Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:27 pm
Dez Bryant proved last year that a player could get suspended for the entire season and yet still remain a first round pick.
North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin hasn't been suspended for the year. But, even if he was, he's talented enough -- and defensive tackle is a valuable enough position -- that he could pull off a similar feat.
As it stands now, is important to note that while Austin's suspension was characterized as "indefinite," to this point UNC has only publicly committed to keeping him out against this weekend's opener at LSU.
"This decision is not a result of the ongoing NCAA review, " says Davis. "Marvin has violated team rules and has neglected his responsibilities to the team."
Whatever Austin did to draw the ire of Davis (perhaps posting on his Facebook? ), it may not be close to the amount of trouble he's already in with the NCAA.
Austin, of course, and his teammate, wide receiver Greg Little, are widely believed to be at the center of the NCAA's investigation into college football players receiving improper benefits from sports agents.
Austin considered entering the draft last year. He finished the 2009 season with 42 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks. He earned Second-Team All-ACC honors despite only starting 11 of 13 games for the Tar Heels. Austin features rare burst for a 6-3, 310 pounder. Had he left last year, he could have made the first round despite the fact that scouts thought he played with inconsistent effort. His grade, according to scouts last January, was very similar to the one given to former UCLA star Brian Price.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Price with the third pick of the second round (No. 35 overall) last April.
On film, Austin is arguably the top three-technique senior prospect in the country and well worth a first round grade.
Regardless of how long his suspension(s) ultimately last, Austin will have to answer some tough questions by NFL teams. If his answers are sincere enough, his upside is likely enough to persuade some NFL team he's worth a pick in the top 32.
Posted on: August 26, 2010 9:58 pm
University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp, Athletic Director Dick Baddour and head coach Butch Davis met with the press Thursday evening to announce that they were broading the NCAA investogation into their program due to their discovery of “possible academic misconduct involving a former undergraduate tutor and student-athletes on the football team.
The tutor, according to this report by Joedy McCreary of The Associated Press , was employed by the university and worked with Davis' son.
Prior to the press conference, there were initial reports that the Tar Heels' starting cornerbacks Kendric Burney and Charles Brown were among those suspended.
Baddour, however, declined to identify any of the players involved in their investigation or even how many players the school was investigating.
Baddour did not provide a true time table for the investigation either, but did say, ""it is likely that the review would extend beyond the start of the season."
According to those I've spoken to who were at the press conference, the mood in the room was grave. There was a sense that this could grow into significantly more than just a player suspension or two.
McCreary, in fact, notes the concern from Chancellor Thorp to end his article:
Chancellor Holden Thorp — who began the news conference by saying "to everyone who loves this university, I'm sorry about what I have to tell you" — vowed that administrators are taking the probe seriously but expressed hope that its scope ultimately would be limited.
"We will find out what happened. We will do everything we can to keep it from happening again," he said. "And we will not let these mistakes define our university and what we stand for."
Posted on: August 21, 2010 11:05 pm
I learned a long time ago that players are often the best scouts. Who knows better than they how good another player really is?
I'll give you an example. Two years ago I spoke to former Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher about some of the unheralded prospects on the Rebels' squad. He told me safety Jamarca Sanford would surprise in the NFL and that a smallish running back named Dexter McCluster was going to "shock the world" in 2009.
Sanford, the 231st pick in the 2009 draft, played in 14 games for the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie and even started Week Four against Dallas. He finished with 29 tackles and a forced fumble on the year.
McCluster rushed for 1,169 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 44 passes for another 520 yards and three scores in earning All-SEC honors. He is the first player in the long and storied history of the SEC to have rushed for over 1,000 yards and caught passes for over 500 yards in one season.
Clearly, Oher knew what he was talking about with these two players.
With this in mind, I asked North Carolina outside linebacker Bruce Carter to break down some of his highly regarded teammates during a phone interview yesterday. Carter, our top-rated outside linebacker prospect for the 2011 draft, will be featured in an article I wrote as part of NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's preview of the ACC.
The following is Bruce's thoughts, along with NFLDraftScout.com's current grade for each player.
Marvin Austin is our top-rated North Carolina prospect. The defensive tackle is our No. 2 rated player at the position and the 4th best senior prospect overall. Says Carter: "Marvin is a guy who likes to talk trash. He's very explosive. He's a great competitor."
