Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:36 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 11:45 am

Drunken TMZ video 3rd strike for USC RB Tyler?

An apparently drunk Marc Tyler, a redshirt senior running back with legitimate NFL hopes, was recorded on video by TMZ reporters outside of a West Hollywood club last week making several controversial claims, including a biggie -- that USC players were paid to play.

The comment came in response to a question by TMZ reporters about whether he'll make more money in the NFL or playing at USC. Tyler's response was "USC, they're breaking bread." It was one of several outrageous claims, including a lewd comment about USC running backs and celebrity Kim Kardashian.

Head coach Lane Kiffin reaction to the controversy came yesterday as he suspended Tyler, last season's leading rusher, from all team-related activities, including the season-opening game September 3rd against Minnesota. There was no timetable provided as to when Tyler's suspension might end.

In a statement released by the school, Tyler apologized.

"I am disappointed that I let down all the people who have supported me as I have been working through some personal issues," Tyler said. "I realize how my behavior and my statements, even though I was joking, can reflect poorly on so many people. As a veteran player, I should know that my job is to be an example for the younger guys."

The apology might be enough to get Tyler back into the USC program. It won't be enough to save Tyler's draft stock with some NFL clubs.

Prior to the TMZ video, Tyler had been involved in two other alcohol-related events in just the past four months. Tyler was brought before USC's Office of Student Judicial Affairs in early July to explain two incidents that occurred in April.

According to Gary Klein of the LA Times, one of the incidents occurred when "he allegedly spit on a female student while intoxicated and another in which he allegedly inappropriately touched another female student at a bar near campus."

Tyler, 5-10 and 230 pounds is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 10 rated running back for the 2012 draft. Starting eight of 13 games for the Trojans last year, Tyler led the team with career highs in rushing yardage (913), rushing touchdowns (9) and total touchdowns (10).

A bruising back with limited speed, he projects best as a power back working as part of a rotation in the NFL. Some scouts graded Tyler as high as a 5th round prospect heading into the season. With Tyler's senior season in doubt, he may be left little option but to at least explore the supplemental draft.

Want to see the video yourself?  The video is linked here.

Posted on: June 17, 2011 10:29 am

Oregon Jr CB Cliff Harris suspended indefinitely

Oregon junior cornerback Cliff Harris, an underrated component of the Ducks' drive to a berth in the BCS Title Game last year, has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Chip Kelly after being arrested for speeding and driving a rental car with a suspended license early this week.

Harris, along with two other unidentified Oregon football players, was pulled over by an off-duty Oregon State police officer after the car Harris was driving was clocked at approximately 118 miles per hour. They were pulled over south of Albany, Oregon, which is north of the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.

This is at least the second time that Harris, 20, has been cited for driving with a suspended license.

Kelly announced that Harris would be suspended for Oregon's opener against LSU in Cowboys Stadium in Texas "at the very least" and cautioned that the suspension could go on for much longer should Harris' behavior not improve.
“Cliff’s future clearly is in Cliff’s hands,” Kelly said. “Earning an opportunity to represent the University of Oregon and this football program certainly rests far beyond a player’s ability on the field of play. Our behavior out of the spotlight often is more important and will be held to a higher standard. Until Cliff is able to conform to the same standards all of us must comply with, his status will remain unchanged.”
Though he's only entering his junior season, you can be sure NFL teams are already paying attention. Harris, 5-11 and 180 pounds, led the country with 23 passes defensed last season and led the Pac-10 with six interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown (against Tennessee). Harris is perhaps just as well known for his special teams' prowess, as he's one of the more dynamic return-men in college football.

Last year, he broke the Oregon school record with four punt returns for scores.

Harris currently ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 junior cornerback prospect behind only Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick. Each would rate as first round values at this early stage in the process.

As this video will show, Harris' return skills are undeniable. So too are his ball skills. And while some of his punt returns come against weaker competition, three of his interceptions last year came against elite NFL prospects Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley.


Posted on: May 26, 2011 12:51 pm
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Posted on: April 12, 2011 9:47 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 10:09 pm

Trojan Knee

Da'Quan Bowers isn't the only player facing scrunity about post-season knee surgery--Southern Cal offensive tackle Tyron Smith is also rumored to have had issues with his torn right meniscus on which he had surgery December 14th.

