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...
Posted on: April 1, 2009 5:14 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2009 3:23 am
Inside linebacker Rey Maualuga needed desperately to work out well today because he ran a 4.88 40 while aggravating a hamstring injury at the Combine.
He did just that, running a 4.65 40-yard dash for scouts' hand-held times. And he ran his time with a quarter-size blister on his right foot, which he displayed after looking a bit tentative during linebacker drills. Maualuga, to his credit, did not make a big deal of the blister. He stepped to the side to speak to his agents as the linebacker drills were ending and I happened to be standing near them. I peeked over their shoulders as he took off his bright green shoe and pulled down his sock. There, under his big toe and on the primary pad of his right foot was a significant blister. The skin had been worn down and nearly rubbed off and looked quite painful. As he did this, fellow linebackers Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, Jr. finished the workout and most scouts' attention turned to quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was warming up.
Scouts were a bit surprised, frankly, when Maualuga returned later to run the 40. They seemed to appreciate the fact that he did not shut it down at that point, and that he also looked strong in the shuttle drills earlier in the day. His 4.25 and 4.27 short shuttle times were comparable to the best linebacker times in Indy.
Maualuga looked fairly fluid in drills before dropping a couple of faux interceptions, although he did rebound a bit at the end of that exercise.
Teammate Clay Matthews looked fabulous in his drops and made multiple fantastic catches.
The team's fourth linebacker prospect, Kaluka Maiava, joined CB Cary Harris on the sideline with a pulled hamstring.