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Tag:Utah State
Posted on: February 23, 2012 1:08 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2012 8:36 am
 

Doctor's note confirms ILB Wagner's pneumonia

Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner has been hospitalized in Scottsdale, Arizona since Monday with pneumonia and was advised by a doctor there not to travel this week for the 2012 Scouting Combine. 

Wagner's agent, Kenny Zuckerman, sent a doctor's note explaining as much to National Football Scouting, the group that organizes the Combine in an effort to have the news distributed to all 32 NFL teams. 

Wagner, who earned the North Team MVP honors wih an impressive seven tackle, one tackle for loss, one interception performance in the Senior Bowl last month, is expected to make a full recovery and be discharged "in the next few days." His performance in Mobile helped ease concerns about Wagner's ability to play inside or out in the 4-3 defense as well as inside linebacker in the 3-4 as he demonstrated athleticism, instincts and physicality. Because of this, he's been charging up draft boards as one of the 2012 draft's more versatile linebackers. 

Wagner, whose 446 career tackles are the most from any Western Athletic Conference defender since 1999, earned All-WAC honors after each of the past three seasons. Experienced inside and out, Wagner is gaining grades from some teams as an inside linebacker and at weakside linebacker for others. Due to his athleticism, he's currently rated as the No. 5 OLB prospect in the 2012 draft by NFLDraftScout.com.

To maintain his lofty grade at OLB, Wagner may have to show scouts he has the speed to match up in coverage. It is not yet known, however, whether Wagner will be recovered sufficiently to participate in Utah State's Pro Day March 8 or if a new workout date will have to be set up. 

Update: Wagner has scheduled his on-campus Pro Day for March 30.

Scouts, of course, are interested to see Wagner perform in athletic drills, but like with all players, the bigger need may be for Wagner to travel to Indianapolis prior to the draft for a Combine medical "re-check" after missing the in-depth medical testing this week recovering from his illness.  

Posted on: January 29, 2012 12:22 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2012 1:15 pm
 

WRs steal the thunder, boost stock in Senior Bowl

As usual, the quarterbacks generated most of the hype throughout the week of practice at the Senior Bowl. But during the game Saturday it was their receivers who stole the spotlight as the North defeated the South, 23-13.

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams shrugged off a fumble in the first quarter to catch six passes for 116 yards for the South, demonstrating the elusiveness and pure speed that helped him return four punts for touchdowns this season, earning the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year award. For his efforts Adams was named the Senior Bowl's "Outstanding Player" for the South squad.

Arizona's Juron Criner, also of the South, was quiet early in the game but connected with college teammate, quarterback Nick Foles, to the tune of four catches for 50 yards and the South's only touchdown, a 20-yarder with 12:55 left in the game. Criner finished with six catches for 77 yards.

Those receivers managed to stand out despite lackluster play by the quarterbacks. Just as he was throughout the week of practice, Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, for the North, was the most impressive quarterback in the game.

He completed only five of 11 passes overall, with a touchdown and an interception. However, that one touchdown pass, a 41-yarder to Arizona State's Gerrell Robinson with 11:44 left in the third quarter, gave the North a 23-13 lead and enough cushion to hold on for a victory.

MVP honors for the game went to North running back Isaiah Pead, who was also Offensive Player of the Year for Cincinnati in the Big East. In the game, Pead collected 31 on the ground and 98 yards on punt two punt returns, including a 60-yarder that was the highlight of the first half.

Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, the most consistent of the South team's quarterbacks throughout the practice week was the worst of the six passers Saturday, completing nearly as many passes to the defense (two interceptions) as he did to South receivers (five completions) for just 56 yards.

Other Senior Bowl standouts:

--Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: Undeniably the most talented player in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, Coples continued his dominant week of practice with an MVP-caliber performance in the game. Coples, a shade under 6-6 and 281 pounds, was a consistent threat off the edge and used his long arms and obvious upper body strength to rag-doll pass blockers on his way to the quarterback. Perhaps the most impressive play of the game from Coples, however, came as a run defender. He shook off a block from Iowa State right tackle Kelechi Osemele and with one arm stopped the momentum of running back Isaiah Pead and threw him to the ground for a two-yard loss on 3rd and goal. If Coples played with the same intensity throughout his senior season that he did throughout the week in Mobile, he might have been the easy choice as the top defensive prospect in the 2012 draft.

--Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati: The game's MVP was easily the most explosive running back in this. He demonstrated his unique straight-line speed and agility by accelerating through holes and making defenders miss as a running back and punt returner.  Despite taking on return duties late in his senior season, Pead showed good vision and courage in attacking seams as he averaged 49 yards on the two opportunities. He demonstrated not only athleticism, but also the willingness to cut back inside against the grain and finish his runs.

--Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: Despite playing with a little less consistency that scouts would like, the 6-7, 323 pound Adams impressed throughout the week of practice with his ability to maintain squarely in front of speed rushers and play with a reliable base against bull rushes. Adams played with much better consistency Saturday, controlling his opponent throughout the contest and distancing himself as the elite offensive line prospect in the Senior Bowl.  Adams surrendered a sack in the 3rd quarter to Alabama's Courtney Upshaw but held up well initially to my top-rated senior prospect and only allowed the coverage sack on Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson after protecting for several seconds.

--Doug Martin, RB, Boise State: While Martin wasn't able to break free for the splashy plays that his North teammate Pead did, it was the former Bronco running back who was the best running back in Mobile throughout the week of practice and he followed that up with an impressive game. Martin showed good burst to and through the hole, as well as the vision and acceleration to gain yardage in chunks as a running back and kick returner. Having impressed scouts with his obvious dedication to the weight room by sporting a chiseled physique during Monday's weigh-in, Martin showcased that his attention to details isn't just limited to lifting weights. He provided excellent effort blocking downfield on a 41-yard touchdown catch by Robinson.

--Bobby Wagner, ILB, Utah State: Like Martin, Wagner initially caught the attention of NFL scouts by showcasing a powerful build on his 6-0, 241 pound frame during Monday's weigh-in. With defenders asked not to take ball-carriers to the ground throughout the week of practice, Wagner wasn't able to wow scouts with what he does best -- tackle -- until the game. He certainly did on Saturday, anticipating and closing quickly on ball-carriers and then wrapping up cleanly to tie with South Carolina safety Antonio Allen to lead the game with seven tackles. Wagner also proved his playmaking ability, recording  a tackle for loss and an interception of Weeden in the first quarter.

For much more Senior Bowl content from NFLDraftScout.com, click here.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:21 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 1:58 pm
 

QB, WRs emerge at Monday's North Sr Bowl practice

MOBILE, Ala. -- Making a strong first impression at the Senior Bowl can send a player's stock skyrocketing and boost his rookie contract by millions of dollars.

Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins and California wide receiver Marvin Jones can't start writing checks just yet but if they continue the sparkling efforts turned in Monday during the North Team practices they could prove to be two of the big winners from this year's Senior Bowl.

Cousins out-shined Wisconsin's Russell Wilson and Boise State's Kellen Moore by attacking all levels of a talented North defense. His experience in a pro-style offense was obvious as he made quick decisions, showed accuracy short, middle and deep and thread the needle through tight spaces. Whereas his teammates struggled to find a rhythm with their new receiving corps, Cousins was hitting on all cylinders, spreading the ball all over the field and hitting his backs, tight ends and receivers on a variety of routes.

Like Cousins, Jones entered the Senior Bowl with significantly less hype that others at his position. Jones, who measured in at a shade under 6-2 and 200 pounds during the morning weigh-ins, was quick off the snap, showed burst out of his breaks to gain separation and the speed to slip past cornerbacks for big plays. He caught everything thrown his way, showing the hand strength to gather in passes thrown slightly off-target as well as the vision to track deep balls over his shoulder.

Jones wasn't the only wideout to make eye-popping plays on the day, though he was the most consistent.

A few uncharacteristic drops from Appalachian State's Brian Quick late in Monday's practice dampened an otherwise strong initial showing from the FCS All-American. Quick, who measured in at a chiseled 6-3 (and a 1/2) and 222 pounds Monday morning was the early star among receivers. Though not sudden off the line of scrimmage, his long-strides help him to quickly eat up the cushion and he showed terrific hand-eye coordination making several impressive catches out of some poor throws. Quick, in fact, arguably made the catch of the day when he snatched a quick out thrown high and wide by Moore. Quick used every bit of his height and long arms to pull the ball down while dragging both feet in bounds to secure the catch.

It took some strong catches from Jones, Quick and a few other North receivers to get Moore on track. The Boise State All-American appeared every bit as un-athletic as scouts feared when he measured in at a touch under 6-0 (5'11 and 3/4) and 191 pounds during the weigh-in. Worse, concerns about his arm strength appeared to be legitimate when he struggled connecting with his receivers on simple quick outs to open practice. As practice went on, however, Moore seemed to settle in and the accuracy and touch he demonstrated in throwing a staggering 142 touchdowns against just 28 interceptions during his record-breaking career with the Broncos were again on display. Moore is especially effective throwing down the seam, showing excellent touch to settle passes in over the linebacker and in front of the safety to slot receivers and tight ends.

Russell Wilson clearly has the arm strength to make NFL throws but was surprisingly tentative in his first Senior Bowl practice. Too often he stood flat-footed in the pocket and surveyed the field looking for easy completions. He attacked holes when he saw them, rifling in passes through tight coverage but also stared down his receivers on occasion and was nearly picked off a few times.

Of the North's receivers, Ohio State's Devier Posey provided the biggest challenge to a talented defensive backfield that included Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard, graded by some scouts entering the year among the nation's elite senior prospects at any position. Posey's speed allowed him to slip past Dennard as well as Iowa State's Leonard Johnson and Boston College's Donnie Fletcher but too often Posey simply dropped the ball when his quarterbacks didn't place it perfectly. Posey struggled adjusting to passes slightly behind and had a couple of big play opportunities simply bounce to the ground because he allowed passes to get into his pads rather than catching the ball with his hands.

