NCAA

Could Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. jump into 2019 NFL Draft's first round?

Could Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. jump into 2019 NFL Draft's first round?

Coming out of the NFL combine, former Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. was projected to be a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. But could he end up sliding into the first round on Thursday?

It seems like a possibility now, based on some of the teams he's met with, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday. And NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah has previously said Savage could rise to the first round too.

NBC Sports Washington's latest NFL Mock Draft has Savage going to the Green Bay Packers as the 44th overall pick.

According to Rapoport, Savage met with 11 teams, including the Carolina Panthers (No. 16 overall pick), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 20 overall pick), Seattle Seahawks (No. 21 overall pick), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 25 overall pick) and Los Angeles Rams (No. 31 overall pick). 

The three-year starter out of College Park was named Second Team All-Big Ten this season after recording 52 tackles (38 solo, 14 assist) for the Terps, along with four interceptions, including one pick six. He's versatile, strong and fast, and even if he gets passed by in the first round of the NFL Draft, it seems unlikely that he'll still be available by the end of the second.

At 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, Savage ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February -- a time that was second-fastest among all safeties -- and posted a 39.5-inch vertical, third among safeties, and a 126-inch broad jump. He also had 11 bench-press reps.

Pro Football Focus has Savage listed as the second-best safety in this year's draft class behind Delaware's Nasir Adderley because he's "a missile around the line of scrimmage".

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Simms' 11 points lifts VCU over Missouri St.

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Simms' 11 points lifts VCU over Missouri St.

RICHMOND, Va. -- Mike'L Simms had 11 points as VCU extended its home win streak to eight games, beating Missouri State 61-51 on Sunday night.

De'Riante Jenkins had 10 points for VCU (8-2).

After VCU outscored Missouri State 35-25 in the first half, both teams scored 26 in the second as the home team clinched the victory. The Rams' 26 second-half points marked a season low for the team.

Isiaih Mosley had 15 points for the Bears (6-6). Keandre Cook added 12 points. Gaige Prim had 10 points.

VCU takes on College of Charleston on the road on Wednesday. Missouri State matches up against Oral Roberts on the road on Saturday.

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Landers Nolley II propels Virginia Tech past Gardner-Webb

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Landers Nolley II propels Virginia Tech past Gardner-Webb

BLACKSBURG, Va.-- Mike Young isn’t a university professor at Virginia Tech, but if he were, he would be a tough grader.

He graded the Hokies a B when asked if he liked Virginia Tech’s energy level during the Hokies’ 27-point victory Sunday.

“Should be an ‘A.’ Every time out,” the Virginia Tech coach added.

He followed that by saying his young team was getting better, and they appeared to take yet another step, as Landers Nolley II scored 18 points to lead the Hokies to a 73-46 victory over Gardner-Webb.

Nolley hit 6 of 14 from the floor for the Hokies (8-3), who extended their home-court nonconference winning streak to 31 games. Nolley, who had just one 3-pointer in the previous two games, snapped out of his slump, connecting on five 3-pointers.

The Hokies scored a season-low 63 points and shot just 39% in a victory over Chattanooga on Wednesday. They only made 6 of 21 from beyond the 3-point arc in that one.

Nolley nearly made that many Sunday, and the Hokies hit 13 3-pointers against the Runnin’ Bulldogs (3-8), who lost their third consecutive game.

“I thought Gardner-Webb did a pretty good job of guarding us,” Young said. “I thought we turned down a couple of good ones (shots) for great ones. … We just happened to crank it a little better today. I don’t think there’s anything I’m going to see on film that I can point to and say, ‘There it is.’ We just shot better.”

The Hokies, who never trailed, shot 48% (12 of 25) in the first half in building a 34-24 halftime advantage and then exploded to start the second half. Virginia Tech opened the final 20 minutes with a 16-4 run, pushing a 10-point lead to 50-28 after Nolley’s long jumper from the top of the key with 12:09 remaining.

Nolley also hit two 3-pointers in that span, while Gardner-Webb made just 1 of its first 12 shots to start the second half.

Jaheam Cornwall led the Runnin’ Bulldogs with 14 points. Gardner-Webb shot a season-low 29.1% (16 of 55).

“We knew it would be hard to score, and they had a lot to do with it,” Gardner Webb coach Tim Craft said. “We’re in an offensive funk right now. I mean, we are in a funk. We struggled in our last one against Kennesaw State (an 85-61 loss), and we’ve just got some guys that are struggling a little bit. I think it was a combined factor. I think we got some good shots that we just didn’t make, but I do think Virginia Tech’s defense certainly had something to do with it.”

TIP-INS

Gardner-Webb: The Runnin’ Bulldogs were picked to finish second in the Big South’s preseason poll, but they’ll need better play from Jose Perez, a preseason All-Big South first-team choice who was averaging 13.2 points per game. Perez, though, scored just 12 points, making only 4 of 15, and his frustration boiled over midway through the second half when he received a flagrant one foul.

Virginia Tech: Nolley’s 3-point barrage sparked a 3-point resurgence for the Hokies, who nailed 13 after hitting just 11 combined in the previous two games. Their 13 3-pointers tied for their third-most in a game this season. With only three players bigger than 6-6 on the roster, the Hokies have to make 3-pointers to enjoy any success.

BIG-TIME BENCH

Virginia Tech’s bench scored 34 points Sunday. That group made 11 of 23 from the floor, including five 3-pointers, and the 34 bench points marked the Hokies’ second-most this season. Isaiah Wilkins, who had scored in double figures in just one game coming in, led the way with 13 points.

“I know my lane,” Wilkins said. “I know what I have to do. I never get down on myself, or do anything that throws me off of my game. I just keep playing.”

TOP BULLDOG OUT WITH INJURY

Gardner-Webb played its second consecutive game with Nate Johnson, who sat with an injury. Johnson averages 8.8 points per game and is the team’s best shooter.

“I think it’s hurting us,” Craft said. “Our roster, we don’t have great shooting, and he’s our best shooter and our best perimeter defender. I think it put more pressure on everyone else to make open shots and make plays. We’ll get him back soon, and it should help us. It should be the next game.”

UP NEXT

Gardner-Webb: The Bulldogs play at home Thursday against Bob Jones.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies play host to VMI on Saturday.

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