Posted on: September 22, 2011 11:27 am
The Cincinnati Bearcats host the North Carolina State Wolfpack tonight (8 pm ET) in an interesting Big East/ACC showdown.
There are a number of pro prospects worth watching in this game, but the two prospects scouts will be paying the most attention to will actually be squaring off one on one on many occasions, making the matchup all the more intriguing.
The hosting Bearcats boast one of the top -- if relatively anonymous -- running backs in the country in senior Isaiah Pead. Pead, a 5-10, 200 pound speedster led the Big East in rushing last season (1,029 yards) despite missing two games with a bruised knee. Don't think he's just a back capable of chewing up yards against "weak" competition. The Tennessee Volunteers found out just how explosive Pead is just a few weeks ago when he ran for 155 yards and a touchdown against them. Pead only rushed the ball 14 times, meaning he averaged 11.1 yards per attempt on the road against a quality SEC defense. Pead currently ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 senior running back prospect and our No. 9 running back potentially available for the 2012 draft.
Pead will be facing one of the active linebackers in the country in NC State's Audie Cole, however. The 6-4, 239 pound Cole played strongside linebacker throughout most of his career, but was moved inside this season to help make up for the loss of Nate Irving -- a third round pick by the Denver Broncos (No. 67 overall).
Cole is athletic and generally recognizes the action quickly. This can lead to a lot of splashy plays at or near the line of scrimmage. Last season, however, he was prone to over-running the play, leaving cutback angles to backs with good vision and burst. He also had a tendency to hit ball-carriers, rather than wrapping them up securely. This is precisely why Pead could spring a big play or two on the Wolfpack.
Not surprisingly, Cole leads NC State in tackles for loss (5.5 in only three games) and is a close second to safety Earl Wolfe in total tackles (Wolfe has 28, Cole has 22). Cole has also racked up 1.5 sacks and has already forced and recovered a fumble this season. The versatile Cole currently is graded as an inside linebacker by NFLDraftScout.com and rates as our No. 4 senior at the position.
Looking for others to watch in this game? NC State has an interesting senior tight end in George Bryan. The 6-5, 265 pounder earned First Team All-ACC honors after each of the past two seasons. Scouts question whether he has enough athleticism, however, to enjoy similar success in today's pass-heavy NFL.
This game will be televised by ESPN.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:02 pm
The 2010 season has been overrun with stories of scandal, sanctions and distractions from the competition and passion that makes college football great.
So, with so much of the year focused on negative stories that occurred off the field, I thought it appropriate to highlight some of the positive off-field stories, as well.
The following are links to my 10 favorite draft stories of 2010.
Did I miss some? I hope so. Feel free to chime in with some of yours too.
These last four stories are obviously not as heart-wrenching or important as the first six. They do, however, serve as reminders as to what is right about college football in a year when so many devoted so much time to what is wrong with it.
On behalf of everyone at NFLDraftScout.com, have a happy and safe New Year!
Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: September 27, 2010 6:00 pm
Stop me if you've heard this before -- an award winning ACC linebacker, having overcome life-threatening ailments, makes a triumphant return to the field.
Much has been written about Boston College's Mark Herzlich, who, of course, is back to starring at strongside linebacker after Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, robbed him of the 2009 season.
Much less has been written about NC State inside linebacker Nate Irving, who missed the entire 2009 season after suffering through a horrific car accident that left him with a collapsed lung and broken leg, among other injuries.
Irving looked back to his former self with a dominating performance at Georgia Tech, Saturday. Irving was acknowledged today with the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week for his 16 tackle, 4.5 tackle for loss, two sack performance in the team's 48-25 victory.
Some will argue that "Player of the Week" is a misnomer. I don't pretend that I've already scouted every prospect throughout the country and that my choice (Irving, in this case) was unquestionably the best.
However, part of the coverage that we, at NFLDraftScout.com, have provided to our readers as part of our Draft Slant feature, is a Player of the Week. In picking one out each week, I tend to focus on Top 50 senior prospects for this honor and adhere to certain guidelines in terms of the level of competition the player faced.
Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant . This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here .
We thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement, however, and thus, every Monday, I'll post my picks for each award.
Player of the Week - September 25, 2010
ILB Nate Irving, NC State 6-1 / 235 / 4.68 -- opponent: Georgia Tech
Irving's instincts, agility and physicality were all on display in the impressive defensive showing against the Yellow Jackets' triple option offense. Irving stoned B-back Anthony Allen on Georgia Tech's second offensive play from scrimmage and it was a scene that would be replayed over and over throughout the contest. On the play, Irving dipped his shoulder to avoid the oncoming block from the center to take on the 6-0, 232 pound Allen in the hole. For being an undersized linebacker, Irving plays with terrific explosiveness reminiscent of former Florida State standout (and current Philadelphia Eagle) Ernie Sims. Like Sims, Irving has good speed to beat the back to the edge and to catch ball-carriers in pursuit. He is clearly comfortable playing in the middle, locating the football quickly despite his lack of preferred size for the position. Irving's explosive burst is also evident when Irving is allowed to rush the passer. Irving was simply too quick for Georgia Tech's offensive line on multiple occasions, Saturday. This despite the fact that the Yellow Jackets feature smaller and generally more athletic offensive linemen than most teams. The concern with Irving is that he is very aggressive and will attack the line of scrimmage, presenting big play opportunities for the offense when he reads incorrectly. Irving flashes an physical pop when forced to take on blockers, but prefers to elude them, showing good flexibility and agility in doing so. Unlike many athetic linebackers, Irving doesn't rely on just his athleticism. He shows good hand technique, including a swim move to avoid blockers, which he used on several occasions when rushing the passer. Irving rarely blitzed, but burst upfield when he saw that 'Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt was beginning to get happy feet after scanning the field for a receiver. An explosive hitter, scouts would nonetheless like to see Irving wrap up ball-carriers more securely. At times, the athletic linebacker likes to lead with his shoulder. This resulted in some big pops Saturday, but NFL runners will be able to shrug off some of his hits.
Posted on: September 16, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 9:12 pm
There are several noteworthy senior prospects who will be on the field tonight when Cincinnati travels to North Carolina State.
Posted on: July 23, 2010 8:09 pm
Fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I have been busy the past month reviewing film of the 2010 senior prospects. Chad, as always, is ahead of me and has been steadily producing finished player profiles already in preparation for our 2010 NFL Draft Preview.
I've completed scouting reports for approximately 50 prospects; most of them coming from the SEC, ACC and Pac-10 Conferences.
I've been working on these reports while tracking the NCAA's sudden focus on agent-related benefits potentially being given to NCAA players. I recognize that the story is a huge one, but quite frankly, I wanted to finally present a blog post about actual football, and not just more off-field concerns.
Thus, here are some of my general thoughts based after film review of some of the ACC's biggest names amongst senior prospects.
I'll post my thoughts on the SEC and Pac-10 in the coming days.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Allen Bailey, Boston College, Bruce Carter, C.J. Spiller, Clemson Tigers, DeAndre McDaniel, Deunta Williams, Jacoby Ford, Kendric Burney, Marcus Gilchrist, Mark Herzlich, Marvin Austin, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Hurricanes, Nate Irving, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Quan Sturdivant, Ras-I Dowling, Virginia