The Indianapolis Colts today signed six draft picks, including guard Hugh Thornton, center/guard Khaled Holmes, defensive tackle Montori Hughes, safety John Boyett, running back Kerwynn Williams and tight end Justice Cunningham. The team also signed undrafted free agent center Rick Schmeig.
Thornton played in 42 career games at Illinois, making 35 starts at both guard and tackle. He helped lead the team to back-to-back bowl victories in 2010 (Texas Bowl) and 2011 (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl). As a senior in 2012, Thornton started 10-of-11 games, earning All-Big Ten second-team honors by the league’s coaches and an honorable mention selection by the media. He also earned the Illinois Point Award as the team’s top offensive lineman.
Holmes appeared in 40 games (37 starts) at center and guard at USC. In two seasons at center, he called blocking assignments for an offensive line that yielded only 25.0 quarterback sacks during that 24-game span. As a senior in 2012, Holmes started all 12 games and was an All-America honorable mention selection by Sports Illustrated and a consensus All-Pac-12 Conference first-team choice. He was also selected as USC’s Offensive Lineman of the Year and was the recipient of the Trojan Football Alumni Club Award, given to the player with the best grade point average.
Hughes played two seasons at Tennessee before transferring to UT Martin for his final two years. For his career, he appeared in 47 games (23 starts) and recorded 109 tackles (46 solo), 5.0 sacks, 18.0 tackles for loss and 22 quarterback pressures. As a senior in 2012 at UT Martin, Hughes earned All-America second-team honors from The Sports Network and was an All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team choice. For the season, he tallied 42 tackles (20 solo), 4.0 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback pressures and a pass deflection.
Boyett appeared in 40 games (35 starts) over his career at Oregon and totaled 278 tackles (182 solo), 30 passes defensed, 10 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and a half of a sack. As a junior in 2011, he earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors by Phil Steele and was a second-team choice according to Pac-12 coaches. He was also an All-America honorable mention selection from Pro Football Weekly. As a freshman in 2009, Boyett finished with a team-high 90 stops, which earned him Freshman All-America first-team honors from CollegeFootballNews.com and Phil Steele. In addition, he became Oregon’s first freshman to lead the Ducks in tackles since defensive records were first accumulated in 1969.
Williams finished seventh in Utah State history with 2,515 rushing yards while ranking fifth in yards per carry (6.6) and seventh in rushing touchdowns (22). He also caught 64 passes for 870 yards (13.6 avg.) and five touchdowns, totaled 135 punt return yards on 11 attempts (12.3 avg.) and returned 135 kickoffs for 3,408 yards, the fourth-most by an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision player. As a senior in 2012, Williams earned All-America honorable mention honors from Sports Illustrated after leading the conference and ranking 13th in the nation in rushing with 116.3 yards per game. He caught a career-high 45 passes and his 697 receiving yards marked the most ever by a Utah State running back in a season. In addition, he became the first player in WAC history to gain 2,000 all-purpose yards in multiple seasons (2,042 in 2010).
Cunningham recorded 50 receptions for 581 yards and one touchdown in 53 games played (23 starts) at South Carolina. In 2012, he was named a team captain and finished the year with career highs of 23 receptions for 324 yards. In South Carolina’s victory over Tennessee, he totaled career highs of six receptions for 108 yards, including a career-long 45-yard reception.
Schmeig, 6-3, 305 pounds, played in 45 games, making 29 starts on the offensive line at Purdue University. Over his final two seasons, he started all 26 games at center. As a senior in 2012, Schmeig helped block for the offense to record 3,100 passing yards, the team’s highest total since 2007. In 2011, he started all 13 games and was part of an offensive line that cleared the way for 11 100-yard rushing performances.
Posted in Colts Blog
In my 29th years here, I have come across hundreds of players, some staying a long while and others departing after a short stay.
A.Q. Shipley left the team today when we traded him to Baltimore.
I will be the first to admit I didn’t notice him too much early on last year or go by his locker to speak with him until early in the regular season.
When I did go by, it was after a game where he came in and played well in the clutch. It was something he did a few times last year, and I started going by his locker a little more frequently.
A.Q. always had time for a visitor. He always had a moment for a conversation, and he put effort and insight into his answers.
A.Q. is not the only guy in our locker room like that, and certainly there have been a few like him here through the years – regular guys playing a prominent sport.
