Tag:Steve Spurrier
Posted on: October 6, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Offensive-minded Spurrier owes 2011 success to DL

Steve Spurrier is known throughout the country for his ability to score points. With two of the elite skill position players in the game in sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore and junior wideout Alshon Jeffery he has the star power to take advantage of his scheme and aggressive play-calling.

Whatever success the Gamecocks will have in 2011, however, can be directly attributed to the play of their defensive line.

Senior Melvin Ingram has emerged as the most dangerous and versatile defensive lineman in the country. He's already scored touchdowns on defense and special teams, currently ranks third on the squad with 26 tackles, is tied for the team lead with two interceptions and leads the SEC with 7.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He's been recognized as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week twice already (and another time as the Special Teams Player of the Week), including this past week when he ravaged reigning BCS champion Auburn for 11 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and a career-high three sacks. He also recorded an interception when Auburn attempted a fake field goal.

The 6-2, 276 pound Ingram has proven to be simply too quick and instinctive for interior offensive linemen to handle. A former defensive end, he's been moved inside this season due to the presence of two other, highly talented defensive ends for the Gamecocks -- true freshman Jadeveon Clowney and junior Devin Taylor.

Many considered Clowney to be the elite prep prospect in the country and his signing with South Carolina was met with great fanfare. His play thus far has proven that the hype was well justified as he's behind only Ingram in terms of tackles for loss (five) and sacks (four) on the team. Listed at 6-5, 254 pounds, he already has the looks of a future NFL star. In another couple of years, he could be scary.

Taylor, 6-6 and 260 pounds, has the length and athleticism NFL scouts are looking for but hasn't played with nearly the consistency or produced the big plays that Ingram and Clowney have. Taylor's height has caused him to struggle, at times, this season with making tackles in close spaces. Scouts characterize him as a "bit stiff" and unable to change directions quickly enough to adjust in space. This was evident in South Carolina's close win over Navy when Taylor was credited with a season-high nine tackles, but missed opportunities for even more stops near the line of scrimmage. To Taylor's credit, he has proven a more reliable tackler in recent games. Considering his upside, continued improvement could lead to his ultimately being graded as a better pro prospect than Ingram, despite the fact the lesser production (19 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack).

If South Carolina is able to solve their issues at quarterback and emerge as the BCS bowl contender they appear to be, a significant portion of the credit should go to their defensive line. NFL scouts certainly are doing so...


Posted on: June 22, 2011 3:16 pm
 

ECU CB Davis loses big opportunity w/ suspension

East Carolina cornerback Emanuel Davis, thought by some to be a top 100 prospect in the 2012 draft, was suspended by head coach Ruffin McNeill for the Pirates' opening game.

Davis, along with senior wide receiver Michael Bowman, were arrested early Saturday morning outside of a Greenville night club. Each had multiple charges, including resisting a public officer. Besides the suspension, Davis and Bowman have each been assigned 25 hours of community service and formal written apologies to all officers involved. This is in addition to whatever punishment the courts hand down.

Clearly, NFL teams interested in Davis and/or Bowman will be keeping a close eye on the situation. The reason for this blog post, however, isn't to merely mention that draftworthy prospects had run afoul of the law.

From a scouting sense, Davis' suspension is particularly disappointing as his toughest assignment of the year was going to come in the opener - as East Carolina will be playing Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks and their young superstar wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

Davis has steadily improved over his career. He enters his senior season with 27 career starts and is a two-time All-Conference USA pick. He recorded 54 tackles, nine pass breakups and two interceptions last season -- including an interception against Maryland in the Military Bowl. He isn't an elite prospect, but appears to have the tools to establish himself as one of the better all-around corners in the country this season. Davis is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 12 rated cornerback prospect for the 2012 draft.

Though East Carolina faces other talented opponents (including Virginia Tech and North Carolina), the Jeffery vs. Davis matchup in the opener could have been one of the best one on one battles of Labor Day Weekend. Jeffery, a redshirt sophomore and thus potentially eligible for the 2012 draft, is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated receiver among underclassmen.

With a strong performance against the 6-4, 233 pound Jeffery, the 5-10, 188 pound Davis could have really boosted his stock with scouts at the game and exposure for the awards and senior all-star game bids that would attract other NFL personnel.

For Davis, it is quite literally a "big" opportunity lost.
Posted on: November 19, 2010 9:51 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2010 9:55 pm
 

The five prospects I'll be scouting this weekend

Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks.

Because I'm scouting them in real time these players make an early impression, often leading to consideration as my Prospect of the Week or Diamond in the Rough.

Even more often, however, it leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I break down six more players in Filmroom Notes, update our Top 32 prospects overall, Top 10 per position, Risers/Fallers for multiple games and offer extensive previews of the next week's action. I boast about our product for a simple reason: Having seen everything else out there - it is the most complete weekly NFL draft guide on the planet. 

Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.

