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Gamecocks At NFL Combine Recap

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*Written by student assistant Kelly McAlindin

Seven Gamecocks were evaluated by NFL scouts, general managers, and coaches this past weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Players are able to attend the Combine by invitation only and work out in their different position groups in addition to medical exams and multiple interviews. Gamecock NFL-hopefuls will also have a chance to impress scouts at our Pro Day on March 27, where scouts come to Columbia. 


Marcus Lattimore - NFL Combine.jpeg
















MARCUS LATTIMORE


Lattimore did not perform in any of the drills during the Combine as he continues to recover from his knee injury, but he did undergo a medical evaluation that was reportedly attended by representatives from all 32 NFL teams, and conduct multiple interviews and generate a lot of media attention for his ahead-of-schedule rehabilitation and recovery. His NFL.com draft grade is 74.9



Marcus Lattimore way ahead of schedule in bid to play this year (USA Today)
"This time, I'm progressing faster even though it was a worse injury, because this time I'm not timid to do certain things." - Marcus Lattimore

NFL Fan Pass: Marcus Lattimore's road to recovery (NFL.com)

Marcus Lattimore Says He Will 'Shock' Doctors at NFL Combine With Progress in Recovery From Knee Injury (NESN.com)

VIDEO of Marcus Lattimore's press conference here


D.J. SWEARINGER

Hard-hitting safety D.J. Swearinger has built a name for himself as a dynamic defender and a guy who loves to hit. Swearinger has the highest NFL.com draft grade at 81.4.

Results:
40 yd Dash - 4.67 sec.
Bench Press - 17 reps
Vertical Jump - 37 in.
Broad Jump - 124 in.
3-Cone Drill - 6.70 sec. (TOP PERFORMER)
20 yd Shuttle - 4.11 sec.


2013 NFL Combine: SEC safeties standing out (CBSSport.com)
*Swearinger believes in his abilities at the professional level - "I haven't played in the NFL, but a lot of my past teammates say it's no different that the SEC, just more professional. I think that will be a big help with me going into the next level."



DEVIN TAYLOR


With guys like Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney on the other end of the line, it was easy to get distracted. But having a player like Devin Taylor to deal with too helped the Gamecocks' D-line wreak havoc the past several seasons. Taylor's long, lean ideal athletic build has a lot of teams interested. He had the widest wingspan of any defensive lineman at the Combine (87 inches) and was a top performer in several of the drills.

Devin Taylor - NFL Combine.jpg



Results:
40 yd Dash - 4.72 sec.
Bench Press - 14 reps
Vertical Jump - 35 in. (TOP PERFORMER)
Broad Jump - 128 in. (TOP PERFORMER)
3-Cone Drill - 6.89 sec. (TOP PERFORMER)
20 yd Shuttle - 4.3 sec. (TOP PERFORMER)

Combine could help shape Packers' draft strategy (Green Bay Press Gazette)
*Taylor as possible candidate to lengthen Green Bay's defensive line.




DEVONTE HOLLOMAN

Holloman's NFL.com draft grade was 70.5 coming into the Combine. Holloman moved to the Gamecocks' hybrid Spur position last season after three seasons at strong safety and worked out as a linebacker at the Combine. He was said to be a versatile defender with a strong build.  He is projected to be a solid Saturday draft pick but has the potential to outplay his draft position.

Results:
40 yd Dash - 4.76 sec
Bench Press - 15 reps
Vertical Jump - 33 in.
Broad Jump - 113 in.
3-Cone Drill - 7.3 sec.
20 yd Shuttle - 4.26 sec. (TOP PERFORMER)

What Dolphins decide to do in free agency will dictate direction they go in draft (Yahoo Sports)
*Holloman's potential not overlooked by Miami - "Holloman is a hammer."



ACE SANDERS


Sanders didn't wow scouts with his 40-time, but impressed with his quickness in the other drills (as anyone who has watched him on punt return knows, his lateral moves are killer!) and his hands in running routes.

Results:

40 yd Dash - 4.58 sec.
Bench Press - 7 reps
Vertical Jump - 32 in.
Broad Jump - 117 in.
3-Cone Drill - 6.81 sec.
20 yd Shuttle - 4.37 sec.
60 yd Shuttle - 11.29 sec. (TOP PERFORMER)


Chargers Draft Watch: Acing The WR/PR Value - Ace Sanders (Bolt Beat - San Diego Chargers)
* "Ace is a special teams ace."



JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM


Cunningham's NFL.com draft grade is 63.0. He was said to be a great blocker, be quick on his feet, and have savvy route running against defenders.

Results:
40 yd Dash - 4.94 sec.
Vertical Jump - 31.5 in.
Broad Jump - 116 in. (TOP PERFORMERS)
3-Cone Drill - 7.12 sec.
20 yd Shuttle - 4.45 sec.
60 yd Shuttle - 11.88 sec.


2013 Bengals draft team needs: Defensive turnover will make for a busy spring in Cincinnati (Yahoo Sports)
*Cunningham considered a tight end option for his blocking - "Justice Cunningham is a good blocker, as well, and became a seam target in the passing game as the season progressed."



