2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Boston College coach: Panthers have gem in Kuechly

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2012-04-27 17:36

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - At first glance Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly may not look like an NFL linebacker, what with his curly black hair, wire rim glasses and unassuming demeanor.

Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani knows differently.

Spaziani said Kuechly ``looks like Clark Kent and plays like Superman.''

Carolina already has one Superman impersonator on offense in quarterback Cam Newton, but could certainly use a few more on the other side of the ball.

The Panthers injury-depleted defense surrendered 26.8 points per game last season and ranked 28th in the league overall. Kuechly, who led the nation in tackles the last two seasons and won the Bronko Nagurski Award given to the nation's top defensive player this past season as a junior, looks to help change all that.

Kuechly said he has tremendous respect for the team's veteran players but thinks he can ``make an impact'' for the Panthers right away.

``I think that's probably everyone's goal - to come in and make an impact,'' said Kuechly, who was introduced at a press conference Friday in Charlotte after meeting with team owner Jerry Richardson for about an hour.

Spaziani has no doubt he will have an impact.

``His production just stands out,'' said Spaziani, who coached Kuechly for three seasons. ``You just turn on the tape. He's one of the premier players in the country. He has tremendous instincts. He has those things you can't teach.''

In fact, there have been times when Spaziani has stopped teaching Kuechly altogether.

``With him, the less coaching the better,'' he said. ``A long time ago someone told me about good linebackers - get them lined up and let them go. You tell him what to do and he goes and does it. And game in and game out he never ceased to amaze me.''

Kuechly averaged 14 tackles per game for his career and had 191 tackles last season for the Eagles.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the combination of Kuechly's size, speed and football intellect made him a ``no-brainer'' with the ninth pick.

Kuechly ran a 4.58 in the 40 at the Scouting Combines, faster than what current Panthers starting linebackers Jon Beason, Thomas Davis and James Anderson ran when they came out of college.

``We feel very satisfied with him,'' Rivera said. ``That's why it didn't take us long to turn in our card to get him."

Kuechly wasn't always a linebacker.

He arrived at Boston College weighing 215 pounds having played a hybrid linebacker-safety position in high school. Spaziani said it didn't take long to notice Kuechly's natural instincts and the Eagles quickly moved him to linebacker.

He stopped playing lacrosse, one of his favorite sports in high school, started eating appropriate foods and began working out more with trainers upon his arrival at Boston College.

He's since bulked up to 245 pounds.

``Just this past year he started to look like a real linebacker physically,'' Spaziani said.

Of the previous five players the Panthers have drafted in the first round, four were on offense, including Newton, the No. 1 overall pick a year ago.

Kuechly said he spoke to Newton on the phone Thursday night.

They met while working out earlier this offseason in Bradenton, Fla. Both are represented by the same agency and Kuechly said he's eager to be on the same sidelines with Newton, a budding NFL star.

``Cam said he's excited,'' Kuechly said. ``He said he might be around today and he's ready to get to work. He's excited to get this season going.''

So is Kuechly.

It's still unclear what linebacker position he'll play when the Panthers host a rookie minicamp in two weeks, but Kuechly doesn't seem to care. Rivera said before the draft he expects the team's first-round pick to step in and start right away, and that has Kuechly excited.

``I think anyone who goes in, they want to start,'' Kuechly said. ``I think that's the thing with football is you want to go in and play.

``They've got a lot of good guys in right now so you've got to get in there and start working and earn the respect from the older guys. Hopefully something good happens from there.''

Spaziani promises the Panthers won't be disappointed.

``The thing with Luke is he's a better person than he is a football player - and I think he's a great football player,'' Spaziani said. ``He's humble and not caught up with himself. That's why we used to tease him about being Clark Kent.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

Robert TurbinMay 14 05:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason, according to sources. No timetable was disclosed for his recovery.

Tom BradyMay 14 03:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has officially appealed his four-game suspension.

Greg SalasMay 13 02:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Salas (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions Wednesday, May 13. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John ConnerMay 13 12:03p

Free-agent FB John Conner (Jets) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, May 13. FB Corey Knox was waived to make room for him.

Tom BradyMay 13 10:03a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension could be reduced significantly, and possibly overturned, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Brady has put together a renowned legal team to appeal his suspension.

D.J. SwearingerMay 12 05:22p

Free-agent SS D.J. Swearinger was officially claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, May 12.

Fred JacksonMay 12 03:13p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson may not make the final roster if the Bills end up keeping only three running backs, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. RB LeSean [ More ]

Lance MooreMay 12 01:23p

Free-agent WR Lance Moore (Steelers) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.

Justin BlackmonMay 12 11:02a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was denied reinstatement by the NFL this offseason, according to The Associated Press' Mark Long. It's unclear whether Blackmon failed a drug test or [ More ]

Joseph RandleMay 12 10:42a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could see the bulk of the carries as the season weighs on, in the opinion of beat writer Todd Archer. Archer pegged Randle for [ More ]

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 11 09:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to start while QB Tom Brady serves his suspension for 'DeflateGate'. Brady was suspended four games by the National Football League [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 11 07:12p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will appeal his four-game suspension, according to his agent.

Tom BradyMay 11 05:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his involvement in the deflated-football incident in the AFC Championship. In addition, the Patriots will lose their [ More ]

D.J. SwearingerMay 11 04:12p

Houston Texans SS D.J. Swearinger was officially released Monday, May 11.

Carey SpearMay 11 01:22p

Cleveland Browns PKs Travis Coons and Carey Spear will compete for the kicker job this offseason, and the competition is wide open at this point, according to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Garrett HartleyMay 11 01:12p

Cleveland Browns PK Garrett Hartley was released Monday, May 11.

Kyle ArringtonMay 11 10:32a

New England Patriots CB Kyle Arrington was released Monday, May 11, according to a source. The team left the door open for him to return.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group