>> NFL draft expert Chris Steuber reports at his Web site that scouts from the New Your Giants will be in attendance. This is the second consecutive week a Giants scout will attend an Arizona game. Could the Giants be interested in UA quarterback Matt Scott or wide receiver Dan Buckner?
Prospects to watch (* denotes junior): Arizona: Buckner, SS *Marquis Flowers, CB *Shaquille Richardson, Scott and FB/DE Taimi Tutogi. South Carolina State: FS Jakar Hamilton, RB Asheton Jordan.
— The Bulldogs have only one former player in the NFL in rookie free safety Christian Thompson with Baltimore. Thompson was a fourth-round selection by the Ravens in April. Last year, two other former South Carolina State defensive backs were in the NFL: Phillip Adams, cornerback with Oakland who was cut by Seattle this preseason, and Rafael Bush, a safety with New Orleans who was released by Denver earlier this month.
Other former Bulldogs who did not survive NFL cuts this preseason: Marshall McFadden, linebacker, Pittsburgh; Dominique Ellis, safety, Kansas City; James Lee, offensive lineman, Washington; and linebacker Donovan Richard, Jacksonville.
— The Bulldogs have another potential NFL prospect in the defensive secondary with safety Jakar Hamilton, who is no stranger to big-game conditions. Hamilton transferred to South Carolina State from Georgia after starting five games and playing in all 13 games with the Bulldogs in 2010. Georgia won a recruiting battle with Alabama — yes Nick Saban wanted him — for his services coming out of the Georgia Military Academy in 2009.
He was given the nickname “Hitman” at Georgia for his tackling ability.
Hamilton, from Johnston, S.C., nursed a stress fracture in his lower right leg last season. He was to miss the season with Georgia because of the injury. He transferred because he believed others would fill his spot with him out and replace him on the depth chart.
He has nine tackles, seven unassisted, and has broken up a pass against Georgia State and Bethune-Cookman this season.
— NFLDraftScout.com, via CBSSports.com, lists Hamilton as the 23rd-best safety prospect in the country.
According to NFLDraftScout.com, the Wildcats’ top four senior prospects remain Buckner (projected to go in the fifth round), Scott (sixth or seventh round), Tutogi and wide receiver Terrence Miller.
One Web site this week went so far as to ask if Scott is the best Pac-12 quarterback, ahead of USC’s Matt Barkley. Scott is tied for the most total yards in the nation with 836, and he means the world to Arizona, but in terms of NFL potential, Barkley is miles ahead. Barkley could be the No. 1 pick taken in the draft because of his accuracy, above-average arm strength, ability to look off defenses and leadership qualities.
What about the Scott-to-Austin Hill connection compared to the Barkley-to-Marqise Lee hookup? Hill has 12 receptions for 263 yards, tying Lee for the most receiving yards in the Pac-12.
— Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen writes today in his Mr. Football column — by the way, I have been privileged to meet Mr. Football — that South Carolina State’s NFL alumni tops Arizona’s top NFL talent.
Hard to argue that. Hansen lists Deacon Jones, Harry Carson, Donnie Shell and Marion Motley as South Carolina State greats.
The Bulldogs also featured defensive end Barney Chavous, who played with the Denver Broncos from 1973-85. He ranks third in Denver’s career sacks list with 77. Also, former defensive end Robert Porcher, who played with the Detroit Lions from 1992-2004, was a three-time Pro Bowl selection in 1998, 2000 and 2002.
South Carolina State does not have mass quantity when it comes to NFL talent, but the quality of those who have succeeded in the pros is as impressive as any school.
ACTIVE NFL PLAYER FROM SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
>> Christian Thompson, free safety, Baltimore
TOP FIVE FORMER ARIZONA PLAYERS IN THE NFL
1. Rob Gronkowski, tight end, New England
2. Lance Briggs, linebacker, Chicago
3. Mike Thomas, wide receiver, Jacksonville
4. Antoine Cason, cornerback, San Diego
5. Brooks Reed, linebacker, Houston
RELATED LINKS TO THE OKLAHOMA STATE-ARIZONA GAME:
— Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com lists his five things to watch in tonight’s game. One of the most interesting elements is the potential of backup quarterback B.J. Denker, a junior-college transfer, to get some reps if the Wildcats pull away. Also, as Gimino points out, Arizona did not sack Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt last week despite Lunt’s 60 passing attempts. South Carolina State has allowed only two sacks in games against Georgia State and Bethune-Cookman.
— Jessie Vanderson, a journalist based in Tucson, writes a story for the South Carolina State Web site that details the respect Arizona players have for historically black universities such as South Carolina State. He writes about Arizona cornerback Jonathon McKnight following the Grambling State and Louisiana Southern programs while growing up in Louisiana. Vanderson also details Hill’s father, former NFL standout David Hill, playing for Texas A&M — a school that in the 1950s did not allow African-Americans on the roster.
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner