Tag:Akeem Ayers
Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:43 am
 

Nightmare end to injury-filled Sr season for Dye?

UCLA safety Tony Dye said prior to Saturday night's showdown with cross-town rival USC that the thought of leaving his Bruins without having ever beaten the Trojans would be "personally damaging to me."

Unfortunately, the humbling 50-0 score isn't all that may prove personally damaging to Dye. The UCLA senior also suffered an injury to his right leg that cause trainers to help the safety off the field and led to Dye being carted off the sidelines to take x-rays.

Root Sports sideline reporter Petros Papadakis said the injury "doesn't look good" as Dye left the field in the second quarter. Results of any medical tests are expected to be released Sunday.

The leg injury continues an awful season for Dye, who entered the year as UCLA's most highly touted NFL prospect. Dye entered the year having already started three seasons at strong safety. He was recognized as the Bruins Co-MVP last year (along with now Tennessee Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers) after leading the team with 96 tackles. He was moved to free safety this year to put him in position to make more plays on the ball and to take over for Rahim Moore, a second round pick by the Denver Broncos.

It didn't take long for Dye's senior season to get sidetracked, however. Dye suffered through neck stingers September 10 against San Jose State and though he attempted to play through bouts of pain, numbness and tingling against Texas a week later, he was ultimately pulled and hadn't played until November 19 against Colorado. He considered taking a medical redshirt on the year but elected to return to the field, posting two tackles against the Buffaloes. Dye was held without a tackle prior to getting hurt against USC.

Should the leg injury be as serious as fear, the decision unfortunately, could turn out disastrous for Dye's NFL hopes.

Dye currently has 23 tackles in 2011.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 4:06 pm
 

Dye, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 SS, out for season

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: March 29, 2011 6:41 pm
 

UCLA Pro Day Notes

Linebacker Akeem Ayers needed a big workout Tuesday to make up for a mediocre Combine, he his fastest 40 time of 4.69 met that goal. Though most prospects are expected to better their Combine times at their pro day, the significant drop means teams looking at him as a 3-4 rush linebacker now see his track speed meeting his game speed.

Combine snub DT David Carter clocked in at 4.98, continuing the ascension up boards that began with a strong East-West Shrine Game week.  Carter measured in at 6-4 3/8, 293 lbs. and performed the rest of the drills in a manner commensurate with the mid-to-late round prospects at the Combine: 28.5 vert, 9'3" broad, 1.73 (10-yd split), 25 reps, 4.6 shuttle.

Safety Rahim Moore chose not to run, and looked only average according to reports. He had trouble locating the ball and his hands were just okay during drills, which is somewhat surprising given his reputation as a centerfielder.

Every team was represented at the UCLA workout. The Bears, Vikings, Chiefs, Packers, Ravens, Jets and Raiders had multiple people here including coaches, coordinators and scouting directors.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analysts Rob Rang and Chad Reuter
Posted on: March 28, 2011 5:59 pm
 

Source: Don't expect Ayers to light up Pro Day

UCLA outside linebacker Akeem Ayers can point to his tape as proof that he's a good athlete and an even better football player.

Considering that Ayers racked up 123 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, six interceptions (two returned for TDs), and four forced fumbles (one returned for a TD) over his two full starting seasons with the Bruins, he's got a point.

Despite the flashy big plays that scream otherwise, Ayers was proven to be a remarkably pedestrian athlete at the 2011 Combine.

The 6-2 (1/2), 254 pounder was electronically timed at 4.88 in the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Only two outside linebackers tested at the Combine were slower -- Boston College's Mark Herzlich (5.02) and Michigan's Jonas Mouton (4.94). Even worse, Ayers was the slowest of all linebackers tested this year in the 3-cone drill, a test designed to identify flexibility, change of direction and explosiveness -- three elements typically critical to strong linebacker play. Ayers was timed at 7.49 seconds. Herzlich, by comparison, was timed at 7.33 seconds.

According to a source with knowledge of Ayers' workouts prior to the Combine and any improvements he's made since, NFL scouts and the media could be in for a disappointment if they think the First-Team All Pac-10 (and Third Team All-American) performer is going to test significantly better during his Pro Day workout for scouts Tuesday, March 29.

According to the source, "[Ayers] is what he is -- a damn good football player. But, I can tell you right now, when he started working out, he wasn't very fast. He's improved and I expect him to be better at the Pro Day than he was at the Combine, but he's not going to blow anyone away with his workout."

Ayers is expected to have a lot of NFL talent-evaluators on hand to see just how much his numbers can improve. Ayers and Rahim Moore, despite each disappointing in their Combine workouts, remain among NFLDraftScout.com's top 64 prospects and are certain to spark lots of interest. Teams will also be traveling to the West Coast this week in preparation for USC and Washington's Pro Days on Wednesday.

Posted on: December 6, 2010 1:41 pm
 

USC RB Bradford earns Prospect of the Week

With NCAA sanctions taking away any chance at a bowl game, USC's final game of the season was their rivalry contest Saturday night against UCLA.

Trojans' senior running back Allen Bradford made the most of it, gashing the Bruins on a career-high 29 carries for 212 yards and a touchdown and catching a 47 yard pass for another score. Both of Bradford's scores came in the fourth quarter, proving to be the winning margin in USC's 28-14 victory.

Bradford, 5-11 and 235 pounds, entered the season as one of the more intriguing big backs in the country, but found himself in and out of Lane Kiffin's doghouse this year as the Trojans split carries between he, Marc Tyler and C.J. Gable.

