Tag:Tennessee Volunteers
Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 3:38 pm
 

Arkansas WR/RS Adams flying up draft boards

So much has been made of the bigger, stronger receivers likely to be available in the 2012 draft (like Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Marvin McNutt, etc.) that a few of the undersized speedsters aren't getting the recognition they deserve.

One such example is Arkansas wideout and return specialist Joe Adams.

Adams entered the season on the radar of NFL scouts, but he was viewed as a clear-cut secondary option in the Razorbacks' passing attack behind Greg Childs and Jarius Wright. With Childs struggling through recurring knee problems, however, Adams has stepped to the forefront a bit more, demonstrating the elusiveness and speed to contribute in both roles to an NFL team.

Some scouts, in fact, tell me that Adams has gone from a likely very late round prospect into possible Top 100 consideration based on playmaking skills that some have compared to Percy Harvin and DeSean Jackson's. Adams is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a 3rd-4th round pick and our No. 90 prospect overall.

I had hoped to sneak a peek at the Arkansas/Tennessee game Saturday, but wasn't able to do so prior to my Monday morning deadline for the Weekend Review.

In catching two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown as well as returning his third punt for a score this season (and fourth of his career) in a 49-7 thrashing of the Volunteers, however, Adams deserves mentioning.

His punt return in the waning seconds of the first quarter Saturday seemed to deflate the Tennessee sideline. Adams made at least six defenders miss on the return, scoring from 80 yards out. The three punt returns this season by Adams leads the NCAA and earned him Special Teams Player of the Week honors from the SEC.

Here is a link to the video of Adams' return on Youtube, courtesy of dwdyem2001

Posted on: September 22, 2011 11:27 am
 

RB Pead vs. ILB Cole highlight CIN/NCSU tonight

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: September 16, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 5:39 pm
 

Five prospects I'll be scouting closely Saturday

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: July 7, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Highly rated FS Jackson returns for Tennessee

The Tennessee Volunteers welcomed back arguably their best player Wednesday, when junior free safety Janzen Jackson enrolled in the second session of summer classes, after having left the team in early February to deal with personal issues. Due to an NCAA waiver that allows athletes to miss one semester, Jackson is eligible to participate fully in the Vols' preseason camp in August and in the 2011 season.

Jackson, 6-0 and 190 pounds, proved well worth all of his hype as one of the better prep defensive back prospects in the country in 2009. Since signing with Tennessee, he's started 22 of 23 games for the Volunteers. He had 69 tackles last season and tied for tops on the team with five interceptions, including one against T.J. Yates and North Carolina in a double-overtime loss in the Music City Bowl. For his efforts, he was designated a Second Team All-SEC pick last year.

When Jackson elected to leave the team in February, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley put to bed any doubt about the program's support of their young star, at least according to this article from Austin Ward of GoVolsXtra.com.
“Janzen continues to battle personal issues of which our program is always going to be very supportive of,” Dooley said. “His withdrawal from school has nothing to do with disciplinary reasons on the football team and everything to do with a continuing battle of deep personal issues, of which we’re very supportive of.”

The 2012 crop of free safeties at this point appears to be just an average class. It isn't difficult to understand why. Three free safety prospects that were originally part of the 2012 class already left early for the NFL -- former Texas Longhorn standout Earl Thomas (poised to enter his second season with the Seattle Seahawks after leaving as a redshirt sophomore), another Texas product in Aaron Williams (who played corner at Texas, but some project as a safety for the Buffalo Bills) and former UCLA Bruins star Rahim Moore (now a Denver Bronco). Thomas was a first round pick in 2010. Williams and Moore were among the first 13 picks of the second round in April.

With speed, instincts, ball skills and surprising physicality given his relatively slight frame, Jackson has already demonstrated the characteristics NFL scouts are looking for at free safety. As it stands now, NFLDraftScout.com rates Michigan State's Trenton Robinson and Boise State's George Iloka as the top senior free safety prospects for the 2012 draft. Both are viewed as only 3rd-4th round prospects, however, which could push underclassmen like Jackson, USC's T.J. McDonald and Alabama's Robert Lester, among others, to consider making the jump early.

