Hampton reacts to going undrafted; free-agent moves include Shaw to Browns

Hampton, Quarles don’t hear their names called

dcloninger@thestate.comMay 10, 2014 

USC’s Victor Hampton

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com

The hurt was evident in Victor Hampton’s voice.

After projections and advice led him to bypass his final year of eligibility at South Carolina and the workouts seemed to keep him on the short lists of NFL teams, his phone remained silent throughout the NFL draft.

When asked if he thought he’d get a shot at the NFL with a free-agent deal, Hampton said: “I have no clue. To be honest, I really don’t want to talk about it right now.”

A day that started with so much hope ended in disappointment for Hampton and Kelcy Quarles, who each decided to go pro early after strong 2013 seasons. Neither was picked on the third and final day of the NFL draft, leaving the Gamecocks with two selections in the draft.

"Thanks for all the support obviously things didn't go the way I thought but hopefully someone will give me a chance to showcase my talent!!!" Hampton tweeted Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, Hampton said via Twitter: "Like I always say adversity builds character challenges u as a person teaches u who u are #Bestrong God bless folks."

Quarles, who didn’t respond to a phone message, tweeted that it looked like he was going to the New York Giants with a free-agent deal. Many free agents have made NFL rosters – USC’s non-drafted players can look to Terry Cousin, an undrafted player who played 12 years in the NFL.

Connor Shaw, Jimmy Legree and Chaz Sutton, three seniors considered longshots to be drafted, also were not picked. After No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney, Bruce Ellington was the lone Gamecock to hear his name called, in the fourth round by San Francisco.

Ellington, projected as a potential second-round pick, slipped to the fourth but will join a powerful offense. The 49ers, who have played in the past three NFC Championship games, can plug Ellington in as a slot receiver among Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson and tight end Vernon Davis. Ellington also joins former Gamecocks Marcus Lattimore and Chris Culliver in San Francisco.

Ellington also didn’t reply to phone messages but tweeted a video of himself receiving the call in the midst of his family. “I can’t tweet everybody back, so I just want to thank everybody!!!,” he also tweeted.

USC’s top receiver in 2013, Ellington wowed scouts with his hands and willingness to catch in traffic. He could make a splash right away as a kick returner, a spot without much sizzle during the 49ers’ recent success.

Ellington will get the chance to play his cousin, former Clemson star Andre Ellington, who plays for division rival Arizona.

The rest of USC’s players will have to rely on getting invites to free-agent tryouts.

Shaw, USC’s winningest quarterback who hoped to get a shot, tweeted that he is heading to Cleveland for a tryout.

"Overwhelmed with support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Beginning of a long journey. Couldn't be more excited," Shaw tweeted.

Senior Ronald Patrick tweeted that he will be trying out with Dallas.

There were multiple reports that Jimmy Legree (Seattle) and Chaz Sutton (Tampa) also would receive a free-agent shot.

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