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March 5, 2003

Columbia, S.C. – USC held its annual pro timing day for National Football League scouts and coaches Wednesday at the USC Indoor Facility. Approximately 25 of the 32 NFL teams were represented by scouts, assistant coaches or personnel directors to evaluate more than 20 former Gamecock players and a handful of local school players.

Players were weighed, measured, timed and put through a series of drill related to their position, similar to evaluations done at the NFL combine held last month in Indianapolis.

“Basically these players were put through a job interview,” said Tony Softli, Director of College Scouting for the Carolina Panthers. “Today’s activities gave us a chance to evaluate how the players conduct themselves, how they follow directions and what kind of skills they possess.”

The evaluations are a key component in player evaluation and an opportunity to dissect a player’s physical skill; they are not always the best indication of professional success. Team representatives spend countless hours watching game film in order to get the best feel for a player’s abilities.

“Some players are workout warriors,” said Softli. “We will assess that information, but we always go back to how they look on film. That is how we get an indication of the speed at which they play, not just their physical speed and stopwatch time.”

Columbia native Corey Jenkins was one of the former Gamecock players to participate in today’s workouts. Jenkins started the first ten games of 2002 at quarterback before moving to the other side of the ball and starting at free safety for the final two games of the season.

“I think the drills went well today,” said Jenkins, who ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.41. “Hopefully someone will give me a shot. Wherever they need help, I am willing to play. I was able to fulfill a childhood dream by playing at USC and playing in the NFL is another dream of mine. When NFL people say that they have your draft day phone number, I hope that is a good sign.”

Ryan Brewer and Rashad Faison are other former USC players who participated in the evaluations. They both hope that they were able to bolster their chances of playing on Sundays, something that would fulfill childhood dreams.

“It was a nerve racking day,” said Brewer. “I am happy with what I did, but I hope the scouts realize that I am a football player and not a track star. To get a chance to play in the NFL would be great. That has been a dream of mine since I was a kid.”

“Everyone who plays football has an ambition to reach the NFL,” said Faison. “It would be a dream come true. I hope my name is called during the draft in late April.”

South Carolina has a history of producing NFL players, meaning that personnel evaluators know to look in Columbia for prospects.

“There have been a lot of good players who have come from the University of South Carolina,” said Softli. “Coach Holtz and his staff have done a great job developing players and strength coach Pat Moorer has done well with making them strong athletes.”