Posted on: October 4, 2011 5:47 pm
Former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins is playing every bit as well as you might expect for Terry Bowden and the North Alabama Lions.
Jenkins was recognized Monday for his second Gulf South Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honor thus far this season.
With the Lions tied 14-14 with Southern Arkansas Saturday, Jenkins returned a punt 89-yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Later he blocked a field goal attempt.
It was the second time Jenkins has returned a punt for a score for North Alabama. He also scored on an 87-yard return a few weeks ago against Glenville State.
For the season Jenkins has 33 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. He has three pass breakups and a fumble recovery -- which, not surprisingly, he also returned for a score. That big play came at Cowboys Stadium against then-No. 3 ranked Abilene Christian on September 17.
It was announced on Monday that the Lions had moved from No. 2 in the national rankings to the top spot, meaning that even more eyes will now be on the Florida transfer.
NFL teams will certainly have to do their homework on Jenkins. The repeated off-field mistakes Jenkins made over his career with the Gators are nothing to be taken lightly.
Neither, however, are his obvious skills on the football field.
Athletic, instinctive and possessing the closing burst to replicate his collegiate success against NFL competition, Jenkins -- from purely an athletic standpoint -- deserves consideration as the top senior cornerback prospect in the country and a possible first round pick.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 5:39 pm
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. I also try to tweet comments on prospects throughout Saturday's action. You can follow me on Twitter @RobRang.
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 Tauren Poole, Tennessee: There are some huge games this weekend, but few have the longstanding rivalry that Tennessee-Florida boasts. Poole is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7 rated running back, but he boasts a combination of size, speed, elusiveness and power that could translate into a starter at the next level. When you take into account all of the talented underclassmen, Poole is our 16th rated RB and that seems waaay too low based on the tape I've seen. With a strong game against an athletic Gator defense playing in front of their home crowd, he could get my vote to move up significantly in our rankings. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by CBS.
DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington: For all of the attention that Jake Locker and running back Chris Polk gained for their roles in Washington's surprising Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska in January, the emergence of this 6-3, 337 run-stuffer was a critical piece tot he puzzle. Ta'Amu and the Huskies will be facing a more motivated Huskers offense this time around, so it will be fascinating to see how these two teams perform in the rubber match. A strong performance in this game could lead to the underdog Huskies giving Nebraska a tough game and also push Ta'Amu into legitimate first round consideration. He could follow Phil Taylor and BJ Raji as recent run-stuffers whose strong senior seasons catapulted them into the top 32. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by ABC/ESPN.
DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State: One could argue that for Michigan State to beat Notre Dame, the pressure is most on senior quarterback Kirk Cousins.However, considering the way the Irish defense has played, Cousins could have a field day. The greater pressure (and thus, why I, scouts will be paying close attention) will be on the Spartans' defense to bottle up the Irish offense. Worthy shows flashes of the penetrating quickness and power that can result in a first round pick, but needs to be more consistent. This game could go a long way in determing whether Worthy (a junior) should consider making the early leap to the NFL. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by NBC.
OLB Sean Spence, Miami: It wasn't that long ago when Miami-Ohio State would have ranked as the top game of the weekend. Now, for many it has become an after-thought. Not to me, however, and certainly not to scouts. Spence is one of the better chase linebackers in the country, but is undersized. He struggled handling Terrelle Pryor last year in this contest. While Pryor is obviously now an Oakland Raider, it will be interesting to see if Spence remembers his atypical performance a year ago and improves his open field tackling this time around. I expect that he will. This game begins at 7:30 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN.
QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma: In case you haven't seen my Top 32 "Bigger Board," let me just say right now that I'm lower on Jones than most. While he undeniably has an NFL combination of size and arm strength, I question whether he has the accuracy and poise to be an elite pro quarterback. The fact that he's coming out of a spread offense that significantly inflates his production and typically protects him from pressure doesn't help his cause at all. However, to beat a fast, aggressive Seminoles' defense in Tallahassee, Jones will have to show improved accuracy and calm in the pocket -- which could lead me to re-evaluate him quickly. There is legitimate NFL talent on both sides of the ball for both of these programs. No one has more riding on their performance, however, than Jones, a junior passer who some compare to Sam Bradford and view as a potential top five pick in the 2012 draft. This game begins at 8:00 pm EST and will be televised by ABC.
Posted on: January 9, 2011 11:47 pm
If the twitter account registered to a "janoris jenkins" from Gainesville, Fl is, in fact owned by the Gator junior cornerback, then his tweet Sunday afternoon will have Florida fans happy and NFL teams needing help in the secondary disappointed.
