Tag:Sun Belt
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: April 23, 2010 10:08 pm

Roberts, Veldheer, Carrington will surprise

As we get into the middle rounds is where NFL scouts and draft analysts earn their money.

While few fans will know much about Andre Roberts, wideout from The Citadel, Hillsdale offensive tackle Jared Veldheer and even Sun Belt standout Alex Carrington from Arkansas State, I believe these three will prove to be three of the better picks of the third round.

Roberts is my favorite of the three. Even with the trade of Anquan Boldin, the Cardinals are well stocked at wide receiver already with Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet. Roberts is a classic slot receiver and returner who could step in immediately should one of them go down to injury. Typically small school receivers are raw route-runners, but I was very impressed with Roberts at the Senior Bowl in this area. He has hands of glue.

Perhaps the most NFL-ready of the bunch, however, is Arkansas State's Alex Carrington, who at 6-5, 280 pounds has the length and strength the Bills need at defensive end for their conversion to the 3-4 defense. Carrington, like Roberts, helped dispel any thoughts that he couldn't make the jump to better competition with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl.

Veldheer, a 46 game starter and All-American, fills an area of real concern for the Raiders. He has the length the Raiders like outside and really made a name for himself at the Texas vs. Nation game. I've spoken to scouts who rate him similarly to former Sebastian Vollmer, a surprise second round pick last year for the Patriots who ended up starting eight games as a rookie, including five games at left tackle.

Posted on: March 4, 2010 5:48 pm

FB Rose, QB Smith Draw Scouts to FAU Pro Day

A total of 13 NFL teams, as well as representatives from a host of CFL and UFL clubs were on hand to watch 12 Florida Atlantic players showcase their abilities Thursday. The NFL teams represented Thursday at FAU were Carolina, Chicago, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Miami, New Orleans, New York (Giants), Oakland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Tennessee.

Fighting against a stiff wind that gusted up to 20 miles per hour, there were some notable performances.

Quarterback Rusty Smith was, of course, the headliner. The 6-5 (even), 224 pound Smith was clocked at 4.83 in the 40-yard dash and showed off his strong arm and quicker release. Smith, whose long windup had previously generated concern from scouts similar to that from another state of Florida quarterback, has worked hard to improve it. According to scouts in attendance, Smith was a bit sporadic with his accuracy, but possesses the raw tools to earn late round or PFA consideration.

Smith had been considered a bit of a sleeper candidate for the NFL. His former head coach, the legendary Howard Schnellenberger had once proclaimed him to be a potential first round prospect . I believed in him then and believe that he could surprise if given a shot.

The most decorated player in Florida Atlantic history, Smith had started 36 consecutive games, but was lost for the rest of his senior season after injuring his left (non-throwing) shoulder against Middle Tennessee State. He is the Owls’ and Sun Belt Conference’s all-time leader in career and single-season passing yards (10,112) and touchdown passes (76). In 2007, his best season, he was the Sun Belt player of the year and MVP of the New Orleans Bowl. Two years ago, he was the MVP of the Motor City Bowl. With Smith out for much of the 2009 season, FAU finished 5-7 and did not play in a bowl game.

While the scouts may have been there to see Smith, fullback William Rose was the most impressive player on the field. Rose, whose soft hands could see him moved to H-back in the NFL, was credited with a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 34" vertical, 9-10.5" broad jump and put up the bar 21 times in the bench press.

No FAU players were invited to the 2010 Combine, so these performances were critical if Smith, Rose or any other Owl is to be drafted.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com