Quick links:
 Latest Team Rankings
 Free Rivals Alerts
 Member Services
ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports

March 13, 2012

SC Players Pursue The NFL Dream

Jim Baxter is the publisher/owner of SCVarsity.com. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to scvarsity@sc.rr.com and follow him on Twitter

The NFL draft is next month and I love to follow the SCVarsity.com alumni players as they pursue their dreams of playing at the ultimate level of their sport - the NFL. Here's a look at the eight most likely candidates to make a roster and get to Sunday's from this class of players.

Those who know me know that some of my favorite events include combines, camps, and the NFL draft. I always enjoy seeing how the kids who we have followed in South Carolina since their freshman year of high school will end up doing eight years later when the opportunity to get to the ultimate level of their sport is presented. Few get the opportunity to get this close to achieving their dream and it is a tribute to their hard work and the outstanding coaching they've had at the high school and collegiate level to see this opportunity presented to them.

There are at least ten SCVarsity.com Alumni whom I believe will get the opportunity to prove themselves in an NFL camp this year. Of the ten, I think six or seven are legitimate draftable players, though it will more than likely four or five who actually get selected. Outside of those, however, the rest will get opportunities to get into a camp and prove themselves.

Every one of these players were SCVarsity.com All-State football players and all were ranked inside the SCVarsity.com Top Twenty-Five players for their class. Here is how I think they will do in the pursuit of their dream of playing football at the next level.

SCVARSITY.COM ALUMNI CHASING NFL DREAMS
THE MOST LIKELY DRAFT PICKS
1. STEPHON GILMORE, CB, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA (SOUTH POINTE HS)
HGT: 6'1 WGT: 195 POS: Cornerback
Gilmore has a tremendous upside and, in my opinion, probably has better coverage skills than some of those that the NFL guides have in front of him; he will surprise in camp with his press ability and is probably a more physical tackler than the other elite corners in the draft. This is a very solid position this season but Gilmore should be one of the top three or four CBs taken and should be a day one pick.

Projection: He is a definite day one, round one pick; probably a middle of first round but I think he could be the 2nd CB pick of the draft.

2. ALSHON JEFFERY, WR, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA (CALHOUN CTY HS)
HGT: 6'4 WGT: 230 POS: WR
Jeffery is not the most disciplined route runner in the world and the knock on him from scouts I've talked to is that they worry about the plays he takes off far more than his abilities to make plays. He's got a great frame, attacks the ball at its highest point, is powerful in snatching ball away from defenders, and is a physically tough player. Speed and route refinement are things they want to see improve but is a solid pick.

Projection: More than likely a 2nd round pick; Blackmon (Justin) will be the first WR off of the board but there are at least three or four other teams who will take a WR in round one. The question will be, where do they put Jeffery on their board. I think he goes day one, 2nd round.

3. BRIAN QUICK, WR, APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY (RIDGEVIEW HS)
HGT: 6'4 WGT: 210 POS: WR
Brian Quick is an outstanding prospect in this draft; the big question mark on him is going to be the level of competition he's played against in relation to where the scouts have him projected, which is pretty high as an "X" receiver. He's got outstanding speed, great vertical ability, and makes big plays. Attacks the ball well and wins the aerial battles over defenders. Question on him is his "adaptability" to the NFL but this is a young man who had the same questions on him making the transition from HS to college; I think he'll do very well.

Projection: Look for him to be a surprise in the draft and go in the third round.

4. JOSH NORMAN, CB, COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY (GREENWOOD HS)
HGT: 6'0 WGT: 205 POS: CB
In a very deep position on the draft board, Josh Norman is a player who could find himself going on the first day of the draft. he's got great coverage skills including the ability to pop his hips and run and his reaction and break speed to the ball is incredible.

Projection: Could be a day one guy in the 2nd round, but more than likely a third round pick.

