumni since edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie (Temple, 2019) was selected` 38th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The six players selected span across each of the last three Independence Bowls and represent five of the past Independence Bowl teams – California, Texas Tech, Houston, Louisiana and UAB. Two teams, the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, selected two Independence Bowl alumni. 

As is customary for the NFL Draft, the final player selected is deemed Mr. Irrelevant, and this year, Mr. Irrelevant is an Independence Bowl alumni. Safety Jaylen Key was chosen with the last pick by the New York Jets. Key played for UAB in the 2021 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl before transferring to Alabama after the 2022 season.

Listed below are the former Independence Bowl players who were drafted in the 2024 NFL Draft:

  • Patrick Paul (OT – Houston, 2022) – 2nd round (55th overall) to the Miami Dolphins
  • Dadrion Taylor-Demerson (SAF – Texas Tech, 2023) – 4th round (104th overall) to the Arizona Cardinals
  • Tejhaun Palmer (WR – UAB, 2021) – 6th round (191st overall) to the Cardinals
  • Patrick McMorris (SAF – California, 2023) – 6th round (198th overall) to the Dolphins
  • Nathan Thomas (OT – Louisiana, 2022) – 7th round (233rd overall) to the Dallas Cowboys
  • Jaylen Key (SAF – UAB, 2021) – 7th round (257th overall) to the New York Jets

Along with the six players selected in the seven-round draft, 11 former Independence Bowl players signed as undrafted free agents (UDFA) with NFL teams following the Draft. Below are the Independence Bowl alumni who signed UDFA deals:

  • Austin McNamara (P – Texas Tech, 2023) – UDFA to Cincinnati Bengals
  • Max Tooley (LB – BYU, 2021) – UDFA to Houston Texans
  • Xavier White (WR – Texas Tech, 2023) – UDFA to Indianapolis Colts
  • Baylor Cupp (TE – Texas Tech, 2023) – UDFA to Kansas City Chiefs
  • Ryan Rehkow (P – BYU, 2021) – UDFA to Chiefs
  • Clark Barrington (C – BYU, 2021) – UDFA to Las Vegas Raiders
  • Neal Johnson (TE – Louisiana, 2022) – UDFA to Los Angeles Rams
  • Al Blades Jr. (DB – Miami, 2019) – UDFA to Jets
  • Nelson Ceaser (Edge – Houston, 2022) – UDFA to Seattle Seahawks
  • Cole Spencer (G – Texas Tech, 2023) – UDFA to Tennessee Titans
  • Tyler Owens (SAF – Texas Tech, 2023) – UDFA to Washington Commanders

Adding these drafted players and UDFA signees increases the number of Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl alumni on NFL rosters or practice squads to over 120.

ON THE DOCKET – 13th Annual Youth Football Clinic

The 13th annual Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl Youth Football Clinic will hit the field on Saturday, June 1, 2024 at Independence Stadium. The annual clinic is free for boys and girls from five through incoming eighth-graders. In 2023, campers learned from Centenary head coach Byron Dawson and coaches from Louisiana Tech, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, Southern-Shreveport and Southern Arkansas.

Check-in will begin at 7 a.m. on the event day at the stadium’s southwest entrance. Participants will receive instruction from regional college coaches, a free t-shirt and lunch following the clinic! All participants must fill out an application at RadianceTechnologiesIndependenceBowl.com/youth-football-clinic and a waiver upon arrival on the event day. Contact Director of Events and Operations Jennifer Rider at [email protected] for more information.


Established in 1976, the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl™ is college football’s 11th most-historic bowl game and celebrated its 47th edition on Saturday, December 16, 2023. The Texas Tech Red Raiders defeated the California Golden Bears, 34-14. The Independence Bowl Foundation announced a one-year extension with Radiance Technologies – ensuring they will be the title sponsor through 2025. The bowl’s conference, team, and television agreements also run through the 2025 season. Army West Point is slated to match up against the Pac-12 Conference in 2024, and the Big 12 Conference is lined up to face Conference USA in 2025.

The Independence Bowl Foundation is prevalent in the Shreveport-Bossier City area throughout the year, hosting events to help enhance the economic impact and growth of our community. The Mission of the Independence Bowl is to attract and provide quality, nationally recognized football competition oriented to the Ark-La-Tex region. For more information, visit RadianceTechnologiesIndependenceBowl.com or follow the bowl on Facebook, X and Instagram at @IndyBowl.

Independence Bowl Foundation

425 Ashley Ridge Blvd, Suite 360, Shreveport, LA 71106  |  P.O. Box 6834, Shreveport, LA 71136  |  318.221.0712

2024 Independence Bowl