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"USC'S MANUEL WRIGHT OPTS FOR SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT":
"Full Coverage of the press conference, quotes and news/notes on Wright":
The actual press conference to announce his intentions to declare for the NFL's Supplemental Draft (July 10th) took place on the campus of Poly High School in Long Beach, California on Wednesday afternoon... it started at 3pm and lasted for about 45 minutes... Manuel Wright, his parents, several supporters, and members of the media were in attendance, as was Marques Anderson, a former Poly High School standout, who is now a member of the Oakland Raiders...
PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE:
"(I) had a conversation with coach Pete Carroll (today) we thanked him for the opportunity to play at USC and to help win these two National Championships"... "Coach Carroll responded in a positive manner, saying there was no problems between us and the school... and that he too wanted the relationship between USC and the Wright family to be straighted out before he (Manny) left"... explained his father, Terence Wright...
"Manny has gotten calls from teams who have said they would draft him if he declared, but they have never really told us a round or anything like that", according to his mother, Donna Wright...
"(He) plans to train in Denver at a facility run by his new agents (All-Pro Sports & Entertainment)"... "(He) has qualified for a line of credit ($50,000) and will also be receiving a new range rover later this week"... explained a family acquaintance in attendance at the press conference... Manuel Wright himself later confirmed these details to a person covering the event...
"Would have needed to pass 14 out of the 18 credits he was taking this spring in order to become academically qualified for the start of fall drills... as of recent days he would have not received a passing graded in three of those classes, covering nine credits, which is when Manuel and our family decided to look in the direction of the Supplemental Draft"... explained his father, Terence Wright in a conversation earlier this week...
"He's just a kid that did not always push himself in the classroom... but he loves to play football... heck, he (Manny) would have declared out of high school... he just wants to be a great professional and I think that people will see that over the coming years", according to one Poly High School supporter that has seen/known Manuel Wright...
NEWS & NOTES:
According to those interviewed they have decribed Wright as having laid back personality, can be a little flashy at times, will go with the flow, and for the most part is a good kid... he has always played his best in big games and gives you the motor you look for on game day no matter what else is going on...Â
Wright and/or his father were not allowed to obtain the NFL Advisory Committee paperwork from the USC coaching staff or administration on at least one occasion, as they (USC) had hoped his academic problems could have been rectified over the summer...
He had no academic issues at Poly High School, but struggled with the SAT, as he required a year at Long Beach CC in order to receive a passing grade on the SAT to qualify at USC... had been academically eligible until the start of this spring, although some, including his father, feel the loss of his former defensive line coach, Ed Orgeron, who left to become the head coach at Ole Miss, started his academic slide, as Orgeron was known to be strict with him keeping up his grades and classwork...
USC junior-to-be defensive tackle MANUEL WRIGHT (#92) started twice as a sophomore versus Arizona and BYU... recorded a total of 23 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries... top games from 2003/2004 include Michigan (2003), BYU (2004), California (2004), Colorado State (2004), Washington State (2004), Oklahoma (2004)... has had a few minor injuries; sprained right elbow, which happened in the second-half of the Arizona State contest... missed games against Notre Dame and UCLA with a sprained left ankle, which happened against Arizona... missed one game during his freshman year due to an infection in his chin... attended Long Beach CC (CA) in 2002 in order to work on his grades, but did not play football... played high school football at Poly High School in Long Beach along with several other top-rated USC prospects... three-technique defensive tackle with first-round ability, but has not always played at that level... needs to make better use of his hands to get off blocks... plays with good balance and lateral quickness for a player of his size... shows good ball recognition... takes off a few downs here and there... said to be a coachable guy with solid motor on the field... talent level falls somewhere between Albert Haynesworth (Tennessee) and Marquise Hill (New England)...Â
Has been as high as 365 pounds, according to his father, coming into his true freshman year, but lost a fair amount of weight before the start of that season, and played at around 325-335 pounds... has gotten into much better shape during the past three years... has good definition to his arms and upper body... still has a small gut in the middle, but not to the point where he does not look to be in about 90% of the shape he would want to be at this time of year... currently, he is right at or above 6-foot-6 (6060) and 315-320 pounds... will likely look to workout for teams around 300-310 pounds... was timed in the mid-to-late 4.8 range at a lower weight coming out of high school (before adding weight before arriving at USC)... #92 on game film... the NFL Supplemental Draft is set to occur on July 10th, so you can expect Wright's
"Pro Day" workout to happen sometime in mid-to-late June.
