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5 things to know about Giants Free Agent Signings

RB Shane Vereen

  1. Originally selected by the Patriots in the second round (56th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft, Vereen played 42 regular-season games with eight starts throughout his career in New England, where he totaled 217 carries for 907 yards (4.2) and seven rushing touchdowns.


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He also has 107 receptions on his résumé for 1,023 yards (9.6) and seven touchdowns. In seven postseason games, Vereen has three starts with 26 rushes for 129 yards and a touchdown in addition to 32 catches for 324 yards and two touchdowns.

  1. Vereen started at running back in New England's Super Bowl XLIX win vs. Seattle this past February, rushing four times for 13 yards and catching a game-high 11 passes for 64 yards. His 11 receptions are the most by a running back in Super Bowl history and tied with Dan Ross, Jerry Rice, Deion Branch and Wes Welker for the second-most by any player in Super Bowl history, behind the 13 by Demaryius Thomas in Super Bowl XLVIII.
  1. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Vereen played all 16 games (six starts) last year in the regular season, registering career highs in rushing attempts (96), rushing yards (391), receptions (52), and receiving yards (447).
  1. Vereen, 26, was inactive as a rookie for Super Bowl XLVI against the Giants as well as the Patriots' playoff wins over Baltimore and Denver following the 2011 regular season.
  1. Vereen played college football at California, where he collected 4,069 all-purpose yards on 656 plays, averaging 107.08 yards per game. Vereen's 2,834 rushing yards rank seventh on the Golden Bears' career record list. His 29 touchdown runs tie Marshawn Lynch (2004-06) and Jahvid Best (2007-09) for third on Cal's all-time record list. Vereen attended Valencia High School (Calif.) and is the son of Henry Vereen, who played wide receiver and was selected in ninth round of the 1979 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay. Shane's younger brother, Brock, is currently a safety for the Chicago Bears, who drafted him last year in the fourth round. 

OT Marshall Newhouse**

1. Originally selected by Green Bay in the fifth round of 2010 NFL Draft (169th overall), Newhouse has played 62 games (36 starts) over his five years in the NFL with the Packers (2010-2013) and Bengals (2014). Green Bay won Super Bowl XLV when Newhouse was a rookie in 2010.

  1. A fifth-year NFL player in 2014, Newhouse played in 15 games with five starts (three at right tackle and two as extra tight end) after signing with the Bengals as an unrestricted free agent on March 21.
  1. Newhouse and Ben McAdoo, who is entering his second season as the Giants' offensive coordinator, overlapped in Green Bay from 2010-2013. McAdoo was the Packers' tight ends coach from 2006-2010 and then coached their quarterbacks in 2012 and 2013 before getting his first coordinator job with the Giants.
  1. After not suiting up as a rookie in 2010, Newhouse made 13 starts in 2011, most of any Packers offensive tackle. Starting 10 games at left tackle and three at right tackle, he helped Green Bay set the franchise record for points (560), second-most in NFL history, and club records for total net yards (6,842) and net passing yards (4,924). Newhouse did not start in the Divisional playoff game on Jan. 15, 2012 vs. the Giants, but wound up with most of the snaps at left tackle. In 2012, Newhouse started all 16 games and both playoff games for the Packers. He was one of two Packers to play every offensive snap as the team finished fifth in the NFL in scoring (27.1). In 2013, Newhouse played the season primarily as Green Bay's No. 3 offensive tackle, backing up Don Barclay on the right side and David Bakhtiari on the left. He also saw periodic action in formations using an extra blocker and had one stint at guard.
  1. Newhouse played four seasons (2006-09) at Texas Christian, seeing action in all 52 games during his tenure as the team earned a bowl berth each year. He was Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton's left tackle for Dalton's first three seasons (2007-2009). In 2009, when Newhouse was a senior and Dalton a junior, the Horned Frogs posted TCU's first undefeated regular season in 71 years before losing to Boise State in Fiesta Bowl. A Dallas native, Newhouse attended Lake Highlands High School, where he earned first-team all-district honors as a senior.

WR Dwayne Harris

1. Originally a sixth-round pick (176th overall) by the Cowboys in the 2011 NFL Draft, Harris comes to the Giants after four seasons in Dallas, where he made an impact as a return specialist and earned three NFC Special Teams Player of the Week awards.

  1. Since 2012, the 5-foot-10, 202-pound Harris is fifth in the NFL in punt return yards (885) and second in punt return average (12.3). He has two punt returns for touchdowns: 78 yards in 2012 vs. Philadelphia and 86 in 2013 vs. Washington.
  1. On kickoffs, Harris is eighth in the NFL over the last three seasons in return yards (1,809) and 12th in kick return average (26.2). His long is 90 yards against Washington in the same 2013 game that he had the 86-yard punt return touchdown.
  1. As a receiver, Harris has 33 catches for 418 yards (12.7) and three touchdowns in 52 career games. He also has five rushes for 13 yards.
  1. Harris played collegiately at East Carolina, where he set school and Conference USA records as both a receiver and a returner. He left ECU with school records for catches (268, 10th in the conference) and yards (3,001, 10th in the conference). He became the first player in ECU history - fourth in conference history - to top 100 catches in a season with 101 as a senior. As a returner, he finished second in ECU history with 102 kickoff returns for 2,374 yards and became the second player at ECU, sixth in conference history, to amass over 6,000 career all-purpose yards (6,380). Harris prepped at Tucker High School in Stone Mountain, Ga., and earned Class 4A all-state honors from the Georgia High School Coaches Association as a senior. As the Tigers' quarterback, he led Tucker to a 10-1 record and a Regional 6-AAAA championships in 2005.

LB J.T. Thomas

  1. Originally drafted by Chicago in the sixth round (195th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft, Thomas has played 47 games with 12 starts for the Bears (2011-2012) and, most recently, the Jaguars (2013-2014). His career numbers include 112 tackles, a safety, four forced fumbles and two interceptions, which both came last season in Jacksonville.
  1. In 2014, the 6-foot-1, 236-pound Thomas played all 16 games and posted career highs in starts (10), tackles (84), passes defended (five), interceptions (two) and forced fumbles (two). He also made four of his 13 career special teams tackles last season.
  1. Since spending his entire rookie season on injured reserve with a hip injury that he suffered in the preseason, Thomas has missed only one game in the last three seasons. That came in 2013 after he was claimed off waivers by the Jaguars on Sept. 1. In 2013, he played in 15 games with two starts and totaled 17 tackles (12 solo), two tackles for loss and one QB pressure. Thomas tied for third on the team with six special teams tackles that season.
  1. Thomas started three years at West Virginia and was a two-time All-Big East first-team selection. He played in 49 career games with 39 starts, totaling 233 tackles (106 solo), 6.0 sacks and 27 tackles for loss. He also added two interceptions, 13 passes defended, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
  1. Thomas attended Blanche Ely High School (Fla.), where he was a team captain and teammate of current Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson.

LB Jonathan Casillas

The Giants have signed LB Jonathan Casillas

  1. Originally drafted out of Wisconsin in 2009, Casillas is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New Orleans Saints (XLIV) and New England Patriots (XLIX). He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013 and 2014 before being traded to the Patriots on Oct. 28 of last season.
  1. Casillas led New England with 24 special teams snaps in the Super Bowl XLIX win vs. Seattle. He has 22 career special teams tackles in 70 games, including the postseason.
  1. In 2014, Casillas played five games with three starts in Tampa Bay before his trade to New England, where he played eight regular-season games with three starts. Combined, he made 37 tackles and forced a fumble last season on defense.
  1. A native of Jersey City, the 6-foot-1, 227-pound Casillas has played in 63 regular-season games with 18 starts in six NFL seasons (he missed all of 2010 with New Orleans after injuring his foot in the final preseason game). He has 166 career tackles along with three sacks and two forced fumbles. He has played in seven postseason games, including all three with the Patriots in their Super Bowl XLIX run.
  1. At Wisconsin, Casillas played in 48 games with 36 starts at linebacker over four years (2005-08), earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He attended New Brunswick (N.J.) HS, where he earned first-team All-State and All-County Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2004. Casillas was also an All-County selection in basketball and track.

LB Mark Herzlich

1. Originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Giants on July 28, 2011, Herzlich has played 58 games in his career with 14 starts, registering 136 tackles, one sack, and three passes defensed. An ace on special teams, Herzlich has 38 special teams tackles with the Giants.

