Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Big Ten
Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:34 pm
 

Indiana kicks standout senior WR Belcher off team

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: December 23, 2010 11:39 pm
 

Suspended or not, Pryor, others should return

The NCAA's harsh reaction to Ohio State players Terrelle Pryor, Daniel "Boom" Herron, Devier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas ' foolish decisions to pawn game-worn gear and memorabilia for cash and tatoos could push the five players into an even worse decision -- declaring early for the NFL draft.

I certainly understand the argument for the players to enter the draft early. After all, taking five games away from them next season leaves them precious little time to boost their draft stock or resurrect whatever legacy they've tarnished at Ohio State.

The harsh reality, however, is that these fives Buckeyes simply aren't ready for the NFL, especially quarterback Terrelle Pryor .

Pryor, of course, is the man most expected to leave early following this ruling. Yet, he's the one who has the most to lose by coming out before he's ready. While scouts can't ignore his 6-6, 235 pound frame and wonderful athleticism, they also won't ignore his struggles reading defenses, tendency to throw late over the middle and, most of all, his marginal accuracy.

There may be a team willing to gamble on his spectacular upside (especially considering the success Michael Vick is having this season) in the first round, but a Top 32 pick is no guarantee for Pryor despite his obvious talent and hype.

Should he return, however, with Andrew Luck, Cameron Newton and Ryan Mallett likely already in the NFL, he'd enter the year (albeit five games late) among the top quarterback prospects. Finishing his senior season out strong and perhaps adding a game by attending the Senior Bowl and he'd be in prime position for a top pick in 2012.

While he'll likely be the least hyped of the five players in this ugly story, the most pro-ready of the group is actually left tackle Mike Adams . The 6-8, 305 pound Adams emerged as a force this season, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors in his first full season as the Buckeyes starter. Entering the year, however, he was not lock to win the starting job at all. Like Pryor, there is no denying Adams' upside, but with his balance, hand technique and awareness all question marks, he should return to iron out the wrinkles to his game. If he were to come out this year, considering the talent of this year's OT class, he'd likely be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Returning, however, he'd rate among the top senior offensive tackle prospects in the country.

Posey and Thomas, strictly from a scouting standpoint, should return, as well.

The one possible exception is the running back, Herron. The reason he should consider leaving school early has nothing to do with the suspension and doesn't mean he's a spectacular prospect. In fact, if he comes out, I'll be surprised if he's drafted earlier than the 3rd round. However, running backs can only absorb so much punishment and with 454 "touches" already, scouts know what he can do.

I don't necessarily believe that Pryor, Adams or the others will heed my advice. The reaction from most of us in a similar situation as the one they find themselves in is to think, "the heck with it, I'm going pro." It is the reaction that some writers would take . It certainly is the reaction that most 20 or 21 year-olds with an inflated perception of their pro stock might take.

But in reality, these Buckeyes, while very talented, have a ways to go before they're ready for the NFL.

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


Posted on: December 9, 2010 1:08 pm
 

Guilty or not Johnson-Koulianos' NFL shot dead?

A week ago Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was viewed as a legitimate middle round prospect by NFL scouts.

That may have ended yesterday, however, as he appeared in court for the first time to hear the potential 7 1/2 years of jail time he faces after being arrested on multiple drug charges Tuesday.

It is important to note that Johnson-Koulianos is not being charged with selling drugs as has been reported elsewhere. He is, however, being charged with keeping a drug house as well as possession of marijuana, cocaine and a variety of legal pain medication and muscle-relaxers for which he did not have a prescription. Johnson-Koulianos reportedly was tested for marijuana and cocaine and came up positive for both.

In the court of law, Johnson-Koulianos is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. In the eyes of most NFL teams, however, the charges alone against him could eliminate any chance he'll play for their team. Obviously if he were to be found guilty and had to serve any jail time, his chances would drop even further.

Despite the fact that players are drafted every year after testing positive at the Combine for failed drug tests, teams are highly sensitive to players with drug charges. Actual charges tend to generate more public outcry, after all, especially for narcotics like cocaine. 

