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Tag:Oregon
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:19 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 11:34 am
 

Under radar underclassmen set to light up combine

With the NFL Scouting Combine kicking off Wednesday, nearly every where you look you'll find another analyst with a list of athletes who could put up astonishing workout numbers. 

Dane Brugler and I collaborated on a that identified ten players with questions to answer in Indianapolis. Our colleague, Bruce Feldman, identified ten "athletic freaks" who should put forth some of the best numbers of any players invited to the combine this year.    

The simple reality of the combine season is that only occasionally are scouts surprised by the athleticism shown by prospects. At least among the senior prospects, scouts have been looking at them all year long and know what to expect. Prospects who don't perform well despite having a month (or more) typically to prepare for the very specific drills tested serve as more of a red flag to most talent evaluators than a surprisingly strong workout usually helps a prospect. 

The story is very different for underclassmen, however. 

Teams haven't had nearly as much time to prepare for these athletes and considering that the 2012 draft will feature a record 65 underclassmen, no year in history has as much potential for under the radar underclassmen to emphatically put their names on the map than this one. 

Rather than wait to see which underclassmen will surprise, I thought I'd take a chance at predicting five I believe could light up the combine and see a significant boost to their draft stock, as a result. 

CB Cliff Harris, Oregon: Harris has been a bit of a forgotten man since multiple run-ins with authorities led to his ultimately being kicked off the team by head coach Chip Kelly. While he'll certainly need to answer scouts' questions, once Harris is allowed to show off his athletic gifts, I believe he'll quickly force NFL teams to recognize his upside. After playing at less than 170 pounds throughout much of his career with the Ducks, scouts will be just as interested in how Harris physically measures up as well as how fast he runs, etc.

WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech: Hill reminds me a lot of former Georgia Tech standout Demaryius Thomas for his size, straight-line speed and big play ability. NFLDraftScout.com is currently estimating Hill as being able to run the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds. I think he'll shave a tenth off that time, as well as impress in leaping drills. He's undeniably raw but don't be surprised if a strong showing in Indianapolis pushes Hill into the second round.

OT Bobby Massie, Mississippi:
Massie signed with Ole Miss as one of the elite prep talents in the country but partially due to the anonymous nature of the right tackle position and to Ole Miss' relative struggles, Massie isn't getting much attention in the mainstream media. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if he shows very impressive athleticism, balance and power in drills based on his tape. The "big three" junior tackles -- USC's Matt Kalil, Iowa's Riley Reiff and Stanford's Jonathan Martin -- get the bulk of the attention but with the position essentially wide open after them, don't be surprised if Massie gives Ohio State's Mike Adams a run for his money as the 4th tackle off the board.

QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State: Osweiler is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4-rated quarterback and No. 45-rated prospect, overall, so he hardly qualifies as under the radar. However, considering the amount of hype being generated around Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and even Ryan Tannehill, the lanky Osweiler hasn't received the national attention his talent warrants. If Osweiler can calm concerns about his mobility at a estimated 6-7, 240 pounds, scouts won't be able to resist admiring his strong, accurate arm.

CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida: Robinson is one of three relatively "unknown" cornerbacks that I am significantly higher on than most (the other two are seniors Ryan Steed from Furman and Trumaine Johnson from Montana). Robinson's speed, agility and leaping ability jump off tape. If he works out as well as I think he will based on the athleticism I've seen on the field, scouts may have a hard time justifying Robinson not winding up a top 100 pick.        
Posted on: January 14, 2012 10:22 pm
 

Darron Thomas stuns Ducks, leaving early for NFL

If the Oregon Ducks are going to successfully defend their Pac-12 crown next season they'll be doing so with a new starting backfield.

It had been expected that head coach Chip Kelly would lose LaMichael James to the NFL after this season. But Saturday night, junior quarterback Darron Thomas stunned the program with the decision to also forgo his final season of eligibility and head off to the pros.

Thomas, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 12 rated quarterback in the 2013 class, may be making a terrible decision.

The 6-3, 215 pound Thomas has put up impressive statistics in Kelly's offense. Last season he completed 62% of his passes for 2,761 yards and a sparkling touchdown to interception ratio of 33-7. Considering that Thomas also ran for 206 yards and three scores, he was among the most effective all-purpose quarterbacks in the country and played a critical role in Oregon's run to the Rose Bowl championship and No. 4 ranking. He also boasts one of the more impressive career accomplishments any college quarterback can hope to have -- having thrown for at least one touchdown in every one of his career starts (27). In 31 games over his career Thomas passed for 5,910 yards, 66 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions.

That said, Thomas on tape doesn't necessarily match his hype.

Thomas' prodution is inflated due to Oregon's aggressive scheme and explosive athletes. He averaged 8.14 yards gained each time he even attempted a pass in 2011. He flashes good touch down the seams and enough zip to complete crossing routes over the middle, he isn't the elite passer his statistics would suggest. Too many of his passes forced receivers to adjust their routes, limiting opportunities for even bigger plays. Furthermore, he did not show much improvement in his second season as a starter despite playing in a relatively simple offense.

Kelly offered a luke warm opinion on Thomas' decision.
“As in all cases, we educate our players with the information we feel will be beneficial to them throughout the process but ultimately, the decision is left up to the players,” Kelly said. “I will always support Darron in his decision and want to thank him for everything he has done for this program. He obviously has played a major role in elevating Oregon football to new heights and I wish him well in the future.”

Thomas has talent but is viewed by scouts as a significant project. That fact could push him into late portions of the draft (or worse), especially considering that he comes with off-field baggage. Remember, Thomas was the passenger with former Duck cornerback Cliff Harris on the night Harris was pulled over for speeding in a car rented by a Oregon employee. Harris was clocked at 118 miles per hour, was driving without a license and admitted to police he had been smoking marijuana. Thomas' reaction to questions from the media regarding his role in the incident falls a bit short of inspirational. 

Thomas is the second Pac-12 quarterback to attempt to fill the vacancy left when Matt Barkley made his decision to return Southern Cal. He joins Andrew Luck and Arizona State's Brock Osweiler as early entries from the conference.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:24 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 11:36 pm
 

Iowa-transfer Hampton leaving Salukis for NFL


Southern Illinois running back Jewel Hampton is taking advantage of a breakout 2011 campaign in which he led the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 17 touchdowns and 1,121 rushing yards to put his name into the NFL lottery.

The news was broken not by Hampton nor Southern Illinois but by a release from St.Vincent Sports Performance, a Pre-Combine Training group with which Hampton apparently will be working with in preparation for NFL testing. Hampton's name was among 15 prospects St. Vincent listed as having signed with the group for 2012. Most notable among were two other juniors -- former Oregon cornerback and return specialist Cliff Harris and San Diego State star running back Ronnie Hillman.
 
Hampton transferred to SIU 2011 after being a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes for the past three seasons. Hampton played very well as a true freshman for the Hawkeyes, emerging as Shonn Greene's primary backup and actually setting the school record for first year players with seven rushing touchdowns (along with 463 yards). Expected to take over for Greene in 2009, Hampton instead tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and took a medical redshirt. After a successful rehabilitation, Hampton once again appear poised to compete for big playing time for the Hawkeyes in 2010 but tragically suffered another torn ACL, this time to his left knee.

The loss of back to back seasons due to injury convinced Hampton that a change of scenery was best and he transferred to the Salukis.

He rushed for over 100 yards six times in 2011 and added 163 receiving yards to finish fourth in the MVFC in all-purpose yardage and was named the conference's Newcomer of the Year.

Hampton's path from BCS to FCS is hardly a new one. In fact, the last Saluki to be named the conference's Newcomer of the Year also transferred from a prominent BCS school.

Brandon Jacobs had played behind Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams at Auburn but elected to transfer for his senior season to get a greater opportunity at seeing the field. Jacobs, by comparison, ran for 992 yards and 19 scores for the Salukis in 2004. The New York Giants drafted him in the fourth round (No. 110 overall).

The 5-09, 210 pound Hampton is no Jacobs (6-4, 260) clone but does possess some of the skills to catch the attention of NFL scouts. Hampton is quick to the hole and shows good lateral agility. Due to his low center of gravity and determined running, Hampton is a surprisingly stout load to bring to the ground.

Hampton is currently ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 29 running back in the 2013 class. Considering his injuries and the fact the running back class is shaping up to be 2012's deepest position, Hampton may only get late round or even free agent consideration. Jewel, however, does have enough shine to get an extended look.




Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:51 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 7:56 pm
 

Oregon's LaMichael James off to the NFL

And then there was one.

With Oregon's LaMichael James confirming Friday that he's forgoing his final year of eligibility, only Alabama's Trent Richardson remains among elite running backs yet to declare their intentions for the 2012 NFL Draft.

James followed Virginia Tech's David Wilson and Temple's Bernard Pierce in announcing Friday that they intend to enter this year's draft.

"My experience at the University of Oregon has been one unlike any other, and one I will never forget," James said. "I am grateful for the people I have met, the things I have learned, and the amazing community I have had the privilege of being a part of over the last three-and-a-half years."

James rushed for 1,805 yards and scored 18 touchdowns this season, and concluded his college career with 159 yards in Oregon's 45-38 victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.

The question with James will be his 5-foot-9, 185-pound frame and what role teams believe he can play in the NFL. He's sixth among running backs and No. 80 overall among prospects for the 2012 draft, according to ratings by NFL DraftScout.com.

However, there will be teams that covet his ability to use a low center of gravity, quickness and acceleration to produce explosive plays on the ground and as a potential return man. He has drawn comparisons to successful former NFL backs including Warrick Dunn and Brian Westbrook. Rob Rang compared him to another undersized back in this Week 11 Breakdown. 

"I am 100 percent behind LaMichael," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "He is a very special person and certainly will be remembered as one of the very best players ever to wear a uniform at the University of Oregon. It has been a pleasure to coach him for the four seasons he has been here and is comforting to know that he will obtain his degree this spring. I could not have asked anymore from him and I am confident he will be a success at the next level."

James joins Wilson, Pierce, Miami's Lamar Miller, Washington's Chris Polk and San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman in announcing they will forgo their remaining eligibility - Miller and Hillman are redshirt sophomores.

Assuming Richardson joins in on the fun, as expected, running back is shaping up as the 2012 draft's deepest position.


Posted on: January 2, 2012 8:24 am
 

Six New Year's Day* matchups to watch

Due to New Year's Day falling on a Sunday this year all of the traditional bowl games played on this day were moved to Monday. For football enthusiasts it just means an extension of an already dramatic college football season.

Whether you are a hardcore fan preparing yourself to watch every second you can of the six games on tap today or just want to have a handy Who-To-Watch guide for the few minutes you get to sneak away from your job to check the game, I've got you covered with one head to head matchup NFL scouts will be watching.

Here they are:

TicketCity Bowl

Penn State DT Devon Still vs. Houston C Chris Thompson: The 6-4, 310 pound Still currently ranks No. 8 on NFLDraftScout.com's 2012 board for all prospects. Opposing him is Houston's Thompson, a 6-2, 285 pound technician who we rank as a likely free agent (rated No. 38 amongst centers). Don't think that the Cougars won't have a plan for Still and the rest of a talented Penn State defensive line. The beauty of Houston's spread offense is that it gets the ball out of Case Keenum's hands so quickly that often bigger, more athletic pass rushers are limited in what role they can have. Couple that with the fact that Thompson is a wily veteran who earned his second consecutive All-Conference USA honors this season (last year he won it playing guard) and we have an interesting matchup to start off the day.

Capital One Bowl

Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard vs. South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery: Scouts circled this one in red ink, and Jeffery should do the same. He's against the clock to prove he's not overhyped in an offense that caters to his natural skills. Jeffery, a junior, has a 6-inch and nearly 25-pound advantage on the Nebraska senior cornerback. Dennard's late-season push to work back into first-round conversation would get an exclamation point if he muzzles the gifted but undisciplined Jeffery.

Outback Bowl

Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy vs. Georgia C Ben Jones: There may not be a defensive tackle in the country blessed with a more impressive combination of burst off the snap and strength than Michigan State's junior defensive tackle. Playing in the SEC, however, has prepared Jones for just this type of matchup. While the All-SEC center may lack Worthy's power and athleticism, the senior is tough-minded, technically sound and a legitimate top 75 pro prospect, in his own right. If nothing makes you happier during the holidays than a good old fashioned battle in the trenches, this is the showdown to watch.

Gator Bowl

Florida DT Jaye Howard vs. Ohio State C Mike Brewster: Just like in the Outback Bowl, I expect the television analysts to focus on matchups between the skill position players in the Gator Bowl but winner of the Gator Bowl will likely be the team that gets more from their senior in the middle. Howard is quietly among the better, all-around senior defensive tackles and is being viewed by some 3-4 clubs as a possible conversion to defensive end. Brewster isn't flashy but is a tough guy who always competes and is starting his 49th consecutive game. Each is listed by NFLDraftScout.com as potential mid round picks.

Rose Bowl

Wisconsin FS Aaron Henry vs. Oregon RB LaMichael James: The key to stopping the "Quack Attack" is the same as it is with most offenses: take away the running game. Without a dominant front line, the Badgers will have to demonstrate extraordinary discipline in the back half of their defense. Fortunately, they boast a terrific all-around defender in Henry, a former cornerback who has earned all-conference honors after each of his two seasons at free safety. Scouts, of course are even more familiar with James as he's led the country in rushing yards the past two years. If James is to leave Oregon after this season as those close to the program expect, notching yet another 20-plus carry game (he has seven this year) against a traditionally stout defense could help convince scouts the 5-9, 195-pound back has the toughness to be successful in the NFL.

Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma State FS Markelle Martin vs. Stanford TE Coby Fleener: If there is a safety in the country with as many responsibilities looming as Wisconsin's Henry, it is Martin. At 6-1, 198 pounds Martin doesn't have the bulk scouts generally prefer, but his coverage skills and penchant for the big play have made him NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior at the position. It will be those coverage skills that are put to the test against Andrew Luck and his favorite target, the 6-6, 245-pound Fleener. With little speed on the flanks, Stanford's passing game attacks the field down the middle. As such, the winner of this one on one battle could very well determine the Fiesta Bowl champion.



Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Oregon dismisses All-American CB/RS Cliff Harris

Considering that he earned consensus All-American honors as a return specialist and cornerback as a sophomore, many expected the 2011 season to be the last one in Autzen for Cliff Harris.

As it turns out, it will be Harris' last season as a member of the Oregon Ducks. But he isn't leaving the way most expected.

The University of Oregon announced Monday that Harris has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. The full release is below.

Harris' off-field behavior is every bit as disconcerting as his on-field talents are exciting. Harris has a long history of run-ins with the police. He was cited for speeding and driving a car with a suspended license in July, which led to Kelly suspending him for the team's opening game against LSU. He was then suspended October 24 after his second run-in with local authorities and has missed the Ducks' final five games as a result. 

The repeated mistakes are sure to force college and/or pro teams to question whether they can trust Harris.

Considering his talent, Harris isn't without options. As North Alabama proved last year in accepting a transfer from former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins (released by the Gators due to citations involving marijuana), there are always programs willing to gamble on star power.

Should Harris enter the draft, scouts will certainly do their homework on him as he's unquestionably among the elite cover corners in the nation. In 27 career games, Harris recorded eight interceptions. He led the Pac-10 with six interceptions last season and led the entire country with 23 passes broken up. Of his six interceptions in 2010, three of them were against NFLDraftScout.com's top two rated quarterbacks, Stanford's Andrew Luck and Southern California's Matt Barkley.

Harris is currently listed as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 13 rated cornerback for the 2012 draft and a middle round value. He entered the year ranked No. 2 at the position and viewed as a possible first round pick.

As promised, here is the full release from the University of Oregon regarding Harris' release:

University of Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris has been dismissed from the Ducks’ football program for a violation of team rules, according to the Ducks’ Head Coach Chip Kelly Monday.

Harris was suspended indefinitely on Oct. 24 and has since been prohibited from all football activities, missing Oregon’s last five games of the regular season in addition to last Friday’s Pac-12 Conference Championship.

The Fresno, Calif., junior had been credited with nine tackles and one interception in six games this season after missing the season-opening loss to LSU while serving another suspension.

The 2010 consensus All-American finishes his Oregon career with 61 tackles in 27 appearances, eight interceptions for one touchdown, and returned 38 punts for a 16.2-yard average and four more scores.

Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:40 am
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week 12

In addition to the prospects Senior Analyst Rob Rang wrote about in his "five players to watch" blog post, take a look at these memorable ten one-on-one match-ups (plus a slew of honorable mention selections) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.

Because players move around based on different formations and what coaches see as favorable match-ups, these prospects won't go against each other on every snap. Scouts will pay attention when they do, however, because they rely on a player's film against top competition to determine their readiness for the NFL.

All times Eastern.
"*" Denotes an underclassman

1. Virginia DE Cam Johnson (#56/6-3/270/4.76) at Florida State LT Zebrie Sanders (#77/6-5/307/5.25)
Virginia LT *Oday Aboushi (#72/6-6/310/5.20) at Florida DE *Brandon Jenkins (#49/6-3/265/4.69)
7:30 pm, ESPN2

Whether the Cavaliers or Seminoles have the ball, NFL scouts get to see a good pass rush prospect testing the resolve of a quality left tackle. Sanders has the athletic look of a blind-side protector, and has played well since moving over from the right side after four-year starter Andrew Datko decided to end his season to have shoulder surgery. Johnson brings a constant upfield push, which Sanders has the lateral agility and anchor to handle despite that svelte build. This means Johnson must use some counter moves against Sanders instead of relying solely on his up-and-under move to win the edge.

When the teams switch sides, Jenkins will be looking to convince scouts he's worth a top 40 pick by consistently turn the corner against the long, lean Aboushi. His production (7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) has dropped from 2010 (21.5, 13.5) but he's still smooth off the line and capable of tracking down Virginia QB Michael Rocco if the Cavs' junior left tackle cannot prove he has NFL-caliber anchor, bend, and the quick feet to mirror in pass protection.

2. Boston College CB Donnie Fletcher (#4/6-1/195/4.53) at Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (#3/6-3/224/4.54)
4:00 pm, NBC

Fletcher intercepted his first pass of the season last week against North Carolina State (after picking up five in 2010), but gets his toughest test of the year in Floyd. Neither prospect will be among the fastest in their groups at the Combine, but Floyd's quick cuts will test Fletcher's ability to transition and drive short routes to prevent completions or limit yards after the catch. Scouts will also look to see if Fletcher has the recovery speed to handle double-moves from Floyd, or if he's best off moving to safety in the NFL to utilize his length and ball skills with the play in front of him.

3. Cal DEs Trevor Guyton (#92/6-3/280/4.86)/Ernest Owusu (#95/6-4/270/4.87) at Stanford LT *Jonathan Martin (#55/6-6/305/5.29)/RG *David DeCastro (#52/6-5/312/5.22)
Cal LT Mitchell Schwartz (#72/6-5/318/5.36) at Stanford DE/OLB *Chase Thomas (#44/6-4/240/4.76)
10:15 pm, ESPN

Right now Cal is best known in NFL circles for producing a defending Super Bowl champion and 2011 MVP candidate in Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But they've also had defensive linemen go in the first round in the last two drafts: Tyson Alualu (Jacksonville, 2010) and Cameron Jordan (New Orleans, 2011). And though Guyton and Owusu are not likely to be top 50 picks, they will give Stanford's top 20 prospects Martin and DeCastro all they can handle. Guyton has 9.5 tackles for loss despite playing mostly inside, but DeCastro's strength and footwork make him very difficult to beat. Owusu plays a lot like another current Packer, Jarius Wynn, with length, power, and impressive agility for a 3-4 end. Stanford's junior left tackle Martin plays with the wide base and nasty attitude to stop Owusu's advances, but he'll also have to keep his feet moving and hands active after initial contact to protect quarterback Andrew Luck -- while keeping an eye on Cal linebackers like senior Mychal Kendricks coming off the edge.

And like the Virginia/Florida State contest, this year's Big Game also features a good LT/DE scouting opportunity when the Bears are on offense. A four-year starter at left and right tackle for Cal, Schwartz's size is what scouts love -- but he is a bit more nimble than you would expect looking at his tall, long frame. Thomas can test that agility with a strong upfield-to-inside lane move, and will try to get his hands on Schwartz's numbers off the snap to see what sort of pass set and anchor the big man possesses.

4. Penn State DT Devon Still (#71/6-4/310/5.06) at Ohio State C Michael Brewster (#50/6-4/305/5.17)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Scouts expected Still to step up his game as a senior after a strong outing against Florida in last year's Outback Bowl (3.5 TFLs). He has not disappointed, using his elite combination and size and athleticism to rank sixth in the country with 16.5 tackles for loss. The tall, sturdy Brewster must help sophomore guards with Still and active junior DT Jordan Hill whenever possible, though both will undoubtedly line up in the B-gap to penetrate into the backfield before senior RB Dan "Boom" Herron even gets the handoff (which Still has been known to do) and while freshman QB Braxton Miller drops back to pass. Scouts won't just be looking at Still's highlight plays, though -- he needs to put forth play-to-play effort and keep his pads low enough to prevent Brewster and others from standing him up off the snap.

5. Oklahoma CBs Jamell Fleming (#32/5-11/192/4.54)/*Demontre Hurst (#6/5-9/182/4.46) at Baylor WR Kendall Wright (#1/5-10/190/4.42)8:00 pm, ABC

Robert Griffin III faces his toughest test of the season in a Sooners defense that, though far from stout, has playmakers on the outside like Hurst and Fleming that can challenge receivers. Wright doesn't have the size advantage here, but will attempt to help his quarterback move the ball through the air with his quickness and savvy in routes and strong hands. Hurst and Fleming aren't easy to shake off the line of scrimmage or after the catch on short throws, though their aggressive games can be used against them. But if Griffin and Wright can connect on timing routes and the occasional extended play in order to keep up with the yardage likely to be put up by Oklahoma junior QB Landry Jones, they will only increase the respect scouts already feel for their skills.

6. Southern Cal DE *Nick Perry (#8/6-3/250/4.59) at Oregon LT Darrion Weems (#74/6-5/302/5.40)
8:00 pm, ABC

Most of the hype surrounding the third major Pac-12 showdown in the last four weeks involves juniors USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Oregon running back LaMichael James. But Weems' play against Stanford's defensive line last week did not escape scouts, and he'll get another chance to impress them against Perry -- who had his own big game with 2.5 sacks against Washington last Saturday. Weems must prove his agility to prevent Perry from forcing quarterback Darron Thomas into hurried decisions, as well as continue to show his strength and knowledge of blocking angles when walling off any Trojans defender in his path so James and the Ducks' other speedy backs have room to run.

7. Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard (#15/5-10/205/4.49) at Michigan WR Junior Hemingway (#21/6-1/222/4.54)/*Roy Roundtree (#12/6-0/178/4.43)
12:00 pm, ESPN

If Michigan threw the ball more often (and more efficiently), this would be a higher-ranked matchup. And when Wolverines quarterback junior Denard Robinson and sophomore Devin Gardner do put it up, they'll probably try to stay away from Dennard. But scouts will have interest any time these talented players get their chance to prove themselves. Hemingway and Roundtree are legitimate NFL prospects, however, even if their statistics aren't among the NCAA leaders. Hemingway averages nearly 20 yards a catch with strong hands and physical play, and he'll most likely partake in hand-play with Dennard on the outside more often than will the wiry, quick Roundtree. Scouts appreciate that Dennard has five pass break-ups over the past three games, but would like to see him intercept his first pass of the year after he picked off four in 2010.

8. Cincinnati DT Derek Wolfe (#95/6-5/300/5.16) at Rutgers OG Desmond Wynn (#70/6-5/295/5.14)
12:00 pm, ESPNU

Cincinnati lost their starting quarterback, Zach Collaros, in the team's loss to West Virginia last weekend so the Bearcats' defense will need to step up to re-start the team's winning ways. Wolfe ranks seventh in the FBS with 14.5 tackles for loss and 15th in sacks with seven. Though not an elite athlete, he uses hustles and length to work past most college guards and even lines up at defensive end at times. Wynn, however, has the athleticism to cut off Wolfe's kniving moves inside and the strength to handle bull rushes from any of the UC defenders. So although this battle of mid-round prospects may not rank high on the "sexy meter", it will be worth a look for scouts and NFL draft fans.

9. Wisconsin CB Antonio Fenelus (#26/5-8/190/4.49) at Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins (#8/6-0/190/4.49)
3:30 pm, ESPN2 

Illinois' four-game losing streak has not made scouts sour on Jenkins' talent. He can snatch the ball from the air with his hands and make plays on shallow crosses and deep posts from the outside, even if his average size makes him more inclined to play in the slot at the next level. Fenelus' size is below-average, but his physicality at the line and downfield are not. He'll fight with Jenkins for deep balls, but will also have to prove to scouts he can make plays in trail coverage over the middle if they are to overlook his short stature.

10. Furman ILB Kadarron Anderson (#46/6-0/235/4.78) at Florida RBs Chris Rainey (#1/5-8/175/4.36)/Jeff Demps (#28/5-8/191/4.26)
Furman CB Ryan Steed (#1/5-11/190/4.52) at Florida WR Deonte Thompson (#6/5-11/200/4.44)
1:00 pm, ESPN3.com

Because the SEC schedules conference contests in early-to-mid September, Football Championship Subdivision (the former Division 1AA) foes get their chance at "the big boys" in November. The final score of this game may not be competitive, but NFL scouts hope two of the top senior prospects from the FCS will be. Steed has interceptions in four straight games, and although the Gators do not have an elite outside receiver prospect the speed and experience of Thompson could test him. Anderson ranks 11th in the FCS in tackles (11/game), but his ability to get off the blocks of Florida linemen and handle the elite speed of Rainey and Demps in the open field could go a long way in his final draft grade.

Honorable Mention

Cincinnati OT Alex Hoffman (#59/6-6/298/5.28) at Rutgers DE Manny Abreu (#51/6-2/260/4.76)
12:00 pm, ESPNU

Nebraska LT Jermarcus Hardrick (#50/6-7/320/5.32)/RT Marcel Jones (#78/6-6/320/5.29) at Michigan DEs *Craig Roh (#88/6-4/269/4.76)/Ryan Van Bergen (#53/6-6/288/4.84)
12:00 pm, ESPN

Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight (#6/6-1/212/4.54) at Northwestern CB Jordan Mabin (#26/5-10/180/4.57)
12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

Maryland DTs *A.J. Francis (#96/6-4/295)/*Joe Vellano (#72/6-2/285) at Wake Forest LG Joe Looney (#78/6-3/320/5.02)
3:00 pm, FSN 

SMU LT Kelvin Beachum (#70/6-3/306/5.52) at Houston OLB Sammy Brown (#8/6-2/240/4.67)
3:30 pm, FSN

Miami (Fla.) WRs Travis Benjamin (#3/5-10/175/4.36)/*Tommy Streeter (#8/6-4/215/4.62) at South Florida CB Quenton Washington (#2/5-10/195/4.50)
3:30 pm, ESPNU

Mississippi State CB *Johnthan Banks (#13/6-1/185/4.52) at Arkansas WRs *Cobi Hamilton (#11/6-3/209/4.57)/Greg Childs (#85/6-3/217/4.56)/Jarius Wright (#4/5-10/180/4.34)/Joe Adams (#3/5-11/190/4.38)
3:30 pm, CBS

Clemson DE Andre Branch (#40/6-4/260/4.77) at North Carolina State LT *R.J. Mattes (#79/6-6/305/5.19)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Washington CB *Desmond Trufant (#6/6-0/185/4.49) at Oregon State WR *Markus Wheaton (#2/6-0/178/4.47)/James Rodgers (#1/5-07/188/4.48)
3:30 pm, Fox Sports Pacific

Wisconsin RT Josh Oglesby (#67/6-7/330/5.38) at Illinois DE *Whitney Mercilus (#85/6-4/265/4.68)
Wisconsin DE Louis Nzegwu (#93/6-4/255/4.76) at Illinois OT Jeff Allen (#71/6-4/315/5.26)
Wisconsin WR Nick Toon (#1/6-2/220/4.52) at Illinois CB Tavon Wilson (#3/6-0/205/4.54)
3:30 pm, ESPN2

Miami (Fla.) DT Micanor Regis (#54/6-2/305/5.20) at South Florida LG Jeremiah Warren (#55/6-3/330/5.34)
3:30 pm, ESPNU

Louisiana Tech CB Terry Carter (#28/5-10/190/4.43) at Nevada WR Rishard Matthews (#15/6-1/215/4.54)
4:00 pm, TBA

Central Florida CB *Josh Robinson (#20/5-10/192/4.47) at East Carolina WR Lance Lewis (#1/6-1/209/4.50) -- if Lewis' right foot is healthy
7:00 pm, FSN

Virginia WR Kris Burd (#18/6-0/200/4.53) at Florida State CBs Mike Harris (#1/5-10/195/4.52)/*Greg Reid (#5/5-8/186/4.48)
7:30 pm, ESPN2

Boise State LT Nate Potter (#73/6-6/298/5.18) at San Diego State OLB Miles Burris (#9/6-2/235/4.73)
Boise State WR Tyler Shoemaker (#89/6-1/212/4.50) at San Diego State CB Larry Parker (#29/5-11/170)
8:00 pm, CBS Sports Network

Southern Cal DT DaJohn Harris (#98/6-4/310/5.16)/Christian Tupou (#44/6-2/300/5.06) at Oregon LG *Carson York (#77/6-5/292/5.20)/RG Mark Asper (#79/6-7/325/5.30)
8:00 pm, ABC


--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter    Follow him on Twitter @ChadReuter  

Posted on: November 12, 2011 11:45 am
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week 11

Mano-a-Mano, Week Eleven

In addition to the prospects Senior Analyst Rob Rang wrote about in his "five players to watch" blog post, take a look at these memorable ten one-on-one match-ups (plus a slew of honorable mention selections) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.

Because players move around based on different formations and what coaches see as favorable match-ups, these prospects won't go against each other on every snap. Scouts will pay attention when they do, however, because they rely on a player's film against top competition to determine their readiness for the NFL.

All times Eastern.
"*" Denotes an underclassman.

1. Alabama LG *Chance Warmack (#65/6-3/320/5.32) at Mississippi State DT *Fletcher Cox (#94/6-4/295/4.96)
7:45 pm, ESPN

Cox is this year's junior defensive tackle from the SEC climbing up draft boards with a break-out season (nine tackles for loss, four sacks). Though not as big or dominant as Nick Fairley or other elite tackles coming out of the conference, Cox has the length, athleticism, and power to be a top 40 pick -- especially if he performs well against Warmack, a thick, strong but mobile guard who will be an early-round pick whether he leaves school after this season or sticks around Tuscaloosa one more year.

2. Miami LT *Brandon Washington (#72/6-4/320/5.36) at Florida State DE *Brandon Jenkins (#49/6-3/265/4.69)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Jenkins had a big sophomore season in 2010 (21.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks) but hasn't matched those numbers in 2011 (6.5, 3.5). He still has the quickness off the snap and long arms to beat tackles in obvious pass rush situations, however, so the lateral movement and stamina of Washington will be tested. Jenkins will also need to hold his ground vs. Miami's widebody tackle (who may move back to guard in the NFL) in the run game to prevent redshirt sophomore Lamar Miller and junior Mike James from giving the Hurricanes balance.

3. Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard (#15/5-10/205/4.49) at Penn State WR Derek Moye (#6/6-4/210/4.54)
12:00 pm, ESPN

Once the pre-game discussion about Penn State's Sandusky Scandal dies down with the opening kickoff, two teams will try to win what seems like an unimportant game. When healthy, Moye is a big help to a Penn State offense needing both playmakers and balance (55th-ranked run game in FBS, 88th-ranked passing attack). Moye missed two games in October with a left foot injury, but came back vs. Illinois (2 catches, 29 yards) and had a bye week to heal heading into this highly-anticipated matchup for scouts. His 6-4 frame puts him a head above Dennard downfield, but the Huskers' corner has proven again and again his ability to negate receivers at the line of scrimmage with strong press coverage and climb the ladder to knock away sideline passes headed for a taller target.

4. Texas DE *Alex Okafor (#80/6-4/260/4.62) at Missouri RT Dan Hoch (#77/6-6/320/5.43)
12:00 pm, FX

Hoch is a sturdy three-year starter at right tackle who earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2010 and is a big part of why the Tigers rank tenth in the FBS in total offense. The big-bodied lineman faces a strong foe in Okafor, who has really come on during conference play using his strength and length on the edge to rack up seven tackles for loss and five sacks in the past five games. Showing he can turn the corner and take advantage of the inside lanes against the wide splits of the Missouri offensive line would be a nice feather in his cap.

5. Michigan State WR B.J. Cunningham (#3/6-2/216/4.59)/Keshawn Martin (#82/5-10/190/4.44) at Iowa CB Shaun Prater (#28/5-10/185/4.49)/*Micah Hyde (#18/6-1/185/4.53)
12:00 pm, ESPN2

Despite Iowa's inconsistencies, they put themselves in great spot to win the Legends division of the Big Ten with a win over an equally maddening Spartans team. Cunningham's play is a microcosm of Sparty's offense, following up a zero-catch performance against Nebraska with a three-reception, 104-yard game against Minnesota last Saturday. His thick build and downfield playmaking ability complements the underneath routes and quick screens that senior quarterback Kirk Cousins (who also fights his own battle against up-and-down play) throws to Martin. Neither of Iowa's corners are physically intimidating, but both can make plays using their length and tenacity if Cousins is late on his throws or Cunningham/Martin can't separate during the route.

6. Alabama-Birmingham LT Matt McCants (#71/6-6/295/5.26) at Memphis DT *Dontari Poe (#74/6-5/350/5.36)
4:15 pm, Comcast Sports South

Though McCants plays left tackle and Poe is listed at nose tackle on the Tigers' depth chart, scouts won't be surprised if these two of Conference USA's three potential top 100 picks (with Marshall DE Vinny Curry) meet up a few times Saturday afternoon. Memphis Co-DC Mike DuBose likes to move Poe around in three and four-man fronts, using him even outside either tackle at 6-5, 350 pounds because of his surprising agility and capability turning the corner at that size. The lean McCants would help his draft stock if he could anchor against the mammoth defender whether helping his guard inside or preventing Poe from reaching sophomore quarterback Jonathan Perry.

7. Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw (#41/6-2/265/4.76) at Mississippi State LT James Carmon (#77/6-7/330/5.43)
7:45 pm, ESPN

Mississippi State has a mammoth left tackle in Carmon, who is still learning the position after playing defensive line in 2010 and for two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (under DL coach and former MSU DT Dorsett Davis). He'll need to study up quick when Upshaw is lined up across from him, as Bama's top pass rusher threatens Carmon's somewhat stilted kick-slide with explosiveness and strong hands. NFL scouts love big linemen with good feet, and Carmon has similar athleticism to his past defensive linemen who switched to the other side of the ball. But he'll need to show more bend and be on top of his technique to keep Upshaw from chasing quarterback tandem senior Chris Relf and redshirt sophomore Tyler Russell.

8. Oregon LT Darrion Weems (#74/6-5/302/5.40) at Stanford DE/OLB *Chase Thomas (#44/6-4/240/4.76
8:00 pm, ABC

Weems leads an offensive line overshadowed by the Ducks' great talent at running back (juniors LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, freshman De'Anthony Thomas, as if you didn't know). This group of athletic positional blockers must be physical against a Stanford front line that plays with attitude and intelligence. Thomas' bull rush and relentless hustle towards the quarterback gives scouts a chance to see if Weems is strong and fluid enough an athlete to handle NFL defensive ends.

9. Wake Forest LG Joe Looney (#78/6-3/320/5.02)/RG Michael Hoag (#75/6-6/305) at Clemson DTs Brandon Thompson (#98/6-2/310/5.04)/Rennie Moore (#94/6-3/268/4.83)
12:00 pm, ESPNU

Looney is an under-the-radar guard prospect with enough size and athleticism to earn starter grades from NFL teams, but for the second time in three weeks he and Hoag faces a very strong interior defensive line (North Carolina's *Sylvester Williams, Tydreke Powell on October 29th). Thompson has a strong, wide build to push Looney into quarterback Tanner Price and the strong hands and active feet to rip off blocks to chase down plays outside the box. Moore's lack of size isn't troubling to the Tigers' defensive staff because he can handle his gap responsibilities as well as penetrate into the backfield to disrupt plays.

10. Maryland CB Cameron Chism (#22/5-10/190/4.52) at Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (#3/6-3/224/4.54)
7:30 pm, NBC

Chism and his Terrapins teammates started with a bang when they took down Miami; his six tackles, forced fumble, and pick-six were a major factor in the team's 32-24 win. Since then, however, Maryland is 1-7, with the win coming over FCS in-state foe Towson. Chism has two other interceptions since the opener, including another score vs. Clemson, and hopes he can once again come up big in a quasi-home game at Washington D.C.'s FedEx Field when the nation tunes in on NBC Saturday night. He possesses the determined attitude on the outside to handle a big-bodied, strong-handed short, intermediate, and deep ball threat like Floyd. Notre Dame's leading receiver hasn't always been great, either, this season; USC limited him to 28 yards three weeks ago and he only managed 44 yards on five receptions against Wake Forest last weekend. But he's shown scouts over the past four years he can step up his game when Irish quarterbacks consistently deliver the ball his way.

 

Honorable Mention 

Nebraska LT Jermarcus Hardrick (#50/6-7/320/5.32)/RT Marcel Jones (#78/6-6/320/5.29) at Penn State DEs Jack Crawford (#81/6-5/273/4.79)/ Eric Latimore (#56/6-5/277/4.86)
12:00 pm, ESPN

Rice DE Scott Solomon (#35/6-3/270/4.79) at Northwestern LT Al Netter (#75/6-4/310/5.26)
12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

Texas DT Kheeston Randall (#91/6-5/305/5.07) at Missouri C Jayson Palmgren (#71/6-2/305/5.30)
Texas LG David Snow (#78/6-4/295/5.28) at Missouri DTs Dominique Hamilton (#90/6-5/305/5.24)/*Sheldon Richardson (#34/6-3/290/4.86)/Terrell Resonno (#93/6-3/295/5.08)
12:00 pm, FX

Ohio State C Michael Brewster (#50/6-4/305/5.17) at Purdue DT *Kawann Short (#93/6-3/310/5.22)
12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

West Virginia CB Keith Tandy (#8/5-10/199/4.54) at Cincinnati WR D.J. Woods (#3/6-0/182/4.49)
12:00 pm, ABC

Michigan State LG Joel Foreman (#67/6-4/315/5.43) at Iowa DT Mike Daniels (#93/6-0/280/4.84)
12:00 pm, ESPN2

North Carolina State WR T.J. Graham (#6/5-11/180/4.36) at Boston College CB Donnie Fletcher (#4/6-1/195/4.53)
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com

Duke LT Kyle Hill (#79/6-6/292/5.21) at Virginia DE/OLB Cam Johnson (#56/6-3/270/4.76)
Duke WR Donovan Varner (#26/5-8/175/4.53)/*Conner Vernon (#2/6-1/195/4.53) at Virginia Tech CB Chase Minnifield (#13/6-0/185/4.49)
3:00 pm, FSN

Michigan DE *Craig Roh (#88/6-4/269/4.76)/Ryan Van Bergen (#53/6-6/288/4.84) at Illinois OT Jeff Allen (#71/6-4/315/5.26)
Michigan WR Junior Hemingway (#21/6-1/222/4.54) at Illinois CB Tavon Wilson (#3/6-0/205/4.54)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Auburn LT A.J. Greene (#77/6-5/298/5.18)/RT Brandon Mosley (#75/6-5/305/5.22) at Georgia DT DeAngelo Tyson (#94/6-2/306/5.02)
3:30 pm, CBS

Washington DT Alameda Ta'amu (#74/6-3/337/5.22) at Southern Cal C *Khaled Holmes (#78/6-3/310/5.17)
3:30 pm, FX

Miami DE Marcus Robinson (#56/6-1/255/4.63) at Florida State OT Zebrie Sanders (#77/6-5/307/5.25)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Texas A&M WRs Jeff Fuller (#8/6-3/220/4.52)/*Uzoma Nwachukwu (#7/6-0/195/4.42)/*Ryan Swope (#25/6-0/206/4.53) at Kansas State CB David Garrett (#27/5-8/175/4.58)
3:30 pm, ABC

Wisconsin CB Antonio Fenelus (#26/5-8/190/4.49) at Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight (#6/6-1/212/4.54)
3:30 pm, Big Ten Network

UCLA CB *Aaron Hester (#21/6-1/206/4.49) at Utah WR *DeVonte Christopher (#10/6-1/200/4.62)
6:30 pm, FCSC

Alabama WR Marquis Maze (#4/5-8/184/4.49) at Mississippi State CB *Johnthan Banks (#13/6-1/185/4.52)
7:45 pm, ESPN

Louisiana Tech DE Matt Broha (#91/6-4/255/4.87) at Ole Miss RT *Bobby Massie (#79/6-6/325/5.17)
7:30 pm, Comcast/ESPN3.com

Oregon CBs Anthony Gildon (#18/6-0/182/4.57)/*Cliff Harris (#13/5-11/168/4.49/if not suspended) at Stanford WR Griff Whalen (#17/6-0/187)
8:00 pm, ABC

Hawaii WR Royce Pollard (#81/6-0/175/4.62) at Nevada CB Isaiah Frey (#28/5-11/190/4.52)
10:15 pm, ESPNU


--Contributed by Senior Analyst Chad Reuter    Follow him on Twitter  @ChadReuter  

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com