Fresh Starts, Part 2

Many high end draft prospects got a fresh beginning in the junior college ranks like Sylvester Williams.

NFL Draft Story Central

More from Coffeyville
Coffeyville Community College will have at least four more alum drafted in April. That list includes defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, wide receiver Quinton Patton, and cornerbacks Adrian Bushell and Mike Edwards.

The two standouts of that group are Williams and Patton.

Williams is a great story. He was a big athlete that only played one season of high school football in Jefferson City, Missouri. He worked at fast food joints so he could buy a car. He's grades suffered and to be honest, wasn't a great football player at that time. Eventually he was kicked out of school and worked his way back in.

Williams graduated and then took a job at a local factory - Modine Manufacturing Company. While working there he realized he missed football. After going to a game between Texas TechKansas game Williams made a decision to give football a try once again. He showed up unannounced in the Coffeyville football offices.

"He was basically a walk-on," said Dickey Rolls, Coffeyville's running back who has been with the team for 25 years. "But coach [Darian] Dulin saw some promise in him. He turned into a high motor guy that played football for the right reasons. We didn't know how talented he was so I am just so happy we gave him a shot. He played hard and he played fast. What people need to realize is that Sylvester is a great human being and person."

Williams eventually went from the scout team to a starter. And he was on a unit with four SEC linemen. He went to North Carolina where he blossomed even more, especially this season under new head coach Larry Fedora. Now Williams finds himself as a potential No. 1 draft pick in the bottom portion of the first round.

Patton, like Patterson, failed to qualify out of high school. He went to La Vergne in Tennessee. Patton did a little bit of everything for Coffeyville.

"Quinton was a go, go, go guy," Rolles said. "You never knew from Quinton what was coming. He was high maintenance in a good way and one of the bright spots on our team. He punted for us and returned punts and kicks. He played a little bit of everything."

From there Patton signed with Louisiana Tech. Patton caught 104 passes for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012. He also had an astounding 21 receptions for 223 yards against Texas A&M this past season. Patton is a high character kid whose stock is on the rise. He was a standout at the Senior Bowl and tested well at NFL Combine. Patton doesn't have great size but is long. He runs well, has good body control and can go get the ball in the air.

Humbling For Richardson
In the Class of 2009 the nation's top defensive tackle was Shelton Richardson (St. Louis, Mo./Gateway). He signed with Missouri but didn't qualify because of academics. Richardson landed in the juco ranks at the College of Sequoias in California. It was a serious transition, especially early on for Richardson.

"It was humbling," said Curtis Allen, the head coach at College of Sequoias at that time. "He kind of struggled that first semester here in the classroom. Plus, we had 22 Division one guys on that team. But he got through it and I am proud of him. He's realizing his dream."

Once things clicked for Richardson his play was stellar.

"He's a no brainer," Allen said. "He's probably the most talented big man I had ever seen. He's like a little man in a big man's body. He can do anything and is very athletic. You should see him throw a basketball off a backboard and dunk. He's physical and naturally strong. He finally understood that being at a junior college was his ticket back at Missouri."

For the Tigers he had a big 2012 season with 75 tackles and 10.5 sacks. Richardson is the No. 3 ranked defensive tackle in the draft and should be taken in the first 15 or so picks.

"I just talked with Sheldon the other day," Allen said. "I told him to live for the moment because pro football doesn't last forever. It can be gone quickly."

Lone Offer
Mississippi Gulf Coast head coach Steve Campbell knew he had found someone special when he found John Jenkins. All he had to do was watch his tape.

"I knew watching his high school film that he was a big one and very athletic guy," Campbell said. "He played on the defensive line and tight end. He was going vertical and catches passes. He played fullback. You could just see it. I offered him by just watching the film and he signed with us without ever visiting."

Jenkins, who played his high school football in Connecticut, had nowhere else to go because of his academics. But all turned out well for Jenkins. After two seasons with Mississippi Gulf Coast he turned into a major defensive tackle recruit. He signed with Georgia over Florida, Auburn and many others. You can say that Campbell stumbling on his tape was a great blessing for Jenkins.

"It's funny because he was real easy to sign [with us]," Campbell said. "We knew early that he was really good. We had [Terrance] Cody so we knew John was going to be special. Then when he left us it was a war. It wasn't so easy for Mark Richt."

Jenkins had two good years in Athens for the Bulldogs. Now he's the No. 7 ranked defensive tackle prospect in this year's draft.

A No Brainer
It didn't take long for Arizona Western head coach Tom Minnick to see he had a big time player in defensive lineman Jesse Williams. Williams, from Brisbane, Australia, impressed his junior college coaches out of the gate.

"During his first year you could see how well he moved around," said Minnick. "And then he had that great strength. You just knew he would get better and better. He was from Australia and didn't know the game but he always picked things up quickly and didn't have to ask a bunch of questions. Then he went to Alabama and got better coaching and got much better. I knew when he left here that he could be a first round pick."

Williams, 6-foot-3 and 323-pounds, is a powerful defensive tackle that has the versatility to pretty much play anywhere on the defensive front. He could play over the center in a 3-4 scheme or even at end. He could also play either tackle position in a 4-3.

"He's only really played football for four years," Minnick said. "Jesse's better days are ahead. Then he will take it to another level with even better coaching in the NFL."

Williams is somewhat of a living legend in Tuscaloosa, especially in the weight room. He bench pressed 600 pounds and is known for his freakish strength. But at Alabama's recent pro day Williams showcased his agility. He is a late first round, early second round projection in the upcoming draft. Williams is currently ranked as the No. 8 defensive tackle in this draft.

Tank De-Railed For Now
Coming out of high school at Cincinnati (Ohio) Taft High School, Cornelius Carradine was a highly thought of defensive end prospect that was committed to Illinois. But he failed to qualify because of academics at ended up in El Dorado, Kansas at Butler Community College.

Nicknamed Tank, Carradine shined at Butler. He recorded 26 sacks in two seasons, including 16 in 2010. Florida State won a huge recruiting battle for him despite already being very deep at the defensive end position. In a backup role his first year in Tallahassee he recorded 38 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. This past season he was forced into a starting role when Brandon Jenkins went down with a foot injury in their season opener. Carradine was having a great year before tearing his ACL in the FSU regular season finale against Florida. In 2012 he recorded 13 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks.

Before the injury against the Gators, Carradine looked like he would have been a first round selection. He still could be, depending on how his rehab process is going and where his knee is currently at. When healthy he's an explosive pass rusher with good athleticism.

Fresh Starts Part 1

NFL Draft Story Central

Patriots Insider Top Stories