DJK as he is affectionally called by fans and those close to the Iowa program enjoyed a stellar career for the Hawkeyes. A First Team All Big-Ten selection this season with 46 receptions for 745 yards and 10 touchdowns, he leaves Iowa as their career record-holder in catches (173) and yardage (2,616). Johnson-Koulianos is also a standout kick returner with two touchdown returns over his career, including one against Minnesota in what appears to have been his final collegiate game - and perhaps the final organized football game of his career.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 9:07 am
 

Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi Prospect of the Week

When a team puts forth a 83-20 shellacking of a conference foe there is plenty of credit to go around. Wisconsin, without potential All-American running back John Clay, received a dominant performance from their offensive line and simply pounded Indiana into submission on Saturday. It was an offensive display that Wisconsin hadn't matched in nearly a century.

After reviewing dozens of prospects across the country over the weekend, the indelible impression made by the Badgers' offensive line in this game was simply too much for me to ignore.

Though he was held out of the second half of this game with a minor leg injury, left tackle Gabe Carimi was the driving force behind Wisconsin's most impressive quarter -- the second -- against the Hoosiers. It was in this quarter that the Badgers pulled away from Indiana. While the final scoreboard is certainly proof to the contrary, the Hoosiers were competitive early in this contest, tying the score at 10 points each in the early minutes of the second quarter.

However, an injury to Indiana's starting quarterback Ben Chappell and with the Badgers often operating on a short field, the rout was on.

Wisconsin offensive lineman are often typecast as simply drive-blockers. In this contest there were certainly examples of Carimi doing just that. He played with good leverage and leg drive when doing so. It was the mobility and balance with which he blocked downfield and protected the edge in pass protection, however that is why he'll be a first round draft pick this April. 

Wisconsin rarely asks their All-Big Ten left tackle to pull, but an example of Carimi doing exactly that came with 5:05 in second quarter. Carimi, showing very good initial quickness, balance and surprising agility, latched on to Indiana weakside linebacker Leon Beckum and cleared the way for James White's 30-yard touchdown that extended Wisconsin's second quarter lead to 24-10 over a Hoosier team that had battled the Badgers step for step early.

Carimi was just as impressive in the passing game.

Carimi eases back into his pass set, demonstrating quick feet and balance. Despite his height, he plays with good knee bend, giving him the leverage to handle the bull rush. This had been an area he'd received low grades from scouts earlier in the year. The four year starter who took over for 2008 No. 3 overall pick Joe Thomas, plays with similar awareness as the Cleveland Browns' star. Carimi is a patient blocker who allows the defender to come to him whereas inexperienced pass blockers often lunge at defenders and find themselves unbalanced.

His awareness was demonstrated in Wisconsin's 4-yard touchdown pass with only 21 seconds left in the second quarter. Carimi made an initial block of a Hoosier defensive lineman, stoning him with a strong initial pop, before switching over to a blitzing linebacker to give Badger quarterback Scott Tolzien plenty of time to fire the touchdown to Nick Toon. 

Posted on: September 27, 2010 9:52 pm
 

Troy's WR/RS Jernigan earns Diamond in the Rough

Typically, my weekly Diamond in the Rough award goes to a player who stands out at a lower level of play.
Considering the NFL success of former Trojans Osi Umenyiora, DeMarcus Ware and Leodis McKelvin, I hardly consider Sun Belt powerhouse Troy to be among the "small schools" for traditional Diamonds in the Rough.

But Troy wideout Jerrel Jernigan was so dominant in a Sun Belt conference showdown with Arkansas State that I simply had to acknowledge his play here.

All Jernigan did was catch ten passes for a career high 209 yards, rush the ball five times for 31 yards and record another 71 yards on four (three kick, one punt) returns. The 311 all-purpose yards were also a career-high for Jernigan, who was recognized by the Sun Belt Conference for his second Player of the Week award already this season. He was recognized with the Offensive Player of the Week award Monday, after earning the SBC Special Teams Player of the Week following a September 12 performance against Oklahoma State in which he posted 277 all-purpose yards (including a 100 kick return for a touchdown and a 10-yard touchdown reception).

