Gerri Green Jersey

In his final two seasons at Greenville High School, Gerri Green played various positions on the gridiron and rarely, if ever, left the field. At the time, the now Mississippi State fifth-year senior was simply looking to find his niche on the field and encounter success.

Green eventually wowed perspective SEC programs with his God-given talent. So he naturally collected numerous SEC offers and SEC opportunities. But one thing Green didn’t experience much at Greenville High School, which was known as Greenville Wesson when Green played there, was a winning feeling.

He never experienced a playoff game in high school and never got to talk about how far his team advanced in the postseason. But these past five years, Green has gotten a taste of postseason play for his entire Bulldog career. And that will to win is one of many phrases that can describe his college tenure in Starkville.

INDIANAPOLIS – With Bobby Okereke, you had the physical makeup comparison of Darius Leonard.

During that 2018 defensive end campaign, Green had 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, while starting 13 games for a Mississippi State defense with 3 first-round picks, including two on the defensive front (Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat). Green was a 2018 team captain for the Bulldogs.

At 6-4 and 252 pounds, Green ran 4.65 in the 40-yard dash, which is something that certainly caught the eye of the Colts.

Green said NFL teams were pretty split in projecting him as a linebacker or defensive end at the next level.

With the Colts, it’s no guarantee that Green will make the roster. Reserve defensive ends—behind starters Jabaal Sheard and Justin Houston—include Turay and Al Quadin-Muhammad. And the likes of Tyquan Lewis and Ben Banogu can also take up some D-end snaps.

But a high-motor player, with that quick burst off the snap, will always be attractive to the Colts.

Well, the Colts currently have another close similarity with one of their draft picks

Kemoko Turay is the NFL player that sixth-round pick Gerri Green most resembles from a size and testing standpoint.

The dominant trait in both of those players comes from their get off the ball, something the Colts key on when searching for edge rushers.

Green, who was the 199th overall pick out of Mississippi State, actually played more linebacker than defensive end in college.

It will be a hand-in the-dirt, defensive end position that the Colts will try Green at first in the NFL though. That is where Green played his final season at Mississippi State, following three prior years at linebacker.

That winning feeling became more and more common for Green with each passing season. Looking back, it is something Green couldn’t envision.

“I really didn’t,” said Green. “Since I’ve gotten closer to the end of it here, I am just thankful and blessed to be here. A lot of guys, especially around playoff time in Mississippi, talk about their team making it to the first or second round. They ask me the furthest I made it to and I told them I never made the playoffs and actually how many games we won.

“And now, it’s been great to go to a bowl game all the time. That helped me here because of my desire to win. When I came here it helped my work ethic and I wanted it so bad. So Greenville helped me become the player I am today.”

He also learned to adapt. He lined up at outside linebacker as a freshman and played a hybrid linebacker/defensive end role last year as a junior. Then as a sophomore and this current season, Green was a defensive end.

To Green, it was simply adversity he had to face, and get through. And now, those various changes have become “blessings” to him.

“It just helped me in the big picture,” said Green. “It seemed every year it was something new or a new way of doing things. At first and when I was younger, it was like ‘oh man, here we go again’. But now being older and looking back on it, it was for the better. Dealing with adversity is part of it and being to play multiple positions helped me become a versatile player. It was a blessing for me because I can play outside linebacker or defensive end.”

It also helped, of course, that Green was productive regardless of his position. He’s started 25 consecutive games in the Maroon and White and will get his 26th straight start on New Year’s Day in the Outback Bowl. Entering his final collegiate game, Green has totaled 160 career tackles with 20 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.

His play has drawn the attention of NFL scouts and he is considered a mid-round draft prospect for April’s NFL Draft. Green has already received his college degree in agriculture business. Once his college career concludes, Green will begin to start training for the next level and he has yet to determine where he will train.

His position at the next level has not been pin-pointed yet, either. But he wouldn’t be surprised to return to linebacker when his pro career begins.

“They haven’t said exactly yet,” said Green of his NFL prospects. “But I am thinking probably the outside linebacker role to where I can walk back into coverage or be close to the line. I have shown that I have the ability to do that.”

Green is one of several NFL Draft hopefuls on the defensive side of the ball. That group will be in the spotlight at various combines and pro day events, and will likely included multiple first-round selections. But all season long, Green and his teammates kept their eye on the current situation.

There will be a place and time for serious NFL talk and discussions about the future. But this season, the defensive side of the ball did their job on another level, ranking No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense, and Top 10 nationally in several other categories.

“Not that much,” said Green of the NFL Draft. “We all did a good job this year of just focusing on week to week on the games at hand. Even when guys were getting weekly SEC awards, we stayed humble and stayed true to the task at hand.”

Concerning the Bulldogs’ future, Green has given that aspect some thought. The veteran experience on defense has been a talking point all season long and many of those contributors will not be on the 2019 roster. But Green believes his class set the standard and that the younger guys will follow suit.

“At the linebacker position, Erroll (Thompson) has become a leader for our defense,” said Green of the future. “Not even being an upperclassmen, with him being at mike (linebacker), he is the vocal part of the defense. He is coming back and he will keep going. Then we have guys on the back end like Cam Dantzler and Mo (Maurice Smitherman) and they will be great. And C.J. (Morgan) played great in the minutes he got.”

His thoughts are echoed on the defensive line. Green, Montez Sweat, Jeffery Simmons, Braxton Hoyett and Cory Thomas among others will be in different places next year. But there’s still talent returning at defensive end and depth, as well.

“Those guys had so many reps this year, especially at the end position with Chauncey (Rivers) and Kobe Jones and Fletch (Adams),” said Green. I don’t think they will miss a beat. Some younger guys will have to step up in the middle like Fabo (Fabien Lovett) and Jaden Crumedy. We saw them develop in practice and get better and better.

“I am excited to see them come back. As long as they keep working hard, they know we set the standard and showed them how to play and practice. If they do all of that then we will be fine.”

But first things first. Green has one more chance to “play with the guys”. That final opportunity comes against Iowa and a victory there would give the Bulldogs a 9-win season. In three of the last four seasons the Bulldogs have won 9 games or more, and Green wants another one.

He arrived in Starkville nearly five years ago just wanting to be part of a winning program and do so for the first time in his life. He found that success but so much more in Starkville.


“Just one last time to play with this team,” said Green. “I get to play with the guys I came in with. We’ve been through so much together in these five years. I want to have that moment with them and get those extra practices. If we didn’t have these practices then everyone would be gone on their separate ways. But I get to be around them a little longer is a blessing.

“I look back at all the life lessons it taught me. There’s so many lessons I’ve learned here. I am not the same 18-year old that walked through those doors at first. I am leaving this place a better person and I hope I helped to make this place better while I was here.”

E.J. Speed Jersey

Tarleton linebacker, E.J. Speed’s athletic career is impressive.

His sophomore year, Speed led in forced fumbles with five, played in 11 games and registered 68 tackles, which was tied for third-most on the team. He also had 13 assisted tackles for a loss of yards, including six sacks. His junior year, he played in five games during an injury-plagued season, made 41 tackles, including 24 solo, and had one forced fumble and two fumbled recoveries. In the recent Texans v. Commerce game, Speed earned Defensive Player of the Week. He had 14 tackles, 2 tackles for losses, and 1 sack.

Off the field, records paint a different image of the 23-year-old from Fort Worth, TX. On the first week of class in late August, he and four others were arrested on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. Speed was arrested on campus, briefly jailed, then released on bond, and he’s continued to play football.

The others arrested––Torrence Neal, 23, Brenning Brown, 25, David Freeman, 25, and Dmyrian Robinson, 23––arrested on the same charges.

Texan News contacted Speed by phone. He declined comment and referred questions to Nathan Bural, Tarleton’s assistant athletic director for communications. Bural referred questions to university spokeswoman Cecilia Jacobs, who said Speed is not giving interviews at this time. A woman in the office of Speed’s attorney, Wilvin Carter, said that he is not giving interviews at this time.

Defendants Speed, Robinson, and Neal declined comment and all refereed questions to their attorney’s. Their attorney’s also declined comment. Texan News could not find contact information for Freeman and Brown. An attorney for Freeman also declined comment.