  1. In 2014, Herzlich posted career highs in starts (eight), tackles (52), passes defensed (two) and recorded his first sack in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
  1. As a rookie in 2011, Herzlich was part of a Giants team that went on to win Super Bowl XLVI. He made his NFL debut in Week 1 vs. Washington and saw his first action on defense when he started vs. Philadelphia in Week 11. However, he suffered an ankle injury the following week, missing the final five games of the regular season and all four postseason games. Since then, Herzlich has missed just one game in the last three seasons.
  1. Herzlich was first team All-America and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, when he started all 13 games at Boston College and finished with 65 tackles and four interceptions. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker.
  1. An inspiration to many, Herzlich won the Rudy Award and the ACC's Brian Piccolo Award in 2010 after overcoming Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that forced him to miss the entire 2009 season. He earned numerous honors for his courage and outreach, including the Disney Spirit Award, an honorary Lott Trophy and the ACC Commissioner's Cup. He detailed his inspiring journey in the book What It Takes: Fighting For My Life and My Love of the Game.

FB Henry Hynoski

  1. Undrafted out of Pittsburgh, Hynoski originally signed with the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011. In four seasons with the Giants, Hynoski has played 46 games with 21 starts as a pure fullback. He also has 12 rushing attempts in his career for 33 yards in addition to 24 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown.
  1. As a rookie, Hynoski helped the Giants to a title in Super Bowl XLVI. He played 11 games with four starts that in the 2011 regular season and made three starts in the

postseason, including the Super Bowl. Hynoski had five receptions for 39 yards in the playoff run, including two receptions for 19 yards and a key fumble recovery late in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVI.

  1. Missing most of 2013 with a knee injury that required surgery, the 6-foot-1, 266-pound Hynoski rebounded and played all 16 games last season, blocking for running backs Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams. The Giants improved their rushing yards per game from 83.3 (29th) in 2013 to 100.2 (23rd) in 2014.
  1. Hynoski scored his first and only NFL touchdown in the 2012 regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. It came on a one-yard pass from Eli Manning in a 42-7 victory.
  1. Hynoski was a prolific runner in high school, finishing sixth in Pennsylvania history with 7,165 career rushing yards and 113 touchdowns during his career at perennial power Southern Columbia Area High School. He was named the Associated Press Pennsylvania Class A Player of the Year as a senior after rushing for 2,407 yards and 42 touchdowns on 206 carries, an average of 11.7 yards per attempt, and helping the school win its fifth consecutive state championship. He is the son of Henry Sr., who was a star fullback at Temple and spent the 1975 season with the Cleveland Browns, for whom he had 7 rushing attempts and four receptions. His uncle, Chester Hynoski, played baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1930s.

RB Chris Ogbonnaya

The Giants signed RB Chris Ogbonnaya, who has played for St. Louis, Houston, Cleveland and Carolina

  1. Originally a seventh-round selection (211th overall) by St. Louis in the 2009 NFL Draft, Ogbonnaya (pronounced o-bonn-EYE-ah) has played in 53 career games with 12 starts for the Rams (2009), Texans (2011), Browns (2011-2013), Panthers (2014) and Giants (2014).
  1. The 6-foot, 225-pound Ogbonnaya played five games for the Panthers last season before he signed with the Giants on Dec. 2, appearing in two games with no carries for Big Blue.
  1. Ogbonnaya's career numbers include 158 carries for 710 yards (4.5) and two touchdowns. He also has 96 receptions for 714 yards (7.4) and two scores.
  1. Ogbonnaya has played a full 16-game season once in his five-year career. That was in 2013 with Cleveland when he started seven games, carrying the ball 49 times for 240 yards and catching 48 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns. However, his best rushing season came in 2011 when he averaged 4.6 yards per carry for 334 yards.
  1. Ogbonnaya played college football at Texas, where he finished his career with 597 yards and eight touchdowns on 140 attempts and tallied 75 receptions for 792 yards and three touchdowns. His receptions and receiving yards rank third in school history for a running back. He prepped at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston, Texas.

Infographics of the Giants' free agent signings

LB J.T. Thomas

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