Tommy Galt has never been a quarterback, but on the most important day in the professional lives of several former South Carolina football players, Galt was the one pulling the trigger.
The Gamecocks assistant strength coach was thrust into the duty Wednesday at the team’s pro day because of the NFL lockout, which left South Carolina without options.
In th past, the Gamecocks have used former quarterbacks to throw to their draft-eligible receivers and running backs, however, all those players are technically considered free agents and can’t work out in front of NFL scouts during the lockout.
This year’s pro day was limited to first-time draft eligible players and without a quarterback that qualified, the Gamecocks were left with Galt, who started seven games at tight end for Maryland in 2009.
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“It was different, but that’s life,” wide receiver Tori Gurley said. “Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. It just showed the scouts I can be a chameleon and just do what I need to do to get the job done. He threw well. Tommy did a great job.”
Galt learned a week ago that he was being drafted for the job.
“We tried to get a couple guys to do it,” he said. “I have been throwing to our guys in the offseason so my name got tossed in there, and it ended up being me. I just tried to do my best to make sure the guys had the best opportunity. They gave me some grief leading up to it. I told them it’d be fine as long as they took care of their business.”
The NFL lockout not only threw a wrench in some plans Wednesday, it could be a big problem for several former USC players when the draft is complete. That’s when teams would sign undrafted players to free-agent deals.
The lockout will prevent that. That means the Gamecocks who are not drafted could wait months to learn if they will get a shot with a pro team.
“That’s a big concern just because that’s probably going to be the situation for me,” running back Brian Maddox said, “but I’ll just stay in shape and be waiting on a call.”
ESPN.com’s draft analysts have Chris Culliver graded as a fifth-round draft pick, but that’s not what Culliver is hearing, he said Wednesday.
Scouts “say looking at film, I am definitely a first-rounder, but with everything going into it, pretty much second round or whatever,” Culliver said. “I’ll just take whatever they give me on draft day.”
Jarriel King grew up a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but if the Steelers’ biggest rivals call, he’ll definitely be listening, he said.
“If the Ravens and Browns call, I will take their call and say, ‘What’s going on?’ I’m not going to turn anyone down,” he said. “I just want an opportunity to get out there and work and show everybody I am back at the top of my position.”
Pro Day sights and sounds
Cliff Matthews, Tori Gurley, Patrick DiMarco and Brian Maddox