Tag:Texas Longhorns
Posted on: November 24, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Will ride on bench spark Aggies WR Jeff Fuller?


Texas A&M head coach is looking for a spark from his senior receiver Jeff Fuller. In benching him last week against Kansas, he may have served notice that the Aggies will need Fuller to play well against rival Texas tonight.

Fuller has been one of the most disappointing prospects this season. The 6-3, 220 pounder earned First Team All Big 12 honors last year with 72 catches for 1,066 yards and 12 touchdowns. Entering the season he was widely considered among the top pro prospects of the 2012 senior class earning first round grades from some scouts.

This season, however, Fuller has really struggled with drops. He has caught 56 passes for 602  yards and four touchdowns but has been overtaken by junior Ryan Swope as the Aggies' most dependable receiver. Being overtaken as the primary target in an offense wouldn't necessarily be noteworthy to scouts, but in this case it is. Fuller is the most prolific receiver in Texas A&M's history, owning the career records in virtually every category.

To be fair, Fuller has shown a great deal of toughness in battling through several injuries this fall. A hamstring that kept Fuller out much of fall camp was just preview of injuries to come. Fuller has been hampered with injuries to his ankle and knee as well and suffered a concussion against Texas Tech.

Due to his struggles, Fuller has slipped significantly on NFLDraftScout.com's board. He entered the year projected as a first round pick. He's now our 14th rated receiver and viewed as the No. 122th rated prospect, overall.

Texas A&M's move to the SEC next year makes tonight's game all the bigger. Fuller (and quarterback Ryan Tannehill) could help his pro stock significantly with a strong performance in the pressure-packed atmosphere. This may be a weaker than normal season for Texas, but the Longhorns always feature a strong secondary and this season is no different. The Longhorns rank first in the Big 12 in pass defense and have allowed only two more touchdowns passing this season (nine) than they've had interceptions.
Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:43 pm
 

Texas RB Whitaker tears up knee; NCAA career over

The 2011 season has been the second consecutive rough one for Mack Brown and his Texas Longhorns.

Unfortunately, one of the team's few bright spots this season has now been lost, as well.

Senior running back Fozzy Whitaker tore the MCL and ACL in his right knee during the Longhorns' 17-5 loss to Missouri, Saturday.

The injury and subsequent surgery to repair the ligaments will officially end the NCAA career for Whitaker.

The 5-10, 202 pound Whitaker had struggled with injuries throughout much of his career at Texas. When healthy, however, he had demonstrated the lateral agility and straight-line speed that every NFL scout is looking for in a running back and kick returner.

Though his senior season was cut short, Whitaker may have already shown enough to intrigue scouts. He posted 955 all-purpose yards this season for the Longhorns and led the team with nine rushing touchdowns. He showed an ability to make big plays at critical moments for Texas, including returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry and achieving the same feat the week after against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. No player in Texas history had previously scored on 100 yard+ kickoff returns in consecutive games.

Largely due to Whitaker's durability questions, he is currently rated as the No. 23 running back in the 2012 draft by NFLDraftScout.com.
Posted on: October 2, 2011 10:26 am
 

Iowa State loses to Texas; stars to injuries

The Iowa State Cyclones had a tough Saturday evening, losing 37-14 at home against the Texas Longhorns.

Perhaps of even greater concern is the fact that they lost three of their best players in senior cornerback Leonard Johnson and both starting offensive tackles, Kelechi Osemele and Brayden Burris, to injuries.

Johnson's appeared the scariest initially. According to Bobby La Gesse of GoCyclones.com Johnson was injured while trying to make a tackle in the fourth quarter. Johnson, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7 rated senior cornerback, was twice hit in the head by teammates. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and spent Saturday night in a nearby hospital. Though no official prognosis has been made public Sunday morning, Johnson did wave to the crowd as he was carted off the field. Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads said that Johnson was able to move his "arms, legs, hands and fingers" while on the field. 