The account - @jenkz1 - registered a message at approximately 5:30 pm EST Sunday that simply said "Gator Nation I'm back....."
Since the message, speculation has been rampant that Jenkins was indeed successfully "recruited" back to Florida by new head coach Will Muschamp.
According to an anonymous source quoted by Justin Wells of a Florida Gators website, Swamp247.com , Jenkins made the decision based on several factors, including the torn labrum that kept him out of the Gators' Outback Bowl victory over Penn State and a lower than expected grade from the NFL Advisory Committee.
Wells' source claims that Jenkins received a "2nd/3rd round grade."
I have Jenkins as a first round prospect and have spoken to NFL scouts who graded Jenkins as such, as well.
While Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck's decision was certainly the more impactful move, Jenkins' is the bigger surprise. Having spoken to members close to the Florida program over the past few weeks, Jenkins was widely considered "long gone."
Jenkins played in 13 games for the Gators in 2010, registering 44 tackles, six tackles for loss, eight passes broken up and three interceptions (including 68 return yards and one touchdown) in earning Second Team All-SEC honors by league coaches.
Posted on: October 28, 2010 10:24 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 11:57 pm
With all six of the FBS undefeated teams on the road and two games pitting Top 20 teams against each other, there is certainly plenty of intrigue in college football for the upcoming Halloween weekend.
In terms of the NFL draft, however, the place to be is Seattle, Washington where the two top quarterback prospects in the country will face off.
According to sources within the league, the expectation is that there will be "at least" 15 NFL scouts attending this game. That total would almost surely double the number of scouts that have attended any college football game in Seattle in quite some time.
Stanford redshirt sophomore Andrew Luck has emerged this season as the clear top passer in the country. Some will argue that Washington's Jake Locker has fallen out of the first round. ESPN's John Clayton has reported that he's spoken to scouts who have dropped him into the second or third round.
That might be true -- but I believe that for however low Locker has dropped early this year, he'll earn back a great deal of that lost stock if he is invited (and accepts) a Senior Bowl invitation, as expected. In that environment, Locker's rare physical tools will stand out.
This isn't a life-long Seattle area resident talking... It is from the experience of covering Senior Bowl practices since 2000.
Having scouted this long, I've learned that many NFL talent evaluators believe (as I do) that one can gauge the talents of most prospects based on film - but not necessarily quarterbacks.
Most scouts believe that to truly gauge a quarterback, one has to see them throw in person. They have to see how the ball comes out of the passer's hand; get a feel for just how much zip is on his fastball; if the quarterback recognizes when to throw with touch; how he interracts with his teammates when the cameras aren't on him.
It is why I saved my final analysis of Sam Bradford (Pro Day) , Tim Tebow (Senior Bowl) , Mark Sanchez (Pro Day) and many others over the years until after I'd seen them in person.
It is also why I won't be scouting the myriad of games I normally do this Saturday, but instead will be evaluating Stanford-UW in person this weekend.
Because to truly judge a quarterback, there is nothing like being there in person.
Posted on: September 4, 2010 2:08 pm
I listed Mike Pouncey as one of the five seniors I was going to focus on today. I'm glad I did, as he's been one of the biggest stories of the early games.
Pouncey, taking over for his twin brother Maurkice (Steelers' first round pick in '10) as the Gators' starting center, looks every bit the part of a player who has switched positions.
He's started the last 28 games of his career -- earning Second Team All-American honors last year -- at right guard, but he's struggled mightily with shotgun snaps in the opener against Miami of Ohio. His poor snap led to fumbles in the first and third quarters and several other poorly-timed plays.
Pouncey has been consistently low and wide with his snaps, forcing new quarterback John Brantley to divert much more of his attention to securing the snap, rather than eyeing the defense.
Pouncey is far from the only Gator player to blame for the team's ugly first half performance on offense. The high-flying Gators were held to only 13 total yards of offense -- and remember, this is against Miami of Ohio. The RedHawks finished 70th in the country in Total Defense last year.
However, nothing on offense is going to work if the snap isn't completed successfully.
Pouncey is currently listed as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated senior center prospect for the 2011 draft.
Unless he shows remarkable improvement, he won't be for long.
Posted on: August 20, 2010 1:53 pm
When Brandon Spikes was clocked at 5.05 seconds in the all-important 40-yard dash during his Florida Pro Day, some immediately questioned whether he could be effective in the NFL.
