|Florida's Derrick Harvey, Cornelius Ingram hope another strong bowl game will boost NFL stock|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 28 December 2007 10:18|
Harvey had three sacks and a fumble recovery and was selected defensive MVP of the Bowl Championship Series title game against Ohio State. Ingram caught five passes for 50 yards, including three early receptions that helped the Gators take a big lead.
The two juniors are hoping to have even more success against Michigan in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday, partly because they know NFL scouts will be watching.
Harvey and Ingram are treating the game as their last with the ninth-ranked Gators (9-3). Both have petitioned the NFL's draft advisory board in hopes of finding out where they might go, and the results should be favorable.
``I hope they say the right thing,'' Harvey said. ``I think I'm ready. But I'm going to keep working. I've got one more game left before I have to make any decisions.''
Harvey, a 6-foot-4, 262-pounder from Maryland, is tied for the team lead with 14 tackles for a loss and 6 1/2 sacks this season.
He had better numbers last season, but he didn't get nearly the attention from opponents because he played alongside Jarvis Moss, Ray McDonald, Marcus Thomas and others.
That changed dramatically this year.
Harvey and safety Tony Joiner were the only returning starters on Florida's defense, and everyone knew about Harvey's pass-rushing prowess.
Quarterbacks rolled away from him. Tight ends chipped him at the line of scrimmage. Running backs stayed in the backfield to help block him.
Still, Harvey overcame it all to rank seventh in the Southeastern Conference in sacks and fifth in tackles for a loss.
``He doesn't have the 20 sacks or the 15 sacks, but Derrick Harvey, in my opinion, has had a great year,'' co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. ``He has brought a very young defensive line up to his level. He has played so well against the run. For us to be No. 1 in the SEC in rush defense, a lot of that's Derrick Harvey.''
Harvey should get a good test against Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, a projected first-round draft pick.
``He's supposed to be one of the best tackles in the country,'' said Harvey, who dominated his matchup against the Buckeyes in last year's title game. ``(I want to) show my skills on him.''
It could be tougher for Ingram to get noticed. After all, he's been overshadowed all season by Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and receivers Percy Harvin and Andre Caldwell.
Nonetheless, Ingram has 33 receptions for 491 yards and a team-leading seven touchdowns despite missing several games because of a sprained ankle.
Ingram, a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder from Hawthorne, started his Florida career as a quarterback and a guard on the basketball team.
Neither of those worked out. But he's fit in just fine at tight end, so much so that he believes he's ready for the next level.
``I am pretty confident about it,'' Ingram said. ``I'm trying not to worry about it. I'm just trying to get ready for Michigan.''
Like Harvey, Ingram hasn't quite committed to making the jump to the NFL.
``I try to go out and play every game like it's my last,'' he said. ``But like I tell people all the time, if I have to come back one more year, that's not a problem. I'm just trying to wait on the results. Then I'm going to sit down and talk to my coaches and my family.''
Although Ingram runs solid routes, has good speed for a guy his size and catches almost everything thrown his way, coach Urban Meyer said he still needs to work on his blocking to make it in the NFL.
``Playing quarterback, I never really had to touch anybody,'' Ingram said. ``Once I made the transition, it was different. I really wasn't a physical player at that time. I've gotten better, and I know I still can improve on it, though.''
He hopes to prove it against Michigan.
``I know it's a big game,'' Ingram said. ``I know a lot of NFL (scouts) are going to be there.''