JCs In the Pro Ranks

Everyone knows that much of the success of the Oakland Raiders was due to the hard running of SCOTTSDALE'S Charlie Garner, defensive ends Tony Bryant, COPIAH-LINCOLN and DeLawrence Grant, EL CAMINO, and giant OL Frank Middleton, FORT SCOTT. And how about the World Champion Tampa Bay Bucs? WR Keyshawn Johnson, WEST LOS ANGELES, and return man Frank Murphy, GARDEN CITY, were contributors.

So lets take a look at how some of the other JC grads fared during the past pro campaign, and maybe what will be expected in 2003.

KANSAS CITY.  WR Dante Hall, GROSSMONT, became a premier return specialist, running back three kicks for TDs and playing No. 3 receiver.

HOUSTON.  DeMarcus Faggins, NAVARRO, played well in his rookie season and should be a starter soon.  Aaron Glenn, who preceeded Faggins at NAVARRO by a number of years, played so well for the fledgling franchise that he earned All-Pro honors. Known for his extensive preparation, the 30-year old appears to have several more dominant season left in him.

CINCINNATI.  Please give Corey Dillon some blocking.  The heavy-duty RB can still bring it, but needs much more run support from the FB and OL.  Imagine him running behind the Raider or Buc offensive lines.  WR Chad Johnson, SANTA MONICA, was the Bengal's leading receiver.  He is explosive, averaging over 16 yards per catch.  He should be a future Pro Bowler.  T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CERRITOS, became the No. 3 receiver and returned punts.

PITTSBURGH.  Boy how this team needs Kendrell Bell, who played at MIDDLE GEORGIA, before the school gave up football.  Bell never fully recovered from an ankle sprain.  When he's in he is a very disruptive influence on opposing teams.

NEW YORK JETS.  Rumor has it that Bill Parcels would like to nab free-agent Randy Thomas, COPIAH-LINCOLN.  Parcels signed Thomas originally.  DT Jason Ferguson, ITAWAMBA, is a solid starter and WR Kevin Swayne, PALOMAR, sees plenty of action.

CAROLINA.  SANTA MONICA's Steve Smith joins Hall as one of the top return guys in the NFL.  He also is a starting WR and is definitely making a name for himself.

SEATTLE.  The Seahawks would love to sign Walter Jones, HOLMES, to a long-term deal, but opted to put the franchise tag on him for the 2nd year in a row.  He was voted to the Pro Bowl.  RB Maurice Morris, FRESNO, had "hammie" problems all season and never really got going.  Jeff Feagles, SCOTTSDALE, was again one of the best punters in the NFL.  Robbie Tobeck, KILGORE, has been a fixture at center for years.  John Randle, TRINITY VALLEY, and Antonio Cochrane, MIDDLE GEORGIA, anchor the Seahawk defensive line. One to look out for in the future is

REDSKINS.  FB Rock Cartwright, TRINITY VALLEY has played well for the Skins.

CB Fred Smoot, HINDS, did not play as well in his 2nd year as he did when a rookie, but still has great potential and is a starter.  Larry Moore, GROSSMONT, starts at center and had a fine season after coming over from Indianapolis.  PK Jose Cortez, L.A. VALLEY, arrived from the 49ers and will battle for the position in 2003.

GREEN BAY.  The Packers have a pair of standout ex-JCs playing WR, but neither has broken into the starting lineup.  Robert Ferguson, TYLER, has had to overcome injuries, but came on strong late in the season.  Javon Walker, JONES, is liked because of his big-play potential.  He made some rookie mistakes, but should be around for a long time.  He did a good job on kickoff returns.  Torrance Marshall, KEMPER, has loads of talent, but apparently was a tad undisciplined at LB this year.  Earl Dotson, TYLER OL, was injured much of the year.   DT Cletidius Hunt, N.W. MISSISSIPPI, had earned a starting slot for the Pack.

NEW YORK GIANTS.  CB Jason Sehorn is on the hot seat despite a fine season.  The former SHASTA star makes a bundle of money.  Too much apparently for a nickel back. K Matt Bryant, TYLER, had a decent season, but missed some important field goals and may lose the job in 2003.  Jim Fassel, who played at FULLERTON, was under fire for awhile, but seemed to recover when he took over the offensive signal-calling and then pulled that win over the 49ers. First-round pick Jeremy Shockey TE, was one-two with Clint Portis for NFL Rookie of the Year honors.  The kid is awesome. Ron Dixon, another ITAWAMBA grad, had a fair year at WR and return kicks and is learning how to utilize his speed.

