April 2, 2014
University of South Carolina football held its annual Pro Timing Day on Wednesday on a picture-perfect day in Columbia. Ten former Gamecocks showed their wares to scouts representing 30 of the 32 teams, including head coaches Bill O'Brien of the Houston Texans and Gus Bradley from the Jacksonville Jaguars, along with 125 credentialed members of the media.
The ten that went through the drills included Jadeveon Clowney, Bruce Ellington, Victor Hampton, Jimmy Legree, Ronald Patrick, Kelcy Quarles, Connor Shaw, DeAngelo Smith, Chaz Sutton and David Wilkins.
The big question surrounding the workout was the work ethic of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, one of the top players in the 2014 NFL Draft. "He's fine," said head coach Steve Spurrier of Clowney's work ethic. "I keep hearing all the time `he works hard, he works hard, this guy works hard.' Well guess what, everybody works hard. That team that loses - they work hard too. So working hard is what we all do. Those who excel are those guys who make the plays when the game is on the line. They make good decisions, are fundamentally sound and smart. All that kicks in too. They wouldn't need a coach, they'd just need a conditioning coach, if working hard is what determines the winner. There's more to it than `works hard.'"
Coach Spurrier doesn't believe that the team that selects Clowney will play him at an outside linebacker position. "I think he will be as good a rusher next year in the NFL as there is," said the Head Ball Coach. "I don't think they'll put him at outside linebacker. That's just my guess. What he does best is not just put one hand on the ground, but put two hands on the ground. He's a two-handed pass rusher. That's what he does best."
Here are quotes from several of the Gamecocks who participated in today's event:
On the most important aspect of his workout...
"Really to show them that I move well laterally, not only one way speed. They know I've got speed. Show them how quick I can get out, turn my hips. Show them that I can drop in coverage. And my cardio, show them that I've been working out and staying in shape. I think I did pretty good today."
On the prospects of playing linebacker...
"I haven't played it in awhile, but I'm really looking forward to going back to that. I told my teammates that well if I get a running start off the edge, it will be easier to pass rush that way. I'm just looking forward to playing it."
On if he thinks he helped answer some questions about his work ethic...
"I think I did. I still have a lot of proving to do on the field, but today was another step in showing what I've got and that my cardio is good."
On the atmosphere at pro day...
"It was great. I was looking forward to it, been talking about it all week. I've been watching the past two years while I've been at Carolina, watching the other guys so I was looking forward to getting back into the mood and dropping back into coverage. I just wish we had some pads so we could hit somebody."
On if he thinks he accomplished everything he wanted to...
"I feel like I had a good day, but I feel like I could've done some things better. I didn't have the opportunity to go to any games after the season or the opportunity to go the combine so I just wanted to come out here and show that I improved and show them that I'm here to work and be apart of something special."
On if he felt any pressure...
"Pressure is always on, even if it's just practice. Coac h wants you to go out and accomplish something and that's just getting better every day. Just coming out here in front of a lot of teams, scouts, GMs and whoever, there's always going to be that added pressure."
On his nerves...
"I could put it at a 20. It's a first time thing and I didn't really get any sleep last because I thought about it so much. I just pictured myself out here doing everything perfect. You're not going to be perfect your first time out. It's all about just doing your best and just accomplishing the goal and trying to get better.
On what he proved with today...
"I just think I proved myself to be a tough player. I came out here and tweaked my groin a little bit, but I just showed that I don't quit in whatever I do and I think I showed that during the season, that I'm not a quitter and I'm going to keep fighting no matter how hurt I am."
On what he tried to focus on...
"Just push through it and show that I'm a tough guy and can do whatever you ask me to do. I'm a versatile player and there's nothing I can't do on the defensive line. That's what I came to do today."
On the atmosphere...
"I love it. Coming out here and hearing the fans scream and seeing the kids right when you come out of the tunnel, it just reminds you of Saturday and gives you a good send off to the NFL. I'm glad to see everyone out here."
On if he accomplished what he wanted to...
"Had a great day. Just came out and did the best I could, try to work on my technique and get my 40 down, but I did everything I wanted to. Killed the drills, caught all the balls, did everything I wanted to and just enjoyed the experience."
On what he's been hearing about his prospects...
"I've been talking to people, but the biggest thing with me is that I don't really listen to too much noise. Just waiting until draft day and that team that actually calls my number on draft day will get a great player."
On the prospects of playing safety in the NFL...
"It's good to see that they think I can play more that one position, but my mindset is as a lockdown corner. That's what I want to be and what I'm going to be until the wide receivers in the league prove to me that I can't do it."
On Deion Sanders' comments about him...
"It was great. Just being through all of things I've been through, not running the 40 the fastest that day, but for one of the greatest to recognize your talents, it was an honor. I had a conversation with him and he just told me to `keep your head up and you have a lot of potential in you so don't let them down.'"
On if he accomplished what he wanted to...
"Overall, I was really pleased. I think only two balls hit the ground and one was a slipped route so I'm very excited to for my future. My April is slammed with some private workouts so this isn't the end for me."
On what he wanted to show...
"I wanted to show them that I could go underneath center. Mainly during my career I was a shotgun quarterback. I thought I did a pretty good job of that today and threw with a little bit more velocity which also I felt pretty good about today."
On competing at Williams-Brice for the last time...
"It's absolutely bitter sweet. This is my home. Never lost here and I can always say that coming back here I'll always have great memories. It's pretty special to end on a note like this."
On being a role model at the college level and in the NFL...
"I think all of the greats out there, they know how to handle themselves and present themselves on and off the field and that's something I pride myself on--character. That's how I was raised and I think character goes a long way on and off the field."
On the atmosphere...
"It felt like a game day. Definitely no distraction. A little more motivation."
On what he wanted to accomplish...
"I felt like my main concern was the 40-yard dash. I know most teams felt that my playing style is laid-back and smooth and they just want to see me run well."
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