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Tag:Arizona Wildcats
Posted on: November 30, 2011 3:48 pm
 

Nick Foles signs with "super-agent" Dunn

With his collegiate career over, Arizona quarterback Nick Foles is looking ahead to the NFL.

The first step in that process is to determine which agent he'd like to sign with.

Check that step off the list.

According to Anthony Gimino of the Tuscon Citizen and a frequent contributor to The Sports XChange, Foles will sign with Athletes First, an agency presided by David Dunn, one of the bigger names in the business.

In signing with Dunn, Foles will prepare for the Combine and other individual workouts at Velocity Performance Center in Irvine, California. There, Foles will undergo training to improve his technique. Foles' father, Larry, told Gimino that his son will be working on his speed, agility and a "lazy foot" issue in which the record-breaking Arizona quarterback fails to point his lead foot in the direction he wants his pass to go.

Foles is expected to travel to Irvine and begin his training on January 3. Foles has been heavily rumored to be among the quarterbacks that several highly prominent all-star games (such as the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game) have been considering inviting. The decision to start his training in early January will not affect Foles' ability to participate in one of these games should he be invited and choose to participate.

In three seasons as Arizona's starting quarterback, Foles produced some sparkling numbers. He completed 66.8% of his passes for 10,011 yards and threw 67 touchdowns compared to only 33 interceptions. This past season Foles broke several school and conference records. The signal-caller in a spread offense, Foles attempted (and completed) more passes than any quarterback in Pac-10 (or Pac-12) history. He finished the year completing 387 of his 560 attempts (69.1%) for 4,334 yards and 28 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

There is a lot to like about Foles, not the least of which is the fact that at 6-5, 240 pounds he has the size NFL teams covet. There are some concerns about his arm strength, accuracy and mobility which have made some scouts skeptical about Foles' ability to transition to the NFL. Of course, another of Dunn's clients -- former Washington quarterback Jake Locker also had to answer plenty of pre-draft questions. He did so well enough to convince the Tennessee Titans to make him the No. 8 overall pick in last April's draft.  

Foles is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated quarterback potentially available in the 2012 draft. Only two senior quarterbacks -- Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill and Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden -- are currently rated higher by NFLDraftScout.com. He is viewed as a 3rd round value.

Posted on: September 18, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Injuries pile up for Stanford in impressive win

Andrew Luck and the rest of No. 6 rated Stanford were impressive in their first conference victory last night at Arizona, but the Cardinal did not escape the game without injury.

Three players critical to Stanford's success this season suffered injuries.

The scariest injury appeared to be with junior inside linebacker Shayne Skov, who suffered an apparent injury to his left leg while attempting to tackle Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner. Skov struggled off the field, unable to put any weight on the injured limb. Last season, he emerged as Stanford's most consistent defender, leading the team with 84 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks on his way to honorable mention all-conference honors. UPDATE: Stanford head coach David Shaw told reporters Monday that an MRI taken on Sunday showed that Skov's knee injury is serious enough that he will miss the remainder of the 2011 season. 

With Luck directing the offense, it might appear that Stanford could keep scoring points with a collection of high schoolers at the skill positions. That theory could be put to the test as Luck's two favorite targets were the "other" important Stanford players who went down with injuries in the first half against Arizona.

Tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Chris Owusu -- both seniors and virtual locks to be selected by NFL teams this April -- each went down with injuries. Fleener suffered what appeared to be a concussion early on. Owusu appeared to have bruised his shoulder. Fleener is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior tight end and second rated prospect at the position, overall. Owusu isn't rated nearly as high, but his versatility as a receiver and returner are nonetheless impressive.

Stanford is fortunate that while their Pac-12 schedule has now begun in earnest, their late September slate includes some of the easiest opponents the conference has to offer, namely hosting UCLA and Colorado before traveling to Washington State. Before they take on anyone, however, Stanford has their bye.

The timing couldn't be better for a 3-0 team licking their wounds after an impressive 34-10 victory at Arizona.

Posted on: September 8, 2011 3:36 pm
 

WR showdown tonight loses luster without Criner

While many of the football-loving community is eagerly anticipating the kickoff to the NFL season tonight, there are sure to be plenty of scouts focusing on another game -- the showdown between two of the most explosive offenses in college football in Arizona and Oklahoma State.