What made Jernigan's electric performance Saturday against the Red Wolves all the more stunning was that much of it came during rain showers.

Jernigan, 5-9 and 185 pounds, has true three-tier speed. He has the quickness to elude in tight quarters, the acceleration to burst through seams and the long speed to pull away from the pursuit. It didn't take long for him to demonstrate this rare combination against Arkansas State, as Jernigan caught reached high to snatch a high pass on a post route, accelerated between two Red Wolf defensive backs and was gone for a 70-yard score on only the Trojans' third play from scrimmage.

While Jernigan certainly lacks the height scouts would prefer, he has an athletic, surprisingly strong frame and has demonstrated great toughness over his career. He attacks the hole as a returner and does not back down from a physical challenge. Scouts would like to see more consistency out of Jernigan as a route-runner, though some of his troubles have been that he's been asked to line up at so many different positions in an effort to get him the ball. He rarely allows the ball to get into his chest, showing good hands to extend and pluck outside of his frame. Jernigan also showed good body control and the ability to track passes over his shoulder.

Jernigan currently leads all active FBS receivers with 209 career receptions and ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 5 senior wideout and yet few across the country know his name. They would if he played for a Big Ten or SEC team... and they will when he lights up practices at the Senior Bowl.




Posted on: June 7, 2010 7:25 pm
 

Only 4 realistic options for No. 1 entering 2010

The two scouting organizations that most NFL teams rely on for off-season scouting of college prospects -- National Scouting and BLESTO -- held their annual spring meetings just a few weeks ago. From these meetings come the rankings of senior prospects which NFL teams then use as a "starting point" from which to narrow the field of tens of thousands of collegiate players who would love an opportunity to play professional football to the relatively low number of 1,000 (or so) senior players who actually have enough athleticism and size to warrant taking a closer look.

Though much will be made of the player(s) who earn the highest preseason grades, take the cautionary tales of former top-rated prospects Michael Johnson (3rd round), Greg Hardy (6th round), Quentin Moses (3rd round) -- athletic pass rushers who slipped to mid rounds or later after disappointing senior campaigns.

The 2010-11 reports haven't yet made the rounds. However, after a beginning my scouting of senior prospects for the 2011 draft, there are only four players that I feel deserve consideration for the right to be called the "best senior prospect" entering next season.

Considering that the first eight players selected in the 2010 draft came from the Big 12 or SEC, these traditional powerhouse conferences could take a step back this year.... at least in terms of producing extremely highly rated preseason senior prospects.

Washington quarterback Jake Locker is my highest rated prospect. As I mentioned in this introductory 2011 article , however, Locker is far from the sure thing he's been labeled by some. We all know that quarterbacks often end up being selected No. 1 overall due to the value of the position, but for the National and BLESTO rankings, position value isn't necessarily taken into account. I'd be surprised, quite honestly, if Locker is the top-rated senior prospect for either organization.

The most NFL-ready of the top prospects and the player I believe to be the likeliest to have earned the top billing is Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward . Explosive enough to play defensive end and large enough to project inside at defensive tackle, the late Ironhead Heyward's son really came on down the stretch last season and due to his size and athleticism will be viewed by some as possessing unparalled upside.

It would be a bit ironic if Heyward earned the top mark in either list as another Big Ten defensive lineman, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn was unquestionably the better, more consistent player in 2010. At 6-3, 285, however, Clayborn may lack the size and upside NFL scouts require for a supremely high grade at this time. History has proven that the National and BLESTO scouts have often been more interested in elite athletes with a high upside rather than consistent football players.

Due to the upside conversation, yet another Big Ten standout has a chance to be the surprise top senior prospect. Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi has been compared to Joe Thomas since he arrived on campus. Though he's prone to mental lapses, there is no denying the 6-8, 315 pound Carimi has the athleticism to handle the blindside in the NFL. His fluidity and aggression could result in a high grade -- though he'll need to play with more consistency to ultimately earn this high of a draft selection.




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