The news didn't get much better on the other side of the ball for the Cyclones as Burris, a two-year starter at right tackle, was diagnosed with a fractured foot.

Osemele, the Cyclones' left tackle and highest rated pro prospect, appears to have been the most fortunate of the three. He re-injured the troublesome right ankle that had hampered him earlier in the season and Rhoads said the injury affected Osemele's right knee, as well.

A tenacious blocker at 6-5, 347 pounds, Osemele may struggle with quick pass rushers in the NFL. As such, NFLDraftScout.com projects him to move inside to guard at the next level. He is currently rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 guard prospect for the 2012 draft and a potential top 50 selection.  
Posted on: November 25, 2010 3:29 pm
 

OLB Miller can lock up 1st round against Texas

Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller can lock up a first round grade with a strong performance against the Texas Longhorns on Thanksgiving night.

I've spoken to three scouts in the past two weeks regarding Miller. Two of the three believe Miller already may have a spot in the Top 32 secure based on the explosiveness they've seen from him since his early-season struggles with an ankle sprain.

The other steadfastly believes that some of the real reaches in recent draft history have come when teams fall in love with how a player performs when 100%. At this scout notes, players are only 100% for a few weeks in the NFL.

The 6-3, 243 pound Miller lines up in the Joker position for the Aggies. His experience rushing the passer from a stand-up position has led to speculation that teams operating out of the 3-4 would be most interested in him.

While I won't name my sources, I will say one of the two scouts I spoke works for a team that employs (and plans to continue to employ) the 4-3 scheme.

Miller has an explosive burst off the snap. This trait is responsible for many of his most flashiest plays. It is his agility and flexibility, however, that really intrigue scouts. Miller breaks down exceptionally well, showing the balance to make open field tackles.

It is this fluidity (as opposed to stiffness) that scouts are keying in on when determining if a standup pass rusher can make the transition to a full-time outside linebacker position. 

Miller led the nation with 17 sacks as a junior, but was hampered with the ankle sprain to start the 2010 season. His breakout performance against Oklahoma earned him my Prospect of the Week award and the top spot in my Weekly Rewind of the prospects whose stock changed in week 10 of the college football season.
Though the Aggies will move Miller around a bit, he'll often line up against the Longhorns' left tackle Kyle Hix. Hix, a left tackle this season after spending the rest of his career on the right side, could be in for a long night.

This game begins at 8:00 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.



Posted on: February 26, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2010 3:45 pm
 

Colt McCoy barely tops 6-1

With all of the talk surrounding Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen's size, Colt McCoy may have been the surprise story so far today, measuring in at only 6-1 1/8 and 216 pounds. He had already been considered small by NFL standards, having been listed by the Longhorns at 6-2, 210 pounds. Therefore, in the weight department, McCoy actually may have secured his standing a bit.

That said, at only 6-1, those who question if McCoy has the bulk to handle the punishment of an NFL season will be further concerned -- especially considering his recurring shoulder problems.

Considering that the Super Bowl was just won on the golden arm of a quarterback listed by the Saints at 6-0, 209 pounds, however, some would argue that too much is being made of McCoy's size. Especially considering that while short, Brees' surprisingly large hands have helped him be one of the league's more secure ball-handlers.

Like Brees, McCoy has the hands of a larger man. In fact, his hands (9 3/4") were larger than those of Bradford (9 1/2") or Clausen (9"). Clausen's 9" hands are the smallest of the quarterbacks measured in Indianapolis. 


Posted on: December 6, 2009 3:17 am
Edited on: December 11, 2009 11:15 am
 

Suh the conscionable Heisman choice

As my previous post reported, I spent much of my Saturday at the Washington-Cal game. While writing the post, however, I've been scouting the Big 12 Championship game between Texas and Nebraska.

I've long held the belief that Colt McCoy would win the Heisman this year. I've maintained for even longer, however, that Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh should win it.

