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Tag:BYU
Posted on: September 9, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Five prospects I'll be scouting closely Saturday

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.

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.

Because I'm scouting them in real time these players make an early impression, often leading to consideration as my Prospect of the Week or Diamond in the Rough.

Sometimes it also leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter breaks down six more players in Filmroom Notes, updates our Top 64 prospects overall and offers extensive previews of the next week's action. Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.
RB Vick Ballard, Mississippi State: Ballard served notice immediately against Memphis last week (career-high 166 yards and three TDs) that his first season for the Bulldogs (994 yards, 19 TDs) was no fluke after transferring from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The sledding will be tougher Saturday against the defending champion Auburn Tigers, which survived a scare last week from Utah State. Ballard has good size (5-11, 220) and power, but still has to answer concerns about his speed. This game begins at 12:20 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN3 and The SEC Network.

DT Devon Still, Penn State:  At 6-4, 310 pounds, Still has the size scouts are looking for and he's shown flashes of dominant ability throughout his career. Still hasn't yet shown the consistency, however, to warrant the hype he's received, however. A strong performance against Alabama Saturday and their potential All-SEC center William Vlachos, himself a late round NFL possibility, would go a long way in boosting Still's stock. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by ABC.

OT/OG Cordy Glenn, Georgia: A dominant guard throughout much of his career with the Bulldogs, Glenn was asked to move outside to left tackle against an experienced and athletic Boise State defensive front last week and not surprisingly struggled. At 6-5, 345 pounds, Glenn may simply lack the quick feet and balance to remain outside. As I pointed out in my "Big Board," however, I am not willing to move him out of my Top 32 after one poor performance. As good as the Boise front four was, Glenn and the Bulldogs are in for an even tougher test tomorrow against South Carolina's pass rushers. The Gamecocks boast two of the better rushers in the conference in senior Melvin Ingram and rising junior Devin Taylor, who also has a place on my Top 32. I'm looking forward to all of this weekend's games, but from a scouting standpoint, this is the one to focus on. This game begins at 4:30 ET and will be televised by ESPN.

DE Alex Okafor, Texas: Like Still for the Nittany Lions, Okafor has generated more press than production early in his career. It is important to note that unlike Still, Okafor is only a junior and he was miscast last season as a defensive tackle. This season, the 6-4, 260 pounder is back outside rushing the passer. Okafor only registered two tackles last week against Rice, though one of them was a tackle for loss. Okafor will have plenty of opportunities to rush the quarterback against BYU Saturday. The Cougars could give Okafor and the Longhorns more than they bargained for, however, as they are coming off an impressive win last week at Mississippi. This game begins at 7 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN2.

ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame: Some believe Te'o will prove to be the first Notre Dame defender to be drafted in the first round since Renaldo Wynn (1997). What is very clear is that Te'o is an instinctive, physical defender very capable of dictating the action in the middle. Against an athletic and versatile Michigan offense, however, Te'o speed to the flanks will be tested. Considering that he finished with 133 tackles last year -- the most from any Irish defender since 1983 -- it wasn't surprising that Te'o led Notre Dame last week against South Florida with nine stops. He'll have to be even better this week if Brian Kelly's group is to get into the win column. This game begins at 8:00 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN. 
Posted on: September 6, 2011 8:41 am
 

WR Kearse, RB Bolden escape major injuries

The University of Washington and University of Mississippi football programs are breathing collective big sighs of relief after what appeared to be potentially serious leg injuries suffered by two of their stars was ruled to be relatively minor.

Huskies wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, a 2010 Second Team All Pac-10 selection and currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated wideout for the 2012 NFL Draft, was diagnosed with just a sprained ankle, Monday. Kearse's injury was feared to be much serious when he left the field Saturday in the Huskies' season-opening win against Eastern Washington. Kearse caught only one pass for eight yards in the opener before injuring his ankle.