NFLDraftScout.com has confirmed that several teams have not seen an issue with Smith's knee, especially in light of his solid March 30th workout. Multiple team doctors and trainers also felt Smith's knee has progressed well, and foresaw no future issues.

Some teams will undoubtedly be somewhat cautious about Smith, who is trying to add weight while also rehabbing that knee--and asking four different teams will give you four different opinions. But is also important to understand that misinformation is king this time of year, and reports can be used to sway public opinion about players.

Positive reports about players are put into the media to lead other teams to trade up, pushing down another player team(s) really value.
Negative rumors are meant to play to people's generally risk-averse nature, hopefully resulting in players falling down boards and possibly even causing some teams selecting later to also trade up to find a "film value" pick.

Though we all know this game is played, it is very difficult for the media to ignore a big story or for teams to fight the urge to move up on draft weekend to get "their guy."

At this point in the draft process, Smith is still expected to be selected in the top 13 selections.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Tyron Smith, USC
Posted on: March 31, 2011 1:33 pm

After scary fall at USC Pro Day, CB Wright okay

While most of the attention during USC's Pro Day was on offensive tackle Tyron Smith, cornerback Shareece Wright was among a handful of "other" Trojans enjoying a strong performance.

During his positional drills, however, Wright leapt into the air to snag an "interception" and landed awkwardly. According to sources on the scene, he was in obvious pain and clutching his right leg. As a precautionary measure, Wright was carted off the field to undergo tests on the condition of his leg.

As you might expect, there was plenty of speculation as to the possible severity of Wright's injury. I reached out to team sources, who alerted me that Wright appeared to indeed be okay, at least according to an email sent out to all 32 NFL teams by Wright's agent, Josh Arnold of Synergy Sports .

I contacted Josh, who forwarded the email.

Here are some of the key excerpts:

He felt a strain in his hamstring while falling to the ground and at the urging of the USC medical staff he was advised to stay down while they examined his entire leg (including his knee).  He wanted to walk off the field under his own power, but as a precautionary measure  we (myself and the medical team) felt it was best to call for a cart to drive him to the training room for further examination.    After performing several tests the USC medical staff has diagnosed Shareece with a pulled hamstring (no other damage, strains, pulls, etc. to any other part of his leg).  His knee (ACL, MCL, PCL, etc.) is structurally sound as are all other parts of his leg.  After receiving treatment on his hamstring he walked from the locker room to his car under his own power and feels 100% healthy outside of the tight hamstring.  I will forward on a full medical report shortly which I'm sure will include a full diagnosis on all parts of his leg, but in the interim please let me know if anyone has any additional questions or concerns.

Wright has struggled with injuries, at times, in the past, but closed out his career at USC in fine fashion, recording 73 tackles, 10 passes broken up, 7.5 tackles for loss, and two forced and recovered fumbles. He also blocked a kick. Following his season, Wright was asked to play at the Senior Bowl and played well there, also. His fastest recorded time at the Combine was 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

NFLDraftScout.com currently grades Wright as the No. 11 cornerback in this class and a 3rd round pick. Obviously, the details of the "full medical report" could have an impact on his final grade for us, and more importantly, of course, NFL teams.

Posted on: March 30, 2011 4:52 pm

No Ordinary Smith

Southern Cal tackle Tyron Smith took a step towards the top of the draft Thursday at the Trojan's pro day. With every NFL team represented, the 20 year-old Smith timed a 4.91 40 while weighing in at 310 pounds. Despite his ridiculously long 36 3/8" arms, today Smith also increased his bench mark from 29 to 31 reps.

Playing at 280 pounds most of the year, scouts wondered if he could put on weight--and keep it on. But since the end of the year, when he had surgery on a torn mensicus, he's put on 30 pounds--including three additional pounds since the Combine despite working hard for this crucial workout.

Given his youth and the intensity of NFL strength and conditioning programs, Smith should be able to at least stay above 300 pounds early in his career and probably approach 320 as his body matures.
It appears the knee surgery is a thing of the past given his workout today. Combining a clean bill of health with the weight-room bench he showed today, the functional strength he showed on the field (playing well at right tackle at a svelte 280), sub 5.0 speed (with a 10-yard split in the low 1.7's) and exceptional footwork in drills means he could be the first offensive tackle off the board next month.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:03 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2011 10:06 pm

Video exclusive -- Blake Griffin hypes TE Cameron

Considering the rise to superstardom that NBA fans have seen this season from Los Angeles' Clipper Blake Griffin , we can probably take it for granted that he knows athleticism when he sees it.

