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Tag:FBS
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:51 am
 

FCS All-American team features NFL talent

Much is made of the household names that appear each season on the FBS All-American team.

Not enough attention, however, goes to those men recognized as All-Americans at the lower levels of college football.

Yesterday, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) released their choices for the FCS All-American team. For those sick of acronyms, FCS stands for Football Championship Subdivision, which replaced the long-held moniker Division I-AA. Not surprisingly, on this list are the names of several incredibly productive collegiate players who will struggle to repeat their success at the professional level -- just like the FBS All-American team.

There are, however, several NFL-caliber prospects, including three players who I believe could prove top 100 selections in the 2012 draft: Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick, Furman cornerback Ryan Steed and Montana cornerback Trumanine Johnson.

Of the three, I am personally highest on Quick, a 6-4, 216 pounder who caught 71 passes this season for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns. This total helped make Quick the school’s all-time career leader with 202 receptions, 3,418 yards and 31 touchdown catches. 

Quick's height is obviously a "large" part of his success. He also possesses surprising overall athleticism and acceleration for such a big man. Quick was the one Mountaineer who really showed well when Appalachian State took on FBS standout Virginia Tech to open the season. proving to scouts that he has the talent to play with the big boys. Quick is currently rated as NFLDraftScout.com's 15th best receiver for the 2012 draft -- though I believe he could boost this grade once he answers concerns about his speed.

If Steed's name sounds familliar it should. He was the focus of a blog post just yesterday when his university, Furman, announced that he would be attending this year's Senior Bowl.

Steed may have taken the small school cornerback spot the Senior Bowl tries to annually feature. Some believed that prior to a run-in with the police, Montana's Johnson may have been the favorite for this honor.

Johnson, 6-2 and 204 pounds, had been steadily rising up scouts' boards. An all-conference selection after each of the past three seasons, Johnson was recognized as an All-American in 2011, posting 44 tackles, seven passes broken up and four interceptions -- including two he returned for touchdowns. A year earlier, Johnson was even more productive, totaling five picks and 11 passes broken up.

This year opponents had largely stayed away from him. Of his 31 tackles thus far, 24 were of the solo variety. He had not recorded his first interception of the season, but had posted six pass breakups and forced a fumble. For his career, Johnson has 13 career interceptions.

The rest of the FCS All-American team is here:


2011 AFCA Football Championship Subdivision Coaches’ All-America Team
Offense
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
WR Ryan Spadola 6-3 205 Jr. Lehigh Andy Coen Howell, N.J. (Freehold Township)
WR Brian Quick 6-5 220 Sr. Appalachian St. Jerry Moore Columbia, S.C. (Ridge View)
WR Nicholas Edwards 6-3 200 Jr. Eastern Washington Beau Baldwin Tacoma, Wash. (Foss)
OL Gino Gradkowski 6-4 295 Sr. Delaware K.C. Keeler Pittsburgh, Pa. (Seton-LaSalle)
OL Brett Moore 6-3 255 Sr. Georgia Southern Jeff Monken Warner Robins, Ga. (Northside)
C Bryan Boemer 6-2 317 Sr. Southern Illinois Dale Lennon St. Louis, Mo. (St. John Vianney)
OL Paul Cornick 6-6 309 Sr. North Dakota St. Craig Bohl Orono, Minn. (Orono)
OL J.C. Oram 6-4 300 Sr. Weber St. Ron McBride Marriott-Slaterville, Utah (Fremont)
QB Bo Levi Mitchell 6-2 210 Sr. Eastern Washington Beau Baldwin Katy, Texas (Katy)
RB Shakir Bell 5-8 185 So. Indiana St. Trent Miles Indianapolis, Ind. (Warren Central)
RB Tim Flanders 5-9 210 So. Sam Houston St. Willie Fritz Midwest City, Okla. (Midwest City)


Defense

Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
DL Ronnie Cameron 6-2 295 Sr. Old Dominion Bobby Wilder Westbury, N.Y. (Holy Trinity)
DL Andrew Schaetzke 6-4 245 Sr. Georgetown Kevin Kelly Toledo, Ohio (St. John’s Jesuit)
DL Ben Boothby 6-0 280 Sr. Northern Iowa Mark Farley Clinton, Iowa (Clinton)
DL Zack Nash 6-4 260 Sr. Sacramento St. Marshall Sperbeck Vacaville, Calif. (Vacaville)
LB Tyler Holmes* 6-0 224 Sr. Massachusetts Kevin Morris Blacksburg, Va. (Blacksburg)
LB Kadarron Anderson 6-1 234 Sr. Furman Bruce Fowler Greenwood, S.C. (Emerald)
LB Caleb McSurdy 6-1 242 Sr. Montana Robin Pflugrad Boise, Idaho (Borah)
DB Josh Norman 6-2 190 Sr. Coastal Carolina David Bennett Greenwood, S.C. (Greenwood)
DB Ryan Steed 5-11 188 Sr. Furman Bruce Fowler Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (Pinewood Prep)
DB Darnell Taylor 6-0 195 Jr. Sam Houston St. Willie Fritz Mesquite, Texas (Mesquite)
DB Trumaine Johnson* 6-3 210 Sr. Montana Robin Pflugrad Stockton, Calif. (Edison)


