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Fresno State’s Carr says he can play under center

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CRAIG KOHLRUSS - THE FRESNO BEE
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr.

MOBILE, Ala. Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr has been the most impressive quarterback at the Senior Bowl this week.

Carr threw for 5,082 yards, 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a senior with the Bulldogs. In Mobile he easily has been above the crop of average senior quarterbacks entering May’s draft top-heavy with underclassmen quarterbacks.

When asked how he fit in with the likes of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Carr said that comparison is “above (his) pay grade.”

“I’m not scared to compete against anybody. We can throw any time,” Carr said. “I’m not worried about that. Those guys are great players.”

If hearing the name Carr at quarterback is familiar to Panthers fans, it’s because Derek is the younger brother of former Carolina Panthers quarterback David Carr. David played in the 2002 Senior Bowl before the Texans selected him No. 1 overall in the draft.

David appeared in six games for Carolina in 2007 and threw three touchdowns and five interceptions as he went 1-3 in four starts.

Derek said his top priority is to show NFL scouts and coaches that he can play the position from under center. In Fresno State’s pass-happy, no-huddle spread offense, Carr usually operated out of shotgun, but he wanted to dispel the notion that he’s a shotgun-only quarterback this week.

He had an opportunity to come to the Senior Bowl more than a decade ago with his older brother but instead went to school and attended the draft months later. Derek said David has given him plenty of advice as he prepares for his NFL career.

“He said you’re going to be praised and you’re going to be criticized – neither matter,” Derek said. “Don’t let them pat you on the back, don’t pay attention to it. When they criticize you keep your head down and keep working.”

Big-body cornerback: As a 6-foot-2, 215-pound cornerback, Stanley Jean-Baptiste is almost impossible to miss.

Jean-Baptiste is the biggest defensive back on the North roster and one of the biggest defensive backs entering the NFL draft.

The Nebraska product had four interceptions and 11 pass break-ups during his senior season, which was just his third playing cornerback. The Cornhuskers recruited Jean-Baptiste as a receiver but converted him to cornerback before Big Ten conference play in his sophomore season.

Most cornerbacks are around 6 feet, which means he plays a different technique than the average corner.

“The only difference is I got to play to my height,” he said. “I have to be aggressive, I have to show them that I can manhandle my receivers.”

Observations: Miami quarterback Stephen Morris looked awful in Monday’s practice but bounced back nicely Tuesday to perform the best among the three quarterbacks on the North roster. His inconsistent practices are similar to his play with the Hurricanes… Wyoming wide receiver Robert Herron is a name you’ll hear more about. Herron, 5-foot-9, 193 pounds, showed great speed and good hands while bringing in some tough catches on a windy day Tuesday…South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron made appearances at the South’s practice Tuesday afternoon. Both are underclassmen, but they took the opportunity to meet with NFL coaches and scouts in one location a month before the NFL Scouting Combine.

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