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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Same old story for Ricky Elmore

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 18 Arizona Wildcats hosted the USC Trojans in a college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The visiting Trojans upset the Cats 21-24.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 18 Arizona Wildcats hosted the USC Trojans in a college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The visiting Trojans upset the ‘Cats 21-24.

Every April, millions of fans and hundreds of draft hopefuls huddle around their television sets to watch the NFL draft unfold.

This year, Ricky Elmore may not be one of them.

“”I don’t even know if I’m going to watch it,”” Elmore said. “”I’ll probably just go to the gym or something.””

It’s not that Elmore doesn’t care about where he’ll start his NFL career, he’s just cut from a different cloth. He doesn’t spend his time agonizing over mock drafts and isn’t interested in the experts’ opinion of his potential.

Maybe that’s because the so-called experts have always been wrong about the 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end.

“”When I came to college I wasn’t even in the top 100 in California and look at me now. I was like the 37th defensive end for California,”” Elmore said. “”What does that mean? The guys who were No. 1, what do they do?

“”These draft experts aren’t really experts, they’re just voices in the crowd trying to make a scene and make all of the drama. I just don’t really agree with the hype that people get.””

Despite leading the Pac-10 in sacks in both 2009 and 2010, Elmore is projected as a mid-to-late round pick. NFLdraftscout.com tabbed him as a sixth-round pick, Cbssports.com listed him as the 18th-best defensive end and ESPN.com slotted him as the 23rd-best defensive end.

Elmore’s thought to be too small to play defensive end in a 3-4 system, yet too slow to play outside linebacker, which is where most teams have worked him out.

But as fellow teammate and future NFL draftee Brooks Reed said, “”His film and stats speak for themselves.””

“”He deserves a lot more recognition than a lot of guys that you see in the first round,”” Reed added. “”Compare stats next to each other, they’re as good or better than some of the top guys that are being drafted.””

Reed happens to be “”one of those guys in the first round”” who Elmore out-produced through college. Elmore finished with more sacks and tackles for a loss in 2009 and 2010, yet Reed was selected first-team All-Pac-10 last season and Elmore finished his career with no such honor.

“”Ricky still gets no respect,”” said Ricky’s twin brother and former Wildcat Cory Elmore. “”They’re saying he’s going to be a fifth-round draft pick. He still gets no respect even after the success he had. Teams game-planning against him, he was getting double and triple teams and still getting 11 sacks. It’s just stupid.””

Ricky Elmore’s been underappreciated on a national stage since his high school days at Grace Brethren High School in Simi Valley, Calif. Grace Brethren switched from eight-man football to 11-man in 2002, proving Ricky Elmore certainly didn’t come from a football hotbed.

But his lack of credit has given him a chip on his shoulder that helped him become one of the Pac-10’s elite defensive players and could very well lead to a successful NFL career.

“”I don’t know why people count me out and pay attention to only 2 percent of what I’ve done, but I’m kind of happy I’m in that position because it makes me have that chip on my shoulder,”” he said. “”I think that’s kind of got me where I am.””

Reed said, “”Ricky might be surprised and might be drafted a lot higher than the media thinks,”” but barring a drastic change, Ricky Elmore won’t be drafted Thursday night, whether he’s watching or not.

Depending on how things go, he may not be selected on Friday night either. But for a player who’s been overlooked and discounted his entire football career, he’d have it no other way.

“”This is what I want to be doing. I don’t care if people like everything about me,”” Ricky Elmore said. “”I’m glad I’m not one of those guys that’s going to blow up and be a bust someday. I’m going to be one of those guys who works hard and proves people wrong.””

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