Scouting Update: S. Carolina vs S. Miss

NEPatriotsDraft's James Christensen takes a look at a game between two teams that offer prospects of interest to pro scouts, namely Patriots scouts. Patriots Insider has confirmed New England scouts were scheduled to attend the game. What might they have seen?

When old ball-coach Steve Spurrier's South Carolina matched up with Larry Fedora's Southern Miss, it was an important test for each program - one that the Gamecocks passed with flying colors. Whether some of the players that Patriot Scouts were on hand to see performed as well, is another story entirely.

In their 41-13 victory, South Carolina moved the ball with ease, while their defense used their speed to kill drives in the red zone against a Golden Eagles offense that averaged over 32 points a game in 2009.

The Golden Eagles were never really able to take off, primarily because of the fact that their stud wide receiver, Deandre Brown (6-6/240), was grounded for the better part of the night. Sophomore CB Stephon Gilmore was able to keep Brown in check when South Carolina chose not to employ a double team.

NFL teams know full well about Brown's physical prowess. However, they want to see that Brown can co-exist with coaches and teammates, stay motivated, and enjoy football.

Brown eventually shook loose for 4 catches and 65 yards, including a 29-yard TD in the waning moments of the game, but prior to that, he was doing his best impression of Randy Moss in an Oakland uniform.

He was seen pouting on the sidelines, loafing through routes, and visibly upset with his coaches play-calling.

At this point, the physical freak seems determined to sabotage his chances of impressing NFL scouts.

The Patriots OLB position has constantly been a thorn in the side of the New England defense since Willie McGinest left town. Jermaine Cunningham might provide some help when healthy, but you must believe that Coach Belichick's scouts will be taking a hard look at some college DE/OLB prospects going into the 2011 NFL Draft.

South Carolina's defensive-end Cliff Matthews (6-4/262),should be one of the prospects that gets a look from the Patriot scouting department.

Matthews exhibited a versatile skill-set against Southern Miss, occasionally standing up and dropping into coverage. He showed fluid hips in space, easily staying with his receiver each time.

While Matthews wasn't able to apply much pressure to the QB, Southern Mississippi's short passing game was more to blame than anything. He showed a decent bull-rush and a non-stop motor, although scouts are going to want to see more of a variety of rush moves.

Matthews pursued well, showing excellent lateral speed and the ability to chase down running backs 10-15 yards down the field.

Scouts were probably not blown away by his performance, but Matthews has certainly inserted his name into the DE/OLB conversation for 2011.

Southern Miss defensive tackle Anthony Gray was another player that jumped off the screen last Thursday. Gray (6-0/315) is a bit short to play the 5-technique for the Patriots, but could fill a Myron Pryor-esque role.

Early on, Gray pushed and slid his way into the backfield on multiple occasions, eventually drawing some double-teams. He used his hands well to fend off blockers, while diagnosing plays quickly.

Gray played from whistle to whistle, once chasing down a receiver ten yards down the field after rushing the passer. He seemed to tire only late, seeing about half of the snaps in the second half.

Scouts will need to see some more production from Gray, but should be intrigued enough to keep watching.

Third year sophomore South Carolina receiver Tori Gurley (6-5/230) was a guy that scouts were looking forward to watch, but he was completely over-shadowed by underclassmen Alshon Jeffery and Ace Sanders.

Gurley did show some toughness, making a couple of catches in traffic, but his four catches for 12 yards were nothing to write home about.

His size/speed combination still warrants a close eye, but would be best served coming back for a junior year with this loaded 2011 NFL Draft receiver class.

It was disappointing to not see tight end Weslye Saunders, d-back Chris Culliver, or offensive tackle Jarriel King, all of whom were suspended by Steve Spurrier for rules violations. Scouts will have to wait to see those highly touted prospects in action.

Scout Caroline Prospects (via
Southern Miss Prospects

James Christensen's scouting updates will appear here on throughout the year. James is the publisher of, an independent website dedicated to covering the NFL Draft and college prospects with professional potential.

Patriots Insider Top Stories