Tag:South Carolina
Posted on: March 31, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 7:52 pm
 

TE Saunders reportedly set for foot surgery

Weslye Saunders' road to the NFL has encountered yet another speed bump with the NFL Network reporting the former South Carolina tight end will undergo surgery to have a pin inserted into his fractured foot Friday.

This type of surgery typically takes six to eight weeks to recover from. Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones turned in a blistering performance at the scouting combine in February despite having a fractured foot, then underwent surgery and is expected to get his walking boot off next week. Saunders went through South Carolina's pro day on Wednesday with the injury.

Saunders was suspended for the entire 2010 season after lying to the NCAA twice regarding details of trips he took to Atlanta and Washington D.C. last summer with friend Marvin Austin, the former North Carolina Tar Heel who was the focal point of an investigation into alleged improper benefits received from agents. Saunders was eventually kicked out of the program by coach Steve Spurrier.

Saunders said he paid his own way, but lied to protect friends, fearing he'd get them in trouble - although he claimed not to know what for.

"I panicked," Saunders said at the combine. "There's no excuse for lying. I wasn't truthful and forthcoming. I did hold back on information in the first two interviews. The third time I laid everything out on the table.

"It felt like they were investigating a murder. It was in the middle of summer, they put me in a hot room in the Carolina Inn and stuck two tape recorders in front of me for four hours."

Saunders said he hopes he can regain his reputation. As for his draft stock, he's unlikely to get back his preseason status -- he was NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked tight end in August.

"At the end of the day, I think everyone realizes I made a mistake, I suffered greatly for that mistake," he said. "I never was arrested. I never failed a drug test. I never was on academic probation. I think we'll get a chance to prove ourselves."

--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor

Posted on: February 15, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Saunders back in the Combine

The National Football Scouting Service has included former South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders on their official invitation list: http://www.nflcombine.net/players/o
fficial-invite-list

The NFL ruled Saunders is now eligible for the 2011 draft despite failing to hand in the paperwork to declare as an early entry. His dismissal from USC gave him additional eligibility, so he could have transferred to a lower-division school in 2010 or 2011.

But the league heard and approved Saunders' appeal to allow him into this draft, so now he has re-gained the invitation he originally accepted before the ruling.

If Saunders performs well at the Combine, which he should if he has been training to enhance his natural athleticism in recent weeks, teams may take a chance on his talents late in the draft.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter
Posted on: February 14, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 5:20 pm
 

NFL Reverses Field on Weslye Saunders

Former South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders will, indeed, be eligible for the 2011 NFL draft after the NFL overturned their previous decision to deny him entry.

Saunders had multiple run-ins and suspensions with South Carolina coaches during his time in Columbia before being suspended and then dismissed by the school in August 2010. That suspension did not even come as a result of his part in a NCAA investigation involving agents last summer.

Saunders and his people did not file the paperwork to be included in this year's draft, likely because they figured he was a fifth-year senior and not among the many underclassmen looking at early entry. But since Saunders could have returned to college football in 2011, whether to USC or a lower-division school, the NFL initially ruled Saunders had additional eligibility remaining, thus the need for him to apply as a early entrant.

Scouts consider him talented but would rather not use a high pick on a player with his track record of suspensions. Some teams will not have him on their boards at all, but his 6-6, 270-pound frame and receiving ability, could entice a team to select him in the fifth-to-seventh rounds.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Posted on: February 3, 2011 8:04 am
 

Wise to exercise caution on "Signing Day" grades

I can't help but chuckle at how big signing day has become in the college football world.

There is no denying that recruiting and signing the best players are the lifeblood of college athletics. Those fortunate to have boast the best talent often win -- in college football, sports and in most situations in life.

Last year offered as great of proof of this as any. Auburn received as a dominant a performance as we've ever seen from a first-year signee with JUCO addition Cam Newton. South Carolina, which met Auburn in the SEC Championship game, did so largely due to the play of their true freshman running back Marcus Lattimore.

According to MaxPreps.com, the recruiting website featured by CBSSports.com, Notre Dame, Florida State and Alabama currently rank 1-3 as the top rated recruiting classes this year. Other recruiting organizations - such as ESPN's Scouts Inc. (FSU, Alabama, Auburn) and Rivals.com (Alabama, FSU, Texas) had slightly different rankings. It is easy to see why these teams are expected to either maintain their perch among the elite programs in the country or, as in the case of Notre Dame and Texas, re-emerge as such.

The numbers of high school All-Americans signed to a class, however, certainly doesn't translate into immediate success. Many of these players will, of course, never pan out.

As a point of comparison, I took a peek in the rearview mirror at the 2007 recruiting winners.

Most had USC as a big winner, based largely on the signings of RB Joe McKnight, DE Everson Griffen, LB Chris Galippo and QB Aaron Corp. McKnight and Griffen wound up in the NFL and Galippo and Corp may do the same, but none of them became the dominant players expected considering their hype.

This is hardly just an issue at USC.