T.J. JOHNSON


Johnson's NFL.com draft grade was 59.0. Although he lacks the physical numbers, his size, smarts, and amount of experience will potentially help him earn a late-round draft pick.

Results:
40 yd Dash - 5.33 sec.
Bench Press - 32 reps
Vertical Jump - 25.5 in.
Broad Jump - 96 in.
3-Cone Drill - 7.83 sec.
20 yd Shuttle - 4.74 sec.


Follow the Gamecocks in the NFL Combine

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NFL Combine logo.jpgSeven Gamecocks are in Indianapolis this weekend for the 2013 NFL Combine where they will be evaluated, interviewed, poked and prodded by NFL scouts, general managers, and coaches. NFL.com/Combine will have official test results, video, photos, and more.  Marcus Lattimore speaking to the media was a top story today. You can sort the list of participants by college here, to help you keep track of the Gamecocks' performance. With the current grades, D.J. Swearinger is the Gamecocks' highest rated player. You can watch live coverage of the NFL Combine on NFL Network and NFL.com/Combine.


Combine workout schedules:

Saturday, Feb. 23: Tight Ends, Offensive Line, Special Teams -- Justice Cunningham, T.J. Johnson

Sunday, Feb. 24: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers -- Marcus Lattimore (will not participate in drills), Ace Sanders

Monday, Feb. 25: Defensive Line, Linebackers -- Devin Taylor, DeVonte Holloman

Tuesday, Feb. 26: Defensive Backs -- D.J. Swearinger


Beloved Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore is busy this spring preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft and rehabilitating after a knee injury last season. He'll be one of three non-quarterbacks participating in Monday Night Football analyst and former coach Jon Gruden's "QB Camp" this spring.   Check out the excerpt below and see more of this story here from ESPN.

Gruden's QB Camp series presented by Corona Extra is back for a fourth year this spring, beginning Thursday, April 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) and continuing throughout the month with segments on SportsCenter and NFL studio shows across multiple ESPN networks.

Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden with former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck during Gruden's QB Camp in 2012. (Tim Casey/ESPN Images)


The SportsCenter specials will offer a first-hand look at some of this year's top prospects leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft, which ESPN will again televise April 25-27.

Nine of the top quarterbacks in the draft are scheduled to participate in Gruden's QB Camp:

• Matt Barkley (USC)
• Tyler Bray (Tennessee)
• Zac Dysert (Miami, OH)
• Mike Glennon (N.C. State)
• Landry Jones (Oklahoma)
• EJ Manuel (Florida State)
• Ryan Nassib (Syracuse)
• Geno Smith (West Virginia)
• Tyler Wilson (Arkansas)

The series will also include a trio of non-quarterbacks:

• Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M), the 2012 Outland Trophy winner and top-five prospect at offensive tackle.
Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina), the heralded Gamecocks running back who suffered a severe knee injury in October but hopes to play in the NFL in 2013.
• Manti Te'o (Notre Dame), the highly-touted linebacker and Heisman Trophy runner-up who led the Fighting Irish to the BCS Championship game.

Each prospect will visit Gruden's office in Tampa, Fla. -- affectionately dubbed the Fired Football Coaches Association (FFCA) -- for a film session. Most of the players will also participate in an on-field workout.



Gamecock fans followed along this season as South Carolina alum Mark Silvers competed on The Golf Channel's "Big Break: Greenbrier" show. Silvers made it all the way through and won the competition, earning several great prizes including cash and a PGA TOUR exemption for the 2013 Greenbrier Classic. We caught up with him this week after the finale aired to talk about his experience.

Thumbnail image for Mark Silvers Big Break block C.jpg






















Silvers sporting his Gamecock gear during the "Big Break" filming




BL: What was the experience like being on a reality show while competing for such a big prize?
 
MS: It was nuts. Obviously I haven't been on TV much before. To play for that amount of money and perks, it was an incredible experience...It took awhile to get used to all the cameras being around and that you're always mic'd up...You had to remember that someone can always see and hear you.

The show was filmed several months before it aired. How tough was it to keep it a secret that you won the competition before it aired?

That's the toughest part. Everybody's first question is always, 'well, did you win?' Obviously not only do I not want to ruin the show but there's a hefty penalty that comes along if you ruin the show for The Golf Channel. You have to develop a good poker face. It was hard to do anything without people looking into every move that you make.
 
You wore Carolina gear often on the show, what made you want to represent your alma mater in that way? 

Well, that's where I really shaped my golf game. I owe so much of my development to the University of South Carolina and Coach [Bill] McDonald. I felt like that would be a good way to represent that.

What did it mean to you to have the support of Gamecock fans during the show?


It was great. The golf program at South Carolina has really come a long way. Anything to draw the fans together and draw the attention to the golf at South Carolina - it allowed me a great opportunity to help with that.

Do you get a chance to come back and visit much?

I do! I still work with Bill on my swing; he's still my coach. It's always a good excuse to come back to Columbia and get some lessons.

What are your favorite memories from your time at Carolina?