Posted on: November 4, 2010 1:59 pm
 

Weekend Review -- Tennessee WR Denarius Moore

My typical Saturday is spent glued to the three television screens in my home doing as much scouting of collegiate football prospects as possible.

This past Saturday, however, I decided to scout the Stanford-Washington game in person. Thus, it has taken me a few days to review all of this past weekend's big games.

Two senior prospects who didn't make the cut in this week's issue of Draft Slant deserve recognition for their strong performances in close conference losses.

The first is Tennessee wideout Denarius Moore . The other, who deserves his own blog post, is Miami inside linebacker Colin McCarthy.

Breakout senior seasons made former Tennessee Volunteers Dan Williams (defensive tackle) and Montario Hardesty (running back) first and second round picks in the 2010 NFL draft. This year it is senior wideout Moore whose spectacular play has his stock skyrocketing.

Moore entered Saturday's contest against South Carolina with relatively pedestrian numbers through the first seven games of the season.

He'd caught 18 passes for 257 yards and run for another 76 yards on five rushing attempts. Despite the limited opportunities, savvy scouts recognized that the 6-1, 195 pounder was making them count - scoring six touchdowns on those 23 touches.
Scouts, however, wanted to see more consistency from Moore. Against South Carolina and their talented secondary, they got it.

Moore almost matched his previous season totals against the Gamecocks with 228 receiving yards on six catches. Per his big play reputation, Moore caught one touchdown, a 30-yarder in the 3rd quarter that put the 2-6 Volunteers within striking distance of South Carolina (6-2) at 24-17. His next reception went for 62 yards and put the Volunteers on the two-yard line. They scored on the next play, tying the game early in the 4th quarter.

What made Moore's game all the more impressive was the variety of routes he ran and the talent against which he was successful.

Throughout much of the game Moore was the responsibility of 2010 First-Team All-SEC defender Chris Culliver, himself a potential top 75 selection in the 2011 draft.

Posted on: September 16, 2010 10:09 pm
 

Surprised by Arian Foster's success? I'm not...

By now, everyone with a fantasy football team knows the name of Houston Texan running back Arian Foster.

Tennessee Volunteer (and other SEC) fans knew his name long before his staggering 231 yard, 3 touchdown performance against the Colts in Week One -- second behind only O.J. Simpson (250 yards in 1973) in the history of the NFL for a season-opening performance. 

After all, for all of the talk of Foster onto the scene for the Texans, he was hardly an unknown coming from out of Tennessee. Foster left the Vols second on their career rushing list with 2,964 yards -- more than Jamal Lewis, Charlie Garner, Cedric Houston and Montario Hardesty. Only Travis Henry, with 3,078 yards, was more successful over his career than Foster.

I -- and more importantly NFL scouts were quite high on Foster early in his career. In fact, he was given a second round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee following his junior season.

Entering the 2009 season, in fact, I characterized him among the elite prospects in the SEC and wrote:

"A standout as a freshman, Foster rebounded from a disappointing sophomore year to enjoy his greatest success to date last season, earning Second Team SEC honors with 1,193 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Only 684 yards behind Travis Henry to be Tennessee's career rushing leader, Foster briefly considered leaving early for the NFL and was given a second-round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee. A strong senior campaign could push Foster to the top of the senior running back class."

Rather than enjoy a "strong senior campaign," however, Foster struggled mightily, fumbling often and losing carries to Hardesty (among others).

Foster initially intrigued me as a strong one-cut runner. Though his stock took a major tumble in 2009, I was nonetheless surprised to see him slip all the way out of the draft. Considering Houston's zone-blocking scheme, Foster was an ideal fit.

I recommended him as a potential late round pick for the Seattle Seahawks -- another team that features a zone-blocking scheme up front.

It will be interesting to see if the struggles with ball security that plagued Foster's late career at Tennessee will again show up with the Texans. Though I believe Foster is very much a starting caliber running back in the NFL in a zone-blocking scheme, don't be surprised if he's never able to match his spectacular Week One performance.

There will be few defenses he'll face this season smaller up front than the Colts. Certainly the Washington Redskins -- Houston's opponent Sunday -- should provide a significantly tougher matchups than the Colts were last weekend.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com