When a player makes a conscious decision to change their career path, it is not a choice that is made lightly; especially when it involves a switch to the opposite side of the ball.
Many kids who start playing football at the Pop Warner level are generally learning a minimum of two positions: one on offense and the other defense. It might continue through middle school and high school.
For Larry Scott, his path to the NFL began with flag football. His favorite player to watch was Randy Moss. In an interview with The Oregonian in April 2015, he said, “Moss made me love the game. He truly made me love the game. Just the plays he made, the passion he played with. I didn’t say I wanted to be like him, but I wanted to play as big as him.”
Scott may have started on defense, but he eventually found himself lining up at wide receiver for the Corona Centennial Huskies, just up the road in Corona, CA. As a junior, he participated in nine games and finished with 535 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. His senior year (2010-2011) saw him play 14 games, where he exploded for 1,120 receiving yards, logging 12 scores. On the defensive side of the ball he made nine tackles with one interception and one pass defensed.
The 5-foot-11, 194-pounder was challenged by an auspicious beginning at Oregon State University, sustaining a knee injury in just his second fall appearance in his freshman year. Scott finally took the field in 2013 as a rotational player behind Rashaad Reynolds, notching an interception and a forced fumble along with nine tackles.
Then came 2014, the year Scott decided to really change things up. Scott tried out for and won the vacated starting cornerback spot. The results were 43 tackles, which included two tackles for loss, in 12 starts. His senior year at OSU wasn’t as productive, notching an additional 20 tackles (2 TFL). An ankle injury in late October limited him the next two games, ultimately causing him to miss the reminder of the season.
Scott will be facing heavy competition later this month for a spot on the team. To be sure, fourth-year man Steve Williams is looking to build on his 19 tackles, two interceptions season last year. Former practice squad player Richard Crawford (Oceanside High) is eyeing permanency, as is Greg Ducre. Second-year man Craig Mager is in the mix, also. Rounding out the rookie corners with aspirations to make the 53-man roster that Scott has to compete against are Terrell Chestnut and Trevor Williams.
Certainly, defensive coordinator John Pagano and secondary coach Ron Milus will have their hands full in the film room watching how each of these young men perform in drills. Who makes the cut versus practice-squad designation or is ultimately released will be determined by the end of the preseason. Some will see their dream reach fruition, while others will not be so lucky.
Larry Scott has the skills and abilities to be one of those who makes it through. He just has to continue on the path that has gotten him this far. I think he makes it.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments!
As soon as they hung up the phone after the seventh round selection in the NFL Draft the San Diego Chargers busily started making calls to sign their undrafted free agent class. Twenty players have been signed to compete for roster spots. Here is the full list.
Mike Berkovici QB, Arizona State
Terrell Chestnut CB, West Virginia
Kenneth Farrow RB, Houston
Tyler Johnstone OT, Oregon
Sebastian Johansson G, Marshall
Jamaal Jones WR, Montana
Chris Landrum OLB, Jacksonville State
Mike McQueen G, Ohio
Adrian McDonald S, Houston
Tyler Marcordes OLB, Georgia Tech
Spencer Pulley C, Vanderbilt
Shaq Pettway LB, West Virginia
Zeth Ramsay OT, Colorado Mesa
Deandre Reaves WR, Marshall
Jay Rome TE, Georgia
Larry Scott CB, Oregon State
Chris Swain RB, Navy
Dominique Williams WR, Washington State
Trevor Williams CB, Penn State
Carlos Wray DE, Duke
Unless you’re a college football aficionado most of these names are unfamiliar but there are a handful of names here to keep an eye on. Living in Phoenix, I have seen Mike Berkovici in person and he is a great story of hard work and perseverance. Instead of transferring schools when ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly was getting all the on-field time, Berkovici stayed true to his team and supported Kelly. After finally getting his starting opportunity when Kelly was injured at the beginning of the 2014 season, Berkovici led the Sun Devils to a 5-1 record including hanging a 510-yard, 5-touchdown game on USC on the road. Check out the clip below of the 2016 Cactus Bowl shootout against West Virginia.
Berkovici had a breakout season in 2015 where he took over the reins for the departed Kelly. Last season he went 318-531 for 3,855 yards, 30 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also ran for 347 yards and 6 touchdowns. Berkovici had three games last season where he threw for 395 yards or more. In each he had at least four touchdowns. I was in attendance when ASU hosted the Oregon Ducks in what turned into a 61-55 3-overtime shootout. Berkovici went 32-53 for 398 yards and 5 touchdowns in a controversial loss.
Calling my shot here. Berkovici will make the team.
Another diamond in the rough could be Adrian McDonald out of Houston. Semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe award (given to the top defensive back), McDonald (5″11′, 205 lbs.) is a playmaker and legitimate ball hawk, swiping 17 interceptions over his career at Houston.
San Diego is determined to make sure the center position is solidified this season not only with the selection of Max Tuerk in the third round but by adding Pulley in the undrafted free agent class. With his great size (6″4′, 300 lbs.) and obvious mastery of his technique (35 pancake blocks in 2015), this will be a position battle to watch this offseason.
The future is looking a lot brighter than it did a week ago.
What do you think Boltfam? Leave your thoughts below.
The Greg One