Former Palmer football standout Junior Aumavae is headed to the Dallas Cowboys after agreeing to a three-year deal.
Aumavae is a 6-foot-2, 330-pound defensive tackle who garnered first-team all-conference honors for a pair of Division II programs during a stellar college football career. He was seen as an "under the radar" prospect by NFL scouts and a potential pick during the 2010 NFL Draft.
Aumavae was not selected during the NFL's three-day, seven-round selection ceremony. But just minutes after the final player was selected on Saturday, Aumavae's phone started to ring.
Dallas signed Aumavae as a priority rookie free agent. He will report to the team's rookie minicamp starting next week.
The Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys were all interested in signing Aumavae. Then Aumavae's agent called with news that Dallas was ready to make an offer.
Shortly after committing to the team, Aumavae also received a call from a Dallas scout.
"He said I have a real good chance to anchor their nose position," Aumavae said. "They were very excited and they welcomed me to the team."
Aumavae is the first former Palmer football player to get the chance to play in the NFL.
He was named Alaska's top large-schools lineman after his senior year at Palmer High. He was a first-team All-Railbelt Conference and All-State selection on both offense and defense as a junior and a senior, even though his football career didn't begin until his sophomore season.
As a college player, Aumavae earned first-team all-conference honors at Western Washington and Minnesota State-Mankato.
Longtime Palmer head coach Rod Christiansen was elated when Aumavae told him he'd agreed to a deal with Dallas.
"He's a real deserving guy," Christiansen said. "He had the desire to stick with it. His focus was on wanting to see if he can make it."