Against the Bruins, Bradford ran like a man who realized this was his last game in a Trojan uniform. He repeatedly ran through would-be tacklers, and showed off the lateral agility and breakaway speed uncommon among backs of his size.

Bradford ran well against a UCLA defense boasting two of the top junior prospects in the country (outside linebacker Akeem Ayers, free safety Rahim Moore), but it was his fourth quarter 73-yard run that sealed the game and my vote as the Prospect of the Week.

Bradford, running out of the I-formation, quickly got to and broke through the line of scrimmage. He made a subtle fake to his left that got Bruins' strong safety Tony Dye to bite, lowered his shoulders (and protected the ball with both hands) as he got through traffic and exploded through the defense. Again, his breakaway speed might be the characteristic that will most impress scouts on this play.

Bradford's inconsistent senior season (and career, for that matter) won't earn him a high draft selection come April. He's demonstrated the natural running and receiving skills throughout his career, however, to warrant middle to late round consideration, especially for an NFL club looking for a bruiser to match up with a speed back.
 
Posted on: November 5, 2010 9:59 pm
 

Five Prospects I'll Be Focusing On Saturday

Each week I list the five prospects that I'll be focusing on. 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.

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks.

Those interested in scouting "alongside" me can follow me on Twitter @RobRang.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.

WR Julio Jones, Alabama : For some, the one on one showdown between Randy Moss and Darrelle Revis was the best wide receiver-cornerback battle of the year. For me, this is the matchup I've been waiting to see. Jones and Peterson each played well in their matchup last year. Jones may have had the more impressive statistics (four catches for 102 yards, including a 73 yard touchdown), but none of these grabs came against Peterson, who finished with three tackles and three passes broken up despite battling cramps. The fact that I have Peterson going No. 2 overall in my first round mock draft (higher than any cornerback has ever gone) gives you an ideal as to how high the LSU corner ranks on my board. That said, I'm higher than most on Jones, as well. He isn't as polished as some of the other highly touted wideouts due to Alabama's reliance on the running game, but I've seen improvements in his route-running this season and I love the size, strength and toughness he brings to the position. The toughest adjustment most collegiate receivers have to make when going to the NFL is handling the added physicality of the pro grame. I characterized Hakeen Nicks (over the more highly touted Crabtree, Maclin, Harvin, etc.) as the rookie wideout likeliest to have the greatest immediate impact two years ago due to his physicality and body control. I see a similiar skill set in Jones. This game will be televised by CBS and will begin at 3:30 pm EST.

QB Andy Dalton, TCU
: The fact that No. 3 TCU is heading to No. 5 Utah for a game with legitimate BCS implications and yet only minimal television coverage is precisely what is wrong with the inequity of today's college football system. If this were a showdown among two undefeated teams in an automatic qualifier conference like the Big Ten, ACC or SEC this would unquestionably be the biggest game of the weekend. Instead, only those of us fortunate enough to have CBS' College Sports channel will get to watch what could be an instant classic. TCU has based a great deal of their success over the years on their defense, but if they are to win this game, Dalton will have to play well. He didn't last year in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State. This game is particularly interesting for Dalton due to the fact that his favorite receiver, senior Jeremy Kerley will often be covered by Utah junior cornerback Brandon Burton -- one of the best, if underrated young corners in the country. This game will be televised by CBS College Sports and will begin at 3:30 pm EST.

SS Shiloh Keo, Idaho: Some questioned our sanity when NFLDraftScout.com rated former Vandal guard Mike Iupati as a potential first round pick before last season even began. Their safety, Shiloh Keo also popped off the tape and began this year among our top five prospects at the position. Like many of you, I haven't seen much of Keo thus far this season. That is because I've been waiting to see him in coverage against a dynamic offense. With Colin Kaepernick and the No. 3 nationally rated Nevada offense coming to town, Keo will have the opportunity to answer questions about his coverage skills. This game won't get mentioned by many, but in terms of a player's stock, few games will be bigger than this one is for Keo. This game will be televised by televised by ESPN and will begin at 5:00 pm EST.

OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA:
At 6-4, 254 pounds, Bruins' junior outside linebacker Akeem Ayers is as gifted an outside linebacker prospect as there is in the entire country. The Bruins have struggled with consistency this season, but Ayers has been one of the few bright spots. His numbers (45 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks) aren't eye-popping, but scouts love his versatility and upside. I'm very interested to see how Ayers performs against Oregon State this weekend. The Beavers may lack the big play offense of their arch rival Ducks, but their pro-style offense and the excellent running of junior back Jacquizz Rodgers will be a truer test of Ayers' talents. This game will be televised by Versus and will begin at 7:00 pm EST.

QB Nick Foles, Arizona: Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will get all of the hype leading up to this contest and for good reason. However, I've spoken to NFL scouts that are very intrigued with Foles, as well. Foles, a junior, was leading the Pac-10 in passing yards per game before sustaining the knee injury that kept him sidelined for the past two weeks. Like most quarterbacks operating out of the spread offense, most of Foles' passes are in the short to intermediate range -- precisely the areas that Stanford's 3-4 defense is designed to counter. If Arizona is going to beat Stanford this week, Foles will have to play well and he may have to attack downfield. How he performs in that test may determine if he is a legitimate top 50 prospect or just another product of the spread offense. This game will be televised by ABC/ESPN and will begin at 8:00 pm EST.


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