Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Reshard gets dissed — Vanderbilt's Langford not invited to combine

ESPN's Chris Low points out that Vanderbilt safety Reshard Langford was left off the invitation list for the NFL combine. He says it's a glaring omission, and he's right.

Five SEC safeties were on the list — South Carolina's Emanuel Cook, Ole Miss' Jamarca Sanford, Miss State's Derrick Pegues, LSU's Curtis Taylor and Alabama's Rashad Johnson.

Maybe they confused Rashad with Reshard.

Maybe not.

Reshard was a monster late in games. I think about all our big victories this season — especially Ole Miss and Boston College — and I can still see Reshard laying the wood to people and leaping to get a hand on a pass. Even down in Starkville at the end of a disheartening loss, Reshard was diving for balls, trying desperately to make something happen.

It's a joke that he's not joining D.J. Moore at the combine. Remember he came into college as a running back. He's not exactly big at 6-2, 212, but he's strong and tough and a devastating hitter and I could see him even playing at linebacker.

Low says he was also surprised that Kentucky offensive tackle Garry Williams and Mississippi State linebacker Dominic Douglas also weren't invited.

Notice that Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Miss State had worthy players left off the list. Those three schools are sending a total of two players to the combine.

Which says one of two things:

• There's a bias against the players at traditionally weaker schools — in fact, a player at Vanderbilt has to set the league on fire (Earl Bennett) or make All-American (D.J. Moore) in order to get invited.

• Or the big schools really do have more talent and more players deserving of combine invitations.

Though Reshard definitely got snubbed, I think the second explanation is closer to the truth. We're a day before signing day and who's leading the nation in recruiting? LSU, who's sending 10 players to the NFL combine. Barrett Bailey, a three-star high school quarterback in Baton Rouge, has decided to stay in town and walk on at LSU instead of accepting a scholarship to a "lesser" program (and Vanderbilt was reportedly one of those lesser program).

The rich keep getting richer. Which makes it so much sweeter when the poor guys beat them on the football field.

But sometimes the poor guys make it to the big show. You know James Harrison, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and the guy who scored the longest touchdown in Super Bowl history for the Steelers on Sunday night?

Played at Kent State. Wasn't drafted. Was training to be a bus driver.

Hang in there, Reshard. You can do it.

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