DE/OLB Chis Carter, Fresno State: Fresno State ranked second to last in entire country last season with only nine combined sacks. This season, they rank sixth with 27 sacks through nine games. A big part of that is the play of 6-2, 240 pound pass rusher Chris Carter, who has nine sacks, himself this season. Carter will be going up against Boise State junior left tackle Nate Potter, a legitimate NFL prospect. The winner of this individual battle could go a long way in determining whether Pat Hill's bunch is able to throw a scare into the No. 4 team in the country. This game begins at 9:30 pm EST tonight and will be televised by ESPN.

WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy: Draft enthusiasts certainly know Jernigan's name by now, but they'll get an opportunity to see NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated senior WR against an SEC defense Saturday morning when the Trojans travel to meet Steve Spurrier's No. 17 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks. Jernigan is only 5-09, but he can fly. He'll see time as a receiver, returner and potentially even in some Wildcat formations. The Gamecocks feature a superstar receiver of their own in sophomore Alshon Jeffery, but don't be surprised if Jernigan is statistically up to the challenge. This game begins at 12:21 pm EST Saturday and will be televised by ESPN.

DT Jerrell Powe, Mississippi:
Entering the season Powe was viewed as a potential Top 10 prospect. Now, his disappointing season has him fighting to remain in the top two rounds. Powe reminded the media this week that he could return for another year. An academic non-qualifier previously, Powe is on pace to earn his Criminal Justice degree and thereby trigger an NCAA rule that would grant him another season if he wanted to put off an NFL career. It has been a disappointing season for Powe and for the 4-6 Rebels (1-5 in the SEC), in general, but a strong performance Saturday against LSU could be just the breakout each needs. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by CBS.

DT Christian Ballard, Iowa: Everyone knows that this game pitts two of the top senior defensive ends in the country in Ohio State's Cameron Heyward and Iowa's Adrian Clayborn. Ballard rarely gets the media attention, but I assure you, scouts know him well. In fact, I've had some tell me they believe Ballard could prove to be a first round pick based on his athletic upside. The 6-4, 298 pounder has experience inside and out, making him one of the more verastile defensive linemen in the draft and one potentially capable of playing effectively in the 3-4 and 4-3. Ballard has had his moments in previous games I've scouted, but hasn't dominated. His play could prove critical in this game. If Iowa is able to contain Terrelle Pryor with just their front four, they could pull off the upset at home. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by ABC.

QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas : Though I'm not nearly as high on Mallett as some, I certainly do recognize that he has a first round arm. His poise and feet will be tested Saturday night against a physical and aggressive Mississippi State team playing at home. I don't care what Mallett's statistics are at the end of the game. Bobby Petrino's offense leads to big numbers. Remember Brian Brohm and Stefan LeFors under Petrino at Louisville?  I want to see how Mallett's accuracy is affected if the Bulldogs are able get him moving throughout the pocket. This has been a concern of mine throughout Mallett's career and it was the reason why the SEC star collapsed late against Alabama. If Mallett has improved in this area, it could lead to a significant jump up draft boards -- especially with the continued struggles of the senior quarterbacks.  This game begins at 7:00 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN.

Those interested in scouting "alongside" me Friday night and throughout Saturday's action can follow me on Twitter @RobRang .



Posted on: October 4, 2010 6:29 pm
 

Hampton's massive Ellis wins Diamond in the Rough

Each Monday I provide a breakdown of my senior college Player/Prospect of the Week and my Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect of the week).

Last week's Diamond in the Rough , Troy wideout/returner Jerrel Jernigan was among the first players to earn a Senior Bowl invitation .

This week's recipient -- Hampton defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis -- could be among the next players who get a pass from the organizers of the Mobile, Alabama all-star game... especially if they pop in the film of Ellis against Howard (September 11) or Delaware State this past Thursday evening.

Ellis wasn't quite as dominant against the Hornets last week as he was against the Bison. Ellis was recognized as the MEAC Defensive Player of the Week for his September 11 efforts. In that contest, Ellis, who measures in at 6-5 340 pounds, was credited with an eye-popping 16 tackles (seven solos), 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery. Against the Hornets Thursday night, Ellis "only" registered eight tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

Ellis is surprisingly athletic and well proportioned considering his massive frame. Against the pass, Ellis shows a quick burst off the snap and can rock the guard back onto his heels from his defensive tackle position. He relies mostly on his natural tools, but does possess some pass rush technique, showing a good rip and dip to get under the arm and past his opponent, as well as a quick swim move (which wasn't as effective). As one might expect, Ellis doesn't have the closing speed to be a consistent rush threat, but he was often able to get past the right guard when single blocked Thursday and was an intimidator who often forced hurried throws. Ellis locates the football quickly and pursues laterally and downfield with passion.

With his size, Ellis has obvious potential as a run-stuffer. At times, his quickness and strength was too much for his opponent. Early in the second quarter (12:35), for example, Ellis exploded off the snap, locked out the guard, discarded him easily and made the play at the line of scrimmage. On other occasions, Ellis struggled with leverage, allowing smaller and weaker linemen to get into his pads and push him back onto his heels. Despite his bulk and strength, Ellis' inability to keep his pad level low raises concerns about how well he'd fit inside as a nose guard -- at least until he plays with better technique.

What was obivous, however, is that Ellis was a man among boys Thursday night.

