I just got off the phone with Alvin Nelson, the agent for former UCLA free safety Dennis Keyes, and was told Keyes agreed to a “priority free agent” contract with the Arizona Cardinals and will be at mini-camp Friday.
Here is the story I wrote on Josh Shipp declaring for the NBA draft that was posted online earlier today.
Here is the transcript of the Patriots conference call with Matthew Slater.
Chris Horton nearly became Mr. Irrelevant, the nickname given to the last player selected in the NFL draft. He was the fourth-to-last player picked. He was No. 249 and went to the Washington Redskins. UCLA finished with three picks this year – after just one last year – Bruce Davis (third round), Matthew Slater (fifth round) and Horton.
Bruins JUCO QB Kevin Craft spent the last three years playing out of the shot gun, and offensive coordinator Norm said it is taking Craft some time to adjust to being under center.
“I haven’t done any drop back stuff since I was in high school,” Craft said. “It is an adjustment, but I have from now until our first game to get all that. It is an adjustment, and I’m still getting used to it, just when I’m dropping back, relaxing, and seeing the field differently.”
I just talked to Bruce Davis, who was elated to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. He was picked in the third round at No. 88 overall. He said he got the call from a scout at about 8:30 in the morning. He said he was half asleep and half watching the draft. He stayed up late Saturday night talking with friends and stayed at a friend’s after feeling frustrated since he wasn’t picked in either of the first two rounds. But when he got the call, none of that mattered. Then he called his dad and then his mom.
“There was a loud uproar of people,” Davis said. “Everyone was screaming. Im screaming. I’m running around the house with my shirt off. All I’ve got on is a pair shorts, and I’m running around knocking on doors.”
Josh Shipp has declared for the NBA draft. The following is a story Brian Dohn wrote for the Web site:
Narbonne High’s Byron Moore Jr. said the reason he committed to UCLA was a potpourri of reasons, but academics was the No. 1 thing.
He made the commitment after visiting Oregon on Saturday, but the Ducks didn’t seem to be much of a threat. Moore said he wants to play safety at UCLA, and thinks he will fit in well at free safety, but the Ducks were recruiting him as a receiver.
“I like defense — being able to make plays and hit people,” Moore said. “I like to be the last man back there.”
If you read any fan blog in Boston, there’s a big buzz over who Matthew Slater is, beside the fact that he is the son of Hall of Fame Jackie Slater. The Patriots listed Slater as a receiver, although he was surely drafted for special teams. New England even traded up to get him in the fifth round. Slater had three kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2007 and 986 yards in kickoff returns. He has a kickoff return average of 29 yards per return.
In summarizing spring practice, UCLA coach Rich Neuheisel said practice was physical, and added something I found interesting.
“I think guys understand that we’re at a different tempo, and that you have to bring it,” he said. “Hopefully, that will mean we’ll have a great offseason in the weight room, and in our speed development, and that we’ll come back a stronger, more physical team on Sept. 1. We’ll need to be if we’re going to compete with the Tennessee Volunteers.”