My first year at school was Spurrier's first year so getting to watch our football team grow into a national contender was an unbelievable experience. We won a bunch of golf tournaments in college. Being able to go to these amazing places and play all around the country and represent the University of South Carolina was something I take a lot of pride in and still try to do.

What are you most looking forward to about playing on the TOUR at Greenbrier this coming year? 

The Greenbrier is an amazing place. Getting to play in a PGA TOUR event is a big deal and obviously I'm going there with good memories of the golf course. Knowing I'll have an opportunity to play a PGA TOUR event on a golf course I have good memories on is very exciting.

Do you think it will give you any advantage?

I'd like to think so! I don't have any bad memories or bad experiences so that's a good thing to carry over to such a big event. 


Check out video of Mark's reaction after winning the show:




Congratulations again to Mark and GO GAMECOCKS!!!


Gamecock Alum in Finals of "Big Break" Reality Show

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Earlier this fall we posted about South Carolina Men's Golf alumnus Mark Silvers making the cast of the Golf Channel's "Big Break" reality show! He has showcased his Gamecock pride on the show throughout the season and now he has made the final two! Check out a recap of this week's episode below and best wishes to Mark in the finale! Big Break airs on the Golf Channel Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.






Mark Silvers Big break screen grab - final recap.JPG


















Check out a screen grab of Mark in his gear on the show!



Gamecocks Make Impact in NFL Week One

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Several Gamecocks had a significant impact on games in week one of the NFL regular season yesterday. Check out some of the top performances:




We'll start with one of the Gamecocks' most veteran players in his 13th NFL season, Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham. Abraham had three tackles and tallied a sack in Atlanta's 40-24 win over Kansas City. Nicknamed "The Predator," Abraham has now recorded 113.0 career sacks, which ranks tied for 15th in NFL history and leads all active players. (Photo credit: Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE)



Vontae Davis and Alshon Jeffery - Indianapolis Colts v Chicago Bears

On the other end of the experience spectrum, first year rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery made his debut count, collecting three passes for 80 yards including a 42-yard touchdown catch for his first career score in the Chicago Bears' 41-21 win over Indianapolis. Video here    (Photo credit: David Banks/Getty Images North America)





Second-year 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver posted five tackles and had a key pass breakup during the Packers' final drive in the fourth quarter on fourth down to help seal San Francisco's 30-22 win over Green Bay.  (Photo Credit: Associated Press)





After missing the end of the 2011 season with concussion and undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, Sidney Rice showed off his vertical for the Seahawks with a leaping grab in the end zone for a touchdown. Rice snagged four catches for 36 yards including the 10-yard touchdown reception in Seattle's 20-16 loss to Arizona. Video here  
(Photo credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE)


Other notable performances:

- Although the Tennessee Titans suffered a 34-13 loss to New England, Gamecock tight end Jared Cook  was a bright spot with four catches for a team-high 64 yards including a 35-yard reception.

- First round draft pick corner back Stephon Gilmore had four tackles in the Buffalo Bills' 48-28 loss to the Jets.

- DB Johnathan Joseph tallied five tackles and a pass deflection in Houston's 30-10 win over Miami.


  • Tune in tonight on ESPN at 10:15 ET for the second game of the Monday Night Football doubleheader featuring Melvin Ingram and the San Diego Chargers taking on the Oakland Raiders.

  • Be sure to check out the Gamecocks in the Pros page on GamecocksOnline.com every Monday for updates on every Gamecock player in the NFL.

Special thanks to the Media Relations staff for their help with compiling this info.

Q&A with New Sideline Reporter Langston Moore

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MooreL_act2.jpgLast week the Gamecock IMG Sports Network announced that former Carolina defensive lineman Langston Moore would be joining the crew as the new sideline reporter for football. We caught up with him at Wednesday night's football scrimmage to talk about his new role with his beloved Gamecocks.



BL: How excited are you to be coming back to Carolina?

Langston Moore: I'm extremely honored to be here, especially because there was a great pool of people who applied who were just as deserving. Just to be back on the sidelines and be a part of what they're doing is great.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at Carolina?


Beating Clemson here, winning the Georgia games - stuff that now is more commonplace, but back then we were still building up speed, momentum. Now it's so good to see what the program has progressed to.

What does it mean to you as a former player to now see the success?

It was all worth it. They guys have done well academically, they're putting guys in the league, guys are doing stuff outside of football - graduating and doing good things in the business world that don't always get as much attention. It's just so good to see guys doing that and of course we're putting a good product on the field and we win. The stadium is full, the new video board - it's just tons of excitement.

Have you had a chance to see some of the new facilities since your time here, like the new athletic training room, the players lounge, and the Dodie?

Every time I come in [Director of Equipment Chris] Matlock always shows me around the new stuff. It's funny how you remember things one way then you come in and it's completely different, like when your mom changed up your room when you went off to college [laughing]. But we have to compete in the SEC and these are the things we need to do that. We have to be first class across the board and these are the steps.

You played in the NFL for awhile after college, but what else have you been up to since you graduated?