OTHER USC NEWS:
USC red-shirt freshman quarterback ROCKY HINDS (#7), who starred in the team's recent spring game will likely transfer to UNLV before the start of the fall semester after being told that he is still #3 on the depth chart behind senior Matt Leinhart and red-shirt sophomore John David Booty... here is what the team's new quarterback coach Steve Sarkisian had to say about him recently, "Rocky Hinds is a physical specimen. He was injured his last year of high school. The kid has tremendous upside, and he's only going to get better. His future is so bright"... Hinds' talent and ability has been compared to those of Donovan McNabb and Warren Moon, but the team is stocked at the quarterback position with heralded freshman Mark Sanchez also in the mix, so Hinds could thrive if he decides to follow through with the transfer to UNLV... currently, he weighs 6042, 215-220 pounds... has been timed at 4.42 to 4.45 in the 40 at 210 pounds coming out of high school.
USC sophomore cornerbac
k ERIC WRIGHT (#25) had both charges dropped by the DA in a case that had them attempting to charge him with rape and possession of a controlled substance... there was insufficient evidence in the rape charge and not enough proof to say whether the 136 ectasy pills found in his dorm room belonged to him, his roomate or anyone else, according to a member of the DA's office... school officials have not said what if any disciplinary action would be taken against Wright, since all charges were dropped... but a final decision should be made before the start of fall drills.
Former BALTIMORE RAVENS All-Pro linebacker/defensive end PETER BOULWARE is said to be on the radar of several teams, including Dallas, Cleveland, Seattle, while Tampa Bay is also said to be reviewing the idea of adding him and using him at defensive end... keep an eye on New Orleans, who lost out on Chad Brown recently, although they now seem content on keeping defensive end Darren Howard now that they could not deal him at the draft... and have more pressing needs, as they must address long-term deals with running back Deuce McAllister, cornerback Mike McKenzie and center LeCharles Bentley.
SPRING UPDATES ON 2006 DRAFT PROSPECTS:
DELAWARE senior quarterback SONNY RICCIO (#5) currently weighs 6011, 201 pounds... has been as high as 206-208 pounds... his 40-time has been estimated between 4.65 and 4.80... completed 13 of 20 passes for 114 yards, including 44-yard touchdown pass, added six rushes for 36 yards... threw for 2,698 yards, as a junior with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, although ten of those picks came in four of his 13 games played... completed 58.5% of his passes, while adding 317 yards and four touchdowns on the ground... Missouri transfer, as he was destined to backup Brad Smith, so the Pennsylvania native headed back East... bright kid with good intangibles... has the body-type to fillout the 215-pound range... tough, shows good arm strength on his roll outs... needs to work on his accuracy... at times he could step up rather than look to take off... has shown improvement now that he is a full-time starter and when he's on, he knows how to spread the ball around... top games of last season include Maine, Massachusetts and both contests versus William & Mary.
