Ray Vohasek seemed to handle his introduction to the National Football League this month despite the aftereffects of injuries suffered during his final college season.
The McHenry native, who played at McHenry East High School, College of DuPage and North Carolina, reportedly participated in voluntary offseason workouts this month with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
And he’s likely to be back when the Jaguars officially open training camp for the 2023 season late next month as he seeks to land a coveted roster spot.
And one Jacksonville analyst said some role with the team — on the active or reserve roster — is certainly a possibility.
In April, the 6-foot-2, 311 pound defensive lineman, became the seventh COD player and first since 2016 selected in the NFL draft.
Chaps head coach Matthew Rahn said Vohasek utilizing a community college as a springboard for success is a message well-received.
“Ray is the prototype of the kid we want and one who benefitted from our program,” he said. “Ray was a good teammate and a good student who was driven for success. His game film from COD spoke for itself and got him to play at college football’s highest level. He made the most out of playing here at COD and at North Carolina, and he’ll have the chance to play in the NFL.”
Vohasek played two seasons at COD (2017-18) before moving on to the University of North Carolina (UNC), where he appeared in 41 games and earned 29 starts for the Tar Heels. He was a two-time honorable mention All-ACC player for head coach Mack Brown.
He totaled 96 tackles, 17 tackles for losses and 5.5 sacks over his career with the Tar Heels.
His graduate season in 2022 was cut short due to injury, but he started all five games he played in and posted 14 tackles and a tackle for loss.
“I’m so happy right now,” Vohasek told UNC’s athletic web site, www.goheels.com. “I wasn’t sure how the weekend would go coming off of injury, but all I needed was a shot. I want to thank Jacksonville for having faith in me and giving me this opportunity. I can promise the Jaguars they are going to get my all.”
Vohasek, selected in the NFL draft’s seventh round, is the first College of DuPage player selected in the NFL draft since 2016, when Mike Thomas and Fahn Cooper were selected by the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers, respectively.
In addition, former offensive lineman Chris Toth, who played at COD in 2017-18, was invited to the Chicago Bears’ minicamp. Toth earned All-American honors during his two seasons at Aurora University and participated in the 2023 Hula Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Vohasek is the 20th North Carolina defensive tackle selected and the 251st Tar Heel chosen in the NFL Draft.
“We couldn’t be more excited for Ray and his family,” said Tar Heels Head Coach Mack Brown. “Ray came in with us when we returned to Chapel Hill and just worked his tail off. He’s a tough, hard-nosed player that gives everything he’s got and, as a result, was a disruptive, productive player along the defensive line. We can’t wait to watch him go to work with the Jaguars.”