MOBILE, Ala. -- Midway through Senior Bowl week, we have gathered more information about players who never made it to Mobile or are no longer here.
The reason Michigan State RB Javon Ringer is not here is that he recently had his knee scoped. After speaking to a source close to the situation Wednesday, we now know Ringer's recovery is ahead of schedule and he's expected to be full go for next month's combine workouts in Indianapolis.
Seven other players of note decided either not to come or to leave for reasons outside of injuries. They are Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry, Virginia OT Eugene Monroe, Baylor OT Jason Smith, Texas DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, Ohio State DB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State MLB James Laurinaitis and Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson.
The absence of these seven players is noticeable and it has made this one of the most disappointing turnouts in recent Senior Bowl history through no fault of the Senior Bowl staff. With few exceptions, the staff selected and invited the right prospects, in our opinion. The problem is agents appear to be steering their players away from this game. The most logical reason for this decision is they don't want their players to risk getting injured, but it's a mistake, especially for Laurinaitis and Johnson.
Although Laurinaitis projects himself as a fierce competitor, he's not here to compete with USC's linebackers, and scouts are wondering whether he has something to hide. Johnson is in an even more precarious situation. Scouts questioned his dedication to the game before this week, and now he appears to be hiding behind a minor shoulder injury. Meanwhile, other defensive linemen such as Northern Illinois' Larry English and Boston College's B.J. Raji have capitalized on the opportunity with outstanding overall performances.
Unfortunately, injuries have occurred over the course of the week, as well. Cincinnati CB Mike Mickens tried to play through a lingering knee injury but clearly wasn't himself, so the decision was made to send him home. North Carolina WR Brooks Foster has been knocked out by an undisclosed injury, and Washington State WR Brandon Gibson left this morning's practice with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. It's unlikely he'll return.
Georgia WR Mohamed Massaquoi missed this afternoon's practice with an ankle injury, and it's unlikely he'll return. Tennessee RB Arian Foster finished practice, but it appears that he suffered a right leg injury at some point in practice. Far more worrying, Tennessee OT Ramon Foster was carted off with a left knee injury.
That said, this is football and when one player goes down with an injury, that creates an opportunity for another. Florida State WR Greg Carr, Oklahoma WR Manuel Johnson and Michigan CB Morgan Trent already have been added to the roster and given the opportunity to impress NFL scouts. More additions are likely to come Thursday.
Those who are here have done their best to impress. Here are some players who stood out or struggled in Wednesday's practice.