From being drafted in 2003 through 2008 I played in the NFL, then the year after that I played in the UFL. I've been doing a lot of community service working with The Frye Foundation, [head track & field coach Curtis] Coach Frye's organization that fights diabetes and obesity. I've always been close with them; they were like my second family here at Carolina. I've done a lot of charity work with Coach Roberts [former Carolina assistant coach Dave Roberts] who does a lot of good work in the Upstate and out in Arizona I've been doing a lot of work with veterans. I also do a lot with real estate, but it seems the volunteer work keeps me more busy than anything else. It's always good to be around a lot of young people and serve.

So have you been living in South Carolina or you looking forward to being back?

I've actually been living in Chandler, Arizona, on the east side of Tempe. It's good to finally get back here. I always wondered what people were doing and out here you go to the Wal-Mart and you'll see Ryan Brewer or some of the other guys I know. It's good to have that familiarity and see a lot of faces I know. And of course it's nice to have people recognize me as well. Out there in Arizona people just see me as this young guy walking around in the middle of the day with no job [laughing]. So it's good to be back home and of course it's a great time to be at Carolina with all the winning and all the great stuff going on. 


What part of being the new sideline reporter are you most looking forward to?

Just for all the great things these guys have in front of them and just being a cog in that. To be a witness and hear the fans' side, the players' side, being the fly on the wall in the middle of all that, to see everything and report it. I don't even call it work...It's just great to be out here. The facilities change but the smells don't change, the feelings don't change. You still get that chill when you're coming down Assembly Street to get here. It's just a special thing to be around and serve in this capacity even though it's a small role, it's very humbling to be a part of it, it's really good.


Be sure to tune in to the Gamecock IMG Sports Network radio broadcasts of South Carolina football to hear more from Langston Moore in his new role!


Men's Golf Alum to Appear on Golf Channel's "Big Break"

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The Golf Channel released the cast of their next season of "Big Break" this week, including a Gamecock golf alum, Mark Silvers. The release describes the show as featuring "12 men looking to find their next step on the way to playing on the PGA Tour."  The series, shot and produced at the Greenbrier in W. Va., premieres Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET. 

Mark's bio from the release:

"Mark Silvers (25, Savannah, Ga.): Silvers competed in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, accumulated more than 15 wins on various mini tours in 2011, and has eight top-10 finishes and one win on the NGA Pro Series Tour in 2012.  He is competing on Big Break with a heavy heart, as his father - who introduced him to the game at a young age - passed away just prior to the filming of the series."

Mark Silvers Big Break block C.jpg
Photo courtesy of GolfChannel.com

Check out some behind the scenes photos of Mark Silvers (including some Gamecock gear!) here.  

Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey in the PGA Championship

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Thumbnail image for Tommy Gainey_Cocky and Bag 2012-b.jpgGamecock Club member and lifelong Carolina fan Tommy Gainey is playing in this weekend's PGA Championship down in Kiawah Island, South Carolina!

You can track the progress on their online leaderboard!

Five Gamecocks Headed to 2012 London Olympics

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Lashinda Demus Daegu.jpegFive Gamecocks are headed to London to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Opening Ceremonies for the games are this Friday.

Stay tuned to GamecocksOnline.com throughout the Olympics for updates on the Gamecocks in competition. You can follow all the Olympians from the SEC with the #SECOlympics12 hashtag on Twitter.


Track & Field:

Lashinda Demus (USA) - 400m Hurdles  *2011 World Champion
Jason Richardson (USA) - 110m Hurdles *2011 World Champion
Natasha Hastings (USA) - Relay Pool


Women's Basketball:

Iva Sliskovic (Croatia)
Ilona Burgrova (Czech Republic)  

Gamecock Kyle Thompson Playing in U.S. Open

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Round 1 of the U.S. Open kicks off today in San Francisco. Gamecock and PGA TOUR player Kyle Thompson is playing in the tournament.





According to the U.S. Open website, Thompson is in group 52 and tees off at 2:42 p.m. Pacific time (5:42 p.m. ET). You can follow the leaderboard online here. The U.S. Open is also televised today, noon-3 p.m. on ESPN, 3-5 p.m. on NBC, and 5-10 p.m. on ESPN. Tune in to hopefully get to catch a bit of Thompson representing the Gamecocks.


Thompson was recently back in the Carolinas as he attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for The Coop, our new golf practice facility in Cayce.  


Urlacher Praises Alshon Jeffery

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After a Chicago Bears practice last week, their star linebacker Brian Urlacher had this to say about Alshon Jeffery:

"The nice thing about this rookie class is they don't say anything. They just go out there," he said with a laugh.

"Alshon Jeffery had six unbelievable catches [Thursday] in practice and just jogged back to the huddle. We're all going crazy because it was an awesome catch and he just jogs back to the huddle like it was meant to happen."


Full Bears practice recap here.

Thumbnail image for FB-11 Alshon Jeffery vs. The Citadel.jpeg

Jeffery's impressive one-handed catch for a touchdown against The Citadel.