According to an affidavit from Harris County District Clerk, Speed and four others were members of a gang known in Harris County as the Aviators. Police say they used identification they stole to create bogus credit card accounts, then used the cards to purchase cell phones delivered to the people whose identity they stole. The records did not explain why Speed, who attends Tarleton and lists a home address in Ft. Worth, was in Deer Park, in Harris County.

In one case, victim Phillip Rhule, a Pasadena police officer who lives in Deer Park, called the Deer Park Police to report that he was notified by LifeLock, an identity and theft protection company, that his identity had been used to open a line of credit that he did not authorize. On June 25, 2018, Rhule told police that FedEx delivered a package from Xfinity Mobile to his home containing two Samsung Galaxy S9 cell phones that he did not purchase. When the FedEx truck left, Rhule said a man rang his doorbell and said FedEx delivered his cell phones to Rhule by mistake and asked Rhule to turn the phones over. Rhule refused and called police and provided them with a description of the man, who identified himself to Rhule as Dmyrian Robinson.

Deer Park Officer C.W. Jackson later found Robinson walking down 13th Street. Records show that Robinson told police his car broke down and he had gone to Rhule’s home to pick up car parts but left when the man living at the home answered the door and started “freaking out.”

Police, however, weren’t buying his story. Officer N.C. Thatcher, who was familiar with the neighborhood, said in an affidavit that the distance between Robinson’s car and Rhule’s home is roughly two miles.

“It is unlikely a person would walk two miles into a residential neighborhood to get vehicle parts from a stranger when the route between the two locations included three automotive shops within one-tenth of a mile of the disabled vehicle,” Thatcher said.

Meanwhile, another Deer Park officer Mary Salas, found Robinson’s car, ran the plates, and learned that it was registered to a woman in Fort Worth. Inside the glove compartment, Salas said she also found a paper Texas ID Card that showed Robinson’s picture, but the name, address, and birthdate of another victim, Tyler Savoy.

Deer Park Police Sgt. J. Tryon said Savoy told him he did not know Robinson and said that he should not be in possession of his ID. Savoy also told Tryon he would like to press criminal charges against Robinson.

Tryon contacted Neal, who agreed to make a statement and to let police extract data from his cell phone. Documents show police found photographs of two paper Texas ID Cards with Neal’s pictures on them in his phone, but the names and addresses of victims Mervin Elmore and Brandon Connelly, who also had cell phones purchased under their names without authorization. Another Texas ID Card was found with Robinson’s picture, but the name, address and birthdate of victim Anbalagan Sivgnanam. All three victims told police they did not know Neal or Robinson and asked police to press criminal charges.
When Neal met with Tryon, he told him that he and Robinson were a part of a larger group – a gang called the Aviators -, that order cell phones with credit card numbers, names, and addresses they acquire online, according to the affidavit. Neal said he had only participated in this type of fraud “three or four times.” Robinson also said that he done so only “once or twice before.”

After Thatcher extracted data from Neal’s phone, he found a message sent to Robinson, Neal, and two others saved in the phone as “B” and “EJ,” from a person saved in the phone as “Supa” with Rhule’s address. Shortly after Robinson was arrested, the phone number for “Supa” sent a text message to Robinson asking, “Did you get them?” Through data extraction and public social media information, Thatcher identified “Supa” as David Freeman, “B” as Brenning Brown, and “EJ” to be Elbert Speed.

From Speed’s social media page, Thatcher found pictures of Speed in his Tarleton State football uniform. Thatcher researched the team’s roster online and said he was able to identify Speed from the roster.

Thatcher said in the affidavit that he found several messages in the phone data among the five men in which they discussed activities involving fraud and cell phone theft. Thatcher also found 11 other potential victim’s names, addresses and FedEx tracking numbers associated with fraudulent cell phone purchases made by members of the group between May 1 and June 25.

Thatcher also found messages between Speed and Neal, including pictures of two Walmart online orders to be picked up at stores in Houston. One message detailed a TV purchased under the name of Vanessa Sanders and a cell phone purchased under the name of Alfred Zientek. According to the messages, Neal was authorized to pick up these two items.

Another message, according to Thatcher, was discovered between Neal and Speed, in which Speed told Neal that a person named Christian Apeku, from Ghana, Africa was going to send them some high dollar orders. In one message, Speed texted: “He gone send some big shirt on Sunday. That’s worth some bread.” Neal responded, “I’m talking bout some big some worth it like some $500+.”

In addition, Thatcher also found several images and videos of the five-member group, “displaying known gang signs, posing with large amount of cash money along with firearms, and images and videos of the males involved in the possession and consumption of illegal narcotics.”

Police identified Freeman as the leader of the group who gave instructions to the other members about who was to go to what address and what to collect, along with victim’s information and the FedEx tracking numbers.

Altogether, police said they believe the group purchased cell phones of at least $10,800 in the names of victims whose identities the group stole

Colts general manager Chris Ballard is quickly becoming one of my favorite executives in the league. Indy is such a well run program right now, Ballard’s magic touch has the Colts ready to compete for a title.

Having Andrew Luck on board helps, of course. So, too, does some of the faltering among other division rivals. But Ballard’s efforts have landed the Colts a boatload of picks the last few years — which is always the way to my heart.

Looking over Indianapolis’ 2019 draft, you can see some key areas of focus that are designed to keep this team in the running to claim the AFC. Here’s a look at their full class.
Defense is the name of the game for the Colts. Looking over this class, you can appreciate the efforts put forth to really dial in on defense and make sure they’ve got the horses to try to hang with the Chiefs. Where did Ballard do his best work in this class? I’m a huge fan of this pick for the Colts. This is an upside selection but I also expect this pick to provide immediate dividends. Banogu has not been able to develop his pass rush prowess during his time with TCU, but getting him in Indy and allowing his physical tools to work along side the likes of Justin Houston? Wooo buddy. Look out for Banogu’s ceiling down the road — I think he’s got big time potential.

This was hard to narrow down — I had a hard time really finding a pick I have legitimate gripes with. The Colts landed a tough, physical corner in Ya-Sin and if he reaches his ceiling, he’ll be well worth the 34th pick in retrospect. But! I did consider Ya-Sin to be a little further away from playing than some of the other cornerbacks in this class — he’s a little grabby and rough around the edges with his technique.

Do I think the Colts could have gotten more pro-ready production at corner? Yes. And that’s the only reason why this is the pick I’m calling out.

Versatility. Willis can play a lot of coverage roles — just don’t ask him to play deep as an isolated center fielder. That’s not his style, but dropping down into the box, playing the run and locking up on slot receivers certainly is. I love what Willis brings to the Colts from a sub-package perspective, you’re getting reliable tackling and requisite mobility inside of 15 yards to play “small ball” when you need to. 10 players, plus an extra 2020 2nd-round pick courtesy of a trade back with the Washington Redskins. Like I said, volume is the way to my heart during the NFL Draft. Ballard’s selections are consistent with the vision of his football team — he wanted physical defensive backs, long lengthy linebackers and speed on offense. He accomplished all of this with this year’s slate of pick and his ability to navigate the board is admirable to land his types of players and still walk away with extra capital.

Marvell Tell Jersey

With four players selected in the 2019 NFL Draft this week, USC matched its output from last year.

But for the first time since 2002, the Trojans didn’t have any prospects taken in the first two rounds.

It was a quiet start to the draft, with offensive tackle Chuma Edoga the only USC player to get the call over the first two days, landing with the New York Jets near the end of the third round.

Day 3 on Saturday was a bit more active with cornerback Iman “Biggie” Marshall, safety Marvell Tell and linebacker Cam Smith following in the later rounds.

The notable exception was outside linebacker Porter Gustin, who was immensely productive when healthy for USC but had injury concerns to overcome and made headlines this week with a failed test for Adderall at the NFL Scouting Combine despite receiving a temporary Therapeutic Use Exemption from the league, according to the LA Times.

Gustin, an accomplished collegiate pass rusher, will surely be among the USC players who get offered undrafted free agent opportunities to try to earn their way into the league.

