Panthers sign five undrafted free agents

Charlottes Austin Duke, Clemsons Ben Boulware among additions

(Photo by Charlotte 49ers sports information)

The Carolina Panthers came to terms with five undrafted rookie free agents, the team announced on Monday.All five players are expected to attend the team’s rookie minicamp on May 5. They will sign contracts prior to participating in workouts.The Panthers didn’t have to look far for Austin Duke. The wide receiver led Charlotte in catches and receiving yardage each of the last four years and is the school’s all-time leader in receptions (253), yards (3,437) and receiving touchdowns (24). Duke also competed for Charlotte in track as a redshirt freshman, running the 100 and 60-meter dashes. The 5-foot-9, 150 pounder wasn’t invited to the Combine or Senior Bowl, but he impressed scouts at individual workouts after adding 20 pounds of muscle following the season.The Panthers also signed a player from nearby Clemson—linebacker Ben Boulware. The starting middle linebacker for the national champions, Boulware was the ACC’s co-defensive player of the year and a two-time first-team All-ACC. Boulware was second-team All-American, the Defensive MVP of the national championship game and the Lambert Award winner for the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.Carolina signed Florida defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. The name should ring a bell for NFL fans. His father was a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Dolphins. Cox Sr. was also a longtime assistant coach, most recently with Carolina’s NFL South rivals Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Cox Jr. played last season with a broken hand, which hampered his production. He was projected as a sixth or seventh-round draft pick by Panthers will also bring in Notre Dame cornerback Cole Luke. The 5-foot-9, 195 pounder will look to recapture his sophomore and junior year performance level. Luke broke up 11 passes in 2014, third most in Notre Dame history, and won national defensive back of the week awards after a strong game against Stanford. Luke struggled as a senior, however, and had an underwhelming performance at his pro day.The fifth free agent is Mississippi State wide receiver Fred Ross. The Bulldogs’ all-time career leader in receptions, with 199, Ross had 1,007 receiving yards as a junior and 917 this past season. He had 22 career receiving touchdowns and also scored rushing and punt return touchdowns. A second-team All-SEC selection as a senior, Ross was slotted as a sixth or seventh-rounder by