Former All-American Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker and Maxwell Award winner Manti Te'o will be one of three non-quarterbacks to participate in Jon Gruden's QB Camp television segment. The popular program is entering its fourth season under the guidance of Gruden, a former NFL head coach and current Monday Night Football analyst for ESPN.
Bill Hofheimer of ESPN confirmed the complete list of participants on Thursday in a breakdown of what the show has in store this time around:
• Matt Barkley (USC)
• Tyler Bray (Tennessee)
• Zac Dysert (Miami, OH)
• Mike Glennon (N.C. State)
• Landry Jones (Oklahoma)
• EJ Manuel (Florida State)
• Ryan Nassib (Syracuse)
• Geno Smith (West Virginia)
• Tyler Wilson (Arkansas)
The series will also include a trio of non-quarterbacks:
• Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M), the 2012 Outland Trophy winner and top-five prospect at offensive tackle.
• Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina), the heralded Gamecocks running back who suffered a severe knee injury in October but hopes to play in the NFL in 2013.
• Manti Te’o (Notre Dame), the highly-touted linebacker and Heisman Trophy runner-up who led the Fighting Irish to the BCS Championship game.
Te'o led the Irish to the BCS National Championship Game, but had a relatively lackluster performance in Notre Dame's 42-14 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Otherwise, he had a sensational season that was highlighted by him racking up seven interceptions—almost unheard of for a player at Te'o's position.
Gruden played at least a small part in mentoring this past year's electric quarterback class, which included the likes of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. All three led their teams to the postseason.
The signal-callers and other players that are about to receive Gruden's assistance have to be extremely excited about what they might be able to learn from the Super Bowl-winning head coach.
Players in the past have sat through a one-on-one film session with Gruden, taking notes throughout, and recognizing some of the good plays they made in college and also diagnosing how to correct mistakes. That is then followed by an on-field workout in most cases.
This crop of quarterbacks is definitely not up to par with the one before it, but West Virginia’s Geno Smith is the headliner. The Mountaineer star did not participate in the Senior Bowl, but will take part in the full workout at the NFL Scouting Combine, according to NFL Network's Gil Brandt:
Gil Brandt @Gil_Brandt
Spoke w/ Geno Smith's rep, Jeff Nalley. Says Geno will do full workout at #NFLCombine. Good sign. Usually when one jumps in, others follow.2013-2-12 22:37:48
Between that and his appearance on Gruden's show, Smith will have plenty of chances to showcase his abilities.
Marcus Lattimore, the lone running back of the bunch, is an interesting addition to this year's participants, as he is rehabbing a gruesome knee injury suffered this past season at South Carolina. His session with the fiery coach probably won’t include a workout. However, displaying his football IQ and having a chance to speak on his own behalf about his health should only enhance his draft stock.