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December 28, 2005 - Rock River Sign Two Former Raptors
Rockford, IL – The Rock River Raptors are happy to announce the re-signing of two Tennessee Valley Raptors players to their 2006 Football Roster, defensive end Fernandez Shaw Jr. and defensive back Sean Hilliard.

Fernandez Shaw Jr. is a 6’2”, 225 pound defensive end from the University of Alabama A&M and played on last year’s Raptors team. Shaw was one of the fiercest pass rushers in the UIF last season; he earned all defensive honors while racking up 24.5 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks, which made him 3rd in the league, and 83.5 total tackles. Fans voted Shaw one of the best players of the 2005 Raptors in an earlier web poll. At Alabama A&M, Shaw was a second-team All-SWAC selection during the 2003 season for the Bulldogs. He finished seventh on the team with 38 tackles, first with 14.5 stops for a loss and had 5.5 sacks. Shaw ended his Alabama A&M career with a 31-game total of 71 tackles and seven sacks.

Sean Hilliard is a 6'1" 205 pound defensive back from Cumberland University and played on last years Raptors team. On defense, Hilliard played in 12 games where he had 60 tackles. Eight of the tackles were for a loss of 14 yards. Sean also tallied 3 interceptions, one forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 3 defensive touchdowns for the Raptors. Hilliard was named Player of the Week by the UIF in Week 16. Sean returned a 32 yard interception for a touchdown and reached the end zone again on a 10-yard fumble recovery. He also had four solo tackles and five tackle assists in the game against Ohio Valley which the Raptors won. At Cumberland, Sean was named to the All Mid-South Conference in 2001 and 2002 as a defensive back and kick returner. Sean was also named MVP of the defensive backs and special teams in is senior season at Cumberland. He spent the 2004 season with the Dresden Monarchs of the German Football League.

“We are very fortunate in getting Sean Hilliard and Fernandez Shaw they were the main anchors of defense last season,” said Art Clarkson Managing Partner of the Raptors. Clarkson also went on to say that “(Coach) Rik Richards is doing a terrific job getting quality players like Fernandez and Sean,” and likes the progress of the team.

Coach Richards said, “To get two of the best players off the Alabama team is a very nice Christmas present. They could have stayed in Alabama and played there this year. They put their trust in us to try and help them get to the next level and so now I will try and do my part and get these two young men an opportunity.”

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