Thank goodness for statistical analysis and advanced performance metrics. There are so many brilliant sports geniuses out there, breaking down the numbers, finding patterns, improving our ability to bet on the NFL. But we need balance in our lives. We need speculation, rumor and conjecture. We need hot gossip.
Seriously. It doesn’t matter if Player A ranked first in DVOA at his position last year if he’s about to go to jail. We have to evaluate these people for their behavior off the field, and while the gossip rags aren’t known for their journalistic credibility, at least they’ve got eyes everywhere these days, waiting to take a picture of someone famous doing something stupid. Let’s take advantage.
It’s already been a rough year for the upcoming NFL Draft. The three top quarterback prospects have all seen their stock tumble in recent weeks, and now three NFL prospects from the South Carolina Gamecocks have seen their road to glory take an unwanted detour. The scene: New York City, and the Greenhouse nightclub in SoHo. It’s an environmentally friendly experience – provided the environment in question isn’t your face.
The incident: According to the New York Daily News, police want to talk to DT Kelcy Quarles and CB Victor Hampton in relation to last Friday’s attack on a Brooklyn club promoter, who was reportedly hit in the face with a hookah and beaten up. The victim’s lawyer claims Quarles and Hampton were involved in the attack, which landed his client in the hospital with severe facial injuries.
If that weren’t bad enough, South Carolina DE Chaz Sutton suffered a minor stab wound to the back when he was attacked outside the club about an hour after the original incident. Sutton reportedly didn’t even realize he’d been stabbed when police questioned him. All three Gamecocks were in New York (along with QB Connor Shaw) to do a photo shoot for ESPN The Magazine.
At least they went to the right place for action. Greenhouse has been known to host the occasional brawl, and if you go downstairs to the W.i.P. nightclub, you’ll find the place where Drake and Chris Brown (and their entourages) ended up throwing bottles at each other in 2012, presumably over Rihanna. Good times.
Quarles is getting most of the attention in this story, being the most talented prospect involved. He was named first-team All-SEC last year after leading the Gamecocks with 9.5 sacks and another 13.5 tackles for a loss. Quarles is ranked No. 8 by ESPN among all prospects at defensive tackle; he was projected to go in the third or fourth round at the draft before last Friday’s incident hit the papers.
Hampton could see his draft stock disappear altogether. ESPN had him ranked No. 12 among cornerbacks as we went to press; Hampton has enough physical presence to be selected in the third round, but he’s already got a long history of uncivil disobedience. He was expelled from two different high schools for underage drinking, and the Gamecocks dismissed Hampton from the team at one point because of poor academic performance.
Sutton finds himself much farther down the list at No. 35 among defensive ends, but his work ethic is sound, he completed his degree in hospitality management, and most importantly, he hasn’t beaten anyone up that we know about. Friday’s incident shouldn’t have much drag on Sutton’s draft position – he could certainly make it into the sixth round. Now let’s hope that Sutton’s partner on the Gamecocks D-line, Jadeveon Clowney, doesn’t end up involved in this somehow. Tell him to stick to Tribeca.