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Seniors looking to improve draft stock


MOBILE, Ala. - The South team held its first practice Monday on the outskirts of Mobile at Fairhope Stadium. The fringe location was appropriate considering many of the players on the team have a lot of draft stock riding on a week of workouts led by San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan.

Take Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan, who ended the season getting steamrolled 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

{QUOTE}In that game, Brennan struggled with his mobility and decision making under pressure.

The quarterback (6-3, 190) played in a spread scheme with simplified reads and now he has to show that he possesses the arm strength and poise to lead any type of offense at the highest level.

"Because of the conference that I played in and the system that I came from there are a lot of question marks," Brennan said. "I know that people want to see what type of person that I am. For me, it's huge. I couldn't afford to miss an opportunity like this. I'm just trying to make the best of it, take advantage and talk to as many people as possible and then showcase that I can play under center and that I'm not a system quarterback.

"I'm a guy that can do anything – rise or fall. It's all up to me."

Brennan rebounded from several misfires during practice Monday and began connecting with receivers late in the day. He will spend most of the week backing up Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson.

Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice (5-11, 207) spent the 2004 season playing behind Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma before transferring schools. Choice recorded 1,379 yards rushing last season and could turn in a breakthrough performance this week if he continues to run hard, make sharp cuts behind the line of scrimmage and finish runs with speed.

"They didn't think I was really fast, so I really want to demonstrate that this week," Choice said. "You've got to be strong from the waist down. That's going to be big as far as squatting and doing certain things to break tackles. That is always the key in playing the game of football."

Kendall Langford (6-6, 294), a defensive end out of Hampton, got his bid to the Senior Bowl after dominating the East-West Shrine Game a week earlier in Houston.

Langford, much like Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones, was the most-hyped player coming out of the Shrine Game. Now, Langford gets to showcase his talents in front of a larger, more prestigious crowd.

"I was showing power moves," Langford said. "I was using a bull rush. I was just trying to be more aggressive than my opponent and dominate them.

"I'm excited that I got the chance to come out here and compete and show that I can compete. I think that it can't do anything but help me get better and better."

Heath Benedict (6-5, 332) entered the practice a virtual unknown as an offensive lineman out of Division II Newberry College in South Carolina. However, Benedict's stock was already on the rise after one workout.

The offensive lineman, who transferred from Tennessee after his freshman year and recovered from a serious leg injury, talked to a bevy of scouts about his impressive performance during individual drills. Benedict acknowledged that he needs to improve his hand work, but pro evaluators were impressed with his footwork and balance.

"It's (Senior Bowl) everything coming from a Division II school," Benedict said. "The level of competition is very important. Coming in here and proving that I can play with the big guys is what this is all about."

Other players from the South team with a lot on the line are Tulane running back Matt Forte and Troy defensive back Leondis McKelvin.

Forte (6-1, 219) has been compared to Sammy Morris of the New England Patriots, but teams wonder if he has the second gear to break open runs in the open field.

McKelvin (5-11, 186) is a quick-twitch athlete with a slender frame. The concern is that his frame may be too slight for the NFL.

Only time - specifically, a week of practices – will help determine where these seniors will land in the draft.

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