Monday's ribbon cutting ceremony for The Coop, a new practice facility for the men's and women's golf teams, attracted a large range of people - Lexington County Council members, the mayor of Cayce, EPA officials, Athletics Director Eric Hyman and the teams themselves. Joining them was one special men's golf alum currently playing professionally on the PGA TOUR, Kyle Thompson, who came to town for the event.

"I just wanted to be a part of it. Being a part of the golf team is a big part of my history and I really wish we had had something like this when I was in school," Thompson said, smiling. "I think this is going to be huge especially on the recruiting trail. This is going to help put USC up with anybody in the country as far as facilities so I really think this will help us do what we need to do to compete for national championships."

IMG_2698.JPGThompson (pictured left) has remained actively involved with the team, returning last fall for the program's Alumni Weekend and staying in contact with Director of Golf Puggy Blackmon regularly.

"It's important to me [to stay involved]. I try to help the kids out, tell them they can call me anytime with questions and I'm happy to try to share what I've learned in the last 10 years of pro golf. Nobody in the world wants to see them do better more than me...I'm a Gamecock to the core and I do whatever I can to help out."

Thompson's next PGA TOUR event is the Byron Nelson Championship next weekend in Texas after playing in one of his favorite events, the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, last week.

"The Wells Fargo last week in Charlotte is one of my favorites because it's so close to home; I live in Greenville. The support up there is amazing; it's just an incredible tournament."

Good luck to Kyle and we'll be cheering him on just like he cheers on the Gamecocks!

NFL Draft Profile: Travian Robertson

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Defensive tackle Travian Robertson boasts the second-most number of games played as a Gamecock at 56, only one behind teammate and roommate at Carolina, Rodney Paulk. Robertson returned from a season ending injury in 2009 to help anchor one of the top defensive fronts in the SEC in 2010 and 2011. Referred to by head coach Steve Spurrier as one of the best team captains he has ever coached, Robertson led the defensive line with 49 tackles in 2011 after earning his criminal justice degree last May.

****UPDATE: Robertson was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the seventh round.


Get everything you need to know about your NFL team's newest player here!

NFL Combine/Pro Day Vital Stats:
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 302 lbs.
40 yd Dash: 5.32 seconds
Vertical jump: 26 inches


Check out some of Travian's highlights from the 2011 season:





Awards and Notes:

- 2011 Team Captain
- Participated in the 87th East-West Shrine Game
- Played in 56 games as a Gamecock, second most in school history
- SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after a win vs. Florida in 2011
- SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll (2010)


Features:

Travian Robertson Talks NFL Draft Prep - April 4, 2012

With Degree in Hand, Travian Robertson Focusing on Football - May 24, 2011


 









NFL Draft Profile: Rokevious Watkins

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Rokevious Watkins was a leader on the Gamecocks' offensive line. The Fairburn, GA, native started all 12 games and earned first team All-SEC honors by the Associated Press.

****UPDATE: Watkins was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the fifth round.

Get everything you need to know about your NFL team's newest player here!

NFL Combine/Pro Day Vital Stats:
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 338 lbs.
40 yd Dash: 5.39 seconds
Vertical jump: 27 inches


Check out some of Rokevious' highlights from the 2011 season:






Awards and Notes:

- All-SEC First Team (2011)
- SEC Coaches' Second Team (2011)
- Started all 12 games in the 2011 season
- Named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after the season-opener against East Carolina









NFL Draft Profile: Antonio Allen

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Antonio Allen was the only player in the elite Southeastern Conference to rank among the league's top 10 in tackles, interceptions, fumbles forced, AND fumbles recovered in 2011. He led the Gamecocks' No. 3-ranked defense with 88 tackles on the season, 55 of them solo stops. Allen played the hybrid Spur position for South Carolina after moving from safety in 2009, where he is projected to play in the NFL.

****UPDATE: Allen was drafted by the New York Jets in the seventh round.


Get everything you need to know about your NFL team's newest player here!

NFL Combine/Pro Day Vital Stats:
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 210 lbs.
40 yd Dash: 4.67 seconds
Vertical jump: 34 inches


Check out some of Antonio's highlights from the 2011 season:



More Antonio Allen video:

Highlights vs. Navy (10 tackles, forced fumble, interception)



Awards and Notes:

- AP All-American, second team (2011)
- All-SEC Second Team (2011)
- Led the Gamecocks No. 3-ranked defense with 88 tackles in 2011
- Second on the team in interceptions (3) behind only the No. 10 overall NFL Draft selection Stephon Gilmore (4 INT).
- Senior Bowl participant
- Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist (2011)
- Ernest Brooks MVP Award (2010)



What They're Saying about Antonio Allen:

NFL Draft:

South Carolina showcases stellar class at pro day (NFL.com Blog)

2012 NFL Draft: Second-round mock draft (CBSSports.com)

Antonio Allen 2012 NFL Draft quick report (MockingTheDraft.com)

Trinity alum Allen projected as mid-round pick (Ocala.com)


Features:

Ingram, Allen Grab Attention at Senior Bowl - Feb. 2, 2012












Alshon Jeffery Photo Gallery:



NFL Draft Profile: Stephon Gilmore

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Cornerback Stephon Gilmore led the Gamecocks in 2011 with four interceptions and seven pass break-ups along with 46 tackles. He also made the 2011 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll. From Rock Hill, SC, Gilmore was the first in a string of four consecutive South Carolina Mr. Football award winners (the top high school football player in the state) signing to play for the Gamecocks. An impact player as soon as he stepped on campus, in his three years as a Gamecock he started in all 40 games at CB.