One of the primary reasons for scouts attending the game in Stillwater this evening was to watch Wildcat wideout Juron Criner. Unfortunately, rather than be able to compare and contrast him to Cowboys' star Justin Blackmon, scouts will have to focus their attention elsewhere, as Criner did not make the trip due to an "illness."

The 6-4, 215 pound Criner missed about a month of off-season workouts this past year dealing with "personal and family issues," according to Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. However, when he returned to the practice field, onlookers reported that he looked fit and every bit the playmaker he'd been in the past. Last season Criner enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in the school's history, catching 82 passes for 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns and earning First Team All Pac-10 accolades.

He seemed ready to put all of the distractions behind him with a strong opening performance last week, as well, catching six passes for 151 yards and a touchdown against Northern Arizona. Criner's impressive stat line was enough to earn him a spot on my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter's Risers list for the first week.

While Criner's play last week was impressive, the ambiguity of his malady and absence from this game will cause scouts to question exactly what is going on with the Arizona wideout.

There are plenty of rumors circulating as to why Criner mised so much off-season time. Whether this latest absence has anything to do with his previous departure from the program will almost certainly be a question scouts ask when they see him next -- whether that be on campus, at a post-season all-star game or at the Combine.



Posted on: August 31, 2011 8:56 am
 

Food allergies the culprit for sluggish QB Foles?

University of Arizona quarterback Nick Foles received a significantly lower grade from some NFL scouts heading into his senior season than many anticipated considering the fact that the 6-5, 245 pounder's production and success in the desert since transferring from Michigan State in 2008.

Having discussed Foles with a number of scouts over the summer, there are a some with concerns about whether he is simply a product of the Wildcats' spread offense, whether Foles has the arm strength to be successful in a traditional NFL attack and if he has the athleticism to avoid defenders. As such, Foles is currently rated 9th among quarterbacks potentially available for the 2012 NFL draft.

I plan to scout Foles in person this season to get a better impression of Foles arm strength. What I (and scouts) may not have to wait to see "on the hoof," however is improved athleticism and stamina from Foles, at least according to an interesting article from Anthony Gimino of The Tuscon Citizen.

According to the article, Foles discovered during the off-season that he was allergic to several foods, including milk, eggs and whey protein -- a staple of the protein shakes the quarterback had consumed all of his life.

Rather than make me nauseous or break out into hives like how allergies affect some, Foles' body reacted with "slight swelling and general sluggishness." Now that he has stopped eating these three items, Foles estimates that his body fat has dropped 3 to 5 percent. Foles still weighs in at around 245 pounds, but is noticeably leaner, according to Gimino.  

“My biggest allergy was whey protein,” Foles said. “It wasn’t doing anything for me, and it was actually making me have a food-allergy reaction.

“I had drank whey protein shakes my whole life, and when I got off them and started taking different supplements and proteins, I noticed a huge difference in the weight room and my body fat going down. My muscles were recovering better and my strength was going up. Just everything.”


Foles earned Honorable Mention All Pac-10 honors last season (impressive considering that he was competing against Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Jake Locker, etc.) despite missing two starts (Washington, UCLA) due to a sprained right knee. Foles completed 67.1% of his passes for 3,191 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He led Arizona to impress late comeback victories over Iowa and Cal and very nearly pulled off late wins over Oregon State, USC and state-rival ASU, as well.

Foles appears poised to take the next step as a prospect this season. He'll be aided by a strong receiving corps, including potential All-American Juron Criner.

With a strong senior season, Foles would appear to be a front-runner for one of the top all-star games. There, he might get his best opportunity to prove he can be successful in a pro-style offense.

That could lead to Foles being the first Wildcat quarterback selected in the NFL Draft since the Seattle Seahawks nabbed John Conner with the 25th pick of the 10th round back in 1985. Eddie Wilson, selected by the Detroit Lions with the 10th pick of the second round is the only Wildcat quarterback to have ever been picked within the first seven rounds of an NFL draft.

Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:17 pm
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Posted on: June 9, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 11:03 am
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Posted on: March 12, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 5:01 pm
 

29 teams attend rare Saturday Pro Day at Arizona

Proving the intrigue developing around an underrated senior class of prospects from the University of Arizona, 29 NFL teams were represented at the Wildcats' Pro Day, Saturday.

Typically, Pro Days are reserved for the normal work week. But with the buzz being created by Brooks Reed and his fellow pass rushers, Ricky Elmore and De'Aundre Reed, who were also invited to the Combine, plenty of NFL personnel men showed up Saturday. 

