Cushing the Envelope at the Senior Bowl
Brian Cushing (Scout.com)
Brian Cushing (Scout.com)
Editor-in-Chief
Posted Jan 19, 2009
Charlie Bernstein


Scout.com was in attendance at Monday’s South team practice at the Senior Bowl which was run by Jack Del Rio and his Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff. Defensive players were on display and we have a brief rundown of whose stock was raised and who needs to have a better day tomorrow.

The one defensive player who seemingly turned all the scouts heads was USC outside linebacker Brian Cushing. Brian Cushing doesn’t have the flashy tattoos like his college teammate Rey Maualuga, and he doesn’t have the bloodlines of fellow Trojans linebacker Clay Matthews, Jr., but Cushing clearly was the most impressive linebacker on the field at Monday’s practice. Cushing ran all the drills that Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio put him through with relative ease and swiftness, and Cushing was all over the field when the team went into 11 on 11 drills.

The trio of USC linebackers was all anyone could talk about at the South practice, as Cushing was outstanding, Clay Matthews was more than solid, and Rey Malaluga showed his fantastic instincts.

“I came here to see the USC guys,” San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary told Scout.com, and he wasn’t disappointed.

Another defensive player who had a good day was Wake Forest cornerback extraordinaire Alphonso Smith. Smith was clearly the best corner on the field as he stayed step for step with each of the South team receivers, and capped his brilliant day with a pick-six off a pass thrown by West Virginia quarterback Pat White.

Other defensive players who made an impact on Monday were Georgia defensive tackle Corvey Irvin, who dominated the interior, Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers, Richmond national champion defensive end Lawrence Sidbury, and Georgia Tech defensive tackle Vance Walker.

In the secondary, Wake Forest safety Chip Vaughn showed good hands and coverage ability, and Mississippi State safety Derek Pegues also stood out in a positive way.

Defensive players who didn’t do themselves any favors were LSU linebacker Darry Beckwith, who struggled with hands and agility, as well as late addition Maryland linebacker Moise Fokou, who struggled through drills. Hawaii defensive lineman David Veikune didn’t do much to stand out, and Jackson State defensive back Domonique Johnson displayed a shaky set of hands showing why he specializes on the defensive side of the football.



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