Hampton's strong play isn't unexpected. He impressed early on as a member of Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks, but off-field troubles led to suspensions and ultimately a transfer. Scouts had hoped that he'd matured, but he was again suspended for the first game of this season, which means his first game of the year was his DPOY performance against Howard.

Scouts know Ellis can play. He's proven that. There is some concern that his best efforts have come in the first game back from his suspension and the game that earned ESPN coverage. Scouts would like to Ellis play with more consistency and make better choices off the field.



Posted on: September 3, 2010 12:36 am
 

Dareus suspension mars spectacular Opening Day

Today should be remembered for what was a brilliant opening day of the D-IA college football season.

National title contenders Ohio State and Miami looked every bit the part in dismantling weak opponents (Marshall, Florida Atlantic) on their way to next weekend's showdown in Columbus.

Mountain West Conference power Utah successfully protected their home turf for an eye-popping 18th consecutive game in upsetting No. 15 Pittsburgh.

And by putting up 41 points in their home opener, one can't help but wonder if this finally is the year that the Ol Ball Coach's South Carolina Gamecocks take the next step offensively.

There were so many reasons to be optimistic about the college football season.

And instead, Tuesday evening news broke that Alabama defensive Marcell Dareus, a potential All-American and first round prospect, was suspended for the first two games of the year. Dareus follows UNC defensive tackle Marvin Austin as the latest casualty of the NCAA's investigation into players receiving innapropriate benefits from agents. He's arguably the best player on the best team in the country.

Forgive me for being pessimistic this evening of what should be the most optimistic day of the year.

But, after what has been a tumultuous offseason for college football, it would have been nice to enjoy it with the big news being the action on the field.

 
Posted on: July 19, 2010 12:22 pm
 

South Carolina TE Saunders caught up in UNC mess

South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior prospect at the position, is being investigated for potential inappropriate contact with sports agents , according to Joseph Person of TheState.com.

Saunders, who grew up in Durham, North Carolina, is said to be friends with several of the UNC players reportedly being investigated last week by NCAA officials. According to Person's report, the NCAA's concern may be that an agent paid for airfare and lodging for Saunders and/or UNC players, which, of course, would be a violation of the amatuer eligibility rules.

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier acknowledged that his talented tight end is in potential trouble with the NCAA in Person's article, but was careful not to paint Saunders in a bad light.

“I’m not accusing Weslye of anything. He may be innocent. He may just know those (North Carolina) guys,” Spurrier said. “But we’ll just have to wait and see how it all comes out.”
The 6-5, 272 pound Saunders offers a rare combination of size and athleticism for the position. A featured component of the team's offense to start last season, Saunders caught 12 passes over his first two games, but finished with only 32 (for 352 yards and 3 scores) on the year.

Saunders heavily considered leaving early for the NFL after last season and did request a grade from the NFL Advisory Committee. Saunders' grade was reported to be in the mid-rounds, which led to his return to South Carolina for his senior season.

Saunders certainly has the physical potential to warrant NFLDraftScout.com's lofty preseason ranking. With previous concerns about his work ethic and consistency, however, if he is to take full advantage of his impressive natural skill set, he'll need to get through the NCAA investigation unscathed and put forth an inspired 2010 season.

Posted on: September 3, 2009 1:58 pm
 

FBS Season Begins: South Carolina vs NC State 7pm

The FBS season officially begins today with the a full slate of games, including as many as five televised contests, depending on your location and cable provider.

South Carolina travels to North Carolina State in an intriguing regional and SEC/ACC conference battle. Each team offers plenty of talent for NFL scouts and fans to pay attention to; not the least of which are a pair of pass rushers in South Carolina's Eric Norwood and NC State Wolfpack defensive end Willie Young. Norwood is a well known commodity after earning back to back All-SEC accolades after the past two years. Young is not quite as well known across the country, but I think the 6-4, 250 pound pass rusher could turn in a big senior campaign. With the Gamecocks losing Jamon Meredith to the Green Bay Packers last April, Young could flash some of his intriguing burst off the snap to harass talented sophomore quarterback Stephen Garcia and put a damper on Steve Spurrier's passing attack. The game will begin at 7 pm (EST) on ESPN.

Following the opener is a very intriguing west coast battle between Oregon and Boise State. The Ducks are looking for payback after losing 37-32 in Eugene to the Broncos last season. Oregon features one of the more intriguing running backs in the country in senior LaGarrette Blount, a 6-1, 240 pound back who led the Pac-10 and broke the school record with 17 rushing touchdowns last season despite starting zero games behind Jeremiah Johnson. With Johnson off to the NFL, however, Blount, a JUCO transfer, will have this season to shine. Tight end Ed Dickson is another intriguing Duck to keep an eye on. The Broncos have their share of NFL prospects, as well. The most exciting being cornerback and return specialist Kyle Wilson, who considered leaving school last year after posting 5 INTs and 3 returned punts for touchdowns. This game, also on ESPN, is slated to start at 10:15 EST.

Other potentially televised games are:

North Texas at Ball State (ESPNU) at 7:30
Eastern Kentucky at Indiana (Big Ten Network) at 8:00
Utah State at Utah (The Mountain) at 9:00

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com