****UPDATE: With the No. 10 pick, the Buffalo Bills selected Stephon Gilmore!  Official Bills story: http://www.buffalobills.com/news/article-2/Bills-go-with-CB-Gilmore-at-10/e4577261-4e74-4136-9ea9-f915156512f4

Bills.com Photo:

bills-select-gilmore-story.jpg
Bills fans check out all the Gamecocks' info on Gilmore here:


NFL Combine Vital Stats:

Height: 6'0
Weight: 190 lbs.
40-yard Dash: 4.40 seconds *Top performer*
Vertical Jump: 36.0 inches


Check out some of Stephon's highlights from the 2011 season:





Awards and Notes:
- All-SEC honors in 2010
- He was one of only six players in the conference to be named first team All-SEC and to the Fall Academic Honor Roll in 2010.
- Harris Pastides Scholar-Athlete, Spring 2011
- Started all 40 games he played in three years as a Gamecock


There was some debate about Gilmore after he announced he would forgo his final year of eligibility in favor of the NFL, but the doubters were quickly quieted after an impressive performance at the NFL Combine and South Carolina's Pro Day. His speed and athleticism saw him quickly jump up several scouts and media members' draft boards. Check out a sampling of what they said about him leading up to the NFL Draft:


What They're Saying about Stephon:

NFL Draft:

Draft Buzz Growing for Gamecocks' Stephon Gilmore

Gilmore_09_03_11_77_TB.jpg


South Carolina turning into Cornerback U. (Rivals.com)

2012 NFL Mock Draft 6.0 has Stephon Gilmore cracking the top 10 (SportsIllustrated.com)

Video: NFL.com on Stephon Gilmore

Video: SportsCenter Draft Special - Stephon on Getting Ready for the Draft

Video: NFL Live Segment - Stephon talks to Mike Hill, Tedy Bruschi, and Marcellus Wiley about preparing for the NFL

South Carolina showcases stellar class at pro day (NFL.com Blog)


Features:

Stephon Gilmore poised to become NFL first round draft pick (Herald Online)

S.C. corner Gilmore lets play do the talking (The Charlotte Observer)


Stephon Gilmore Takes ESPN (Bristol Gamecock)


Team Specific:

Bills like CB Gilmore's ability to play multiple coverages (CBSSports.com)


Gilmore recovered a blocked extra point and showed off his speed returning it to the opposite end zone in the Gamecocks' Capital One Bowl victory. Watch it at the 0:33 mark in this video.

Gilmore_01_02_12_021_ALS .JPG




NFL Draft Profile: Melvin Ingram

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After quietly leading the Gamecocks in sacks in the 2010 SEC Eastern Division Championship season, defensive end Melvin Ingram from Rockingham, NC, exploded on to the scene in 2011 as a senior. A team captain, Ingram helped lead the Gamecocks to a historic 11 wins on the season and a Top 10 finish, captivating fans with his athleticism, affable personality and big play-making ability from week to week.

*****UPDATE: Melvin Ingram was selected with the No. 18 pick by the San Diego Chargers

Photo from official Chargers Facebook page:

Chargers with Ingram.jpg

Hey, Charger fans! Get everything you need to know about your team's newest player here!

NFL Combine Vital Stats:

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 264 lbs.
40 yd Dash: 4.79 seconds
Vertical Jump: 34.5 inches

Check out some of Melvin's highlights from the 2011 season:



You can see more videos on the Gamecocks Online Melvin Ingram YouTube playlist.


Awards and Notes:
- Just the third consensus All-American in South Carolina Football history (named first team All-America by AFCA, Walter Camp, Sporting News and Associated Press)
- First team All-SEC selection
- Had 48 tackles including team-highs in tackles for loss (15) and sacks (10), 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions in 2011.
- Finished his career fourth on the sacks record list at Carolina
- Participated in the Senior Bowl and won every event he participated in at the All-Star Football Challenge skills competition leading up to the Draft.


With jaw-dropping plays like his 68-yard fake punt for a touchdown against Georgia, Ingram quickly grabbed attention from media and scouts. Check out a sampling of what they said about him leading up to the NFL Draft:


What They're Saying about Super Melvin:

NFL Draft:

Melvin Ingram Sport Science back flip screen grab.JPGWhy, yes, he can do a standing back flip... even in pads.







Gamecock Melvin Ingram's Athleticism Analyzed on ESPN's Sport Science
"Coming out of his spin move, in just three steps he accelerates to almost 18 miles per hour. At 264 lbs. he's capable of generating hits of more than 2,500 lbs. of force."

