TSU's Hafford signed by New England Patriots
A member from Tarleton's most recent secondary has been signed into the NFL, as the New England Patriots have added Texans defensive back Devin Hafford.
Hafford joins the six-time Super Bowl champion Patriots as an undrafted free agent, just days after the 2022 NFL Draft concluded.
Hafford played the last six years at Tarleton, from 2016-22, appearing in 56 total games. Overall, he recorded 12 interceptions, 57 passes defended, four fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, a blocked kick, 243 total tackles (161 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss. The Texans went 35-21 (.625) with Hafford roaming the secondary, including back-to-back winning seasons to start Tarleton's NCAA Division I era in 2020-21, plus back-to-back Lone Star Conference championships in 2018-19.
The longtime Texan ended his Tarleton playing career with his best season, named an All-American (AP, AFCA, Stats Perform), the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-WAC. In 2021, he recorded six interceptions, two fumble recoveries, seven pass breakups, 50 total tackles (25 solo), and 3.0 tackles for a loss. His eight takeaways were the tied-third most across all of NCAA Division I, counting both FBS and FCS. His six interceptions were the tied-fourth most across all of Division I and the tied-sixth most in a single-season in Tarleton football history. Hafford had three multi-takeaway games, tied for the most such games in the country.
His 12 career picks are tied for the third most in a Texan's career, two short of the record. He was also LSC Defensive Back of the Year and First Team All-LSC in 2018, plus All-LSC Second Team in 2017. Altogether, he earned five All-American honors.
Hafford is the 20th player in Tarleton Football history to sign into the NFL, on the heels of Benjie Franklin signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday. He is the second Tarleton player to sign with New England, joining defensive end Rufus Johnson (2015). Tarleton head coach Todd Whitten was a quarterback for the Patriots in 1987.
Since 2018, the Texans have had eight different players sign with an NFL team; Hafford (New England, 2022), Franklin (Jacksonville, 2022), Dominique Martin (Green Bay, 2021), Zimari Manning (Denver, 2020), E.J. Speed (Indianapolis, 2019), Tyrell Thompson (Los Angeles Rams, 2019), Xavier Turner (Arizona and Seattle, 2019) and Dashaun Phillips (Pittsburgh, 2018).