-The Trojans’ starting right tackle was a fixture for an inconsistent unit the last couple yars, starting 26 games overall for USC. He helped his draft stock with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl in January and was the first Trojan off the board this week. The Jets traded their seventh-round pick to move up a spot and select Edoga, who reunites with former USC quarterback Sam Darnold.I had a little rocky career at USC, but [the Jets] were really just stressing that you have to turn over a new leaf and create a new you. … Just consistency, being consistent and ready to go at all times. This is professional, this is a job now. You can’t be on and off, up and down. You have to be even keeled the whole way.”

-Marshall put it all together as a senior for USC and graded out as one of the stingiest corners in the country according to the advanced metrics. There was buzz in the pre-draft process that teams were interested in him as a safety, but it looks like the Ravens see his potential at cornerback.”He was just the best player available on our board. I know it’s a deep position for us here, but this is a chance to add a quality player. He’s big — almost 6-1, 210 pounds — runs a 4.45. He’s had almost 40 PBUs in his career, 6 INTs — he knows how to play the position. He can play it many ways — press coverage, ability to play zone. Really smart, instinctive football player who’s played a lot of football, and on top of it he’s an outstanding tackler, very physical, aggressive and we think that will project well to [special] teams.”-Tell was a playmaking safety for the Trojans, but he was drafted as a cornerback by the Colts. This was not a total surprise, as like Marshall, there was pre-draft buzz of him flipping positions. “I played corner in high school. I worked on my cover skills a little bit as a safety in college. So it’s not anything foreign to me at all. I’m a lean safety so a lot of guys were wondering if I could play corner, especially with that new wave of longer corners in the league. So I definitely got that a lot. … Honestly, I had a pretty good feeling about the Colts throughout this process. But they kept in contact with me the most out of any other team.”

-Smith, a four-year starter for USC, was one of the most experienced linebackers in the draft and impressed scouts with his football IQ. He was the first defensive player drafted by the Vikings this year.

“I had a feeling in my heart that I could be a Viking because in the last three years at USC we ran the exact same defense and I feel like it will be a perfect fit walking in there. I feel like I wouldn’t have any issues learning the defense. As of right now, I just feel like it was meant to be. …

“I feel like I can do whatever they want me to do to be honest with you. I feel like I have so much more to learn and I can get a lot better and I think that getting there and working with the linebackers coach and some of the veterans there, I just think I can learn a lot. Whatever they need me to do, if it’s play the bigger package and stop the run or even come in and play on third down and do whatever they need. I am really confident in whatever they ask of me. I am just ready to contribute as much as possible.”

The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine was perhaps one of the most memorable in recent history, with incredible feats of athleticism from this year’s NFL hopefuls. Among the impressive prospects in this year’s edition of the “Underwear Olympics” were five former Trojans, most of whom impressed on the big day. Though their performances might not have made national headlines like those of D.K. Metcalf or Montez Sweat, almost all of the former USC standouts’ showings likely boosted their draft stock.

Offensive lineman Chuma Edoga measured in at 6-foot-3 and 308 pounds, along with 34 6/8-inch arms — ideal for a NFL offensive tackle. Concerns about his upper body strength might remain after putting up only 21 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, but he performed well enough to show his athleticism, looking fluid in drills and running a 5.19-second 40-yard dash — in the top half of the Combine’s offensive linemen.

Linebacker Porter Gustin may not have put on the athletic freak show some expected from him, but he turned in a good workout on Sunday. Measuring in at 6-foot-4 and a muscular 255 pounds, Gustin fits the frame for a modern edge rusher. A workout warrior, Gustin put up 31 reps on the bench press, tied for most by any linebacker this year and most by a Trojan since Nick Perry’s 35 back in 2012.

Gustin’s on-field work was impressive as well, as he posted good marks with a 35.5 in the vertical and 10-7 in the broad. His 40-yard dash time was solid, if underwhelming, at 4.69 seconds. There’s a possibility that the injuries that forced him to miss the end of the season are still lingering, but he performed well enough to boost his stock nonetheless. Knowing him, it’s also not too much of a stretch to assume that he impressed scouts in the interview portion of the event as well.

Fellow linebacker Cameron Smith did perhaps the most of any Trojan to shoot up draft boards with his work in Indianapolis last weekend. The widely cited concerns around Smith revolved mostly around his perceived lack of the athleticism necessary for the pros. Though he did weigh in about 7 or 8 pounds less than he would have liked at 238, he alleviated those concerns with impressive athletic testing.

His 4.69-second 40-yard dash, though unspectacular, was enough to prove that he has the necessary speed to run at the pro level, and his 4.23-second 20-yard shuttle was among the top 10 performers at his position. It was in the jump events that Smith shone the brightest, showcasing elite explosiveness that few would have expected from him. Smith jumped a 39-inch vertical — third among all linebackers behind only first round locks Devin Bush and Devin White. Smith also posted a tremendous broad jump of 12-3, good enough to finish in the top five at his position.

Defensive back Iman Marshall measured in at 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds — a good size for a cornerback — although his 30-inch arms might be a concern for some teams at the position. Perhaps the biggest question surrounding Marshall on his way to the combine was whether or not he’d show the necessary long speed to play corner in the NFL, a question he put to rest by running a time of 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Marshall did not participate in any of the other field tests, yet he was among the best performers in the drill portion of the day, showcasing fluid movement abilities and excellent ball skills. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a team look at him as either a safety or a cornerback at the NFL level.

Safety Marvell Tell, despite sitting out of the 40-yard dash due to a nagging ankle issue, may have had one of the most impressive workouts of anyone at this year’s combine. He showed above average size for a safety at 6-foot-2, 198 pounds, and his 33-inch arms are a huge asset, a trait NFL teams will not overlook. He placed in the top three among all defensive backs in the four on-field events he participated in and no worse than second in any of them among the safeties. He posted ridiculous marks in both jumps, with a 42 in the vertical and an 11-4 in the broad; both top three among all defensive backs.

Tell’s agility marks were similarly exceptional, with a 6.63-second mark in the three-cone drill and 4.01 in the 20-yard shuttle, both good enough for first among all safeties and second among all defensive backs. Teams will have to wait until USC’s pro day for an answer on his 40 time, but the athletic profile he put on today will undoubtedly help his case. It might even be argued that a team could try to mold him into a cornerback at the next level — he showed all the physical traits to do so.

Khari Willis Jersey

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts on Saturday traded up into the fourth round, sending their two fourth-round (129th- and 135th-overall) selections to the Oakland Raiders and selecting safety Khari Willis with the 109th-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Willis — who stands at 5-foot-11 and weighs 213 pounds — is a two-time honorable mention All-Big Ten honoree out of Michigan State, and last season as a senior he collected 84 total tackles, two interceptions and 10 passes defensed; in 2017, he had 71 tackles (5.5 for a loss) with four sacks, two picks and three passes defensed.

JACKSON – It’s late Saturday morning and cars are starting to line up on the street outside a brick ranch house on West Addison Street in Jackson.

Flames shoot from the grill on the backyard deck, food is being prepared and the home is buzzing with anticipation.

A little after noon, Khari Willis takes a seat on a black leather couch in the basement of his parents’ home. The former Michigan State safety, whose No. 27 jerseys are displayed on the walls, is staring at the TV as if it holds the answer to his future, and that’s not far off.

This is the final day of the NFL draft.

The previous night, Khari, and a crowd packed wall to wall in the basement, spent more than five hours watching 70 names called in the second and third rounds but his was not among them. Although there’s hope in the room that the final day won’t drag on painfully long before he is picked, it isn’t needed.

About 20 minutes into the third day of the draft, Khari’s phone rings showing an unknown number with a 317 Indianapolis area code. It’s Colts’ general manager Chris Ballard, who says the organization is trading up to select him in the fourth round.

This is the moment Khari has trained for nearly his entire life.

He barely acknowledges the call to those around him as he continues to stare at the TV, waiting to confirm it’s real. Almost five minutes go by before it’s announced: “Khari Willis, Michigan State.” And the room goes wild.

The man his teammates called “Cap” before he was even named a captain, whose steady demeanor is fitting of the leadership title, finally reveals what the moment means to him. Khari hugs his older brother, Xavier, then buries his face in his left arm as the tears flow. Then come the hugs from his parents, John and Mary, and nearly everyone else in the room.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Khari said. “You can look at what other people do, only dream of what you do but when it hits you, you never know.”