"This is a defensive talent who made plays in the mighty SEC against good football players. He made them as a rush end. He made them as a stand-up linebacker. He made them in coverage. He even made them on special teams, his fake-punt run for a touchdown against Georgia is something you should watch on YouTube...Ingram has a low center and strong legs, much like Dwight Freeney the Colts. He isn't as explosive as Freeney, but he does have big-time closing speed. Ingram's best 40 time at the combine was 4.69, the same as Coples. But the 20-yard shuttle times, which show the ability to change directions quickly, give a big edge to Ingram. His best time was 4.18 seconds. Coples' best was 4.80. That's a huge difference. That's what makes Ingram special, closing speed and the ability to explode after the runner and the quarterback."

- When it comes to making plays, Ingram is best pass rusher in the draft (CBSSports.com)


*You can watch the play against Vanderbilt writer Pete Prisco highlights at the 0:37 mark of this video. The Vandy game was a breakout game for the Gamecock defense, allowing just 77 yards of offense. Ingram had four tackles in that game (3 for loss), two sacks, a pass break-up and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

The football version of a decathlete (Chargers.com)

South Carolina showcases stellar class at pro day (NFL.com Blog)

2012 Path to the Pros: Melvin Ingram (Video - Stack TV)

Ingram, Gilmore look like Top 15 picks at South Carolina Pro Day (Pro Football Talk)


2011 Season Features:

"Big Players Make Big Plays" Q&A: Melvin Ingram






Melvin Ingram Photo Gallery:




Travelle Wharton Adjusting to "Home"

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wharton_travelle.jpgFor the past eight seasons, former Gamecock offensive lineman Travelle Wharton has been able to enjoy living and working less than two hours away from his hometown of Fountain Inn, SC, a relative rarity in the NFL. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2004 and had been with the Charlotte-based franchise ever since until this spring. 

With their salary cap number looming, the Panthers chose to release Wharton, who was quickly signed by the Cincinnati Bengals, a team with a lot more cap room to maneuver within. On the surface, a move so far from home would seem like a negative. But, as it turns out, Cincinnati is almost just as much a home for Wharton as the Carolinas. After World War II his grandmother's side of the family left the South for Cincinnati and he has had family reunions both in Ohio and South Carolina his entire life.

"It's funny how life is and comes full circle," said Wharton. "All the aunts, grandparents, everybody is up there [laughing], I have a lot of cousins. They've been calling and bragging to people that I'll be up there and they can get to see me play."

While there are no other Gamecocks currently on the Bengals' roster besides Wharton, he says he still knows quite a few of the players from his time in the league.

"They have a lot of guys who are originally from South Carolina. They keep their Carolina connection," Wharton said.

After visiting the South Carolina campus some this spring, including the football team's recent Pro Timing Day, Wharton headed to Cincinnati for off-season workouts. His wife Kashema, a fellow Gamecock grad, and their three daughters, ages six, three and one, plan to join him there once the school year is out.

Even farther away with his family in Cincy, the Whartons will always be a part of the Gamecock family!

Former South Carolina Track athlete and reigning World Champion in the 110-m hurdles, Jason Richardson, appeared on NBC's TODAY Show to talk about his hopes for the Olympic Games this summer in London. He also attempted to "teach" TODAY's Savannah Guthrie how to hurdle.  Richardson is among several former Gamecocks that will be looking to compete in London so keep your eye on the Olympics!

 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Follow Jason on Twitter: @JaiRich

Draft Buzz Growing for Gamecocks' Stephon Gilmore

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Stephon Gilmore on NFL Live.jpgWhile a lot of the focus in the beginning of this off-season leading up to the NFL Draft was on Melvin Ingram and Alshon Jeffery, cornerback Stephon Gilmore has quietly been jumping up draft boards after his NFL Combine and Pro Day performances. Last week he was up in Bristol to film several ESPN segments and South Carolina alumna Laura Goldman, who now works at ESPN, sat down with him for an interview:  Stephon Gilmore Takes ESPN

Check out video from his ESPN appearances as well as other recent coverage. Gilmore, along with fellow Gamecock Melvin Ingram, is among 26 players invited to attend the NFL Draft in New York.


 

Video:
SportsCenter Draft Special - Stephon on Getting Ready for the Draft



Video: NFL Live Segment - Stephon talks to Mike Hill, Tedy Bruschi, and Marcellus Wiley about preparing for the NFL




 


Stephon Gilmore could be drafted in top 10 (NFL.com)

 
Photos - 2012 NFL Draft attendees (NFL.com)
*12 out of 26 are from SEC, including two Gamecocks - Melvin Ingram and Stephon Gilmore.

Travian Robertson Talks NFL Draft Prep

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Written by student assistant Rebecca Duensing

On Monday night's "Inside the Roost" radio show host Derek Scott and Athletics Director Eric Hyman were joined by defensive lineman Travian Robertson to discuss participating in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February, last week's Pro Timing Day, and his preparations for the NFL Draft later this month.

For Robertson, the Combine was a first chance to go out and give it his best for scouts. Unfortunately, his Combine experience was somewhat limited after sustaining a groin injury while running a 40-yard-dash. However, he was able to complete that 40 as well as the broad and vertical jumps to turn in solid measurements. He was disappointed that he wasn't able to participate in the position drills which he feels are "the most important thing that scouts look for."

