The unquestioned star guest at South Carolina’s Pro Day on Tuesday was New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who held private meetings with Hayden Hurst, Skai Moore and Taylor Stallworth on Monday and then watched them and the rest of the Gamecocks NFL draft-eligible players work out Tuesday.
“He’s just a normal football coach,” Hurst said. “You get in the room with him and he just talks football, asks you about plays, your offense, things like that. It’s not that crazy. At first, when I walked in, I was like, ‘That’s the guy I see on TV,’ but you get used to it after a little while.”
The Patriots pick 31st overall, which could be a potential landing spot for Hurst, the highest-profile of the South Carolina prospects this year. That could pair Hurst with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, although Gronkowski has been the subject of retirement rumors.
This week is not the first time Belichick has shown an interest in Hurst.
“I met with him in Indianapolis (at the NFL combine),” Hurst said. “He’s a pretty quiet person.”
Moore also met Belichick at the combine and then spent an hour with him Monday in Columbia reviewing film from last year’s Clemson game.
“We were just talking about life, football, my career here,” Moore said. “Just normal stuff. Cool guy. We had a great talk. Nothing too crazy. He’s real down to Earth. We just talked about the film. He said I was a good player.”
Stallworth said Belichick and Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp “are similar.”
Belichick “is more intense, but Muschamp is right around there,” Stallworth said.
One Shot To Shine
South Carolina offensive lineman Alan Knott didn’t receive an invitation to the NFL combine, so Tuesday was his only chance to work out for multiple NFL teams. Knott started 42 games at center for the Gamecocks.
“I wanted to show my athleticism, running, jumping, that’s what I wanted to show the scouts, that I had it,” Knott said Tuesday.
Knott had a 33-inch vertical leap, which he was pleased with, he said.
“Last night, I had butterflies for hours, you can’t stop it,” he said. “You constantly picture yourself running the 40, picture yourself doing the bench press, picture yourself jumping. You are thinking about it, but once you get out here and do that first thing and shake that first scout's hand, it kind of all goes away and you get into your ‘A’ game.”
Knott was disappointed with his bench press performance, he said. South Carolina did not release workout numbers from the event this year.
“I would have liked to do better on my bench,” Knott said. “That’s one of the things I’m working hard at is getting stronger. I’m definitely getting there since January in the strength field but got a long way to go, and I’ll definitely get there in the next few months.”
After registering a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, cornerback Jamarcus King knew he needed to perform better at pro day, and he did. King ran in the “low 4.5s,” he said.
“I ran pretty good with my height and length,” King said. “I was pretty solid in my drills. To be tall, I can move, and I have good hips.”
King suffered a hip flexor injury while running his 40-yard dash at the combine, he said.
“At the combine it’s worse, but in the pro day you relax, because you’re in front of your friends and family,” he said. “The combine is more business. Everything is on the go and on the clock. I would rather be here and perform in front of my family.”