DELAWARE senior cornerback/return man ROGER BROWN (#4) currently weighs 5107, 190 pounds... 9 1/2" hands... ran 4.36 in the 40 last summer, while weighing 194 pounds... 36" vertical... 4.10 short shutte... has previously been timed at 4.32/4.36 in the 40... also bench presses close to 360 pounds... pound-for-pound he is one of the team's strongest players... had 31 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and three pass breakups, as a junior... played mostly at right cornerback in past years, but will be used as a "Matchup" defender, as a senior, as he will be stationed opposite the team's top receiver... the team also plans to use his speed on kickoff returns, as he also all other special teams units except field goal... has also been a standout sprinter; 6.44 (55 meters), 6.96 (60 meters), 10.84 (100 meters), 22.29 (200 meters)... was originally recruited as a running back, but made the full-time switch to defense as a freshman... one of his best plays to date was made as a true freshman versus James Madison as he covered over 50 yards to make a tackle at the one yard line to hault a sure touchdown... has had only two minor injuries, hamstring (2002) and sprained left knee (2003)... top games from last season include Hofstra, Towson, Lafayette and Villanova.
HOFSTRA U. senior wide receiver MARQUES COLSTON (#89) ran between 4.51 and 4.53 in the 40, which is vastly different from the 4.80 estimate given to him last spring... 33 3/4" arms... 9 1/2" hands... weighed in at 6044, 222 pounds... scored 24 on the Wonderlic last spring, as well... his top games from his junior campaign (2003) include Liberty U., Villanova, Massachusetts and William & Mary... had shoulder surgery on September 1st, 2004... repaired a labrum tear in his left shoulder suffered in the spring of the 2004 season (spring camp)... prior to the injury he was completing 18 reps of 225 pounds in the spring/summer of 2004... has built back up his strength to the point where he recently was able to complete 16 reps of 225 pounds... had four catches for 84 yards in the team's recent spring scrimmage... their offense has added a tight end to the mix for this season to draw less double coverage on the outside... also seem to be adding more deep routes to the offense.
HOFSTRA U. senior offensive lineman WILLIE COLON (#77) ran between 5.31 and 5.33 in the 40... weighed in at 6022, 320 pounds... has played mostly tackle in college, but his body-type would likely result in a move inside to offensive guard at the next level... listed at 6'4" on the roster, which is a tad of an over-estimate... earned second-team All-Atlantic 10 honors, as a junior.
MARYLAND senior linebacker WILLIAM KERSHAW (#48) ran 4.60 in the 40... weighed in at 6031, 234 pounds... has since added four pounds (238)... 34.5" vertical... 385-pound bench press... top games of his junior year include Florida State, Wake Forest and Duke... impressive physical specimen that will once again start at weak-side linebacker... played some middle/inside linebacker, as a freshman... has not been used as much as a blitzer the past two years, although the team may try to send him more often as a senior.
Former MISSISSIPPI STATE senior safety DARREN WILLIAMS (#22), who was dismissed from the team earlier this year for violating team rules, seems more likely to transfer to either a Division I-AA or Division II program before the start of fall drills rather than submit his name for the NFL's Supplemental Draft... according to several reports he failed at least one school given drug test, which led to his dismissal, although the coaching staff would not expand on their reasons or his previous background in terms of previous off-field issues with the team... Delaware, Delaware State, Hampton, Murray State among other programs have been mentioned as possible transfer points... currently, he weighs 6012, 205 pounds... physically imposing in the middle of the field... he likes to hit... does not always wrapup on his tackles... good ball instincts... but struggles at times in man coverage and can gamble too much in the middle of the field, and gets caught out of position over-the-top... has played mostly free safety to date, but could be a good combo-safety, since he has the physical style to play strong and good enough range to stay at free if he can learn how to play under control more often... people associated with his situation realize that NFL teams would probably like to investigate and learn more about his situation, so a full senior campaign with no issues and solid production would go a long way to helping him settle any/all current character/background problems.
OHIO STATE senior linebacker A.J. HAWK (#47) ran 4.46 in the 40... weighed 6014, 242 pounds... 37" vertical... has been doing 30-plus reps on the bench for the past year... recorded 141 tackles, as a junior... the odds-on-favorite to win this year's Butkus Award (Top College Linebacker)... has superior straight-line speed for his size and position... ideal instincts... plays with emotion... very good leader on the field... runs to the ball like a safety... but hits with the fury of a linebacker... top games of last seaosn included N.C. State, Michigan State... was also named the MVP of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl... multiple time OSU Scholar-Athlete... younger brother, Ryan, was the starting quarterback at Ohio U. this past season... was also a standout punter and basketball player in high school... practices yoga, which among other things has helped with his flexibility... enters the season as the top-rated weak-side linebacker with the potential to earn a high first round grade by season's end.
