INDIANAPOLIS – With rookies and a few select first-year players practicing tomorrow through Sunday in a mini-camp, Ryan Grigson has signed six of his seven draft picks.
Helping to keep the focus on orientation and learning, the Colts have signed guard Hugh Thornton, center/guard Khaled Holmes, defensive tackle Montori Hughes, safety John Boyett, running back Kerwynn Williams and tight end Justice Cunningham.
The team also signed undrafted free agent center Rick Schmeig. The lone unsigned draft pick is top choice Bjoern Werner, an outside linebacker from Florida State taken with the 24th overall choice.
Thornton played in 42 career games at Illinois, making 35 starts at both guard and tackle. He helped lead the team to back-to-back bowl victories in 2010 (Texas Bowl) and 2011 (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl). As a senior in 2012, Thornton started 10-of-11 games, earning All-Big Ten second-team honors by the league's coaches and an honorable mention selection by the media. He also earned the Illinois Point Award as the team's top offensive lineman.
Holmes appeared in 40 games (37 starts) at center and guard at USC. In two seasons at center, he called blocking assignments for an offensive line that yielded only 25.0 quarterback sacks during that 24-game span. As a senior in 2012, Holmes started all 12 games and was an All-America honorable mention selection by Sports Illustrated and a consensus All-Pac-12 Conference first-team choice. He was also selected as USC's Offensive Lineman of the Year and was the recipient of the Trojan Football Alumni Club Award, given to the player with the best grade point average.
Hughes played two seasons at Tennessee before transferring to UT Martin for his final two years. For his career, he appeared in 47 games (23 starts) and recorded 109 tackles (46 solo), 5.0 sacks, 18.0 tackles for loss and 22 quarterback pressures. As a senior in 2012 at UT Martin, Hughes earned All-America second-team honors from The Sports Network and was an All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team choice. For the season, he tallied 42 tackles (20 solo), 4.0 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback pressures and a pass deflection.
Boyett appeared in 40 games (35 starts) over his career at Oregon and totaled 278 tackles (182 solo), 30 passes defensed, 10 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and a half of a sack. As a junior in 2011, he earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors by Phil Steele and was a second-team choice according to Pac-12 coaches. He was also an All-America honorable mention selection from Pro Football Weekly. As a freshman in 2009, Boyett finished with a team-high 90 stops, which earned him Freshman All-America first-team honors from CollegeFootballNews.com and Phil Steele. In addition, he became Oregon's first freshman to lead the Ducks in tackles since defensive records were first accumulated in 1969.
Williams finished seventh in Utah State history with 2,515 rushing yards while ranking fifth in yards per carry (6.6) and seventh in rushing touchdowns (22). He also caught 64 passes for 870 yards (13.6 avg.) and five touchdowns, totaled 135 punt return yards on 11 attempts (12.3 avg.) and returned 135 kickoffs for 3,408 yards, the fourth-most by an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision player. As a senior in 2012, Williams earned All-America honorable mention honors from Sports Illustrated after leading the conference and ranking 13th in the nation in rushing with 116.3 yards per game. He caught a career-high 45 passes and his 697 receiving yards marked the most ever by a Utah State running back in a season. In addition, he became the first player in WAC history to gain 2,000 all-purpose yards in multiple seasons (2,042 in 2010).
Cunningham recorded 50 receptions for 581 yards and one touchdown in 53 games played (23 starts) at South Carolina. In 2012, he was named a team captain and finished the year with career highs of 23 receptions for 324 yards. In South Carolina's victory over Tennessee, he totaled career highs of six receptions for 108 yards, including a career-long 45-yard reception.
Schmeig, 6-3, 305 pounds, played in 45 games, making 29 starts on the offensive line at Purdue University. Over his final two seasons, he started all 26 games at center. As a senior in 2012, Schmeig helped block for the offense to record 3,100 passing yards, the team's highest total since 2007. In 2011, he started all 13 games and was part of an offensive line that cleared the way for 11 100-yard rushing performances.
Indianapolis holds walk-through practices on Friday and Saturday morning, while having full practices on those afternoons and on Sunday morning.
Last year, Indianapolis signed six of its 10 draft picks in May, helping lay a foundation for an 11-5 season that included a playoff berth.