Scouting C-USA: Southern Miss

The Golden Eagles experienced something unusual last season; no bowl appearance and only a pair of players selected late in the draft process. 2002 should be a little better on the football field, though it may not be much better in the War Room next April.

Southern Mississippi

USM has several offensive linemen with a good amount of upside potential if they decide to apply it. Jeremy Bridges is a smart, heady blocker that plays with solid fundamentals and is very efficient in pass protection. A leverage blocker, Bridges is good with his hands and displays quickness in all aspects of his game. A bit small/short for tackle, he may ultimately be kicked inside to guard. Guard Torrin Tucker is built more like a tackle and a massive lineman with great natural strength at the point of attack, driving defenders off the line and removing them from the play altogether. He has the skills to be a dominant college player with the possibilities to be effective at the next level only if he decides to kick it up a notch. Tucker gets lazy, tends to lean on opponents and does not always finish off opponents when the opportunity arises. He's a prospect that could end up in the fourth/fifth round area should he take his game to the next level otherwise he's a free agent. Leroy Handy is the "go-to guy" of the Golden Eagle offense and a nice sized, athletic wide out, relatively reliable catching the ball. He has excellent eye-hand coordination but is neither a burner nor one to make plays down the field. Still; a decent pre-draft forty time coupled with a solid senior campaign will get him mid-to-late round consideration. Lastly, the return of Derrick Nix is anxiously awaited by this program and NFL scouts. Nix, sidelined in 2002 after medication caused a kidney inflammation, has always proven to be a solid ball carrier with power, instinct and heart. He picks up yardage off initial contact displaying an aggressive attitude as either a ball carrier or blocker and in general, is a solid team player. Nix has the size to be an interior runner at the next level but must improve his hands and run well prior to the draft if he's to get middle round consideration.

Defensively they have a trio of juniors to keep an eye on. Rod Davis is a hard-working middle linebacker solid stuffing the run, corner Greg Brooks displays good cover skills and safety Etric Pruitt has the physical skills to succeed.



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