RUTGERS senior defensive end VAL BARNABY (#94) currently weighs in at 6036, 273 pounds... 39" arms, which gives him a wingspan of 78"... 9 1/2" arms... seniors were not asked to run the 40-yard dash in the spring, but he ran 4.70 last summer for the school at a similar weight (270 pounds)... recorded two sacks during the team's April 23rd spring scrimmage... has 31" vertical... 360-370 pound max bench press... recently completed 17 reps of 225 pounds, but the team does not train on bench reps, so he has been working on it in the off-season... top games of his junior year include Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Boston College and West Virginia.
WASHINGTON STATE junior wide receiver JASON HILL (#83) is one of the Pac-10's top returning playmakers after a sophomore campaign that saw him catch 45 passes for 1,007 yards and 12 touchdowns... averaged 22.4 yards per catch... his top games came against Colorado, Arizona State, Oregon, Idaho and Stanford... scored in eight of 11 contests last season... terrific vertical threat that continues to grow as an all-around receiver... starting to fillout physically, as he plans to be up around 200 pounds this season... just over 6-foot-0... very fluid athlete... accelerates past defenders while the ball is in the air... good toughness for his size... has posted several big plays on special teams (tackles), as well... if he were to post a similar performance to his sophomore season in terms of stats and success there is a strong chance that he would opt to ask the NFL Advisory Committee for an evaluation of his draft status, according to several of his close family/friends... great kid who our staff has met/known dating back to his high school days at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep (San Francisco, CA)... was also a standout defensive back and basketball player in high school.
WEBER STATE senior offensive lineman PAUL MCQUISTAN (#76) has been timed in the 5.20 range in the 40... currently, he weighs 6056, 307 pounds... but has been as high as 315 pounds in recent months... 32-33" vertical... 430-pound bench press... 625-pound squat... 29 reps of 225 pounds... tough competitor, as noted by All-Big Sky defensive end and teammate Brady Fosmark, who says he is the strongest/toughest guy he has faced to date... has played on the offensive line his entire football career, dating back to seventh grade... still learning to be more consistent on finishing his blocks... tends to get over-extended at times against quicker pass rushers... plays with good aggressiveness and emotion on the field... if he improves his footwork and pass protection skills it could help him earn a solid draftable grade by next spring.
SPRING UPDATES FROM AROUND THE NATION:
ARKANSAS senior tight end JARED HICKS (#86) pleaded innocent to a charge of public intoxication in West Fork District Court recently... a bench trial was scheduled to be held this week, as Hicks was booked at Washington County Detention Center on April 18th and then released an hour later, as Hicks and two others were apparently going for a swim on the White River when they were stopped by an officer and arrested on alcohol-related misdemeanors, according to local area authorities... he was cited on public drunkenness charges... the senior played in ten games last season, despite dislocating his shoulder in the opener... he caught eight passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns, as a junior... had off-season surgery for his shoulder injury, but was hurt again during Arkansas' first scrimmage this spring, which forced him to be held out of last Saturday's Red and White scrimmage... has 13 catches for 154 yards and has scored two touchdowns in his career... meanwhile, senior linebacker CLARKE MOORE (#46), who was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in mid-March, is expected to be fully cleared to play this fall, although the staff seems to be keeping closer tabs on some of the players that have run into trouble in the off-season.