This is a scene that plays out across the country every year during the NFL draft. The phone call, the announcement, the emotion.

So, what makes Khari unique? Why does his story stand out?

Because Khari Willis beat the odds. This is his dream and his path to the NFL was different than any of the other 253 players who were selected this year.


1:15 p.m., Saturday: There are warming trays in the basement filled with ribs, fried chicken, meatballs, sweet potatoes and just about everything imaginable to feed a large group. It has been 45 minutes since Khari was drafted and nobody can find him but it’s time to eat. So, John blesses the food with a prayer while everyone in the basement bows their heads.

Khari is the seventh of 10 children but his number in his father’s phone is just listed as “Big Guy,” a long-standing nickname for the man who almost didn’t make it to his first birthday. He was just seven months old when, on Thanksgiving, he was running a high fever and then went limp. John and Mary rushed him to the hospital in Jackson and he was then airlifted to the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Doctors determined Khari was suffering from adenovirus, an infection John said had reached the lining around his brain. After three days in intensive care and receiving antibiotics, he was back to normal as if nothing happened.

“That was a nightmare,” Mary said. “The Lord kept him here and I always told him that you’re here for a reason. I didn’t know this would be part of the reason but it’s a good feeling. I’m very proud of him.”

Khari was born into a big family and competition was infused into nearly every aspect of his life – from the breakfast table to full-court 2-on-2 basketball to “kill the man football” in the backyard. His oldest brothers, twins Terrell and Terrence, were both standout athletes and pushed him. Terrell played football at Toledo and Terrence played basketball at Jackson College, where John coached.

At an early age, Khari realized he would have to be tough, especially trying to go toe-to-toe with kids nearly a decade older than him. The result was talent and athleticism that was impossible to ignore by the time he arrived at Jackson Lumen Christi as a freshman.

“You could see he had rare ability as soon as we got ahold of him,” said Herb Brogan, who has won nine state titles since taking over as Lumen Christi’s head coach in 1980.

The potential was obvious but could be wasted without direction, and guidance was never lacking in his home. John, the longtime director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Jackson, will tell as many kids that will listen “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

Despite a strong family support structure, the opportunity to stray was not far away. Growing up around drugs, gangs and violence, Khari had friends who wound up behind bars. He, however, played the long game. That meant avoiding the traps others around him succumbed to and committing fully to his future.

More hours training, hitting the books and doing whatever it required to be exceptional – that was the path Khari took. Last July, he wore a tuxedo and stepped onto the stage in the grand ballroom on the seventh floor of the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. In front of a crowd of about 1,400 people, he delivered a speech on behalf of all student-athletes during the Big Ten media days annual luncheon. He shared his story, urged his peers to give back to their communities and received a standing ovation.

“Khari’s the one that listened to everything,” Terrence said. “Grades, sports – he put it all together.”

There are about 40 people packed into the basement and in one corner is a table with his Michigan State helmet surrounded by poster boards taped up with newspaper clippings documenting Khari’s high school achievements. About half of them feature him with a basketball in his hands.

Khari was a standout point guard and played on the Michigan Mustangs AAU team that included future Spartan and NBA draft lottery pick Miles Bridges. He was being recruited by schools across the country and had about a dozen Division I scholarship offers. That triggered an out-clause John had for his children to allow them to focus on just one sport.

For Khari, it was basketball and that meant quitting football. Then, just before Lumen Christi began football practice the summer of his junior year, he changed his mind and told his father he needed a new pair of cleats.

About six years after continuing with football, Khari thought about that decision while he was at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

“Change your life,” he said. “Change your life.”

Wearing No. 7 for the Titans – a nod to his being the seventh child in his family – Khari was almost unstoppable with the ball in his hands. With a combination of speed, power and vision, he routinely racked up gaudy numbers that led to blowouts with him spending the second half on the bench. He went on to shatter the single-game, single-season and career rushing numbers at Lumen Christi.

“We were obviously thrilled when he changed his mind,” Brogan said of Khari sticking with football, “and it worked out really well for us and it worked out really well for him too.”

While most schools recruited Khari as a running back, Michigan State offered him as a safety – a position he never played before. Making the transition to defense and playing for a team that would go on to win the Big Ten and reach the College Football Playoff in 2015, Khari seemed destined to redshirt.

Instead, he cracked the lineup, and midway through the season, called his dad to deliver a secret that couldn’t be shared with anyone else – he would make his first college start when the Spartans traveled to Ann Arbor to face Michigan in front of more than 111,000 fans. Khari played well and helped block as Jalen Watts-Jackson returned a fumbled punt attempt for the game-winning touchdown as time expired in one of the wildest plays in college football history.

Khari broke his foot late that season and missed the Big Ten championship game win against Iowa and CFP semifinal loss to Alabama. He struggled at times the following year, but went on to start the final 26 games of his career, playing his best as a senior last season with 84 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass break-ups.

From the moment Khari committed to Michigan State, John thought it was unlikely he would see the field as a true freshman. Now he laughs thinking back to how his son proved him and many others wrong by adapting quickly.

“It’s funny with Khari, he likes challenges,” John said. “When he went to the Michigan State (summer prospects) camp, he didn’t like what he ran in his time, he didn’t like what he did in the tests and felt he could do better. I could see him, he was seething that whole camp because there were kids that had ran these drills and were doing better than him. After that, he said ‘I’m playing football, I’m going here.’ That’s a crazy way to make a decision but he did.”

“This is his life,” Chunky says of Khari. “It’s crazy.”

Khari rushed for 2,800 yards as a senior at Lumen Christi, which is the fourth-highest total in state history, but the season ended with a one-point loss to eventual state champion Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central in a regional championship. Although he had 50 rushes for 412 yards while putting the Titans on his back, he fumbled for the first time of his career on his last carry while attempting to lead a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter and was crushed.

Four months later, Khari’s basketball career ended in similarly-heartbreaking fashion. A controversial call in the final seconds led to a two-point loss to Hanover-Horton in a district semifinal matchup between a pair of top-10 teams and he was furious immediately after the defeat.

Those were rare moments when Khari displayed raw emotion in public. Those around him are used to his even-keeled demeanor, but Mary could see the anxiety on her son’s face leading up to the draft.

Khari admitted he had trouble sleeping Friday night and woke up Saturday morning fully expecting to be drafted but knew there was a chance it wouldn’t happen. The countless hours spent training from a young age, the four-year grind of Big Ten football while graduating in December as a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, the Senior Bowl, the combine, pro day – they all led up to one moment and Khari let it all go after he was drafted by the Colts with the seventh pick in the fourth round (No. 109 overall) on Saturday.

“It’s crazy,” Khari said. “It’s what you dream for, it’s what you work for – moments like these, to be able to share them with the people you love. I’m ready, I’ve been ready for this so long, I’m just ready to get going. I thank God. It’s just a tremendous blessing to have this opportunity, especially with such a great organization. It’s rare so I’m thankful for it.”

The Colts traded a pair of fourth-round picks to the Oakland Raiders to move up 20 spots and get Khari. He is now headed to the same franchise his cousin, wide receiver Bill Brooks, was picked by in the fourth round of the 1986 draft and spent the first seven seasons of his 11-year NFL career.

Mary said in her prayer circle she hoped her son didn’t end up too far away and he’s now headed just a four-hour drive from home. It also means John, who conquered his fear of air travel with his first flight in 32 years to see Khari’s final game with Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl loss to Oregon in Santa Clara, Calif., in December, can stay behind the wheel to get to Colts’ home games.

The fulfillment of a dream will also come with a big paycheck. As a comparison, the No. 109 pick in last year’s draft, safety Troy Apke, signed a four-year contract for $3.1 million with a $703,000 signing bonus, according to, with Washington. Khari, who already hired a financial advisor, has full trust in his agent, but doesn’t plan on staying on the sideline while the deal is negotiated.

“That’s something I’m going to have my hands on for sure because it’s a job and it’s a business now,” he said. “I try to handle everything in a professional, business-like manner and my agent does a great job with keeping me in the loop and letting me know what to expect.”

Khari will be in Indianapolis later this week for the Colts’ mini-camp and his first taste of life as an NFL player. He plans on maintaining the “walk-on” mentality he took with him to Michigan State and fighting for a spot as if he was an undrafted free agent. Most of his nearly 23 years on Earth were dedicated to becoming extraordinary and that won’t change in the NFL.