Kearse apparently wanted to return to the field Saturday, but head coach Steve Sarkisian wouldn't let him. Kearse has already returned to the practice field in anticipation of the Huskies' next game, this Saturday against Hawaii.

The news wasn't quite as good for Ole Miss and their star running back Brandon Bolden, but still quite a relief considering how bad the injury first appeared.

According to Rebels' head coach Houston Nutt, Bolden suffered a "slight" fracture to his left ankle and is expected to miss a few weeks. He is in a walking boot, but could return to the field in September.

The 5-11, 221 pound Bolden is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 14 rated running back for 2012. He currently ranks second in the Ole Miss record books for most touchdowns scored (28), as well as most rushing touchdowns (23).

The Rebels clearly missed Bolden in their opener, losing at home to BYU 14-13. Bolden, voted the team's Most Outstanding Offensive Player at the conclusion of spring drills, only rushed four times for four times for 21 yards before going down with the injury.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 1:50 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 2:15 pm
 

ND WR Floyd arrested; Supp. Draft not an option?

The future of Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd's career is uncertain following an arrest early Sunday morning by campus police on a charge of drinking and driving, according to a report from Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune.

Floyd surprised many by announcing he would return for his senior season, but now his ability to play for the Irish in 2011 is in serious doubt. This is Floyd's second arrest since signing with Notre Dame. He was previously arrested for underage drinking in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minn.

As Hansen notes in his article, Notre Dame's athletic department does not investigate or determine the extent of any suspension handed down to their athletes. The Office of Residence Life makes these calls. Its prior track record suggests that Floyd could be suspended for the entire 2011 season due to this being his second offense.

Should Floyd be suspended for the season, his options could be limited. Transferring to another school is a possibility, though he'd have to transfer to a lower level university to be eligible to play this season. He is currently the No. 3-rated prospect overall for the 2012 draft by NFLDraftScout.com, and the top-rated wide receiver.

The NFL's Supplemental Draft has often been used as a sanctuary for prospects whose grades or other off-field issues have impacted their collegiate eligibility. Since Floyd missed the deadline for underclassmen to declare for April's draft, this would normally be an option he could consider. Last year, two players -- BYU running back Harvey Unga and Illinois' defensive tackle Joshua Brent-Price -- were each selected in the seventh round of the Supplemental Draft.

Floyd may have picked the worst possible time to be forced into considering the Supplemental Draft, however... since there may not be one.

Like everything else other than April's draft, the Supplemental Draft could be at the mercy of labor negotiations between the NFL owners and its players.

One high-ranking NFL source wasn't sure if the Supplemental Draft was part of the NFL's calendar at this point, adding that he "[didn't] think the league office even knows [that] right now."

A call to the league office for further comment and/or confirmation was not immediately returned.

The 6-3, 225-pound Floyd caught 79 passes for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. He was especially impressive matched up against Miami cornerback Brandon Harris - a potential first-round pick this year - in Notre Dame's Sun Bowl victory against the Hurricanes. In that contest, Floyd caught six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.


Posted on: December 23, 2010 1:11 pm
 

Bowl standouts so far

We've only just begun the bowl season and yet already there have been several noteworthy performances from NFL hopefuls. Here is a quick run down of five prospects who have caught my eye with their impressive play.

OT Matt Reynolds, BYU --
The junior left tackle may lack the elite athleticism to remain at the blindside position in the NFL, but his balance, lateral agility and strong upper body impressed me Saturday in the Cougars' win over UTEP. At 6-6 and 322 pounds I love his size and toughness as a right tackle and feel he projects just as well inside at guard. That versatility and Reynolds' durability (started all 39 games of his career) should make him a top 50 pick should he elect to leave early, as expected. Reynolds is expected to leave BYU early as he, like many BYU players, is an older prospect having served two years on a LDS mission.