A.Q. came here as a free agent who was signed by Ryan Grigson. Ryan noted a time or two the grittiness on the line last year. It was a tough year for injuries on the unit, and A.Q. was one of many who stood up.
He came to Indianapolis after being drafted in 2009 by Pittsburgh and spending time on the practice squad there and in Philadelphia.
To get a conditional draft pick for a player who joined your team as a free agent is a nice stroke for a personnel guy like Ryan.
A personnel-savvy organization like Baltimore obviously sees something in him, too.
A good trade is one that is a win-win for both sides. I think this one could be.
A.Q.’s locker was not cleaned out when I went back to see him for maybe the final time late this morning. I missed him later on when he left the building.
He may never read this, but it doesn’t matter. Colts fans will see it, and I wanted them to know A.Q. is a cool guy. He’s a grinder, and I wish him well.
I just felt like writing it. That is what a blog is for.
Tags: A.Q. Shipley, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
The Indianapolis Colts today announced three promotions in its scouting department, including Matt Terpening as a national scout, Dave Razzano as a senior scout and Mike Derice as an area scout (Northeast region). The team also announced that Jamie Moore, an area scout, will now focus on the Southeast region and Mickey Berce will join the team as a scouting assistant.
Terpening enters his 16th season in the Colts’ scouting department after spending the past 13 years as an area scout. He joined the team as a public relations summer intern in 1997 before transitioning to the scouting department. Terpening graduated from Xavier University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management.
“Matt has a ton of experience and is respected league-wide,” said Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson. “He has put in the time and has been all in since day one around the complex. Matt is very deserving of this promotion and we feel we will be stronger as a staff because of it.”
Razzano enters his second season with the Colts and holds 23 years of scouting experience, which includes stints with the San Francisco 49ers (1988-1992), St. Louis Rams (1992-2006) and Arizona Cardinals (2006-09). He assisted in building teams that have won three Super Bowls and five NFC Championships while working with the likes of legendary head coaches, Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Jon Gruden, Mike Holmgren, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil.
“Dave is our most experienced scout and has been part of many championship teams, including a dynasty in San Francisco,” said Grigson. “His passion combined with his deep catalog of players he can reference is a key component during the draft process. We are fortunate to have him.”
Derice enters his second season with the Colts after starting as a scouting assistant in 2012. Prior to joining the team, he served as director of football operations (2009-2012) and special assistant to the athletics director (2008-2009) at Stony Brook University. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Derice graduated from Stony Brook with a bachelor’s degree in health care management in 2008.
“Mike came in here and had an outstanding first year for us in the department,” said Grigson. “He is going back home to the Northeast, which is a natural fit for him. With his work ethic and college contacts we look forward to him finding us players in an often overlooked region.”
Moore starts his eighth season in the Colts’ scouting department and will now focus on the Southeast region. He enters his fifth year as an area scout after starting with the team as a scouting assistant from 2006-08. Moore served as a recruiting assistant at Ball State from 2004-05 after graduating from Tiffin (Ohio) University with a bachelor’s degree in sport management.
“Jamie is a glass half full guy out there on the road that has paid his dues,” said Grigson. “He has consistently beaten the bushes day in and day out for us in the Northeast and no matter what, he is always at the ready to give me a name. We are looking forward to him channeling his passion and energy down in the hotbed that is the Southeast.”
Berce joins the Colts after spending the past two seasons as a player personnel assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs. He also spent one season (2010) as an intern in player development and operations with the Detroit Lions. Berce graduated from Wayne State University with a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in sports administration.
Posted in Colts Blog
The Indianapolis Colts today traded center A.Q. Shipley to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Shipley joined the Colts in January of 2012 and appeared in 14 games (five starts) last season. He started his first career game against Green Bay in Week 5 and added his second start of the year at Jacksonville in Week 10. Shipley concluded the regular season having started the final three games at center en route to the team’s AFC Wild Card Playoff appearance.
Posted in Colts Blog
This time of year NFL rosters are changing on almost a daily basis and that was the case for the Colts on Thursday morning.
The Colts acquired a conditional pick in the 2014 NFL Draft from the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for center A.Q. Shipley.
How does this trade impact the Colts?
From a pick standpoint, this gives the Colts another selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Getting that additional pick helps offset a trade in this year’s draft where the Colts moved into the fifth round (to select Montori Hughes) by giving up a 2013 fourth round selection.
