The South Carolina Gamecocks have no less than six players who could be new Houston Texans inside of a month – defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, wide receiver Bruce Ellington, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, cornerback Victor Hampton, defensive end Chaz Sutton, and quarterback Connor Shaw. Half of them, however, are now linked to a brawl in the VIP section of a New York nightclub where a promoter, Michael Hauer, was struck in the face by a hookah pipe and received "extensive facial injuries". Chaz Sutton was also reportedly stabbed in the shoulder, though his injuries are considered minor.
Kelcy Quarles and Victor Hampton are both wanted for questioning by the New York Police Department over the incident. Quarles, who could be a candidate to play five-technique defensive end across from J.J. Watt next season, responded to the investigation through Josh Kendall at GoGamecocks.com.
"I’m (mad) about it because it’s going to hurt my draft status. I’m about to do everything I possibly can to get my name cleared because it’s not fair. I had nothing to do with this."
"I have not been questioned. What am I being questioned for? I am telling you they are looking for Chaz Sutton."
Sutton denied having anything to do with the incident as well.
"No, I actually hung out with my friends that night. I wasn’t even involved, or there, so I couldn’t really tell you. I don’t know what is going on."
Victor Hampton has not commented on the allegations at this time. TMZ has obtained pictures of Michael Hauer’s face, and the damage is not pretty. Hauer is reportedly losing vision in his left eye due to the attack despite three surgeries on his eye and face. If Quarles, Hampton, or Sutton are connected to the incident in question, this could get very, very bad.
The New York state Penal Code classifies serious bodily injury, which this would probably qualify for, and the use of a weapon as a second degree assault. That carries the weight of a Class D felony. If convicted, the minimum sentence is two years in prison. Even worse, with this incident being so close to the draft, it is very possible that nothing will get resolved before then and all three former Gamecocks could go completely untouched by teams worried about wasting a pick. Even if Quarles, Sutton, and Hampton are completely innocent, all of them could be in line to lose millions of dollars if not cleared by May 8th.
Houston tapped into the Carolina talent pipeline big time last season with the selections of DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson), D.J. Swearinger (South Carolina), Brennan Williams (North Carolina), and Sam Montgomery (LSU, though he is a South Carolina native) in their first four picks. It is possible that the Texans could go back to that well in 2014 with Brandon Thomas (Clemson), Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Jadeveon Clowney , Bruce Ellington , Kelcy Quarles, Victor Hampton, Connor Shaw, Chaz Sutton, and James Hurst (North Carolina) all potentially filling team needs throughout the draft. However, with these possibly serious legal troubles popping up so close to the draft, Rick Smith may want to look at some of the other 49 states to complete his roster.