Greg Little is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior wide receiver and the No. 31 overall senior prospect for the 2011 draft.
Says Carter: "He [Little] is a great athlete and so big for a receiver. He's explosive coming off the line and going up to get the ball. He's got great hands."
Quan Sturdivant , who has seen action at inside and outside linebacker, is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 2 ILB and No. 41 overall. Says Carter: "Quan is an instinctive linebacker. He's got a great head for sniffing out screens and draws."
Deunta Williams is our top-rated free safety and currently ranks as the No. 38 senior prospect overall.
Says Carter: "Deunta Williams is a great communicator who makes sure we're all lined up correctly. He's a great athlete too."
Kendric Burney has started all 38 games of his career at cornerback for UNC and earned First Team All-ACC honors last year with five interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown. Still, despite his consistency and production, I believe he's being one of the more underrated cornerback prospects for the NFL simply because he's only 5-09. He's currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated senior cornerback and viewed as a 2nd-3rd round prospect. I characterized him as "underrated" to Bruce, who didn't agree.
Says Bruce: "I don't know that he's underrated. He's a lockdown corner in my mind and gets the credit [First-Team All-ACC] he deserves for doing such a great job. He's got great versatility and can really jump high to make the big play."
Charles Brown doesn't get the attention that Burney has earned, but as our No. 15 rated senior cornerback, is certainly on our radar. Carter thinks we should have him rated higher.
Says Bruce: "He's a lockdown corner too, but he doesn't get the attention he deserves just yet. He's good, though, and will be getting more attention soon."
Perhaps Carter's most interesting comments were reserved for junior defensive end Robert Quinn . NFLDraftScout.com typically does not comment on the NFL potential of underclassmen, but in the case of Quinn -- who is already drawing comparisons from NFL scouts to former Tar Heel great Julius Peppers, acknowledging his talent is easy. Quinn, who finished second last year in the ACC Defensive Player of the Year voting as a true sophomore with 19 tackles for loss and 15 sacks, looks like a potential top ten prospect.
Says Carter: "Man, Rob[ert] is just a monster. Everybody knows he's a freak of nature. He does such a great job of rushing the passer that people don't always recognize that he plays the run well too. He does a great job. "
Posted on: July 16, 2010 1:10 am
North Carolina linebacker Quan Sturdivant, a first team All-ACC pick last season and solid NFL prospect for the 2011 NFL draft, was arrested Saturday for possession of marijuana.
His arrest alone could serve as a distraction to Butch Davis' Tar Heels, the trendy pick to win the ACC this season.
Even more ominous, however, is the report from the AP and ESPN's Joe Schad that the NCAA is investigating the North Carolina football program to "make sure no Reggie Bush stuff is going on."
The details of this developing story remain sketchy at this point, but what is very obvious is that agents and the prospect of their providing inappropriate benefits to players is the NCAA's concern.
It isn't difficult to understand why agents have been flocking to Chapel Hill.
As I mentioned in a previous article, this UNC defense is extremely talented. So talented, in fact, it is reminiscient of the 2008 USC squad that sent Brian Cushing, Clay Mathews, Jr., Rey Maualuga, and Kaluka Maiava (among others) to the NFL. That 2008 Trojan defense was the last unit to have so many senior prospects reportedly given such high preseason grades by NFL scouts.
For the Tar Heels, seniors Marvin Austin (DT), Bruce Carter (OLB) and Deunta Williams (FS) currently rank at the top of their respective positions on NFLDraftScout.com's most recent rankings of 2011 prospects. Fellow seniors Sturdivant and cornerbacks Kendrick Burney and Charles Brown are also viewed as potential mid-round values. And if the senior talent isn't enough, keep in mind that the most talented player on the defense might be junior defensive end Robert Quinn, a prospect that has earned already earned comparisons to former UNC star and 2002 No. 2 overall pick Julius Peppers.
Schad's article specifically mentions Austin, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4 overall rated player for the 2011 draft, as having been questioned by the NCAA for, among other things, driving former UNC's star Kentwan Balmer's vehicle and occasionally staying in Balmer's apartment. Balmer was the San Francisco 49ers' first round pick in 2008.
Hopefully for all involved, the comparison to USC remains viable only in that, like those Trojans, these Tar Heels boast rare talent...