Following Ace Sanders' decision to enter the 2013 NFL Draft, many onlookers pointed to his size and lack of straight-line speed as reasons that, despite his penchant for making eye-popping plays in college, Sanders might not ever amount to much at the next level. But entering the Jaguars' game against the Texans on Thursday night, Ace had become an increasingly large part of the Jacksonville offense, hauling in 20 catches in the previous three games.
That set the stage for Sanders to throw this touchdown pass on Thursday night against Houston.
Yep. The No. 36 that you see failing to defend Sanders' pass to Jordan Todman is the same No. 36 who patrolled the secondary from 2010 to 2013 while accumulating the most badass personal fouls imaginable. Unfortunately for our beloved D.J. Swearinger, this was one of a number of plays in which he did not look particularly great on Thursday night. Earlier in the game, the Jaguars picked up an important first down when Swearinger interfered with Sanders' attempt to catch a pass from Chad Henne and would later pick up a personal foul without redeeming himself by scoring a pick-six, as he was known to do at South Carolina. Still, Swearinger is starting as rookie, and we know from his four years in Columbia that no one will work harder to improve his game.
But back to Ace. That play should look familiar to you because it's something that we saw him do on several occasions when he was at South Carolina.
The 2010 Chick-fil-a Bowl:
And the 2012 ECU game:
Between Alshon Jeffery's breakout season with Chicago and Ace Sanders steadily coming along with the Jaguars, it's been a pretty strong year for Gamecocks in the NFL. And with Marcus Lattimore on the mend and South Carolina getting ready to graduate another strong crop of NFL talent, it's something that we should be seeing a lot more of in coming seasons.