RB Chad Spann, Northern Illinois --
Fresno State entered the Humanitarian Bowl with all the hype, but it was Spann and the Huskies who dominated this contest. Spann, 5-08 and a 198 pounds, showcased better power than you'd expect for a back of his size. His vision, elusiveness and acceleration are, of course, the characteristics that scouts expect from him. The combination resulted in 95 yards (a 6.3 yard average) and two touchdowns against an athletic Bulldog defense.

CB Johnny Patrick, Louisville --
I've been impressed enough with Patrick this season that I've highlighted him on the blog on numerous occasions , including earlier this week . After reviewing Patrick's performance against Southern Miss in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl again, I can't help but mention him again as he's been as good as any corner I've scouted in this early bowl season. Patrick boasts quick feet, loose hips, physicality against the run and a swagger about him that I feel will help him translate his game quickly to the NFL. He did surrender an early touchdown against Southern Miss (good coverage, but got turned around on a jump ball and was late in locating the very accurate pass), but showed off his competitiveness with a blocked kick, forced fumble, tackle for loss and pass broken up.

WR Austin Pettis, Boise State -- Matched up for much of the night against Utah's talented corner Brandon Burton, Pettis showed off his combination of size, route-running and reliable hands to catch 12 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. Pettis should have had another score, but had the ball stripped away from him at the one yard line by Utah safety Brian Blechen. Burton provided tough, physical coverage on several of Pettis' receptions but the Boise star's 6-3, 201 pound frame and strong hands helped him snatch the ball out of the air and protect it from Burton's attempts to knock it free.

QB Pat Devlin, Delaware
-- Ok, so Devlin's Blue Hens aren't part of the FBS and the bowl system, but I've been impressed enough with the former Penn State quarterback's mobility inside the pocket, poise under pressure and accuracy to all levels that he deserves mentioning here. I've spoken to several teams regarding Devlin and there are a number of clubs who feel he could jump ahead of Florida State's Christian Ponder as the No. 2 senior quarterback (behind Washington's Jake Locker) if he is as impressive in a senior all-star game capacity.

I mention Devlin for another reason. Unlike the others on this list, you have one more opportunity to see Devlin play for Delaware. He and his teammates take on No. 1 rated Eastern Washington tomorrow for the FCS Championship.

Remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here. 
Posted on: December 18, 2010 11:58 am
 

Who to watch in today's 4 games

There are four college football games today and each one of them offers NFL talent.

In the FCS Semi-final game to determine who will move on and play No. 1 Eastern Washington in the national championship, Georgia Southern travels to Delaware.

The Delaware Blue Hens feature NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated senior quarterback, Pat Devlin . Devlin impressed me last week with his poise, mobility and accuracy. His arm strength has been questioned by scouts I've spoken to and there is no denying that the Blue Hens' spread offense makes it difficult to gauge just how much zip he has. That said, Devlin had enough to thread passes through tight windows and loft deep balls down the seam and sidelines last weekend against New Hampshire.

Devlin, a Penn State transfer, would be a great addition to a senior all-star game, such as the Senior Bowl or East-West Shrine Game.

Besides the FCS playoff game, however, the FBS bowl games, of course, begin today.

In the New Mexico Bowl between BYU and UTEP, I'm most looking forward to scouting Cougar LT Matt Reynolds . Reynolds is only a junior, but he's started three seasons with the Cougars and projects well to the pro game at 6-6 and 322 pounds.

In the Humanitarian Bowl pitting Fresno State against Northern Illinois, I'm most interested in how three FSU Bulldogs perform. Pass rushing phenom Chris Carter has been able to parlay his speed off the edge into the WAC Defensive Player of the Year, but at 6-2, 240, he'll need to show the agility to handle coverage responsibilities as an outside linebacker.

Offensive guard Andrew Jackson has been a standout for the Bulldogs throughout much of his career. His drive-blocking was an underrated component of Chargers' first round pick Ryan Mathews' success last year. Jackson has struggled with foot injuries this year, however. He should be as healthy as he's been all year long for this game.