After scouting this game, however, I simply cannot understand how any Heisman voter with a conscience could possibly give their vote to McCoy over Suh. Sure, McCoy's team won. But he struggled for most of this contest, throwing three interceptions and zero touchdowns. Suh, on the other hand, racked up 12 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. No defense had sacked McCoy four times in one game this year and Suh accomplished that feat, himself...

For the season, despite being double or triple teamed on nearly every snap, Suh led the Blackshirts with 82 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He broke up 10 passes and blocked 3 kicks.

The fact that Reggie Bush is the only non-QB to have won the Heisman this decade is simply proof that many of today's Heisman voters are focusing more on the BCS standings and gaudy touchdown pass totals to judge which player deserves the award.

On the behalf of college football fans across the world, Heisman voters, I challenge you with proving that the greatest individual honor in sports hasn't become a joke.

For a change, lets award the best player in the country the honor supposed to be bestowed upon the best player in the country... even if he plays defense and isn't in a BCS bowl game.  

Award the Heisman Trophy to Ndamukong Suh.

(And if acknowleding the dominance of a defensive player is just too much to ask, for goodness sakes, take a look at what running backs CJ Spiller, Mark Ingram and Toby Gerhart have done this year)


Posted on: November 26, 2009 10:52 am
 

McCoy the headliner, but A&M's Johnson no slouch

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy will certainly get most of the attention in tonight's in-state battle at College Station, but it his counterpart, Aggie redshirt junior Jerrod Johnson, who quietly is leading the conference in touchdown passes and has made the most strides as an NFL prospect this season.

Like McCoy, the 6-5, 243 pound Johnson is a do-everything talent for the Aggies, who can beat defenses with his arm, decision-making (only 5 INTs) and legs. The athletic Johnson has shown agility and good decision-making in the option and actually is tied for the team lead with 8 rushing touchdowns this season. Johnson was pushed into the starting role last season with the injury to now-Dallas Cowboy Stephen McGee. Johnson posted solid numbers last season (2,435 passing yards, 21 touchdowns/10 interceptions), but looked flustered when pressured and was prone to drive-killing mistakes. This season, however, he's proven much more adept at reading defenses. The improvement Johnson has shown in his second season as a starter under former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman has been impressive, something that Sherman noted in his press conference this week.

"I really don't know if I've been around a player that's made the progress that he's made," Sherman said. "He's a lot more football savvy than I ever gave him credit for last year."

The undefeated Longhorns boast a significant edge in overall talent and should win this game easily. However, the Aggies have proven to be quite the nemesis for Mack Brown, winning two of the past three games, including the last one at Texas A&M. The Aggies, 6-5 overall, are 5-1 at home and enjoy one of the great homefield advantages in all of college football.

I certainly recommend you focusing on the traditions on this Thanksgiving holiday with family, friends, turkey and perhaps some NFL football, but don't forget to check out this contest (7 pm EST, ESPN), it could prove surprisingly competitive and certainly will provide scouts with a barometer as to the play of two talented quarterbacks while on the big stage.

Happy Thanksgiving!






 

Posted on: April 24, 2009 9:00 pm
 

Brian Orakpo Flying to a City Near You?

One of the more enjoyable aspects of this gig is talking to some of the high profile players on their "Road to the Draft." I've been fortunate to follow Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry and Texas defensive end/outside linebacker Brian Orakpo throughout the Combine, Pro Day, NFL Draft experience and tried to highlight some of the highpoints in a series of articles on their journey.

The third of the four-part series with Brian Orakpo was posted today, but with so much going on, the article is a little difficult to find.

For those interested, here is a link to copy and paste for Brian's take on the numerous private workouts and team visits he's had over the past month. He's flown all over the country (Denver, Washington, Houston, Kansas City, and Cleveland) over that time and has gave me some interesting details on differences with how some teams chose to work him out.

The phone call he received from Gil Brandt is an interesting one, as well...

Check it out:  http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/
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