BOSTON COLLEGE senior cornerback WILL BLACKMON (#1) also worked some at wide receiver in the spring, as the team hopes to use his speed/quickness on the offensive side of the ball this coming season... he caught 19 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns during a pair of scrimmages, including 72-yard touchdown catch in the last minute of the final scrimmage... "He (Blackmon) has the skills to make people miss once he gets the ball in his hands", according to head coach Jim O'Brien... the coaching staff is evaluating the idea of getting him some reps on both sides of the ball when fall drills start, but they have not made a final decision on when or if he would contribute at wide receiver this season... it will likely come on a game-to-game basis or when they play one of the tougher teams on their schedule.
MIAMI sophomore quarterback KYLE WRIGHT (#16) won the team's starting quarterback job by completing 10-of-13 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns... "He's (Kyle Wright) probably is a little further ahead, having been here an additional year,'' said head coach Larry Coker, "His (Wright's) knowledge of the offense gives him a little edge entering the fall... but Kyle knows he can't relax, and Kirby Freeman knows now he's going to pour the heat on"... Wright has thrown only nine college passes, but at 6-foot-4, 208 pounds there are already high expectations for his first start of the upcoming season, which happens to come against in-state rival, Florida State.
NOTRE DAME junior quarterback BRADY QUINN (#10) completed 8-of-12 passes for 120 yards, including touchdown passes of 12 and 19 yards to senior wide receiver RHEMA MCKNIGHT (#5) and junior tight end ANTHONY FASANO (#88)... sophomore running back DARIUS WALKER (#3) gained 83 yards on 25 carries, including a 25-yard run that helped set up offense's third score of the spring scrimmage.
OREGON senior starting quarterback KELLEN CLEMENS (#11) completed 8-of-13 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown during the team's spring scrimmage, while also adding 11 carries for 27 yards in an offense that mixes the option running game with a passing attack designed to stretch the field... the new-look offense has been installed by first-year offensive coordinator Gary Crowton (former BYU head coach) and is similar to the package introduced by Urban Meyer (Florida) at Utah in recent years... turning over a "New Leaf" was also part of spring contest, as BRADY LEAF (#16) (6'5", 225), the younger brother of former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, played for both teams, completing 17-of-25 passes for 213 yards and one touchdown.
Former OREGON senior cornerback MARQUES BINNS (#2), who recently left the school to pursue other options for his senior campaign, has been in contact with several Division I-AA programs, including Grambling State... he did not workout for scouts in the spring... currently, he weighs 5110, 175 pounds... has previously been timed at between 4.42 and 4.45 in the 40-yard dash... when he does transfer, Binns expects to also contribute on special teams, returning kickoffs and punts, and will continue to wear jersey #2.
OREGON STATE true freshman quarterback SEAN CANFIELD (#5) (6'4", 210), a left-handed signal caller with a "Live" arm was one of the spring's biggest surprises after he complete 7-of-16 passes for 167 yards, including a long connection with senior wide receiver Mike Hass that resulted in a 64-yard touchdown... the California native
actually graduated high school a semester early in order to participate in spring drills with the Beavers.
RUTGERS sophomore defensive tackle NATE ROBINSON, who was one of the nation's top high school prospects just a few years ago, and transferred back home to New Jersey after originally signing with the University of Miami, was released from the program for violating un-specified team rules... there has been no formal reason or explanation for his release, but it was clear last fall that he was not nearly the player that was seen on tape during his high school days... he seemed overweight, under-conditioned and hardly ever dominated at the point of attack... still there is a lot of un-tapped potential here, but his work ethic and level of responsibility for his actions must come around before he will ever be able to take advantage of his vast potential.
WISCONSIN senior running back BOOKER STANLEY (#32) was charged with two counts of battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, resulting from his arrest during a outdoor block party... he ran for 350 yards and two touchdowns and caught 18 passes for 146 yards and another score last season... the 5-foot-10, 214-pound senior had a season best 135 yards in a win over Arizona last fall... he has been suspended from the team pending a further investigation... former Colorado transfer BRIAN CALHOUN (#2) is expected to see a lot of carries this fall, but a formal starter has not yet been named.