Finally, the Bulldogs' Ryan Colburn has his final chance to impress in a Bulldog uniform. Colburn, 6-3, 230 pounds, has all of the physical skills scouts look for in a developmental quarterback, but despite his solid numbers (61.8% completion rate for 2,529 yards and a 21-9 TD to INT ratio), he's been prone to critical mistakes in the past. A strong final game, however, could be enough to get him into a senior all-star game and provide just enough intrigue that scouts will want him as a potential UFA.

In a classic case of burying the lead story, Troy's spectacular receiver/returner Jerrel Jernigan is the highest rated prospect in this post and playing today. The 5-09, 190 pounder is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated senior WR and he's already accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl. The playmaker with legitimate 4.3 speed will help Troy take on Ohio in the New Orleans Bowl tonight.

You can read more about the prospects to watch in the upcoming bowl games by clicking this link.

As always, remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.


Posted on: September 4, 2010 11:26 pm
 

Ponder spectacular, Locker merely good today

Completing 12 of 14 passes for 167 yards and 4 touchdowns in only a half of play today, Florida State's Christian Ponder may have narrowed whatever gap Washington's Jake Locker had above him as the top senior quarterback prospect in the country. 

Ponder did throw an interception, but he showed a live arm, as well as good accuracy in the short to intermediate range. Ponder commanded the offense efficiently and showed off his underrated mobility by completing passes, including his first touchdown pass of the year, while on the move. His four touchdowns went for 4, 15, 8 and 11 yards. One area in which he fared better than Locker on this day was the recognition of when to rifle passes and when to throw with touch.

In losing to BYU, Locker's realistic chances at the Heisman might be over. His NFL grade may not drop based on his play today, but it certainly wasn't strengthened.

In Locker's defense, there is a significant difference in the quality of defense that he and Ponder faced Saturday.

Ponder was playing FCS Samford at home. Locker was facing BYU on the road. Any question about how tough Mountain West teams at home were answered with Pitt and Oregon State losing to Utah and TCU.

And to be fair, Locker played a solid game. He completed 20 of 37 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. He also ran for another 29 yards and a score.

Locker's trademark mobility, arm strength, quick release and, unfortunately, inconsistent accuracy were on display today. When he missed, he often missed high. Locker did show improved accuracy on the move, often drilling passes through tight windows when rolling to the right. He also drilled a few post-routes, giving his receivers plenty of open field with which to generate yardage after the catch.

However, too often in short yardage situations Locker elected to throw the ball downfield rather than check down to easier options. One such play came on 4th and 2 in the fourth quarter. Rolling right, Locker elected to throw the ball into the endzone, where a well-positioned defender broke up the pass. Locker released the ball just as his running back, Chris Polk, running a few yards ahead of him, appeared to be breaking free of his defender. Had Locker throttled down and thrown the ball over Polk's shoulder, it could have for an easier completion and a likely first down.

The opening game of the season is hardly enough to grade these two quarterbacks. Their race to be the first senior QB drafted (and perhaps the first quarterback, overall) will be every bit the marathon, rather than the sprint.

There is no denying Locker's upside. But there is also no denying that Ponder made the better, more consistent plays to help his team win Saturday.


Posted on: September 4, 2010 11:15 am
 

Five seniors I'll be scouting closely today

With three DVD burners running around the clock, I'll be recording nearly every televised college football game throughout the year. There is only so much time in the day, so I have to put some careful thought into picking the games (and more specifically, the prospects) each Saturday in which to scout live.

The game I was most excited about initially -- North Carolina at LSU -- won't feature nearly the individual talent that we originally thought due to the NCAA suspending 13 Tar Heels for this game. Of course, I'll still check out this showdown, but due to the odd circumstances surrounding the game, I'll wait to do most my scouting of Tar Heel and Tiger players until later games.

