College all-star games are upon us
The NFL might find itself immersed in a lockout in about six weeks, but the draft will continue as planned no matter the status of the collective bargaining agreement.
Which brings us to today's topic of college all-star games. Beginning Monday, scouts will converge on Orlando where players participating in the East-West Shrine Game will begin practicing. The Bucs will have personnel there as usual. Last year, both general manager Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris personally watched some of the workouts.
There are some gems that come out of this game, even though it's less prominent than the Senior Bowl. Last year, for instance, tight end Andrew Quarless of Penn State participated before going on to play a big role for the Packers this season.
The Bucs even picked up a couple of prospects who played in the game, including former Texas Tech offensive lineman Brandon Carter, who finished the regular season on the Bucs' active roster. Defensive end James Ruffin of Northern Iowa, who spent last offseason with the Bucs, was also there.
This year's lineup includes a couple of notable defensive ends: Pierre Allen, a first-team All-Big 12 selection from Nebraska and Cliff Matthews, a second-team All-SEC pick from South Carolina. Among the other intriguing players are Maryland's Da'rel Scott, a speedy running back who posted huge numbers and Nevada outside linebacker Dontay Moch, whose 63 career tackles for losses is sixth in NCAA history. Remember that these all-star games are generally limited to seniors and not underclassmen who declare for the draft.
From Orlando, it's on to Mobile, Ala. beginning Jan. 24 for the Senior Bowl, where the Bucs typically take their entire staff and really begin scrutinizing prospects. There are high-quality players in Mobile, including a fair number of first-round picks. The Times will be there to cover the Bucs and future NFL players, per usual.
So, if the draft is your thing, you're soon going to be able to get your fix. Keep checking back here and we'll keep you posted.