Tag:DeMarcus Ware
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:41 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 1:44 pm

Troy pass rusher Massaquoi bypassing senior year

Perhaps the most productive pass rusher few college football fans have seen announced Friday he's taken steps to assure that when they do see him, he'll be sacking a quarterback wearing an NFL uniform.

Troy defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi, a two-time First Team All-Sun Belt honoree, announced that he's bypassing his senior season and heading off to the NFL.

"I sure hate to lose him," Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said as part of a press release from the university announcing Massaquoi's decision.
Estimated at 6-2, 250 pounds, Massaquoi bolsters a relatively weak class of pass rushers potentially capable of lining up as 3-4 rush linebackers. Massaquoi was given a 2nd-3rd round grade by NFLDraftScout.com and is our No. 9 rated outside linebacker, overall. Several other outside linebackers rated ahead of him are better fits remaining in the 4-3 alignment. Massaquoi, who played left defensive end in the Trojans' 4-3 scheme, lacks the bulk to remain opposite the right tackle on anything other than obvious passing downs. He does have good quickness off the snap and is surprisingly effective as a bull rusher due to his leverage and good upper body strength.

There will, of course, be some who question Massaquoi's level of competition, though that didn't stop former Trojans DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora from enjoying great success in the NFL.

Massaquoi posted 128 tackles, including 31 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks in just two seasons at Troy. Prior to enrolling at Troy, he spent the 2008 season at Butler Community College.

Besides production, age may have also played a role in Massaquoi's decision. He's 24 now. As Blakeney said in the statement, "[Massaquoi's] clock is ticking and the NFL is the hardest job in America to get and definitely the hardest one to keep."

Posted on: October 1, 2010 8:53 pm

Reigning Diamond Jernigan gets Senior Bowl invite

Troy wideout and return specialist Jerrel Jernigan, my reigning "Diamond in the Rough" as a the country's top "small-school" prospect learned this week that he'd been invited to the prestigious Senior Bowl, according to multiple reports.

The invitation isn't a surprise. Jernigan leads all active FBS receivers with 209 career receptions and has been especially spectacular this season, having posted games of 277 and 311 all-purpose yards and twice earning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week honors.

Jernigan is averaging 207.8 all-purpose yards per game. That number, as Drew Champlin of the Enterprise Ledger notes , is barely second behind Boise State's Titus Young, who is averaging 208.0 all-purpose yards per game.

The Senior Bowl, located in Mobile, Alabama has taken full advantage in years past of the rich talent from their neighboring universities. While Alabama and Auburn traditionally send the most prospects, the Trojans (based in Troy, Alabama) have more than held their own, sending future NFL standouts DeMarcus Ware and Leodis McKelvin, among a host of others, to the all-star game.

The 2011 Senior Bowl will be played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile on January 29.

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.

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