MINNESOTA.  First-round draft pick Bryant McKinnie, LACKAWANNA, held out for half the season, but came on very strong the 2nd half.  He finally gave up the first sack of his playing career in his NFL debut.  He handles speed rushers and has a bright future, has great strength,  feet and hands.  A nice combo.  QB Shaun Hill, HUTCHINSON, carried the clip board in his rookie season.

DENVER.  Two JC fullbacks were very important to the Bronco success.  Mike Anderson, MT. SAN JACINTO, not only learned to block, but filled in as the RB at times too.  Reuben Droughns, MERCED, did an excellent job blocking and caught the ball well out of the backfield. 

SAN FRANCISCO.  Both active QBs are ex-JCs.  Jeff Garcia, GAVILAN, and Tim Rattay, SCOTTSDALE, hold down the fort, with Derrick Deese, EL CAMINO, providing protection from up front.

ST. LOUIS.  WR Isaac Bruce, SANTA MONICA, had a resurgent season,  and one scribe called him silky-smooth.  He does run precise routes and still gets great separation.  He and Tory Holt form a dynamite catching duo. Leonard Little, DE from COFFEYVILLE, is one of the league;s better sack artists.  P Mitch Berger, TYLER, gets the job done.

DETROIT – Chris Cash, a 6th-round pick from PALOMAR by way of USC, saw plenty of action at CB and figures to be a starter soon.  He has solid potential.  OG Stockar McDougal, NAVARRO, played very little this year because of a foot injury and must lose some weight.

ARIZONA.  DB Kwamie Lassiter, BUTLER COUNTY, fell off in interceptions from 2001, and is feuding with management.  This past season he was the Franchise Player, but it doesn't appear that the Cardinals are interested in repeating it.  He may be headed elsewhere.

CHICAGO – DL Alonzo Boone did not go to 4-year school after leaving MT. SAN ANTONIO.  The big fella signed a $4-million contract with the Bears so should be around for awhile.

PHILADELPHIA.  Where would the Eagles be with their workhorse RB/Receiver Duce Staley, ITAWAMBA.  He'd be all pro with a little more speed.

ATLANTA.  Juran Bolden,  from  ITAWAMBA, had a partially dislocated kneecap and other injuries, but was still a valued player at the nickel CB position.  He's 6-2, 207 and can run.  Kevin McAdam, GROSSMONT, played mostly on special teams, but made lots of key tackles.

BALTIMORE.  Chris McAlister, MT. SAN ANTONIO, has become one of the best CBs in the game.  He's big, fast and hits like a freight train.  2003 might have been his best year.  Chris also did a good job returning punts.  Edwin Mulitalo, RICKS, is still learning.  He needs to pick up his pass blocking, but he blows the opposition away on runs.

CLEVELAND.  DT Orpheus Roye, JONES, made lots of big plays for the Browns.  He combines strength of a tackle with the speed of a DE, according to one observer.  WR Quincy Morgan, BLINN, came into his own this season, making numerous key catches and averaging nearly 15 yards per catch.

JACKSONVILLE.  Akin Ayodele, COFFEYVILLE OLB, showed promise as a 3rd-round pick and should see more action under Del Rio.  DT Emarlos LeRoy, N.W. MISSISSIPPI and LB Brant Boyer, SNOW were backups.

NEW ORLEANS.  Grady Jackson HINDS, and Norm Hand, ITAWAMBA, anchored the defensive line, but did not have great seasons.  Salary caps might bite them, especially Hand.  TE David Sloan, FRESNO, struggled with a gimpy knee and wasn't much help.

Dale Carter, ELLSWORTH, didn't arrive until late, but still has game.  Joe Horn, yet another ITAWAMBA grad, ranked among the best, but still hasn't reached his potential.

NEW ENGLAND.  RB Antowain Smith, EAST MISS. still makes the tough yards and averaged 4-per carry, but needs some balance from a speed back.  Greg Robinson-Randall, COFFEYVILLE, saw lots of action at OT as did Larry Whigham, PEARL RIVER, at DB.

TENNESSEE.  Lance Schulters, NASSAU, did not lose a step after moving from the 49ers.  The FS is called a  "fiery, in-your-face style" competitor.

That's not every ex-JC who pulled on an NFL uniform this year, but it's close.

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