Fortunately he would have a second chance to show the scouts what he could do on the line. He joined several other former players at South Carolina's Pro Timing Day on March 28 and was able to participate fully in front of scouts and personnel from all 32 NFL teams. He said all the players were really excited to see each other again and to be "back together at home." 

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Robertson noted that it was a "piece of cake" to perform at Williams-Brice because they're used to going out on the field and playing in front of 80,000 fans. Robertson reported that he ran his 40s in an average time of 5.3 seconds, but he is not overly concerned with the actual times. Robertson joked that "you don't see too many defensive lineman running a 40 in a football game," and mentioned that several coaches don't stress the 40 for his position, but would rather see flexibility and strength. To help give him an edge, Robertson has been working out in Suwanee, Georgia, at WPI (Wellness Performance Institute). He has focused mainly on his pass rush, an area in which he believed he needed to show scouts the most improvement.

In addition to the Combine and Pro Timing Day, Robertson has had other opportunities to showcase his skills. After the Gamecocks' Capital One Bowl win, Robertson was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game in mid-January. Though he knew an all-star game was a big opportunity for exposure to scouts, especially during a full week of practice, Robertson got more from the experience than increasing his draft stock. He stressed that the most important thing about the Shrine Game was helping the kids and getting a chance to visit them at the Shriners Hospital. 

Robertson_112611_000068_TB.jpgEven with a potential NFL career on the horizon, Robertson is just as proud of a big accomplishment off the field. Robertson earned his degree in Criminal Justice last May. When people asked him last year why he didn't leave South Carolina early for the NFL Draft, he said that "would've been the stupidest thing to do because I wanted to graduate and make my parents proud."

"This NFL experience is going to expire. Football is going to expire. That piece of paper, I don't think it'll ever expire," Robertson stressed. "I'll keep that for the rest of my life."

Right now for Robertson, it's a waiting game which he deems well worth it, having learned a lot from the experience. He noted there are "guys that played at USC that didn't get their names called on draft day, [but they] made a team and are very successful today." Robertson's main goal is just to make a training camp so he can put in the work to earn a spot on a team.

"It'd be nice to hear [my] name called on draft day," Robertson admitted. "But at the end of the day you still have to put in the work." 

When asked if he had a particular team in mind, Robertson said growing up he watched the Carolina Panthers, but that he'd be "blessed and proud to represent any team that calls my name or gives me a phone call."

The NFL Draft is April 26-28; make sure to tune in and keep an eye out for Travian and all our Gamecocks hoping to hear their names called!

Gamecock Spotlight: Travian Robertson





Be sure to catch "Inside the Roost" every Monday night from 7:00-8:00 p.m. on 107.5 The Game for insight into Gamecock Athletics with Derek Scott and AD Eric Hyman along with weekly guests.


In the heart of spring training, the Red Sox followed Gamecock Jackie Bradley Jr. (one of their top picks in last year's MLB draft) through a typical day in his life.





Bradley Jr. goes through weights, team meals, stretching & drills, batting cages, a game, and lets the world in on his love for Chick-fil-A.

We're sure all of Gamecock Country will keep an eye on Bradley Jr. as he makes his way through the pros! 
The legend of Melvin Ingram's freakish athleticism continues to grow, but it's not just anecdotes anymore. ESPN's Sport Science team decided to put him to the test putting him through agility drills, a cutting drill, and more.


Check out a couple notes from the data they collected:

- Ingram can cut and change direction in 0.3 seconds, on par with data they collected from NFL running back LaGarrette Blount.

- Coming out of his spin move, in just three steps he accelerates to almost 18 miles per hour. At 264 lbs. he's capable of generating hits of more than 2,500 lbs. of force.

- His 34.5" vertical jump outshines the NBA average of 28".

 

Watch the full video below including clips of Melvin's standing back flip, throwing the football 20 yards right on target, dunking a basketball in pads and more:




Click here to check out Melvin Ingram highlights.
Tyler Ruthven pro.jpgYesterday we had good news with Blake Brettschneider joining the New England Revolution, today we have more as former South Carolina defender Tyler Ruthven signed with the MLS New York Red Bulls earlier this week.

Ruthven was an All-Conference USA performer for Carolina his senior year in 2009 and played for the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL last season. 

Check out his Q&A with NewYorkRedBulls.com welcoming him to the team. 

 
Blake Brettschneider DC United.jpgFormer South Carolina Men's Soccer player Blake Brettschneider signed with the New England Revolution Tuesday.

Brettschneider made his Major League Soccer debut last summer after being selected by D.C. United in the MLS Supplemental Draft. Despite making 15 appearances (nine starts) as a rookie he was released by D.C. in February. Just days later Brettschneider was snatched up by New England who put him on trial and officially made him a part of the roster Tuesday.

Read more about Brettschneider's new gig in this feature by New England Soccer Today: http://nesoccertoday.com/?p=10041

We discussed Brettschneider's first year in professional soccer with him last fall, catch up on that post here.

Good luck, Blake!