5. JUSTIN BETHEL, FS/CB, PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE (BLYTHEWOOD HS)
HGT: 6'0 WGT: 190 POS: FS/CB
Bethel is the "sleeper" of this group of guys. He put up great numbers for the scouts and has impressive decorations from the FCS level, including Big South records for blocked kicks and solo tackles (199). Four year starter for the Blue Hose; is very raw in skills but with measurables, has a huge upside and well worth a pick. Despite his tackle record, he has some work to do in that area but should do well in a camp.

Projection: I think this former Blythewood HS defensive MVP is a 5th round pick, possibly as late as 6th.

6. RYAN STEED, CB, FURMAN UNIVERSITY (PINEWOOD PREP)
HGT: 5'11 WGT: 190 POS: CB
Steed is another strong defensive back in a year that there are many to choose from. He's got good size and ability, is physical and solid in the ground game defense. He could have very well been a 3rd round pick, but a poor 40 time at the combine will hurt his place on the boards.

Projection: Possibly a late round pick - 6th or 7th - but don't be surprised if he drops off the draft board to a preferred free agent status.

MOST LIKELY FREE AGENTS
1. JUNIOR HEMINGWAY, WR, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN (CONWAY HS)
HGT: 6'2 WGT: 225 POS: WR
Hemingway is a solid prospect because of his abilities as a possession receiver; he's physical and can make the tough catches; he's got very good speed and because of his build, is a guy who could line up inside and give you a solid target who is sure handed in traffic.

Projection: I think Hemingway is worth a draft pick but if he is taken, it will be a late round. This is a VERY deep class of wide receivers and there are at least ten or twelve guys who project as "Z" receivers ahead of him on most boards.

2. CHAD DIEHL, FB, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY (JAMES F. BYRNES HS)
HGT: 6'1 WGT: 250 POS: FULLBACK
The fullback position is a "dying breed" in the NFL supposedly, but the need for the guy who can do multiple things for your offense, and bring high level special teams play to the table still exists; the problem is that the need doesn't match the value of a draft pick in most cases - at least not early round picks. Diehl is a powerful, hard-nosed player with special teams experience and I think he will get a chance to camp somewhere. His lack of showcase of running and catching ability will hurt as a draft pick, though.

Projection: I wouldn't be shocked if he got a chance as a very late pick - 7th round - but more than likely will be a preferred free agent and get invited to the camps. He is a solid enough athlete to make a roster if given a chance on the special teams.

3. MASON CLOY, C, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY (SPRING VALLEY HS)
HGT: 6'3 WGT: 295 POS: CENTER
Cloy was one of the top offensive linemen in the state during his senior year at Spring Valley High School, grading out on top among a very talented offensive line for the Vikings. He's played to necessity at the college level, seeing time at both guard and center. Because of the offense he's cut his teeth in, he's more of a zone guy on the line but has great strength and good size and his biggest upside has always been his work ethic.

Projection: I'm not sure he'll be a preferred free agent, but I do think he'll get in a couple of camps and have a chance at showing his prowess.

4. BRANDON BOSTIC, WR, NEWBERRY COLLEGE (WEST FLORENCE HS)
HGT: 6'4 WGT: 230 POS: WR
Bostic is an intriguing player; he's captured the eyes of scouts and has been on their "watch" boards for a couple of seasons now. He's a big bodied, physical receiver who has great vertical ability, attacks the ball well, and makes some difficult catches. A couple of knocks in the scouting circles are that he has had episodes of "drops" and there is some questions about his work ethic and taking plays off. That said, he's go the skills to win a roster spot with hard work and the opportunity.

Projection: I don't think he's high enough on any board to get a draft pick and if he is, it will be a very late round pick. But he's got the skills and raw ability and upside that he could very well win a roster spot in a camp. He's definitely known among the scouts and their awareness of him gives him a pretty good shot.



Georgia NEWS

[More]

Latest Headlines:


 

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos UGASports.com. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2014 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.