Specialists

Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School)
P David Harrington 6-2 185 Sr. Idaho St. Mike Kramer Marina, Calif. (Marina)
PK Zach Brown 6-1 200 Jr. Portland St. Nigel Burton Keizer, Ore. (McNary)
AP Brock Jackolski 5-10 198 Sr. Stony Brook Chuck Priore Shirley, N.Y. (William Floyd)

*-2010 All-American


Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:57 pm
 

EWU RB Jones 57th underclassman in draft

According to an NFL spokesperson, Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones was indeed granted special eligibility for the 2011 draft.

There had been some confusion as Jones was not among the record 56 underclassmen listed on a league press release provided yesterday.

The NFL's initial release "included only Division I-A players" and that Jones, as well as any other FCS players, would be mentioned in a later release by the league.

Until the league releases its non-FBS list to teams, the NFL was unwilling to list any other FCS underclassmen who may or may not be included in the 2011 draft. The spokesperson did confirm, however, that Jones turned in his paperwork and is eligible for the 2011 draft, making him the 57th (and counting?) underclassman available. 

The 6-0, 200 pound Jones rushed for 1,742 yards and 14 touchdowns for the FCS champion Eastern Eagles. Jones was unable to play in the national championship game, however, as he broke a bone in his left foot earlier in the playoffs. He'd rushed for 230 yards against North Dakota State before sustaining the injury.

Jones, a former cornerback, possesses a combination of speed and elusiveness that quite frankly is rare at the the FCS level. He is currently rated as a 5th round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, but if he can prove his health to scouts at the Combine, he could skyrocket up draft boards.

Teams are always going to be hesitant to draft a running back with Jones' marginal build and history of injuries (broken foot, broken fibula in 2008, hand, shoulder and hip flexor issues in 2009), but in terms of explosiveness, Jones ranks with any back in this draft. 
Posted on: January 15, 2011 11:41 am
 

Poor decisions mar underclassmen deadline day

For NFL teams looking at a less than impressive senior class, January 15 has developed into a holiday of sorts. As the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft, teams are hopeful that a few more presents will pop up to enhance the crop they've already seen.

It has been a bountiful catch already. Each player selected in the top five will be underclassmen, with Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara and Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller rating as the only seniors likely to have a chance at the top ten.

But for every Da'Quan Bowers or A.J. Green physically ready to make the leap to the NFL, there are other underclassmen who should have remained in school.

As of this morning I've been told of 55 players making the leap. Some of them, quite frankly, are leaping off the cliff of undrafted free agency.

Some of the most troubling decisions were made by running backs and safeties. 

Consider that so far this year there have been 12 underclassmen running backs who have declared for the 2011 NFL Draft.

There were only 12 running backs drafted last year.

For players like Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones, Virginia Tech's Darren Evans, and Wisconsin's John Clay, the decision could turn out disastrous.

You can't get three backs more different than the 5-11, 190 pound speedster Jones, the 6-0, 220 pound Evans and the 6-1, 248 pound bruiser Clay. Yet all three have struggled with durability and will be entering the NFL without the offenses taylored around their game that helped each standout at the collegiate level.

Jones, who has struggled the most with injuries but is the most physically gifted of the three may be one taking the biggest gamble, especially considering that scouts are going to naturally question his FCS competition. Even if he'd returned for his senior season and helped Eastern and again struggled with durability, he'd have potentially had the opportunity to play in a senior all-star game.

The weak senior running back class (scouts aren't sure there will be a single senior drafted in the top two rounds) convinced many of these underclassmen to come out. The same is true at safety. At of this morning, "only" five safeties had declared early for the draft -- UCLA's Rahim Moore, West Virginia's Robert Sands, Iowa's Tyler Sash, Georgia Tech's Jerrard Terrant and Florida's Will Hill -- but two of them could be making significant mistakes.

Moore and Hill have made some eye-popping plays over their respective careers, but each is coming off a disappointing junior season and surprised scouts with their decisions to leave early. Perhaps surprised isn't the correct word. Scouts had known that each was strongly considering the jump for the last month or so, but it doesn't change the fact that each was more highly thought of at the end of last season -- had much to gain with a strong senior year -- than they did by coming out now.

Moore, in particular, has been labeled by many as a first round caliber prospect, but after doing my film review of him this past week, I see an unreliable open field tackler who is inconsistent in coverage. His FBS-leading 10 interceptions in 2009 may have been a by-product of the play of his former teammates, now NFL players (Bucs' DT Brian Price and Titans' CB Alterraun Verner). Without them, Moore intercepted one pass in 2010.  I gave him a 3rd-4th round grade.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com