Brief thoughts on Presley/Viney transfer

The problem with college football is that sometimes talented players get lost in the shuffle, and no matter how much promise they show or how much they may tantalize with size or speed, it just doesn’t come to fruition.

In Morrell Presley’s brief time at UCLA, all that was coupled with myriad off-the-field issues and lapses in judgment. Then pretty soon after Anthony Barr got on campus, it was clear that he would push for time in the lineup. Then after the two went relatively back-and-forth last year, Barr’s productivity took a massive leap this spring and Presley somewhat disappeared.

The top-ranked tight end in the country out of high school appeared was back at that spot for much of spring ball, but still, Cory Harkey and Joseph Fauria were roadblocks for the rising junior.

So his decision to move on is understandable. New coach, but same system, same tweener body and same hole to dig out of when trying to prove maturity and good behavior. I expect him to go to a good school, and who knows, maybe he could develop into a major player. But I don’t think it would’ve happened at UCLA.

Then there’s Viney, who I thought should have played more all along and was stuck behind Rick Neuheisel’s infatuation with bigger players. I think his decision to leave is more perplexing – despite the fact that he’ll graduate from UCLA and still be able to transfer to a FBS school. If it were me, I’d probably stay and close out my career. But I understand the desire to play, and all the power to him.

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Presley, Viney to transfer

From UCLA:

UCLA head football coach Rick Neuheisel announced today that senior cornerback Courtney Viney and junior tight end Morrell Presley have been granted their release from the program and will transfer.

Viney will graduate in June and be eligible to compete at another FBS school without having to sit out a season.

“I know that both Courtney and Morrell want to go where they can be starters and I certainly wish them both well,” said Neuheisel. “I am happy that Courtney will earn his UCLA degree prior to his departure.”

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A head’s up

My bosses gave me some time off following the NFL Draft and spring ball, and I’ll also be in New York from the 11th through the 19th. I’ll periodically be back on the blog before the 11th and after the 20th, so check in as often as you’d like. There is not much breaking news aside from the new Pac-12 TV deal – which Tom Hoffarth wrote about here – but when there is, I’ll chime in.

Thanks for the understanding and thanks for checking in.

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More with David Carter

Do you kind of feel like your ability was just ready to come out?
“I had the game to do it, but I learned how to use my body, use my hands. Run like I’m supposed to, rush at a certain angle. I already had the tools, the power, the speed, but I learned certain moves, new moves. I learned from a real defensive tackle how to play defensive tackle. That worked really well for me. Coach Howard was a great defensive end coach, but he never played defensive tackle. He knew how to play, but he didn’t know the tricks. I needed to learn from a defensive tackle.”

Is there any regret, like, if I’d only been taught this sooner?
“Yeah. I told somebody, if I had learned how to play for the East-West game before my senior year, I would’ve been the No. 1 pick. I would’ve had so many sacks. I already had the ability. I would’ve thrown myself on the scene. I didn’t mess up, but I feel like, man…I wish I would’ve known. I would’ve been able to make so much more money, instead of hoping and waiting. But I’m glad I got drafted in sixth, I got my foot in the door. Now it’s my chance. It’s up to me to take it and run with it.”

I’m a former bad defensive lineman, so I get the wording, be as specific as possible: What’d you learn?
“I learned how to use my hands, really. I was really just going out and trying too bullrush people. I learned how to run at certain angle, how to clear my chest. Jon, they couldn’t touch me. If an offensive lineman can’t touch you, they can’t block you. I was unstoppable at the East-West game. I’m going to surprise a lot of people. I feel that haterism, and that’s going to be the fuel at the next level.”

There are some guys who go early but might not have the work ethic or motor to succeed at the next level, and they might feel like the work is done. Clearly you don’t feel that…
“Oh man, I can’t wait to get out there. OTAs, play ball. I have to shut a lot of people up, my brother and me. This whole time, that’s been our motivation. We’ve been having to prove a lot of people wrong. I’m ready to go out there.”

Last question: You sound like a different person from when we last talked in depth last fall; do you feel different?
“You know what, I feel confidence. I feel like I’m in a good position. I’m a Cardinal. I have a lot on my shoulders, I have a lot of work to do, I know. I’m having a good time today, but tomorrow I’m in the gym. It’s nowhere near over yet. I’m making more money in a year than most people make in three. But I have a lot of work to do. It’s not over yet. That’s how people get kicked off or traded after a year, because they feel that they’re in the league, and it’s all gravy. That’s what got me in the draft. I work hard. I know what I have to do, and I know that I just got drafted, but it’s my turn to go out and show what I can do.”

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