Tag:Virginia Cavaliers
Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:03 am

DE Johnson owes inconsistency to sickle-cell?

Virginia defensive end Cam Johnson has flashed the type of ability to be a top 100 consideration in next April's draft. The 6-4, 270 pounder was originally recruited to play outside linebacker in former head coach Al Groh's 3-4 scheme, but made the successful transition last year to defensive end for Mike London's 4-3 attack. He led the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks and seems capable of posting much more.

The coaches expect more out of Johnson this season and he has responded with what some close to the program characterize as the best camp of his career. Unfortunately, Johnson has struggled, at times, with what appeared to be inconsistent effort.

Now, according to London (via Doug Doughty's article in The Roanoke Times), it appears that Johnson might have an explanation for his up and down enery levels. Routine tests run by the NCAA determined that Johnson has the trait for sickle-cell anemia, a genetic disorder. This doesn't mean that Johnson has the disease but that he can develop it. Sickle-cell anemia, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute can cause long-term pain and/or fatigue to its victims.

Johnson wouldn't speak on the record for Doughty, but London didn't sound willing to use the ailment as an excuse for his star defender.
"He has a chance to be as good as he wants to be," London said. "He's not an every-down player right now, in my estimation. He's a guy that plays every down but, to be an every-down difference-maker, he's got to raise it up another notch."

"The NCAA tests all athletes now for these traits," London said. "I don't know if there's a correlation to (not) being in the best cardiovascular shape. I don't know if medication changes that, but there's greater awareness. He's had this for a couple of years.

"You can go hard for two or three plays; then, on that fifth or sixth play, you're gassed. In workouts this summer with (strength coach) Evan (Marcus), he'd be out front, out front, out front. Then, all of a sudden, it's, 'What are you doing?'

"Now it becomes a matter of management. Get him out, get him rested, get him back in."

Johnson may not want to talk to the media about his condition, but NFL doctors will definitely be talking to him and testing him should he get invited to the Combine. Teams are notoriously hesitant to invest draft picks in players that they have red-flagged for medical reasons, but Johnson can certainly ease some of their concern with a big senior season.

Johnson is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 14 ranked defensive end among players potentially eligible for the 2012 draft. This ranking includes underclassmen. Johnson was given a mid-round grade by pro scouts in the spring.

Posted on: November 4, 2010 2:09 pm

Weekend Review -- Miami ILB Colin McCarthy

As I mentioned in my last post, my typical Saturday is spent scouting prospects via numerous television feeds. Last weekend, however, I scouted the Stanford-UW game and am just now catching up with the rest of the games and their prospects. 

Two senior prospects who didn't make the cut in this week's issue of Draft Slant deserve recognition for their strong performances in close conference losses.

I just wrote up Tennessee wideout Denarius Moore, who torched a talented South Carolina secondary for 228 yards and a touchdown.

Miami inside linebacker Colin McCarthy wasn't quite as statistically dominant, but has flashed whenever I've watched the Canes this season. With quarterback Jacory Harris going down to injury early, the Miami defense was put in the unenviable position of having to make big plays to remain in this contest. That fact made it a great opportunity to scout McCarthy and rest of this talented Miami defensive unit.

The University of Miami may not have the reputation of Ohio State or Penn State for producing NFL linebackers, but with seven of them drafted within the Top 100 since 2000, scouts certainly recognize the program's assembly line of talent at the position.

That fact assures that despite Miami's humbling 24-19 loss at the hands of Virginia, scouts were certain to note the stellar play of senior inside linebacker Colin McCarthy.

Wearing the same No. 44 that the legendary Dan Morgan played with while earning the Butkus, Nagurski and Bednarik awards (the first player to ever do so) in 2000, McCarthy did his best impression of the former Carolina Panther linebacker by racking up an eye-popping 18 tackles, two tackles for loss and one interception against the Cavaliers.

On a day when little went right for the 'Canes, McCarthy was almost capable of willing a victory for the team. He was seemingly in on every tackle, scraping down the line of scrimmage to make tackles on the edge, hustling downfield to make tackles on receivers and showing good athleticism and instincts on his interception - his first of the season.
The 18 tackles are the most by a Miami defender this season.
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