Others tabbed Florida as the big winner. They certainly found a star in Joe Haden, but what became of WR Deonta Thompson and RB Bo Williams -- the two higher rated prospects the Gators signed?

Now, perhaps this is simply an example of the pot calling the kettle black - after all, I'm a guy who is asked to assign grades to NFL teams on draft day before any of their new players get a chance to prove themselves - but let's remember than these are teenagers. Their bodies, minds and levels of commitment are going to be tested in a way they can't imagine. Let's do them all a service by tempering our expectations.

Perhaps there is never a better day than this one to remind us all of the message the NCAA has used in the past: "There are 380,000 NCAA student-athletes, and just about all of them will be going pro in something other than sports."

My advice to the thousands of recruits signing yesterday? Focus on your academics. Virtually all of you dominated in high school. A tiny percentage of you will do the same at the collegiate level, winning an opportunity to play professional football. You may win that NFL lottery someday, but yesterday you won a free education. Don't lose out on that guarantee simply because someone tabbed you an elite recruit destined for the NFL.
Posted on: January 17, 2011 2:43 pm
 

East-West Measuring Day provides some highlights

As you'd expect, with the East-West Shrine Game kicking off this weekend, NFLDraftScout.com is in Orlando to catch all of the action.

Senior Analyst Chad Reuter will be checking in with daily practice reports.

First, however, was this morning's weigh-in. A few notable results.

  • Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle measured in at 6-4 (6042) and 242 pounds. Opinions are mixed with Enderle, but scouts certainly like his frame.
  • Scouts knew that Fresno defensive end Chris Carter would have to make the transition to outside linebacker to be successful in the NFL, but it was reinforced Monday with Carter just barely breaking the 6-1 (6011) mark. Carter weighed in at 245.5 pounds. While the height may be a concern for some, Carter has much longer arms than most his height. His arm length (32 3/4") and wingspan (79 1/8") are comparable to prospects standing up to 6-5.
  • Two of my favorite Diamond in the Rough prospects measured in as scouts had hoped. Former highly touted prep prospect OJ Murdock, who left South Carolina and winded up at Fort Hays State measured in a shade under 5-11 5105) and 194.5 pounds. Murdock pops of tape and could prove one to watch this week as a receiver on the West team. On the East squad is Mount Union's Cecil Shorts, who measured in just under 6-0 at 5117 and a rock-solid 200 pounds. Shorts has often been compared to another former Mount Union standout -- Indianapolis Colts' starting wideout Pierre Garcon.
  • Former North Carolina Tar Heel defensive tackle Marvin Austin - who I highlighted yesterday as an All-star with everything on the line - measured in at 6-2 (6021), 312 pounds.
Chad will be covering much more in his Monday wrap-up article, including more observations from the weigh-in and the teams unique Monday practices.
As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com .
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:37 pm
 

South Carolina DE turns down E-W Shrine Game

South Carolina defensive end Cliff Matthews is turning down an opportunity to play in the East-West Shrine, contrary to the fact that the game and its organizers' official website have indicated that he had accepted their invitation and will play.

According to the website GamecocksOnline.com, Matthews was flattered to be invited to the all-star game but felt that focusing on his academics and preparing for workouts at the Combine and his Pro Day were more important. 

While some might question the competitive fire of any player giving up an opportunity to play in front of scouts in a venue such as the East-West Shrine game, Matthews is known as a hard-working, blue collar player. His 47 career starts, in fact, broke the South Carolina record.

Mathews earned Second Team All-SEC honors as a senior with 44 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks in 2010. His four forced fumbles led South Carolina and ranked second in the SEC. He was at his best in South Carolina's final game, a 26-17 loss to Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on December 31. Matthews posted six tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble in the contest.

NFLDraftScout.com rates the 6-4, 268 pound Matthews as a 4th-5th round pick and the No. 16 DE in a talented senior class.

Posted on: December 12, 2010 1:57 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2010 1:58 pm
 

Second chance at a first impression

Moe Brown was a productive player at the University of South Carolina during the 2009 season, taking over the No. 2 WR role from the late Kenny McKinley (33 catches, 491 yards, three touchdowns) in his senior campaign. However, an offseason incident and poor 40-yard dash (4.6) at his pro day prevented him from getting a real chance to make it in the NFL. 

After Friday's practice at the FCS Senior Scout Bowl, an entity known as Beyond Sports Network handled acombine workout session for players not invited to the game, for the purpose of getting official numbers out to NFL teams. Brown took full advantage, flashing the solid hands he had shown in Columbia and improving his 40 times to one 4.45 run and two in the low 4.5s on FieldTurf.

When asked about his June 2009 arrest for speeding, failure of proof or insurance, and unlawful carrying of a gun, he took responsibility for keeping the weapon in the vehicle (under the seat instead of in the glove box). He bought the gun two days earlier for protection after a string of incidents in and around his apartment complex.

It's often difficult for players one year removed from college to get another shot in a training camp, but Brown's production at South Carolina and showing in Friday's workout gave him as good a shot as any.


-Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

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 .



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