The Bucs wrapped up the final day of rookie mini-camp Saturday afternoon, with over 80 players participating and 57 of them here on a tryout-basis, including former Plant High School quarterback Robert Marve.
Marve, the son of former Bucs linebacker Eugene Marve, was Florida’s Mr. Football and a Parade All-American in 2006, helping put Plant on the map in terms of college recruiting and national recognition.
But his college career was a rollercoaster.
It started with a broken arm suffered in a car accident his freshman year at Miami and a turbulent relationship with coach Randy Shannon that ultimately led him to transfer to Purdue.
But it wasn’t switching schools that proved to be Marve’s biggest challenge.
“Changing schools wasn’t the issue. When you tear your ACL three times in three years, that’s an issue,” said Marve.
“It’s a blessing to be here. I had a lot of fun. I thought I played very well. I had Akeem Shavers here, my Purdue running back, so I was a fun time.”
Marve admitted that after he had torn his ACL for the third time, he thought his football playing career was over.
“I remember I went outside at Notre Dame, kind of shed some tears with my dad, kind of told him, ‘[It’s] over. I gave it all I got, went out, guns a blazing.’”
“But then a couple weeks went by, the swelling wasn’t in my knee, we weren’t doing so hot at Purdue, [so] I finished up the season strong, and I was really proud of that.”
Marve was one of three quarterbacks who participated this week, along with third-round pick Mike Glennon, who figures to back up Josh Freeman, and Adam Weber, who had signed with the Bucs in 2012 as a member of the team’s practice squad.
Marve’s chances of earning a training camp invite in Tampa Bay appear to be slim, considering the Bucs have Freeman, Glennon, and Dan Orlovsky penciled in on the depth chart, and Weber might be a more attractive choice to stick around given his familiarity with Mike Sullivan’s playbook.
Denton, Gavins, and Harris Add Intrigue
A couple of other intriguing names were among the Bucs tryout players during rookie camp, including Mount Union wide receiver Chris Denton, who set an NCAA division III record last year with 5 punt returns for touchdowns.
While it’s somewhat difficult to evaluate small school prospects on-tape given the disparity of competition, Denton impressed early on in camp before a hamstring injury forced him to sit out Saturday afternoon’s practice. He’s not an incredibly fast player, but he’s a good route runner and has a clear knack for making plays on special teams.
Former Boise State cornerback Jerrell Gavins is another tryout player that looked impressive and I think is capable of playing at the next level, although his 5-foot-9 frame is a bit of an issue, given head coach Greg Schiano’s preference for longer corners, along with a major knee injury his junior year.
Gavins had three interceptions in three games before missing all remaining games of the 2011 season after tearing his PCL and his meniscus. He, along with teammate Jamar Taylor who was drafted 54th overall by the Dolphins, helped the Broncos fortify a fifth-ranked pass defense last year.
A third intriguing prospect is former Temple running back Montel Harris.
Harris spent the first three years of his college career at Boston College, finishing with 3,600 rushing yards, an all-time record at BC. After suffering a knee injury and being dismissed by the program for disciplinary issues, Harris transferred to Temple, where he compiled the third 1,000-yard season of his college career.
Harris clocked a 4.56 at his pro day, so he’s not a speedster, but his hands and ability to play special teams could give the team a reason to keep him around.
Hear more of my thoughts on some of the Bucs CFAs and tryout players with this video.