Tag:North Dakota State
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: December 17, 2010 7:01 pm
 

Legit NFL talent in tonight's FCS playoff game

Need to scratch that football itch?

There is an exciting game tonight in the FCS -- where they let playoffs determine the national champion.

Villanova and Eastern Washington meet tonight for the chance to play in the championship game. It should be an exciting game. If you haven't seen a game from Roos Field in Cheney Washington, you should tune in for a moment just to see the field. It's red.

NFL scouts will be tuning in for a different reason - the fact that 'Nova and Eastern each boast legitimate pro talent.

The greater talent lies with the defending champion Wildcats. Left tackle Ben Ijalana is the best of the small school linemen and ranks among the top ten senior tackles in all of college football, in my opinion. His quick feet, good balance and long arms could keep him outside in the pros, though some teams project him inside as a guard.

The most exciting prospect in the game is Villanova's do-everything weapon Matt Szczur . By do-everything, I mean take a peek at what he's done in the two playoff games so far: 25 rushes for 172 yards (6.8 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, 16 receptions for 153 yards and one score and 2-of-2 passing for 58 yards and another touchdown. Szczur earned a spot as Diamond in the Rough -- the most impressive small school player of the week -- earlier in the year. Oh, and he's a terrific baseball player too. So good, in fact, that the Chicago Cubs drafted him last year in the fifth round. He hit safely in 21 consecutive games over the summer for their minor league teams.

Ijalana and Szczur have each been invited to the Senior Bowl and are viewed as possible Top 100 prospects in the 2011 draft.

Eastern has a lot of talent, as well, but was dealt a blow last weekend. Their junior star running back Taiwan Jones broke his foot in the fourth quarter of Eastern's win over North Dakota State. Jones was spectacular in that contest, rushing for 230 yards and a touchdown before breaking the fifth metatarsal of his left foot. Jones, an All-American, rushed for 1,742 yards and 14 scores this year. There was some buzz in the scouting community that he was looking into leaving Eastern early for the NFL.

The Eagles feature another intriguing junior prospect in defensive tackle Renard Williams . The 6-2, 300 pounder posted 43 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks on the season. I love to see interior defenders that know how to knock the ball free and Williams did precisely that this season, forcing a team-high four fumbles on the year. Like Jones, Williams had a spectacular game against North Dakota State, registering three tackles for loss, including two sacks. Williams also forced a fumble and intercepted a pass.

The defensive player you'll hear the most about is linebacker J.C. Sherritt . Sherritt earned the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year award this season because, quite frankly, he's a tackling machine. Sherritt is Eastern's all-time leader 406 stops, including 15 last week. Scouts don't believe he has the size (5-10, 220) to remain at mike linebacker in the NFL and some teams are projecting him to strong safety. Sherritt does not appear to have the agility or speed to make this conversion in today's pass-happy NFL. Sherritt does play with spectacular instincts, however, and is fun to watch. Some team will give him a well-deserved chance to beat the odds.

This game will be played tonight (Friday) at 8:00 pm EST and televised by ESPN2.

They may be televising the game, but you should know by now where to get the best analysis.

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




Posted on: December 13, 2010 11:50 pm
 

EWU star Jr RB Jones won't play vs. 'Nova

Taiwan Jones' spectacular season is over.

The Eastern Washington All-American has a fractured bone in his left foot that will keep him off the field in the Eagles' semi-final FCS showdown with Villanova. Jones broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during Eastern's win over North Dakota State last weekend.

Jones was averaging nearly 200 all-purpose yards per game. He'd rushed for 1,742 yards and scored 17 touchdowns this season. His explosiveness had already generated some buzz in the scouting community, though Jones, listed by Eastern at 6-1, 205, is only a junior.

He was dynamic enough, in fact, that I highlighted his play Saturday night following his team's win over North Dakota State. Jones rushed for a career-high 230 yard performance in the game and that was with snow and, apparently, the injury slowing him down in the second half.

 
 
 
 
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