After all, few linebackers have ever run that slow and still been high draft picks. The only middle linebacker from the 2010 draft to have anything close to the two-time All-American Spikes' production in college and his slow time in the 40-yard dash was former Kentucky star Micah Johnson, who went undrafted, was signed by the New York Giants as a free agent and is now a member of the Miami Dolphins.
The slow time did force me to re-evaluate whether he could be effective as a true middle linebacker in the 4-3 scheme, but if protected in a 3-4 alignment, I thought he could continue the spectacular play in the NFL that he'd enjoyed throughout his career with the Gators. His sideline to sideline speed had concerned me even prior to Spikes' senior season.
If his first two preseason games in the NFL are any indication, the Patriots may have a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate with Spikes, the 62nd overall pick of the draft.
Spikes "only" contributed three solo tackles in the win over Atlanta last night, but his physicality in the hole and timing as a pass rusher makes him an ideal fit for this scheme, especially when you consider that the Patriots already feature one of the game's better young inside linebacker in Jerod Mayo -- who captured 49 of a possible 50 votes to win the 2008 award.
In the first preseason game, Spikes was much more statistically impressive, leading the team with eight tackles against the Super Bowl champion Saints.
Spikes' impressive performance has drawn relatively "rave" reviews from Bill Belichick, who, of course, is rarely complimentary.
"Now that he’s in our defense, some things he does are a little bit different than the way we would teach it, but he still does them well,’’ Belichick was quoted by Robert Mays of the Boston Globe.
Wow. Acknowledgement from Belichick? For a rookie?
That's about as rare as a linebacker running a 5.05 second 40-yard dash and still making the second round...
Posted on: July 21, 2010 2:41 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 2:44 pm
Alabama junior defensive Marcel Dareus, already viewed by scouts as a potential first round prospect, is the latest high profile player to be under NCAA investigation for his possibly inappropriate relationship with a sports agent, according to an ESPN report by Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach.
Dareus, according to the report , is being investigated after attending an agent's party in South Beach, Florida earlier this summer.
Whereas the Universities of North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida have all been relatively tight-lipped about the investigations into their student-athletes, Alabama head coach Nick Saban unleashed some wrath on the two elements he believes are at the root of the epidemic -- sports agents and the NFL.
"What the NFL Players Association and the NFL need to do is if any agent breaks a rule and causes ineligibility for a player, they should suspend his [agent's] license for a year or two," Saban is quoted in the article. "I'm about ready for college football to say, 'Let's just throw the NFL out. Don't let them evaluate players. Don't let them talk to players. Let them do it at the combine.' If they are not going to help us, why should we help them?"
"Right now, agents are screwing it up," Saban said. "They are taking the eligibility of players. It's not right that those players do the wrong thing. We have a great education process here. We have a full-time worker who meets with players and their families and does everything else."
Saban, who, of course, coached the Miami Dolphins for a brief time, probably understands the issue greater than most coaches. He's seen the recruiting of players by agents from the perspective of being a college coach, as well as from the NFL side.
While his potential solution to the problem seems rash, it also could work.
With the NCAA apparently taking the illegal player-recruiting by agents more seriously, get ready to see a steady stream of these stories. Unfortunately, Marvin Austin, Weslye Saunders, Maurkice Pouncey and Marcel Dareus may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Posted on: March 17, 2010 10:29 am
The hype surrounding Tim Tebow's Pro Day this morning will likely create some unrealistic expectations among the media and fans.
The reality is the vast majority of scouts, front office executives and coaches have already made their assessments of Tebow. They've had four years of his playing against SEC competition to make those assessments. How he performs today - against no defenders - won't likely impact their grades one way or the other.
That said, today's workout reminds me of a conversation I'd had earlier in the year with a high ranking official of a team expected to draft a quarterback this April.
The source, who had gone to the Florida campus and scouted Tebow throwing in practice was hardly complimentary.
Little time was spent talking about Tebow's elongated release. We'd discussed this in the past. The source believed Tebow's motion could be corrected with time.
The focus of the conversation was Tebow's accuracy.
He was "terrible" I remember the official saying. "He was spraying the ball all over the place -- and this was against air, Rob, just air."
Considering that Tebow will be throwing against just air again this morning -- and at least partially concerned with shortening his release, not necessarily his accuracy -- many scouts are expecting Tebow to struggle.
Perhaps what makes Tebow so intriguing to some, however, is that he has shown an ability to step up his game in critical situations. The decision by Florida to allow fans into the stadium could make this environment all the more like a game -- which considering Tebow's career winning record of 35-6 as the starting quarterback and all of the scouts in the stands -- that might help him ratchet up the competitive juices.