It was a senior not invited to the Combine, however, who best took advantage of the opportunity to workout in front of NFL personnel, however.

Running back Nic Grigsby was clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash by one league source I spoke to following Saturday's workout. The scout also noted that the 5-11, 199 pound Grigsby had a 43" vertical jump, which would have led all Combine participants this year.

Grigsby's athleticism does translate onto the football field. His lateral agility and explosiveness have made him a big play threat for the Wildcats throughout his career. Unfortunately, his thin build caused him to struggle with injuries throughout his career, as well. In fact, he played only one full season with the Wildcats, earning Honorable Mention all-conference honors in 2008 with 1,153 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Since his breakout sophomore season, Grigsby finished with 567 and 569 yards each of the past two years, respectively.

Considering that Reed enjoyed one of the Combine's best overall performances , it wasn't surprising to hear that he elected to sit on his numbers from Indianapolis. He did, however, perform defensive line and linebacker drills in front of scouts and coaches, Saturday, including Jacksonville defensive line coach Joe Cullen and Cleveland linebackers coach Bill Davis.

Considering the hype he's getting as a potential late first round pick, Reed's production at Arizona wasn't staggering. In starting all 13 games for the Wildcats, Reed registered 47 tackles and ten tackles for loss. He only had 6.5 sacks, however. That said, a strong Senior Bowl and an impressive workout that provided evidence that he might be able to handle the transition to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme has his stock soaring.

According to a source close to him, Reed has already scheduled private workouts with the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills -- each of whom, of course, run the 3-4.

The 6-4, 255 pound Elmore was clocked at 4.80 in the 40-yard dash on Saturday. Elmore led the Wildcats with 11 sacks last season as a defensive end. While his time in the 40-yard dash was better today than at the Combine (4.88-5.0 on his two attempts), teams are still going to have a tough time moving him to outside linebacker at that speed. His best bet might be to remain as a 4-3 defensive end.

Posted on: December 29, 2010 1:15 pm
 

Prospects aplenty in today's bowl games

My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter does a nice job of breaking down the prospects in today's bowl games in this article , but I wanted to take a few moments to highlight a few others in today's trio of bowl games.

The most exciting prospects on the field for East Carolina and Maryland in today's Military Bowl happen to play the same position in receivers Dwayne Harris (ECU) and Torrey Smith (Maryland).

Kenny Tate , a junior free safety who has made some splashy plays this season and could be peeking ahead to the NFL, will have Harris in his sights.

For those looking for a sleeper in this contest, keep an eye on East Carolina left tackle Willie Smith . His athleticism is intriguing.

By listing Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor in my current first round mock draft , you probably get the idea of how high I believe Taylor is viewed by pro scouts. The 6-4, 340 pound defensive tackle projects nicely in the 4-3 and 3-4 scheme which could see him drafted higher than infinitely more famous DTs Stephen Paea and Drake Nevis.

In the Texas Bowl, however, I'll be focusing on a trio of Illinois underclassmen, all of whom are very much exploring their draft options.

Inside linebacker Martez Wilson jumps off the tape. He's the most exciting combination of size (6-4, 250) and athleticism of any draft-eligible inside linebacker I've scouted this year. He remains a work in progress in terms of instincts, but is one of the few senior/junior ILBs I see as a potential standout in the NFL.

Wilson is certainly helped by up front by one of the faster rising DT prospects in the country in Corey Liuget . The 6-3, 300 pounder is starting to blossom and earned Second Team All-Big Ten accolades this year with 54 tackles, 8.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks.

Running back Mikel LeShoure is one of a host of backs fighting to be ranked second behind Alabama's Mark Ingram as possible 2011 franchise runners. His thick frame and surprising burst could help him achieve that status.

Finally, in the Arizona-Oklahoma State showdown of the Alamo Bowl, I'll can't wait to see these two high-powered offenses go at it. There are a host of prospects to watch (including some guy named Blackmon), most of whom Chad highlighted in his preview (again, the link is here ) but one he mentions just in passing is Wildcat receiver Juron Criner , a 6-4 210 pound vertical threat that star quarterback Nick Foles targets often. I'm not as high on Criner (or Foles, for that matter) that some others seem to be, but each is considering making the jump to the NFL and therefore I'll be watching them closely tonight -- as should you.


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