The Green Bay Packers’ history with undrafted free agents has been a decorated one.
It is one that, as of this past weekend, now includes a former Northwestern State standout. Cornerback William Hooper signed a free-agent contract with the Packers following his performance at a rookie minicamp this past weekend in Green Bay.
“It’s almost like a real-life dream,” Hooper said. “It’s crazy. I can’t even put it in words.”
Hooper, a 6-foot, 185-pound native of Montgomery, Alabama, was a second-team All-Southland Conference selection after a senior year in which he recorded 12 pass breakups, 29 total tackles and a blocked kick.
He earned the invitation to the minicamp and then showed enough promise for the Packers to sign him in hopes he could be the next Tramon Williams or Sam Shields, prior undrafted defensive backs who became integral parts of the Green Bay secondary.
As the two-day camp moved along, Hooper’s confidence grew.
“I felt like I had a pretty good practice Friday, but I was excited to be there,” Hooper said. “I was like a kid in a cand shop. I wanted to know everything about the facilities. I went to practice Saturday and had a pretty solid day. The game started to slow down for me, and they told me after practice they were going to sign me.”
Following the news, Hooper received a call from his agent before calling his mother and his NSU position coach, De’Von Lockett.
Lockett and Hooper maintained contact throughout the latter’s preparation for his Pro Day performance in New Orleans and the ensuing NFL Draft and free-agent markets.
“This whole time, he’s checked in on me, made sure I was good, that I’m focused and prepared,” Hooper said. “He was pretty excited. I could hear it in his voice.”
Although he grew up in Alabama and played his high school football at Shoemaker High School in Killeen, Texas, Hooper said he had a soft spot for the Packers, naming them as one of the teams he would use while playing the Madden series of video games.
When the Packers’ first set of organized team activities begin May 22, Hooper will have his next chance to continue to impress an organization that already made an impression on him – especially with their history of undrafted free agents.
“It really gives me an extra boost to keep going and keep working,” Hooper said. “I love the organization. They’re really honest. The team president (Mark Murphy) was an undrafted guy and played nine years in the NFL.”