“I feel like I’ve been preparing for each step,” Khari said, “and a now it’s time for me to go play ball.”

Robert Okereke Jersey

With a focus on key themes and debates, this article aims to illustrate and assess how the interaction between justice and politics has shaped the international regime and defined the nature of the international agreement that was signed in COP21 Paris. The work demonstrates that despite the rise of neo‐conservatism and self‐interested power politics, questions of global distributive justice remain a central aspect of the international politics of climate change. However, while it is relatively easy to demonstrate that international climate politics is not beyond the reach of moral contestations, the assessment of exactly how much impact justice has on climate policies and the broader normative structures of the climate governance regime remains a very difficult task. As the world digests the Paris Agreement, it is vital that the current state of justice issues within the international climate change regime is comprehensively understood by scholars of climate justice and by academics and practitioners, not least because how these intractable issues of justice are dealt with (or not) will be a crucial factor in determining the effectiveness of the emerging climate regime.

The added element of having former players announce their former team’s picks during the NFL draft provides many opportunities to have fun at the host city’s expense. Former Colts punter Pat McAfee and former Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne did their part to masterfully needle the home crowd of their AFC South rival Tennessee Titans during the second and third rounds of the draft Friday evening.

Wayne fired the opening salvo with Titans fans booing from the street.

“Putting all ya’ll AFC South teams on notice! We back! We are back,” Wayne exclaimed before announcing cornerback Rock Ya-Sin as the 34th pick in the draft. “I know you not booin’! Come on, Tennessee. Ya’ll done played the Colts 20 times in 10 years and you done won three games. Stop it. Stop it.”

Armed with the 17-3 jab, Wayne was prepared for another showdown with the Titans faithful when he announced the team’s second pick of the second round at No. 49 overall. It was no contest.

“We straight? We good?” Wayne asked. “’Cause I got clips. I got heat. Aight, we straight.”

McAfee, announcing the team’s third-round selection, put on a trolling clinic with a heavy dose of self-deprecation. Piggybacking off of Wayne’s insult about the Colts’ recent success against the Titans, McAfee put on a full-blown WWE-style promo.

“Hello, Nashville! I’m not gonna say a single word about the Tennessee Titans’ record against the Indianapolis Colts because I was a punter and there’s no reason for me to talk about that,” McAfee quipped. “With that being said, we did not punt much against the Tennessee Titans so you probably have no clue who I am to begin with.”

“Two years ago, when I retired from the Colts, I retired alongside two greats, Robert Mathis and Joe Reitz,” McAfee said. “A couple months later, I watched the draft. Robert Mathis announced a pick. Joe Reitz announced a pick. And then an orangutan announced a fourth-round draft pick. I was replaced by a zoo animal. I was not upset about it because the orangutan was terrible at his job.”

“With that being said, the Indianapolis Colts are the hottest team, not only in the AFC South, but the entire NFL,” McAfee said, drawing the jeers of all Titans fans within earshot. “A young nucleus surrounding the Stanford nerd, Andrew Luck. Two all-pros were drafted last year, 10 this year. And with the 89th pick in the 2019 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard select future Hall of Famer, linebacker from Stanford Bobby Okereke … Okereke.”

If Day 2 was this fun for trolling, imagine what Day 3 has in store with 152 picks remaining in the draft’s final four rounds.

Both qualitative and quantitative approaches were used to evaluate the impact of a flood control, low flow augmentation reservoir on seven water quality parameters: Suspended solids and total phosphate (particulate parameters); BOD, COD, and ammonia (O2-demanding parameters); and orthophosphate and nitrite plus nitrate N (soluble nutrients). Fourteen years of weekly sampling data above, in, and downstream of the reservoir both before and after the reservoir became operational were analyzed. This paper considers the effects of the reservoir on the particulate parameters. There was a dramatic decrease in both suspended solids and total phosphate concentrations in the reservoir discharges, particularly during periods of high river flows and high reservoir inflow parameter concentrations. At all sampling stations, the annual parameter loading rates (kg ha−1 yr−1) correlated linearly with annual runoff (cm yr−1). The suspended solids removal efficiency of the reservoir was dependent on annual runoff and averaged about 90%. Non-point source contributions of suspended solids were well over 99% when annual runoff exceeded 6.57 cm y−1 and over 95% even when annual runoff was as low as 1.63 cm yr−1

The impact of a flood control, low flow argumentation reservoir in the Midwestern part of the United States on BOD, COD, and ammonia was evaluated in this paper. Fifteen years of weekly water quality data (9 yr before impoundment and 6 yr after impoundment) from four sampling stations upstream and downstream of the reservoir were available for analysis. The annual loading rates of these parameters (kg ha−1 vr−1) were found to correlate well with annual runoff (cm yr−1). Besides, the reservoir was found to have had a significant and beneficial impact on the downstream loading rates of BOD and COD, which were reduced by 55 and 75%, respectively. As for ammonia, the results of this study indicate that its annual loadings at downstream locations were not significantly affected by the reservoir. Average non-point source contributions of BOD and ammonia loadings into the system were found to be about 80 and 55%, respectively.

Parris Campbell Jersey

INDIANAPOLIS — Parris Campbell’s path to the NFL Scouting Combine has had more twists and turns than your average prospect, but all have come within the Buckeye State.

If the next is via a draft pick spent on him by the Browns, Campbell wouldn’t mind a bit.

“Definitely would be cool to stay in Ohio,” Campbell said Friday. “I’d be an hour up the road, so it would definitely be cool. But any team that takes a chance on me, I’d be honored.”

The blazing fast running back won a state championship for Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in Canton, just hundreds of feet from the Pro Football Hall of Fame at what was then known as Fawcett Stadium. He scored a touchdown in that game in front of Urban Meyer, who was standing on the sidelines and eventually offered him a scholarship to Ohio State.

Once in Columbus, he switched positions, becoming a wide receiver. He ran into struggles with the change in his first two years but showed flashes of his potential, a blur with the ball. It wasn’t as frequent as expected. The big plays wowed Buckeye fans, but the drops dampened their joy.

Then came 2018, which included the arrival of former Browns and Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline as wide receivers coach at Ohio State. Campbell blossomed, setting Ohio State’s single-season receptions record with 90 to go along with 1,063 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He more than doubled his receptions and quadrupled his receiving touchdowns from his junior year.

“Just from this past year, working with Coach Hartline, he brought a whole new aspect to my game,” Campbell said. “He played this great game at the highest level for seven, eight years and excelled at it. So just what he brought back to our receiver room and reading different coverages, whether it’s inside or outside, he just brought a whole new light to it. I’m confident in my ability to read defenses now and just looking for little tells, seeing what different safeties, corners, linebackers are doing … they give me tells and it’s really a credit to him, for sure.”

Campbell’s decision to return for his senior season was obviously a smart move, allowing him to showcase his improved hands, but for more than just football reasons. He also became a father, which came with a whole new set of lessons learned at a young age.

“I think the key word right there is just patience,” Campbell said when asked about his nine-month-old son, Kai. “Through it all, becoming a father and then also having to deal with the grit and grind of the season, especially at a place like Ohio State, it definitely was a hard task for me.

“But you know, I think the ultimate thing is I learned to put myself to the side. I have a life to provide for now. I look at my son in the eyes every day and I just go to work, man. Because one day he’s going to look up at me and be asking to go to college somewhere. Who knows if he’s going to have athletic abilities and if he’s gonna earn a scholarship, but I have to be able to provide that for him. He’s my motivation, he’s the reason why I wake up in the morning and do what I do.”

That effort landed him at the combine, where he’s seen as one of the top deep threats in the 2019 NFL Draft class. He’s also a favorite of Browns fans, who would love for Campbell to become the second local Buckeye to make the journey from Columbus to Cleveland.

Campbell said his mother, who raised him as a single parent with the help of Campbell’s grandparents, would be thrilled, too.

“It would be huge. I think my mom would love it for sure,” Campbell said of being able to stay in Ohio with the Browns. “I’d be right up the road. She loves seeing all my games.