Each Friday night/Saturday morning throughout the rest of the season I'll put up a similar post as this one. Should you like to scout "alongside" me, follow me on Twitter @ RobRang

These are the five I'll be watching closely:

OL Mike Pouncey, Florida: There was talk that Pouncey might be switched outside to tackle due to injury concerns, but Urban Meyer put an end to that thinking with the announcement that his senior would remain inside, taking over for his twin brother. Miami of Ohio is hardly the greatest test Pouncey will get this year, but I'm curious to see how he makes the transition, himself, as well as protects new QB John Brantley.

DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue: Kerrigan is one of the better defensive linemen in all of college football. Despite posting 13 sacks last year, however, the 6-4, 263 pass rusher doesn't have elite speed off the edge. He'll get plenty of opportunities to rush the passer against Brian Kelly's wide open offense at Notre Dame, but if the Irish offense is operating efficiently, he won't have much time to get home. It will be interesting to see how often Kerrigan is able to make plays in a game in which the tempo is specifically designed to eliminate (at least some of) the pass rush.

S Duke Ihenacho, San Jose State: The Spartans are understandably a 38 point underdog to Alabama, but I want to see how the playmaking Ihenacho reacts to the speed and physicality of the national champs. Ihenacho, a rare 3-time All-WAC performer already, has feasted on his conference opponents. Unless he's invited to the Senior Bowl, he may never get another opportunity against better competition at the collegiate level than today. 

WR James Rodgers, Oregon State: This is another example of a talented player who has starred against his conference foes, but I'm curious to see how he does against a physical and fast TCU group that finished No. 1 overall last year in total defense. James' "little" brother, running back Jacquizz, gets most of the national acclaim, but it was James who broke OSU's single-season all-purpose record last year with 2,328 yards. In what has become, in my opinion, the biggest game of the day (considering the suspensions marring the UNC-LSU game), I'm very curious to see how Rodgers performs in what will be a bit of a homecoming for he and his brother. The Rodgers were recruited out of Texas.

QB Jake Locker, Washington: Admittedly, I can put Locker on this list every week -- and I certainly will two weeks from now when Nebraska rolls into Seattle. But for all of the hype surrounding Locker and the Washington program, as a whole, a poor performance in the opener against a proud (and I believe underrated) Cougar team could put a quick end to the Heisman and bowl game chatter. Washington has greater skill position talent than BYU, but I don't know that they are as physical up front. Vegas thinks this one will be close (BYU a 1.5 point favorite) and I agree. If the Huskies are going to win, it might come down to a Locker making a big play late in the 4th quarter.
Posted on: July 8, 2010 8:39 pm
 

Don't let the 4.6 fool you, Unga a legit NFL back

Former BYU running back Harvey Unga had his Pro Day Thursday for NFL teams interested in selecting him in the July 15 supplemental draft.

According to those in attendance of the workout, Unga left scouts impressed with his overall athleticism in running back drills and having caught every pass thrown to him.

The number that will get most of the attention, of course, is the 4.63 second time most are crediting Unga with running in the all-important 40-yard dash.

Earlier today I compared former Illinois defensive tackle Joshua Brent-Price's workout numbers from his Pro Day to those of similarly built defensive tackles tested at the 2010 Combine.

There were only three true running backs drafted in 2010 who ran slower times at the Combine than the 4.63 Unga ran today. Those three -- Anthony Dixon (4.72), Jonathan Dwyer (4.69) and Charles Scott (4.7) were all drafted in the sixth round by the 49ers, Steelers and Eagles, respetively.

Like with these three backs, Unga's time in the 40-yard dash is deceptive. He boasts a powerful downhill running style that wears out defenses. He also possesses quicker feet, better lateral agility and better vision to enjoy success as the big back option in the committee running games so en vogue in today's NFL.

According to published reports there were 20 teams in attendance, with six other clubs requesting film of the workout.

With at least 26 of the league's 32 teams interested in Unga, his status as a "sure" draft pick July 15 remains secure -- even if his time is slower than some had forecasted.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com