Three-time All-Ivy League honoree Andrew Starks will get a professional interview far different than many of his classmates next week. He earned an invitation to attend the Chicago Bears' rookie mini-camp May 10-12.
"Being invited to mini-camp is incredible," said the 2012 Princeton co-captain. "It is great to see what has been a great deal of hard work start to pay off. But it is just another step in the pursuit of a life-long goal. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done before I accomplish this goal.
"It's definitely meaningful to have this opportunity with my hometown team," added Starks, a native of Plainview, Ill. "While I would surely be thrilled to compete for a spot with any team, I have been a Bears fan my entire life. I am looking forward to the opportunity."
Starks will join fellow co-captain Mike Catapano, a seventh-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, in NFL rookie mini-camps this month. Both helped lead Princeton to its biggest single-season turnaround in more than two decades; the Tigers went 5-5, swept Harvard and Yale for the program's first bonfire since 2006, and stayed alive in the championship race until the final day of the season.
Starks, who has been among the Ivy League's leading tackers over the last two seasons, led Princeton with 96 stops this season, including 11.5 for losses. He added 2.5 sacks and an interception.
"Last season I was able to make a lot more significant plays," Starks said. "I was meeting people behind the line of scrimmage and disrupting the ball at a much higher level. That is a tribute to all of the work that we put into the offseason and the help of my coaches and teammates."
"Andrew worked hard for this opportunity, and I'm happy he is getting the chance with Chicago," head coach Bob Surace said. "He had always been a solid player on our defense, but we asked him for more impact plays this season, and he met that challenge."