“It would be nice, honestly. My family, just throughout my entire career, have been right by my side. Never once slacked, never once failed, never missed a game, never missed anything. They were just always there for me, and they’re the reason I’m the man I am today and the reason I’m the player I am today. So it would be huge.”

We’re still more than a month from learning how this draft will shake out. Keeping the Campbell family — with its newest generation having arrived less than a year ago and its young star aspiring to thrive in the NFL — in the state of Ohio might just be a natural fit.

INDIANAPOLIS — Much of the NFL Scouting Combine is about numbers, and boy, did we get some numbers Saturday.

Ole Miss receiver D.K. Metcalf shattered the high expectations set for him by his viral gym photo, sending his 6-foot-3, 228-pound frame hurtling 40 yards down the sidelines at Lucas Oil Stadium in 4.33 seconds (unofficially).

The best mark of all receivers was 4.31, set by Ohio State’s Parris Campbell and later tied by UMass’ Andy Isabella.

Metcalf wasn’t done there, though. The chiseled wideout reached every eye-popping mark on his player sheet, logging 27 repetitions on the bench press Friday, hitting 40.5 inches in the vertical leap and completing the receiver drills with proficiency.

Traditionally, the combine favors the workout warriors. Metcalf made it clear he’s the quintessential gym rat, and he just might be a can’t-miss draft pick, too.

Campbell’s top time was unofficially one-hundredth of a second faster than his former teammate, Browns cornerback Denzel Ward, who was last year’s top sprinter among defensive backs at 4.32 seconds. Campbell’s track background helped make his 40 time foreseeable, and he even guaranteed a fast time when speaking Friday.

The Browns could use more deep threats in their receiving corps. Campbell’s best attribute has long been his speed, as has Isabella’s. Metcalf’s time was a bit of a surprise, though, because, well, he’s massive.

Campbell stands at 6-feet, 205 pounds, and is a natural sprinter. Isabella is 5-foot-9 and 188 pounds. Both are Northeast Ohio kids, with Campbell growing up in Akron, and Isabella in Mayfield.

Metcalf, the prospect from Oxford, Mississippi, is a size that simply doesn’t put up that kind of number. Atlanta Falcons All-Pro receiver Julio Jones, a specimen in his own right and just a hair under 6-foot-3, ran his 40 in 4.39 seconds at the 2011 combine.

All three fit the profile of a speedster who could fit well into the Browns’ receiving corps. And all three had an excellent day in Indianapolis.

We’ll see if one of them ends up in brown and orange.

It’s quite odd that Campbell is viewed as a small, gadget-type receiver, but he’s six-feet-tall and 205 pounds. By comparison, Robert Woods
is 6-feet-tall and 201 pounds, though he’s not viewed as a gadget player. It comes down to the way Ohio State used Campbell which make people think that, but is there more to his game than work over the middle of the field and in the slot? Campbell popped off a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the Combine which forced everyone to take notice, as he can rip the top off the defense if you want him to.

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After being eased into the lineup his first three seasons, the Buckeyes let Campbell rip with Dwayne Haskins
in 2018. He totaled 90 receptions (ranked 8th in the nation) for 1,063 yards (25th in nation) and 12 touchdowns (8th in nation). Clearly, he was a tad underutilized during his first three seasons, though he was used on special teams in the return game during his sophomore and junior seasons. Did Haskins make him look better or was it the other way around?

Size/Versatility: 3.0 out of 5 stars
He’s actually built like a cornerback, as he’s a bit thin through his core for a wide receiver. Played inside the slot almost full-time with Ohio State, though I don’t think he’s built to withstand continuous hits over the middle of the field. The Buckeyes moved him all over the formation, which included reverses, screens, and handoffs, so he’s versatile in that sense. I don’t want to call him a gadget player because he’s more than that, but he’s not someone you’re going to have lining up on the outside if you can help it. He does offer some special teams upside, which does give him a slight uptick in the versatility department.

Route Running/Ability to Separate: 3.0 out of 5 stars
He does have excellent short area burst that allows him to gain separation, though his play speed isn’t quite where it needs to be all the time. He rounds out his breaks a bit more than I’d like for a player his size. He doesn’t run his routes with urgency most of the time but flashes the ability when he chooses. When he does exaggerate his movements, he gains separation. There were just too many times where he ran a simple five-yard out route and just rounded the cut. In the NFL, that’s going to get his quarterback intercepted. When he found himself open, a lot of the time it didn’t have to do with his route-running but more to do with his spot on the field (in the slot) and being mismatched with linebackers or safeties. There is some natural ability to his stop-and-go speed, so it’s possible he just needs a slight bit of refinement and more consistency, though he’s not quite a polished route-runner at this time.

Speed: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I don’t think he plays with consistent 4.31-second speed, even though he is fast. There’s a turbo button he can hit at any minute that allows him to blow by nearly every defender. His speed appears to come effortless, as there’s no laboring through his strides. He’s going to get a very slight knock in this category because I don’t see someone who’s a full-go all the time. While it’s important to use different gears on the field, he’s just going through the motions at times and essentially removing himself from the play. Being a decoy at times because you’re gassed is one thing, but not going all-out when you can is another. When playing at full speed, there aren’t many players who’ll be able to hang with him in coverage.

Hands: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Wasn’t used in a way where we got to see him in many contested catch situations, as he was typically within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage when targeted. Catching 90 balls obviously proves he can be trusted in a heavy role, though it’s tough to say with any certainty that he has elite hands when in contested situations. He did have some issues earlier in his college career, but I’m comfortable saying his hands are not an issue for the role he plays, so he earns an average score here.

Awareness: 4.0 out of 5 stars
He is fully aware of when he needs to use his turbo button in order to beat a defender to the sideline and up the field. He doesn’t overestimate his speed and knows when he needs to use it depending on where the defenders are on the field. He finds the soft spot in zones well, particularly in the deep areas of the field, knowing when to slow his route just enough to sit in the gap of coverage.

After the Catch: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Takes great angles in the open field, which a lot of it comes from his self-awareness. Can almost be treated as a running back at times due to his vision in the open field once he gets through the first line of defense. He’s not going to break many tackles at the pro level, so he’s not elusive in that way, but more slippery than anything. He’s going to create some yardage after the catch due to his speed and it’s not as if he’s a super-small guy at six-foot and 205 pounds, so he won’t be tossed around like a ragdoll, either.

Potential Landing Spot
When looking for his potential suitor, you want to look at teams who are set on the perimeter but may be lacking some explosion out of the slot. Ideally, you have a creative coordinator who can use Campbell in unique ways. The Packers, Lions, Colts, Chiefs, Saints, Raiders, 49ers, and Redskins are all teams who could use a slot receiver or at least upgrade the position. My favorite landing spot would be with the Saints, as Michael Thomas
could use a sidekick and they need a field stretcher with Ted Ginn
on the final days of his career. While Tre’Quan Smith
was drafted last year, he’s more of a perimeter receiver, while Campbell can give them a utility knife to use all over the field, as Sean Payton obviously knows how to utilize speed.

NFL Comparison

When looking for a comparison for Campbell, I had to go back in time just a bit. Percy Harvin
was a great player when used properly. He wasn’t someone who was going to win on the perimeter, but he was a movable chess piece that could be used out of the backfield, in the slot, and had the speed to burn you down the seam. He had a pretty up-and-down career, though a lot of the issues came from the migraines he dealt with throughout his career. Another player you could be reminded of is Santana Moss, who played a long NFL career, though some believed he never reached his full potential.

Abdurrahman Ya-Sin Jersey

Abdurrahman Ibn Ya-Sin, also known as ‘Rock’ Ya-Sin was given his nickname by his high school wrestling coach. The former two-time state wrestling champ didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school. While he was very talented in high school, recognized as a two-time county and all-region selection in Dekalb County for football and an Honor Roll member, the late start to his football career really cost him a lot of looks from big colleges. He went on to play ball at Presbyterian College for three seasons, but the school became a non-scholarship program, so one of his coaches at Presbyterian sent his tape to Coach Geoff Collins, who was the head coach at Temple, and he immediately offered Rock a scholarship. The Georgia native’s mental toughness, built through his wrestling background, would be tested because making the jump from FCS to FBS was going to be a challenge.

