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Sharks snag quintet of rookies

With the start of the season fast apporaching, Jacksonville is using this time to make a splash on the free agent market, signing five rookies.

Defensive linemen Camah Mulabah and Colton Miles-Nash, wide receivers Tristan Purifoy and Colby Walden, and linebacker have each been assigned to the team on one-year rookie contracts.

The 23-year-old Mulabah (6’1”, 290 lbs.) heads to Jacksonville after spending his collegiate career at the California University of Pennsylvania after attending Parkview High School in Sterling, Virginia. Mulabah was a standout at the Division II level. In 2011, Mulabah logged 70 total tackles (32 solo), 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks while also recording four fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks on his way to earning Second-Team All-American honors as a senior.

A three-year starter for the Vulcans, Mulabah notched 2.5 sacks as a junior and 4.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2009. He saw immediate action upon arriving at campus, appearing in 11 games as a reserve defensive lineman as a freshman in 2008.

Tristan Purifoy (6’, 200 lbs.) started his collegiate career at Jones County Community College in Ellisville, Miss., where he totaled 31 receptions for 279 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons. Purifoy then transferred to the University of North Alabama, where he emerged as one of the Lions’ top downfield targets as a senior in 2011. That year, Purifoy caught 58 passes for 867 yards and a team-high eight receiving touchdowns, leading his team with an average of 14.9 yards per reception. He also returned 12 kickoffs for 296 yards that season. In two years at UNA, he finished with 73 receptions for 1,141 yards and nine touchdowns.

Another 23-year-old is Colby Walden (5’10”, 180), who comes to the Arena Football League after getting a taste of the National Football League this past season. Undrafted out of Jacksonville University, Walden was invited to participate in the Washington Redskins’ rookie minicamp following the 2013 NFL Draft.

Walden spent his entire collegiate career as a JU Dolphin after graduating from Hillsborough High School in Tampa. He factored both on defense and special teams. As a senior in 2012, Walden appeared in 10 of 11 games, totaled 16 tackles and nine pass breakups. He was also far and away the team’s leading kick returner, taking his 17 return opportunities for 462 yards and two touchdowns.

As a junior in 2011, Walden was the Pioneer Football League’s top kick returner, averaging 26.3 yards per runback, earning him Second Team All-Pioneer Football League honors. He also recorded 22 tackles, one sack, 2.5 tackles for loss and an interception on defense. As a sophomore in 2010, Walden logged a career-high total of three interceptions. He saw immediate action as a true freshman in 2009, returning 24 kicks for 532 yards that season.

Walden becomes the second former Dolphin to join the Sharks in recent years. Wide receiver Josh Philpart suited up for the team in both 2012 and 2013.

Rounding out the quartet of 23-year-olds is linebacker Eze Obiora. Obiora (6’2”, 240 lbs.) began his career with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013, where he logged a tackle in the team’s preseason opener against the Montreal Alouettes before being released.

Obiora, now set for his first taste of the Arena Football League, is a native of the United Kingdom, where he grew up playing rugby while attending the Harrow School.

Obiora first played football in 2008, when he came to the United States and spent the fall at Purdue University. He transferred to the College of DuPage, in Glen Ellen, Ill., where he recorded 40 tackles, 14 sacks, eight forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 2010.

Obiora spent his final two collegiate seasons at Southern Illinois University, where he emerged as one of the Salukis’ top pass rushers. As a junior in 2011, Obiora played in all 11 of the Salukis’ games, totaling 16 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.

For his senior season, Obiora led the team, and ranked second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, with eight sacks while also ranking third on the squad with twelve tackles for loss. Obiora notched three tackles in the season opener against Eastern Illinois and later recorded a safety against South Dakota State.

The Sharks rounded out the rookie signings with 22-year-old Colton Miles-Nash (6'6", 270 lbs.) Miles-Nash is set to begin his first season in the Arena Football League after spending time with the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers this past season. Undrafted out of the University of Arkansas, Miles-Nash participated in the Packers’ rookie minicamp following the 2013 NFL Draft.

Miles-Nash spent his entire collegiate career as a Razorback, where he was a teammate of current Shark wide receiver London Crawford in 2009. Miles-Nash provided depth along the defensive line, appearing in a total of 43 games in his four years at the school.

He started by splitting time between offense and defense. Upon arriving to campus in 2009, he moved from defensive end to tight end in preseason drills, seeing action in eight games on offense. He then played on defense throughout his sophomore season in 2010, totaling 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and a blocked kick. He then split time between the two positions as a junior in 2011.

As a senior in 2012, Miles-Nash appeared in 11 games (starting two), totaling 14 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.

A native of Sulphur-Springs, Texas, Miles-Nash starred at Sulphur Springs High School. Ranked as the No. 35 strong-side defensive end in his recruiting class, Miles-Nash totaled 110 tackles, 23 quarterback hurries, eight tackles for loss and four sacks during his senior season. A multi-sport athlete, Miles-Nash also played basketball in high school.

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