It was nothing new for Colclough (pronounced coke-lee), who was one of the dominant players in NCAA Division II football this past season and a finalist for the Harlan Hill Trophy, Division II's version of the Heisman Trophy.
The 5-11, 180-pound Ricardo Colclough recorded 59 tackles (37 solo) with 24 passes defended including 11 interceptions this season as he was named to numerous Division II All-America teams. In addition to his defensive prowess, he averaged 29.1 yards per kick return with 2 touchdowns and 14.2 yards per punt return with 1 touchdown.
That doesn't mean, however, Colclough wasn't a little in awe when he first arrived at Mobile, Ala., last week for the Senior Bowl practices.
"I was, but once we started practices, I realized it was not that big of a change for me playing against those guys," said Colclough who finished fifth in the Harlan Hill voting. "I felt like I did a good job there and played well once I got adjusted to the speed of the game."
Considered one of the top senior defensive backs in this year's draft before the week, Colclough did nothing to hurt his chances there. In fact, he is expected to join the growing ranks of small-school defensive backs - which includes the likes of Jacksonville's Rashean Mathis, the Giants' Will Peterson and Chicago's Roosevelt Williams - who have been chosen in the early part of the draft in recent years.
He first caught the eyes of NFL scouts at spring practices last year when he ran a 4.49 40-yard sprint and showed a 36-inch vertical leap. Colclough said he has been timed even faster in the 40 since that time.
"I ran in the 4.4s for the scouts last spring and then a few weeks later, the coaches timed me at 4.26," Colclough said.
Though not blessed with great size, Colclough is more than big enough to handle the bigger wide receivers coming out of college into the pro ranks because of his physical style of play. He said that style is just what comes naturally for him.
"That's the kind of style I love to play," Colclough said. "With those bigger receivers, you have to play physical with them or they are just going to go over the top of you. You have to show them you're not going to back down."
The Sumter, S.C., native received heavy interest from both South Carolina and Clemson coming out of high school. But his grades and test scores were not high enough so he went to Kilgore Community College in Texas for two seasons, earning first-team all-JUCO honors as a return man.
Several Division I schools - South Carolina and Texas A&M among them - were interested in him coming out of Kilgore, but he was still a few credits short of being eligible right away so he went the Division II road instead. The coaches at Tusculum could not have been happier.
Colclough picked off 15 passes in two seasons, helping Tusculum to its first-ever conference championship.
"I'm a very confident player," Colclough said. "When I step onto the field, I'm ready for anything. I am not scared of anything out there. I feel like I can take away my half of the field."
| Colclough is a physically
gifted prospect that looked and played like a man amongst boys on a small school
level of competition.
While many talk about his skill at the cornerback position they do not mention an area where he has just as big an impact on the game; return specialist.
At first, he was unimpressive at the Senior Bowl but really picked it up as the week went by. I think Colclough will be drafted in the middle of round two and will start off returning kicks in the NFL while he gets adjusted to the speed, both mentally and physically, of playing corner in the NFL. I also think he will be starting by the end of his rookie season. .........Tony Pauline of TFY Draft Preview
2003: Preseason All-South Atlantic Conference Second
Team. Finalist for the Harlan Hill Trophy
2002: All-South Atlantic Conference Second Team.
Kilgore College: Earned All-American and All-Conference honors at the Kilgore, Texas school for JUCO coach Jimmy Rieves. Averaged 40 yards per kickoff return including five touchdowns. Posted four interceptions in his final JUCO season.
High School: Played his prep football at Sumter HS for Coach Paul Sorrells. All-Conference and All-Area standout. Played in the North/South All-Star game and led Sumter to Region title.
Major: Sports Management.
|Punt Returns||Kick Returns|
|Year||G||No. Yds.||Avg.||TD||Lng||No. Yds.||Avg.||TD Lng|
|2002||9||5- 75||15.0||1||64||4 - 107||26.8||0- 30|
|Total||20||24-345||14.6||2||85||15 - 118||18.5||1-75|