But Ya-Sin’s drive and competitiveness never wavered. He quickly earned the respect of his teammates and coaching staff. Eight months is all it took for him to earn the coveted single-digit jersey number handed out to the “nine toughest players on the team.”

Rock went on to have a really good senior season, racking up 13 pass deflections and two interceptions and only allowing 264 yards on 32 receptions, per SportsInfo Solutions. Ya-Sin was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and his competitive nature stood out, as he and alpha receiver Deebo Samuel were the highlight matchup every day during the 1-on-1 portion of practice.

That type of competitiveness, along with his wrestling background and non-traditional path to the NFL, likely put him on the map for the Buffalo Bills and Head Coach Sean McDermott. Ya-Sin continued his assault on the pre-draft process by putting up some great numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine, minus his three-cone drill time.

His 7.31-second three-cone time is well below the universally accepted 7-second threshold. A slow time in this drill generally indicates a corner’s inability to change direction. Ya-Sin’s time falls well above GM Brandon Beane, Assistant GM Joe Schoen and Director of Player Personnel Dan Morgan’s drafted or signed player pool average of 6.93 seconds. The worst three-cone time by a player signed or drafted by those three on record was Xavien Howard, a very good corner who was drafted in the second round by the Dolphins.

So when Ya-Sin’s pro day came on March 18, he stated he wanted to show “the fluidity in [his] hips.”

Well, it seems like the Bills wanted to get a closer look at him doing just that because when Ya-Sin lined up to start his drills, Bills defensive backs coach John Butler put him and his teammates through the workout.

Even though Ya-Sin doesn’t fit the Bills’ typical drafting tendency for corners because of his unusually high three-cone time, when you look at his film, he is a solid fit. Sure, you will see Ya-Sin struggle with change of direction from time to time, specifically in two scenarios. One is when he is in soft press man coverage. He is very reactive to the release, which he is absolutely is supposed to be. It’s just that being in soft press is not advantageous for a cornerback, especially one like Ya-Sin who excels when his hands are on the receiver. In this clip, you will see a few reps where the receiver attacks the short arm or 1-2 yards outside of the player. This gets Ya-Sin to open up or kick-step in the opposite direction the receiver is going to break.

The other situation where you will see his change of direction and feet go haywire is at the top of routes. Even though he has a great understanding of how to maintain leverage of the receivers within the coverage scheme, at times his athleticism can be attacked. On this snap, he is in off zone coverage and as the receiver gets to the top of the route, Ya-Sin is thinking that he is going to be running an out route because of the condensed split. The receiver sells it well, and as he is slightly breaking to the sideline, Rock opens up and prepares to flip his hips to break on the out route. Unfortunately, the receiver hooks the route up and Ya-Sin is caught in transition. At this point, he should plant off of his left foot and drive on the ball.

The former wrestler is not afraid of competition or of being on an island by himself in man coverage, and that mental toughness goes a long way as a corner. Corners are going to be attacked and give up plays from time to time, but they must keep their confidence. Like wrestlers, corners must be able to perform in high-pressure situations, and Ya-Sin has shown he can handle them, especially on critical downs. The offense is faced with a 3rd-and-6 situation and they target Ya-Sin. On the snap, he kick steps and opens his hips to the sideline because the WR declared an outside vertical release. He uses his hands to disrupt the route and maintain leverage. But as the receiver breaks inside, Ya-Sin quickly flips his hips to stay with the receiver. His reactive athleticism here is much better than prior clips because he is using his hands to help delay the break in the route while he opens his hips. The movement is fluid, and he stays on the up-field shoulder so he can work to the inside when the ball is delivered. It’s thrown to the back shoulder, but his body control and tracking are on point and he breaks the pass up.

In 2018, Ya-Sin was targeted seven times in the red zone and only allowed three receptions for 3.14 yards per attempt. Here he gets matched up against Buffalo’s Anthony Johnson in 1-on-1 coverage on 4th-and-3, and he comes up with an interception.

Later on, the Bulls go for a two-point conversion and he again shuts down the play and takes it the distance. Unfortunately, it was called back.

I really like how he attacks the ball. Even when he is not exactly in the receiver’s pocket, Ya-Sin knows how to separate the WR from the ball at the catch point. Below, you see him waste a couple of steps and realize that the receiver has some separation because of the throw and placement, but he stays in the match. He attacks the ball and punches it out with his left hand.

The mental approach wrestlers abide by, corners must also have. “There are no excuses,” states Ya-Sin, “you can’t blame it on anybody, win, lose or draw. It’s you versus another man.” His athleticism and mental approach are exactly why Temple left him in man coverage a lot. He was tasked with locking down the isolation wide receiver typically aligned on the backside of these 3×1 routes, and even though he had surrendered plays earlier in the game, Ya-Sin didn’t back down.

While he may struggle to consistently keep his hips down when backpedaling, it isn’t something that he will need to do a lot of. In the Bills’ scheme, the corners are either asked to execute a motor-mirror technique or bail technique. They aren’t asked to stay in their backpedal long — only until the receiver declares his release like you have seen him do in several clips. Defensive Backs Coach Butler and HC McDermott like to protect against the deep pass, so they use the “Saban shuffle” technique when they drop into their zone coverages.

Ya-Sin has shown that he can keep his hips down and shuffle almost as fast as a receiver can run.

This is something he did routinely in 2018 and even showcased it versus top tier competition at the Senior Bowl. His body control, zone eyes on the QB, and ability to compete at the catch point are some of the best in this class.

Ya-Sin was in man coverage 72.5 % of the time in 2018, per SIS, but I believe that his struggles with changing direction may scare heavy man coverage teams off. That’s why I think teams like the Bills will try to use him more in zone, then sprinkle in some man coverage.

Ya-Sin’s physicality, body control while in a bail-shuffle technique, ability to click and close on the ball, and separate a receiver from the ball will be highly regarded by the Bills. Add in the competitive and mental toughness exhibited, and you have a player that HC McDermott is likely to welcome with open arms.

His reactiveness to releases will cause him to surrender some passes in the quick game, but he will not back down or lose aggressiveness. Even some of those false steps and the grabbiness down the field that led to penalties can be cleaned up, in my opinion. His tackling was consistent, and he racked up 49 tackles because of it, but his tackling technique needs to be cleaned up.

Overall, I believe Rock Ya-Sin is a late second, early third round pick who will excel in schemes that put him near the line of scrimmage where he can use his hands to disrupt receivers or play bail coverage to shuffle and keep everything in front of him. Press zone schemes like Seattle, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and even Buffalo, to a degree, would be perfect for Ya-Sin. These teams could put him in press and have him in man coverage or put him into a bail technique, so if the quick game shows, he can drive on the ball without having to worry about a glitch in fluidity or change of direction. Once his technique is refined, he could be a steady starter in the league for many years to come.

Bobby Okereke Jersey

INDIANAPOLIS — With the 89th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts have selected linebacker Bobby Okereke.

Okereke — who stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 239 pounds — is coming off a 2018 season at Stanford in which he earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors, as he led his team with 96 total tackles (7.5 for a loss) with 3.5 sacks, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovered for a safety.

Okereke was also an honorable mention All-Pac 12 selection in 2017, when he had 96 tackles (7.5 for a loss) with four sacks and one interception.’s Lance Zierlein wrote this about Okereke in his draft profile:

Undersized but instinctive and rangy, Okerke plays fast and is generally on the right track with his initial reads and response to play development. While he’s fairly sound from a technical standpoint, his lack of size and strength shows up in both tackling and downhill duties against blockers. He has adequate talent to drop and cover in space and his experience on special teams gives him a shot to become a quality NFL backup.

As of now, the Colts’ next pick is Saturday in the fourth round (129th overall).

PROVO — Every story has a beginning and most stories have an end.

For a lot of football fans, the story of BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki started midway through his collegiate career.

After a 21-tackle season, Takitaki earned attention and ink for the wrong reasons, when he was suspended for an entire season following an arrest made for allegedly stealing various athletic items on campus.

But that’s not the end of Takitaki’s story. After missing the entire 2016 season after pleading guilty to misdemeanor theft, Takitaki returned to BYU and made good on his promises to family to finish out his career, earn his college degree, and become a better man.

