MOBILE, Ala. — No, Ethan Pocic said, he did not expect to play every single one of the South team’s offensive snaps Saturday in the Senior Bowl.
“One of the guards had an ankle injury,” Pocic said. “Someone had to double up and rotate. I was feeling good. (They) thought I was doing a good job so I stayed in.”
Pocic, LSU’s All-American center and a three-year starter, split his time at center and left guard during the South’s 16-15 win at Ladd Peebels Stadium. Pocic filled in for hobbled Tennessee State guard Jessamen Dunker after starting as the South’s center.
Pocic was on the field for all 63 of the South’s snaps, including extra-points and field goals, serving as the team’s left end on those units.
“Honestly, LSU prepared me for that moment,” he said in interviews after the game. “Playing guard at LSU, coach (Jeff) Grimes moved us around. I didn’t play much guard during the week (at the Senior Bowl). Here in there a little bit. It's one of those things. LSU prepared me.”
Pocic is among the highest projected of all of LSU’s draft-eligible players. Some, like Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, believe he could even leak into the first round.
Did this week help? He won’t know until later, but he’s not expecting a big increase or decrease in his draft value.
“From what I’ve heard, Senior Bowl can help you or not help you about 5 percent,” Pocic said. “They say 85 (percent) is off the tape. Senior Bowl can help you 5 or lose you 5. Scouts want to see you in person so it’s a good opportunity to get in front of the scouts. ... Honestly, I thought I made the most of my opportunity. I went 110 percent every day.”
Bringing the party
Dwayne Thomas wasn’t late to the party. He brought it.
The former LSU defensive back was the latest addition to this year’s Senior Bowl, flying in from his training facility in Arizona on Friday morning and arriving at the team hotel around noon Friday — just 24 hours before kickoff to the game.
His LSU teammates were happy to see him. Thomas is the life of the party — on and off the field.
“Real funny. Funny guy,” receiver Travin Dural said laughing. “Comes in with a bunch of jokes. It was a good, fun time once he got there.”
Thomas replaced LSU’s Tre’Davious White, who sprained his ankle during Wednesday’s practice. Thomas played more than two-thirds of the snaps for the South team, playing out wide at cornerback. His receiver, targeted about eight times, caught three passes. Thomas was also flagged for holding.
None of it stopped him from a few on-field antics.
“That’s him,” Dural said. “He’s a competitor, a talker. That’s what he does day in and day out no matter the situation or the game we’re playing.”
Duke vs. Debo
Duke Riley watched former teammate Deion Jones shine in last year’s Senior Bowl.
His goal entering the week: be just as good.
He was better, at least statistically.
Riley led the South team with seven tackles Saturday, one better than Jones had a year ago in this game. The similarities between Jones and Riley’s paths are well-documented.
They were both LSU weakside linebackers who waited three long years before starting for the Tigers as seniors. They put up similar numbers as seniors and both wore the same jersey number (0) at this event.