Stringfellow was a highly-rated recruit for the Huskies in 2013.
A year ago, former University of Washington receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow spoke hopefully that he might be able to return to Seattle someday and create a new football legacy for himself.
Monday he found out he will get that chance when he signed a contract as a free agent with the Seahawks.
Stringfellow was one of five players who took part in the team’s rookie mini-camp over the weekend as tryout players who were officially signed to deals on Monday.
Also among those signing was center Marcus Henry, a former Bellevue High standout who attended Boise State. Henry has also been in a camp with the Saints but has not played in an NFL game.
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The other signees are free safety Tevon Mutcherson and offensive tackles Nick Callender and Avery Young.
Mutcherson is from Central Florida, where he played with Shaquill and Shaquem Grifin, Callender played at Colorado State while Young has been on the rosters of the Saints, Dolphins and Bucs over the last three years without playing in an NFL game.
None of the five are rookies, meaning they can all immediately join the Seahawks’ off-season program, something coach Pete Carroll mentioned on Sunday as something the team would look at in deciding who to sign out of the mini-camp.
To make room on the team’s 90-man roster, the Seahawks waived receivers Ka’Raun White and Taj Williams, linebackers Jason Hall and Paul Dawson and center Brad Lundblade.
White, Williams, Hall and Lundblade had all signed last week as undrafted rookie free agents while Dawson is a fourth-year player who was on the team’s roster last season and recently re-signed.
Stringfellow was a heralded member of UW’s recruiting class of 2013, the last full class for Steve Sarkisian, out of Rancho Verde High in Moreno Valley, Calif.
He caught 20 passes for 259 yards as a freshman — including eight for 147 yards and a touchdown in a late-season game against UCLA — before being suspended from the team and ultimately transferring to Ole Miss following his involvement in a pair of altercations with Seahawks fans on the night the Seahawks beat Denver in the Super Bowl in 2014. In one of the altercations, Stringfellow later admitted to “intentionally touching” a female who was taking pictures of a celebration, rendering her briefly unconscious.
Stringfellow was charged with three misdemeanors and ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of fourth-degree assault and another of third-degree mischief. Stringfellow was accompanied that night by then-UW quarterback Cyler Miles, a Denver native (Miles was not charged in connection with the incidents). Stringfellow was sentenced to five days on a work crew and fined $693 and that incident also led to him being barred from attending the NFL Combine in 2017.
“It was just me being young,’’ Stringfellow said in an interview with the Seattle Times in April, 2017. “Obviously that incident that happened got out and it painted a picture on people that is really not me. That’s kind of like the only thing they have to base my identity on, which is not good. But hopefully with the opportunity I will be able to change their outlook on me.’’
At that time, Stringfellow was speaking about a possible chance to be drafted by the Seahawks in 2017 — he was one of 30 players the team brought in for private visits after having declared for the draft following his junior season at Ole Miss.
Instead, he went undrafted and ultimately signed with Miami. He caught a 99-yard touchdown pass to lift the Dolphins to a win over Atlanta in the preseason opener but was waived before the season, and then signed by the Jets. He then spent the year on the Jets’ practice squad and was re-signed by the Jets after the season only to be waived by New York prior to the draft.
Seattle’s previous interest in Stringfellow helped lead to his invitation to mini-camp and he impressed coaches with his play over the weekend.
What may have stood out the most, though, is that he is 6-2, 218 and could be the type of big, physical receiver the Seahawks have had trouble consistently finding in recent years.
“We always have (wanted some bigger receivers),’’ Carroll said Sunday. “The guys that do a lot of our playing are the quicker guys, a little bit smaller guys than the big receivers. So we are always looking. He (Stringfellow) had a good camp. He did a nice job. He looked like he fit in and made a really good statement about giving himself a chance here.’’
After leaving UW, Stringfellow had 82 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns in two years at Ole Miss before declaring with a year of eligibility remaining.
“I just felt like I was ready for the league,’’ said Stringfellow, 22. “I just felt like I was prepared for taking the next step in my life.’’
His signing combined with the waiving of White and Williams leaves Seattle with 10 receivers. The others are Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, Amara Darboh, David Moore, Marcus Johnson, Tanner McEvoy, Cyril Grayson and Caleb Scott.