Posted on: November 9, 2009 3:06 pm
Proving just how out of whack the NCAA can be in their priorities, Oregon running back LaGarrette Blount has been reinstated to the program and is expected to see his first game-action since his well-documented post-game meltdown againt Boise State
(Meanwhile, former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, who dined with Deion Sanders, and then lied about it to the NCAA, had his final suspension appeal denied and has unofficially declared himself eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft.)
Following Oregon's loss to Boise State, Blount infamously took a cheap shot at the Broncos' defensive end Byron Hout and had to be restrained by teammates, coaches and security on his way off the field. At times, he appeared to go after his own teammates, coaches and fans.
Blount was suspended for the season by head coach Chip Kelly a day later. Kelly said at the time that, "the suspension would remain in effect through any bowl games the Ducks may play in.''
Less than a month after Blount's September 3rd meltdown, Chip Kelly outlined a way in which the talented, but troubled back could return to the field for the Ducks. If Blount were to maintain certain academic and behavioral standards, there was a "potential opportunity" for Blount to be reinstated.
Prior the season, I listed Blount as one of six senior prospects capable of moving from a relative unknown all the way to the first round. The 6-1, 240 pound back broke school records and led the Pac-10 with 17 rushing touchdowns despite operating behind starter Jeremiah Johnson. His size and bullish running style had earned comparisons to the Giants' Brandon Jacobs. Assuming he stays out of trouble (and opponents will surely test him), Blount has the physical talent to recoup some of his draft prospects.
Blount returns for Pac-10 leading Oregon this weekend against Arizona State, who is coming off of a loss at home to USC. Though the scoreboard said differently, the Sun Devils were more impressive Saturday night than the Trojans, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Posted on: April 2, 2009 11:59 pm
Oregon junior cornerback Jairus Byrd was unable to workout at the Combine due to a groin pull, but struggled to reward scouts for their patience in testing in the mid to upper 4.6s in the 40-yard dash, according to scouts in attendance.
The time is certainly a concern for scouts, though they were also quick to point out that Byrd tested very well in shuttle drills (4.10 short shuttle, 6.75 3-cone). Each of these marks would have ranked among the top ten cornerbacks tested in Indianapolis and are indicative of the rare agility and burst Byrd showed throughout his career with the Oregon Ducks. If Byrd's name is familiar, it is because his father, Gill Byrd, was a long-time standout for the San Diego Chargers at cornerback.
A few hundred miles south, Hawaii cornerback Ryan Mouton suffered the same fate at his Pro Day today (held at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles) that limited him at the Combine over a month ago -- a pulled hamstring. Still, the 5'09, 187 pound cornerback flashed some eye-popping explosion by dropping his 40-yard dash time from 4.51 seconds at the Combine to 4.46 seconds Thursday. So why did five-hundredths of a second rate as a significant improvement? Because Mouton, according to scouts in attendance, pulled up with the hamstring at about the 30 yard mark in the event and still posted a 4.46 second time. Had the injury not occurred, he likely would have been in the low to mid 4.3s... Mouton's explosiveness was on display in the broad jump, where he leapt 11'0 -- a mark beaten only by potential first round pick Darius Butler (Connecticut) among the cornerbacks tested at the Combine.
Posted on: March 13, 2009 12:28 am
Though scouts attended the Boston College and Oregon Pro Days Thursday to see potential Top 50 picks B.J. Raji, Max Unger, Ron Brace and Patrick Chung, among others, the early word out of each workout was that a playmaking, Combine-snub stole some of the show.
At Oregon, defensive end/outside linebacker Nick Reed, the Pac-10's leading sacker each of the past two seasons, measured in at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds and put up some impressive numbers in the drills: 40-yard Dash: 4.71...Vertical Jump: 31.5 inches...Bench Press Reps (225 pounds): 24...Broad Jump: 9.0 feet...Short Shuttle: 4.27...Three-Cone Drill: 6.96...60-yard Shuttle: 12.02. There were 22 teams on hand.
At Boston College, one-time iconic linebacker/fullback Brian Toal turned in an impressive Pro Day performance of his own. Toal has struggled throughout his career with injury, including missing most of his senior season with a broken right leg (fibula). At the BC Pro Day Thursday, however, Toal appeared to have his old explosiveness back, registering a 37.5" vertical jump. The vertical would have led all linebackers tested at the Combine, including former ACC star Aaron Curry. Toal showed surprising agility and flexibility throughout linebacker and running back drills. He caught the ball cleanly in running back drills.
Reed and Toal are among the more intriguing "diamond in the rough" prospects of the 2009 draft. Each had been characterized as a try-hard player with limited athleticism, but impressive workout totals could lead to late round or -- at minimum -- free agent consideration.