Colts GM Ryan Grigson has shown that some of his strongest picks have come on the later days of the draft so another pick provides a chance to potentially nab the next Vick Ballard or LaVon Brazill.
Losing Shipley at the center position means that 2012 fourth round pick Khaled Holmes will be counted on this season.
Last year, Shipley was a vital cog along the interior of the Colts offensive line, starting five games and filling in at both the guard and center position.
Starting center Samson Satele is back and after that it’s Holmes that will challenge the seven-year veteran for playing time.
The Colts still have ample depth along the interior of the offensive line and this move indicates that the personnel department feels very comfortable with the potential of Holmes and fellow rookie Hugh Thornton.
Tags: A.Q. Shipley, Hugh Thornton, khaled holmes
Posted in Colts Blog
Each morning Colts.com will take a look at the top headlines surrounding the Indianapolis Colts from around the globe. What is the local and national media saying about the Colts?
Take a look below at the top five pieces from Thursday, May 9th:
By: Eric Ivie, Yahoo! Sports
Ivie breaks down the 10 receivers that are currently on the Colts roster.
He points out that the Colts have just two receivers with more than two years of experience in the NFL (Reggie Wayne and Darrius Heyward-Bey).
It will be an extremely competitive summer for this Colts position group as one would think that second-year receivers T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill have a firm grip on their roster spots (along with Wayne and Heyward-Bey).
The final few spots at the receiver position will be up for grabs with returnees Griff Whalen and Nathan Palmer competing with four newcomers to complete a position group that has a variety of options.
By: Mike Chappel, Indianapolis Star
At 10:00 a.m. this morning, the Colts will have 1,000 upper-level season tickets for sale to the public.
The season ticket sales for the Colts have been in high demand this offseason.
Fans can head to www.colts.com to take a virtual tour of Lucas Oil Stadium and see the seats remaining.
To purchase tickets, fans can either go online to www.colts.com or call (317) 299-4946.
Tags: darrius heyward-bey, Griff Whalen, LaVon Brazill, nathan palmer, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
The kick returner position last year for the Indianapolis Colts was a revolving door.
Over the course of 16 games, eight different players returned kickoffs with 10 returns being the highest for any of the Colts returnees (Cassius Vaughn).
The unit finally struck gold in the final week of the regular season when Deji Karim, three weeks removed from valet parking cars, took a kickoff back 101 yards against the Houston Texans.
Returns like that are something head coach Chuck Pagano wants to see at a more frequent rate in 2013 and the Colts took a step in that direction late in April’s NFL Draft.
Kerwynn Williams accounted for 3,392 kickoff returns yards in his first three seasons at Utah State and that electricity will undoubtedly be tried on special teams over the next few months.
“(Williams) had I think (135) returns and the next closest guy that we evaluated was at like 90, and he averaged over 25 yards per kickoff return,” Pagano said following the selection of Williams in the seventh round.
“We saw last game of the year what a kickoff return can do for you in the Houston game. It turned that whole thing around and blew that thing open when Deji returned that and this kid (Williams) can do that all day.”
In his first year as a starting running back at Utah State, Williams, who played behind a pair of future NFL running backs, did it all.
He rushed for 1,512 yards and also caught 45 passes for 697 yards and a total of 20 touchdowns.
Kickoff return duties had to be given up in 2012, in order to carry the load offensively, but Williams knows what will get him onto the Colts roster this fall.
“I can contribute on special teams so I think that’s a big thing that I want to look to establish myself on and I’m definitely excited to have the opportunity to come up there,” Williams said.
“I’m just looking to get up there and help the team in any way I can, whether it be returning kicks or covering kicks. I’m just trying to do my part to help make the team better.”
During the draft process, the Colts sent members of their personnel department and assistant special teams coach Brant Boyer out west to scout the elusive Williams.
It was a surprise to many in the Colts war room that Williams, Indianapolis’ No. 1 kick returner, was available come pick No. 230.
This weekend all the coaches will get a first hand look at what exactly goes into one of college football’s most dynamic playmakers.
“He brings a wrinkle to this team that could really help us and that’s as a returner. He’s exciting to watch as a runner and as a returner,” Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said.
“We’re happy to get him because he fills a tremendous need and he’s also got some real value on third down.”
Tags: Brant Boyer, chuck pagano, Deji Karim, kerwynn williams, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog