Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:34 pm
Heading into the 2011 season it appeared to be only a matter of time before senior DaMarlo Belcher would pass every other Hoosier wideout to rank as the most productive receiver in school history.
Now he's the one who's history.
Belcher, a 6-3, 214 pound senior who had caught the eye of pro scouts, was kicked off the team this week for an undisclosed violation of team rules. The first indication of trouble came Saturday when it was announced shortly before kickoff against Northwestern that the team had suspended him for the game.
Belcher's career at Indiana ends with him only two catches shy of James Hardy's record for most career receptions (191) and on pace to challenge the school record for career receiving yards. Instead, he finished his career sixth with 2,225 yards.
Belcher had been expected to be a star the Hoosiers could build around, especially with the loss of Tandon Doss to the NFL. A knee injury, however, kept Belcher out of a couple contests this season and while he was leading the club with 25 receptions at the time of his release, he "only" had 25 catches for 286 yards and a single score on the year. These were hardly the numbers the Indiana coaching staff was expecting from a wideout who earned honorable mention All Big-Ten honors after leading the conference with 78 catches for 832 yards and four scores.
Belcher is currently NFLDraftScout.com's 51st rated wideout for the 2012 draft. Scouts will certainly want to know the details of his release before they'll consider ranking him even this high on their own team's board.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:55 pm
Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs did not make the trip with the team to take on Vanderbilt on Saturday due to a "tweaked knee," according to multiple reports.
Unfortunately for Childs, it is the same knee -- his right one -- that he injured last season against Vanderbilt, further complicating the senior wideout's stock for the NFL draft in April.
Heading towards an All-SEC campaign last year, Childs was lost for the remainder of the season with a patella tendon injury. The tendon was reportedly not torn, but did require surgery. There was quiet optimism among the team that Childs would return to his playmaking self this season when he practiced in the fall without his knee brace, but after leading the team (at the time of his injury) in catches (46), receiving yardage (659) and receiving touchdowns (six) last season, he has been limited this season to only nine grabs for 109 yards. He has not scored a touchdown this season.
Childs is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 18 rated wideout. Obviously, his stock will largely depend on how long he'll be sidelined by this newest injury and his prognosis for a full recovery.
Childs has not used a redshirt while with the Razorbacks and could attempt a petition of the NCAA in an effort to recoup this season.
At 6-3 and 217 pounds, Childs -- when healthy -- has good build-up speed (estimated in the mid 4.5s) and is a very effective receiver after the catch due to his vision, strength and surprising agility. He has very good hand-eye coordination, which he used effectively to become Ryan Mallett's go-to receiver throughout much of their respective careers together.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 3:37 pm
The Pittsburgh Panthers got back into the Big East race with an impressive win over Connecticut Wednesday night, but in doing so they lost three players for the season, including junior running back Ray Graham, the conference's leading rusher.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 4:06 pm
It has been a rough season for head coach Rick Neuheisel and his UCLA Bruins. It got tougher Tuesday evening with the news that one of Neuheisel's best players -- senior strong safety Tony Dye -- will miss the rest of the 2011 season due to a neck injury.
Dye, who shared MVP honors last year with outside linebacker Akeem Ayers (the 39th overall pick in 2011 by Tennessee), entered the year ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 senior strong safety. Considering that this appears to be the second consecutive weak crop of senior safeties, Dye's injury is potentially a significant blow to NFL teams needing help at the position.
Dye has not used a redshirt and thus could elect to petition the NCAA to gain a medical redshirt and return to the Bruins next season.
Dye entered the year having already started 26 games over his career. While viewed as one of the better open field tacklers at his position, he has not proven to be a big playmaker. Over his career, including the four games in which he played this season (three starts), Dye has only one career interception. He led the team in tackles (96) and passes broken up (nine) last season and was a more consistent player than his more hyped teammate Rahim Moore, a free safety whom the Denver Broncos invested the 45th overall pick into last April.
Dye suffered the neck injury early in the season and originally attempted to play through it. He's struggled with nerve damage since, however, as too often he's lost feeling in his arms as he attempted tackles.
Neuheisel told the media following Tuesday's practice that he knew Dye may consider taking time to heal the injury and elect to pursue the NFL. He advised against it, however.
Said Neuheisel, "Tony and his family will continue to look for maybe another way, but I just don’t think it’s the prudent thing to do. I think Tony need to get himself 100 percent healthy and hopefully come back and play for us next year."
Posted on: October 25, 2011 4:02 pm
One day after news that the top-rated senior cornerback prospect in the West had been arrested came news that the top junior cornerback on the west coast also found himself in legal hot water.
As first reported by The Oregonian's Aaron Fentress, Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris was cited Monday for multiple driving infractions, including failure to use a seat belt, have a valid driver's license or proof of insurance. The fines were enough to get Harris suspended indefinitely yet again from the Oregon program.
On the surface, Harris' infractions don't seem to be that big of a deal. After all, there have been plenty of players who have been drafted -- and many as even first round picks -- who have been accused of much more troubling crimes than Harris'.
The problem with Harris is that he doesn't appear to be learning from his mistakes.
This is the same Harris, of course, who was suspended for the Ducks' season-opener against LSU after being ticketed for driving 118 miles per hour. According to the video surveillance camera aboard the police cruiser driven by the officer who pulled him over, Harris admitted to smoking marijuana while doing so. He also did not have insurance or a valid license during this stop -- the result of racking up thousands of dollars in fines from previous infractions in the state of Oregon and California (where he was raised).
NFL teams are going to be attracted to Harris for the same reason Ducks' head coach Chip Kelly is... the kid can flat play football. Harris, one of only four consensus All-Americans in Oregon football history, led the Pac-10 with six interceptions last season. He led the entire country with 23 passes defended. Furthermore, he led the country with four punt returns for scores. Harris added a fifth non-offensive touchdown by taking one of his interceptions back for a score, as well, last season.
Despite the fact that he's been battling to get out of Kelly's doghouse for much of this season, Harris has already made an impact on the field. Though he only has nine total tackles on the year, Harris is tied for the team lead with five passes broken up, including intercepting his first pass of the season in the Ducks' biggest game (at least in the biggest game he played in) against Arizona State October 15.
While Harris is undeniably athletic, teams are going to have a hard time investing a first round pick in a player that they can't trust to stay out of trouble. More and more teams are recognizing that knuckleheads, regardless of how talented, can have a negative impact on the locker room and success on the field.
I've been a primary defender of the Oregon cornerback to keep him high on NFLDraftScout.com's rankings. Despite the fact that he's being listed as 2nd-3rd round prospect in our current rankings, I've been listing him among my Top 32.
I turned in my new Big Board to my editors just a few hours ago. For the first time this year, it did not include Harris. To earn my trust back -- and more importantly that of Chip Kelly and NFL scouts -- Harris will need to finally start to handle himself with some maturity.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 7:51 pm
What already is shaping up to be a weak class of outside linebackers got worse with news Sunday that Maryland star Kenny Tate will undergo season-ending surgery.
Tate made the announcement via a statement released by the team. The release, which includes comments from head coach Randy Edsall, gives no mention of what Tate's specific injury was or when it occurred. The release did mention that Tate is "expected to be out of action six to nine months."
"I recently had a chance to sit down with Coach Edsall, my family and the medical staff to discuss my options," Tate said. "This is the best course of action to get healthy and get back on the field next season."
Tate, 6-4 and 220 pounds, had been a standout safety for the Terps prior to making the switch to outside linebacker this season. Playing in Edsall's "star" outside linebacker role, Tate had recorded 35 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble in four starts this season.
Tate is expected to apply for a medical redshirt and be allowed to return to the field for Maryland next year.
Prior to the injury Tate ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 outside linebacker for the 2012 draft.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:59 am
Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.
RB Lamar Miller, Miami: Like Ellington, Miller, a redshirt sophomore, is thought to already be considering making the leap to the pro level. Miller has rushed for 706 yards already this season, more than he did all of last year. He’s toting the rock more than 18 times a game, proving that he has the toughness to handle a full-time role at the pro level. Blessed with speed and legitimate NFL size (5-11, 212), Miller could join the long list of former backs from The U to earn a top 64 grade. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 8:12 pm
One of the more intriguing matchups of the weekend just lost a bit of its luster, as Michigan State defensive end William Gholston has been suspended for Saturday's tilt against Wisconsin.
Gholston, a 6-7, 280 pound sophomore who leads the Spartans with seven tackles for loss (including 1.5 sacks), was flagged last week after throwing a punch against Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan. The personal foul penalty was obviously deemed not serious enough for his actions, which have become a bit of a YouTube sensation. The video, courtesy of DetroitUofM7, can be seen here.
The loss is a signficant one for the Spartans, the nation's top-ranked defensive unit, as they prepare to face a Wisconsin team that has been steamrolling opponents on their way to a sparkling 6-0 record and No. 6 ranking in the latest AP Poll.
MSU boasts one of the nation's better defensive lines, though most focus on junior defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. Worthy, who like Gholston has started the first six games of the season, has significantly less tackles (12) and tackles for loss (4.5) than Gholston.
Gholston, in case you were wondering, is indeed related to former Ohio State standout (and New York Jets' bust) Vernon Gholston. The two are cousins.