Commentary | Jaguars' signing of Denard Robinson could put pressure on Ace Sanders

July 10, 2013 

With fifth-round pick Denard Robinson putting pen to paper Tuesday, Ace Sanders is one of only two unsigned Jacksonville Jaguars draft picks.

The Manatee High product and former Florida safety Josh Evans are the only Jaguars out of eight yet to agree on a deal.

South Carolina's standout receiver/punt returner, Sanders was selected in the fourth round and Evans in the sixth. A fifth-round pick out of Michigan, Robinson's signing could put the pressure on Sanders because the former Michigan quarterback is vying for the punt return job.

Sanders has chosen not to comment and said he is leaving negotiations up to his agent. He is considered a two-position guy as a receiver/returner, and some agents have used that to request more money or a higher signing bonus.

Robinson received a reported $213,612 signing bonus. Sanders was the 101st pick, and last year that slot paid a signing bonus of $474,428. Jaguars' camp opens July 25th and players must be signed to attend.

More happy returns

Proof that Manatee County is the spawning ground for professional defensive backs keeps growing. The latest to put his stamp on that argument is Palmetto High grad Terrance Sanders.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder is literally turning heads in his fifth Arena Football League season. The Spokane Shock defensive back has lit up the circuit with his kick-return skills that have enabled him to register a league high 1,876 kick-return yards. He has also intercepted five passes and leads Spokane with 85.5 tackles.

What else can Cismesia do?

Kickers live in a topsy-turvy world, and nowhere is that more true than the AFL. A perfect example is Gary Cismesia. The greatest kicker in Lakewood Ranch football history, he is ranked 10th among AFL kickers with 66 points, putting up his numbers for the New Orleans VooDoo.

But in the AFL, where kicking is an art form all to its own, Cismesia, a two time Lou Groza semifinalist at FSU, was released when New Orleans brought in Kenny Spencer, last season's AFL Kicker of The Year.

Hills closing in on NFL

Joe Hills continues to get calls from NFL teams wanting to take a personal look at him. The Palmetto High product recently had personal workouts for the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers with the Lions showing the most interest.

Despite missing two games, Hills leads the Tampa Bay Storm and is fourth in the AFL with 1,542 receiving yards. The 6-4, 210-pounder has the size and speed to play in the NFL and is showing he has dramatically improved his pass-catching skills.

Good start for SCF coach

Elliot Washington has only been on the job for a week, but the State College of Florida men's basketball coach has received good news.

Washington learned his top three freshmen from last year will be returning in big man Obinna Oleka and guards Michael Sanchez and Larry Keys.

Oleka averaged 10.9 points and 6.2 rebounds, point guard Sanchez is the top returning scorer (14.8 ppg) and led the Manatees in assists with 7.3 per game. Keys led the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage (59.6) before he was injured and missed the second half of the season.

Oleka came on strong at the end of the season, averaging 14.4 points in February and shooting 57.7 from the field, both monthly highs.

Ohlman swinging hot bat

Lakewood Ranch product Michael Ohlman spent last winter fine-tuning his game in Australia, and right now he is turning into the one of the Baltimore Orioles' hottest prospects.

The catcher has been on fire, earning two player of the week honors in a month while leading the Frederick (Md.) Keys of the high Single-A Carolina League in batting average (.330). He is also second in homers (10) and RBIs (34).

Jenkins fits in with Raiders

Mike Jenkins finished his inaugural minicamp with the Oakland Raiders running with the first-team defense. The USF All-American out of Southeast High said it was difficult joining a new team after spending his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys, who selected him 25th overall in the 2008 NFL draft.

"I like the scheme; it's a nice fit for me. Hopefully I can come in and use my athleticism to help the team," Jenkins said in his first press conference with the Raiders. "They never guaranteed me anything, just come in and compete and battle for a position. There is a lot of energy here and I love it."

Alan Dell, Herald sportswriter, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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