Along the way, he made 237 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks while jumping between linebacker and defensive end in multiple systems and setups. He also met and married his wife Alyssa, a moment that he’s said often rates more favorably than any of his football accomplishments.

Takitaki’s story still isn’t over, either. He’s likely to hear his name called in next week’s NFL Draft, with ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. projecting him as high as a late third-round pick.

It’s all a part of the story — the good, the bad, and the (future) rewards.

“I embrace it. I love it,” Takitaki told KSL Newsradio. “I think it’s part of the journey.”

Takitaki has almost lived on a plane since his senior season ended in Boise following the Cougars’ win over Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He’s been to All-Star games from Alabama to California, was poked, prodded, corralled and wrangled at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, and performed both linebacker and defensive line drills at BYU’s pro day at the end of March.

It’s all part of the deal, the usual pre-draft process for prospects hoping to take their game to the next level. Many, like Takitaki, can play multiple positions — either defensive end or outside linebacker, in his case.

Most will likely get their start on special teams. That’s OK for Takitaki, too.

“I play violent out there, and teams tell me I’m made for special teams,” Takitaki said. “That’s been a big up for me.

“I know some guys love special teams.”

Either way, he’s likely to get his start somewhere.

“You’ll definitely hear his name called sometime either late next Friday or early Saturday,” said local NFL agent Evan Brennan, who does not represent Takitaki but projects him as a fourth-round pick.

Takitaki has visited seen NFL teams so far, including the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins and most recently the Houston Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle, as his draft stock has soared remarkably high.

NFL teams get 30 individual workouts, and Takitaki has already received at least a half dozen, Brennan told ESPN 960 radio in Utah County. The Chiefs were among the first, then he kept getting phone calls. Dolphins. Falcons. Most recently he worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles, then spent more than a half-hour on a FaceTime chat with their defensive coordinator, he told the radio station.

“I feel like this process has been a ride. A lot of ups and a lot of downs,” Takitaki said. “But I feel like, looking at my career at BYU, it helped me a lot. I played a lot of positions, and I feel like what I did on the field definitely helped me a lot during this whole journey.”

BYU asked Sione Takitaki to do a little bit of everything. He’s a hyped-up player who is all over the field, but that energy can become reckless and inefficient. He has to learn to play with balance and technique rather than consistently relying on athleticism and hustle to compete. He looks best suited to play the weak-side linebacker position in a 4-3 defense where he can run and shoot backside gaps, masking some of the deficiencies in his game.

It’s probably safe to say that linebacker Sione Takitaki wasn’t expecting to be drafted by the Cleveland Browns.

Takitaki, who was selected by the Browns in the third round with the No. 80 overall pick Friday, had quite an interesting story to tell about how he found out that he was headed to Ohio.

Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald reported that Takitaki chose to take a bathroom break when Cleveland was on the clock with the pick since he had not spoken with anyone from the team since the NFL combine two months ago. Lo and behold, the Browns took the BYU product, and the call came while Takitaki was in the bathroom.

The 22-year-old Takitaki recorded 119 total tackles and 4.0 sacks as a senior last year and should be an impact addition to a quickly improving Browns D.

We did see something similar happen with this Panthers draftee back in 2016.

BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki, a fast-rising draft prospect, visited the Texans on Wednesday, according to a league source not authorized to speak publicly.

Takitaki visited seven NFL teams, including the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans and the Miami Dolphins. He had nine private workouts for linebackers coaches.

Takitaki is expected to be drafted within the first three rounds.

Takitaki was voted a team captain and got married within the past few years, displaying signs of growing maturity. He was suspended earlier in his career for an honor code violation for allegedly stealing property on campus and reached a plea agreement and was briefly kicked off the team as a freshman for a dorm fight.

Ben Banogu Jersey

INDIANAPOLIS — Linebacker Ben Banogu, the Indianapolis Colts’ second-round (49th-overall) pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, held his first media conference call on Friday night. What did he have to say about his game?

What have the discussions been as far as linebacker goes?

“Well as far as linebacker goes, the coaches – we had meetings and everything through the Senior Bowl process, the combine and pro day. They have been talking about playing everywhere in the front seven from linebacker to rushing on pass downs. Just trying to maximize my athleticism.”

Would you be playing a strong side linebacker?

“Yeah, they were saying playing right next to (Darius) Leonard. Doing a little bit of that and then also getting around the edge and pass rushing. Doing the stuff that I have been doing and what I am comfortable doing but they also see that I can do a lot within the front seven. So they were saying wherever they put me they feel like I can excel at and they were looking at me as a guy that is a jack of all trades that can do just about anything. That’s the kind of vibe that I got from it.”

Next to Leonard, is that MIKE?


So this was not a huge stunner for you that the Colts gave you a call tonight?

“Well I mean I knew (inaudible) to be drafted in the second round at 49 to an organization like that. Getting the call I was ecstatic, I was pumped, I was ready to go. I know all the great stuff that happens in Indy. I was just so excited to be a part of it. The call was awesome, hearing my name called was awesome. Now it’s starting to settle in. I am just excited about being a Colt.”

Do you have much history at linebacker? Have you played there before?

“I played a little bit in high school, but most of my linebacker stuff that I could showcase NFL teams was at the Senior Bowl. Obviously, the Colts liked what they saw and they obviously knew I could pass rush. Just showing my versatility was something that I think really intrigued them. I am just happy that it was good enough for them to pull the trigger on me.”

At TCU, were you mostly a 4-3 end?

“Yeah, yeah.”

Did that ever involve doing any pass coverage and is that something you might have to do here?

“Honestly, like drawing stuff up on the board and kind of taking me through some pass rush stuff and through some coverage stuff they kind of touched on all things. For me, I am ready to do just about anything. With the coaching staff and with my football IQ, I feel like I can pick it up pretty fast and be effective.”

Did you expect a call in the second round? What were your anticipations like tonight?

“For me, I was looking at the teams and what teams needed and talking to the guys that are close to me and trusting their information. I saw that Indy traded back and they had a couple picks within the second round. With the conversation that I had with the staff, I was hoping that I would get a call. Once I got the call, man it was crazy. For me, I guess I knew I was going to get the call at some point, I didn’t know what team. My hope was Indy because the conversations that we had. It just so happened they called and I was just excited about it man. I was pumped.”

Did you make a pre-draft visit here?

“No, I didn’t make a pre-draft visit, but they came to TCU on numerous occasions. From meeting with me and then at the pro day, before the pro day and talked to them at the combine too. I had been meeting with them and kind of conversing with them at the Senior Bowl too, I also met with them. It has been some good conversation throughout. It wasn’t like one of those things that I was surprised, it was just exciting man.”

You have talked to the Colts enough to know what their scheme emphasizes like speed and athleticism. Do you see yourself as a fit in that regard? Is this a good spot for you?

“Oh yeah, I felt like that was a great spot for me. I feel like what they were telling me and what they thought that I could do. It kind of fit the same thought process that I had about myself. For me, once I got through meeting with them and going up on the board and talking through film, man I was just excited to have the opportunity to play with the team and with the organization and everything.”

In a perfect world, where do you want to line up and you can’t say wherever the coaches tell you?

“Honestly, wherever the coaches tell me – I have no choice. For me, I love to get after the passer. I love getting sacks and setting the edge and rushing. That’s an awesome part of the game and that’s why I played. Doing some of the linebacker stuff at the Senior Bowl really opened my eyes to all the neat ways that you can kind of create plays and turnovers for your team. I am just really excited to show them what I can do within the front seven. I am confident in myself and I am just glad that they are confident in me to give me the opportunity to go out and showcase that.”

Playing in a growing defense and alongside Darius Leonard is pretty exciting as well.

“Oh yeah, that’s so exciting. That’s the guy that I watched this past year that made a name for himself coming from a small school. He did his thing out there. For me, it’s an opportunity to watch him and see how he does things and learn from him and the rest of the guys. Just try and help the team win.”

Were the other teams that you were talking to also about playing linebacker?

“It was more like 3-4 defensive end, rushing and linebacker too. It was a good mix.”

With your talks with the Colts, do you expect your first crack would be at linebacker here?

“Well, honestly I am not really quite sure, that’s for them to pick. Where they see me fitting best is where I will be. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had me down rushing and being a defensive end and then also doing a little bit of coverage as well.”