And apparently, the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk champion sees it in former USC tight end Jordan Cameron, endorsing him as the best player in the 2011 draft in a viral video that began on YouTube and has since become an internet sensation, earning replays by the NFL Network and SportsCenter.

In the video Griffin spoofs Spike Lee's character Mars Blackmon from the Air-Jordan videos of the 1990s.

NFLDraftScout.com was given the link to the second cut of the video, which, while perhaps not quite as comical, does a better job of highlighting Cameron's unique athleticism and provides a "tale of the tape" between Cameron's workout at the Combine and the other tight ends available in the 2011 draft.

As the video notes, Cameron is the only player tested at the Combine this year who finished among the top five in all seven events (40-yard dash, short shuttle, three-cone drill, long shuttle, vertical jump, broad jump, bench press). Cameron finished either first or second among all tight ends tested in five of the seven events.

A little later in the video and Cameron's senior production while at USC is compared to that of 2010 tight end prospect Jimmy Graham. Graham, of course, looked like a rising young star in limited duty this season for the New Orleans Saints after being drafted in the third round.

Like Graham, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez, Cameron's production on the football field comes in large part due to his skills on the basketball court. Cameron originally signed with BYU out of high school to play basketball and only returned to the football field four years ago while with Ventura Community College. Emerging as a highly touted JUCO prospect, Cameron signed with USC as a wide receiver (playing basketball in 2008) and only made the switch to tight end as a senior.

Despite his minimal production (16 catches for 126 yards and one touchdown at USC), the obvious athleticism seen in the video was just as apparent at the Combine and during Cameron's strong week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game.

Considering this year's weak class of tight ends, it isn't surprising to learn that Cameron is moving up draft boards. While undeniably raw, his size, speed, leaping ability and soft hands make him an ideal developmental prospect for today's the hybrid receiving tight ends dominating the league.

Don't be surprised if Cameron ultimately is drafted at a similar point as Graham (No. 95 overall)... or perhaps even earlier.

Link to original video
Link to second video (same as one above)

Posted on: March 8, 2011 6:54 pm

Give Newton a "B" on the "Final Exam"

Cam Newton's quarterback coach George Whitfield, Jr. characterized the Heisman winner's performance at the Scouting Combine two weeks ago as a "pop quiz" and today's Pro Day workout as the "final exam."

Carrying the analogy further, it was clear Tuesday afternoon that Newton had studied hard for the big test, making significant improvement from the Indianapolis quiz, but also evident that he still has a ways to go before he can count on making the Honor Roll as an NFL passer.

Newton completed 50 of his 60 scripted passes on the day, demonstrating better timing and accuracy on some of the throws that troubled him at the Combine -- most notably the outs, comebacks and deep balls. He was the victim of several drops, diminishing his completion percentage somewhat, but also was helped out, at times, by receivers making some very good catches and adjusting their speed to track the football.

Most importantly, Newton showed improvement in taking snaps from center. Newton actually took snaps from a center Tuesday, rather than simply dropping back as he did at the Combine. This not-so-insignificant difference obviously greater replicated an actual football game and only made Newton's improvement in his dropback and timing all the better.

Newton still has a tendency to sail his passes high and wide, however. Had you asked me to assign a letter grade following the Combine throwing session, I would have given him a "D." Perhaps that seems harsh, but considering that after tossing a few easy passes to receivers during the gauntlet drill, Newton only completed 11 of 21 passes (and these weren't drops, mind you) on the day, the 60% it takes to get a "D" in my book is actually higher than Newton' completion percentage on the day.

On Tuesday, however, I thought Newton deserved a "B" for his efforts. He certainly did not demonstrate the spectacular accuracy I had witnessed firsthand at Sam Bradford's Pro Day last year. Newton wasn't as accurate as Mark Sanchez during his Pro Day a year earlier -- another workout I attended.

However, Newton did demonstrate all of the physical ability tools scouts are looking for -- and, again, showed significant improvement. Considering that it has been less than two weeks since the pop quiz, that is all most teams were looking for...

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