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Football - Sun, Apr. 25, 2010
Tiffin University running back Chris Ivory has signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints, Head Coach Dave Walkosky has announced. Ivory had received interest from a number of teams prior to draft day. Ivory averaged 5.7 yards per rush over 5 games with the Dragons before his season ended due to injury. Prior to his 2009 season, Ivory had competed for Washington State.

New Orleans can now be referred to as the Ivory Coast,

Chris Ivory, a running back who played in five games for Tiffin University last season before a leg injury shelved him, signed with the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on Saturday night.

The deal was in place hours after the NFL Draft concluded. There was hope Ivory might become the first TU player selected, but Tiffin coach Dave Walkosky said all along that the 6-foot, 228-pounder would get a shot in the NFL.

"They contacted him during the actual draft," Tiffin coach Dave Walkosky said. "They still wanted him.

"He has a great opportunity [with the Saints]. They need another running back."

Ivory said he's happy to be getting a shot.

"I'm going to run with it," he said. "It's an honor to be with the team."

Ivory came to the Dragons from Division I Washington State, where Walkosky was an assistant in 2007. Walkosky worked with special teams, and used Ivory on kick returns.

Ivory's time in a Tiffin uniform was brief, but impressive. He rushed for 223 yards on 39 carries, a 5.7 rushing average. He suffered a season-ending leg injury in a game against Ashland at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.

Ivory has an opportunity to be the second Tiffin player to make it in the NFL. Receiver Nate Washington signed with the Steelers as a free agent after the 2005 draft, and went on to win a pair of Super Bowl rings there before signing with Tennessee before last season.

"I told Chris he's elevated our program," Walkosky said.

Ivory said he always stayed focused on reaching the next level.

"It just lets you know if you come in, work hard, keep your faith and stay humble, you can be picked up," he said.

One Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player was selected in the draft. The Oakland Raiders picked Hillsdale (Mich.) offensive tackle Jared Veldheer during Friday's third round (No. 69 overall).