The concern was the exact opposite for his Big Ten rival Marvin McNutt from the Iowa Hawkeyes. McNutt has excellent size (6'2 1/2, 212 pounds), strength, hands and route-running to be a possession receiver in the NFL  but didn't show much in terms of elusiveness or the speed to turn short and intermediate passes into big plays. He is a savvy route-runner, however, who was consistently open despite aggressive coverage from defensive backs.

It wasn't a standout practice for any of the North's defensive backs. Dennard showed his characteristic physicality in challenging big and small receivers, alike, but also proved vulnerable to double-moves, getting beaten over the top by Jones and McNutt, alike.

Oklahoma's Jamell Fleming and Cal Poly's Asa Jackson had their moments, each demonstrating a quick, low backpedal and good burst back to the ball.

Scouts will want to see improvement from Fletcher and Penn State's D'Anton Lynn. Each struggled to keep up with the North's receivers, showing average change of direction and speed. Fletcher was turned around on several occasions early in practice before the North's quarterbacks and receivers turned their attention to Lynn. The former Nittany Lion was victimized by Cousins and Wilson often as practice wore, perhaps an indication of their comfort with his limited playing speed and awareness after having played against him in the Big Ten.

Extra Notes: The Monday morning weigh-in put the spotlight on a couple of under-the-radar prospects scouts will no doubt be keeping an eye on this week. Quick looked every bit the part of a standout NFL receiver with his impressive measurables, as did Utah State inside linebacker Bobby Wagner (6'0, 241), Boise State running back Doug Martin (5'09, 219) and Michigan defensive lineman Mike Martin (6'1, 307). Though the Martins are not related, one wouldn't know it by their compact, heavily muscled builds... Clemson defensive end Andre Branch was among those who may have been caught in the bad weather that kept several from getting into Mobile as planned. NFL officials informed scouts that Branch would be participating this week but that he was not in Mobile for Monday morning's weigh-in... Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead got an opportunity to field punts late in Monday's practice, showing the concentration to catch the ball in traffic as well as the burst, elusiveness and vision you'd expect from the all-conference running back. Pead was rarely used in this capacity while with the Bearcats but turned some heads with his few opportunities Monday... Boise State's Shea McClellin (6-3, 248) lined up at defensive end for the Broncos but practiced at outside linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings' staff Monday. He showed good footwork in the bag drills early...

 

Posted on: January 23, 2012 2:37 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 1:59 pm
 

Early impressions from Senior Bowl weigh-ins

MOBILE, Ala. -- It might seem silly to think that lasting impressions can be made on scouts when athletes strut on stage for the weigh-ins prior to various all-star games but talent evaluators can take a lot from the height, weight, hand size, arm length, and general build of the athletes. 

Each football position carries with it certain ideal measurements. This, of course, does not mean that players can't be successful in the NFL despite being shorter, heavier or physically less impressive than expected. It does, however, give scouts an idea as to where a prospect might project in the pros, as well as his dedication to the weight-room, etc. 

At no all-star game is this more important, of course, than the Senior Bowl, the most prestigious and talent-filled all-star game in college football. 

The Senior Bowl weigh-in took place this morning and there were some surprises. 

First, there were a few players unable to attend the game. Of the notables is Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright and Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still. Wright suffered an ankle injury and was unable to attend. Still is nursing a sprained big toe. 

Clemson defensive end Andre Branch is scheduled to play in the game but was not yet in Mobile this morning to be measured. There was only one addition to the roster so far, Arkansas State outside linebacker Demario Davis was not yet in Mobile but was announced as a player coming in to participate. Davis is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 23 rated outside linebacker for the 2012 draft.           

Perhaps the most significant element of the weigh-in proceedings is simply comparing the so-called "small school" prospects to the BCS players. Fortunately for Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick, Furman cornerback Ryan Steed, Massachusetts H-back/fullback Emil Igwenagu and Cal Poly cornerback Asa Jackson, their impressive physiques certainly passed the eye-ball test as legitimate pro prospects. 

Quick, in fact, was one of the more physically impressive players on either roster. He measured in at 6-3 (1/2) and a rock-solid 222 pounds. His 33 1/2 inch arms were only slighter shorter than North Carolina's Dwight Jones (33 5/8) and Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller (34 1/8) -- two receivers who have generated a great deal more national attention than Quick. 

The most impressive builds of the day were sported by Utah State inside linebacker Bobby Wagner (6-0 and a 1/4, 241 pounds), Boise State running back Doug Martin (5-09, 219), Michigan defensive tacke Mike Martin (6-1 and a 1/2, 307 pounds) and Florida State linebacker Nigel Bradham (6-1 and 5/8, 237 pounds). 

Of the offensive linemen, hand size and arm length are of extreme importance. Due to this fact, Iowa State's Kelechi Osemele (10 3/8" inch hands, 35 1/4" arms), Georgia's Cordy Glenn (10, 35 1/8), Florida State's Zebrie Sanders (11, 34 5/8), Ohio State's Mike Adams (11, 33 3/4) showed the big hands and long arms to help convince scouts that they should remain outside at offensive tackle rather than move inside to guard.  

With some prospects impressing with their athletic frames, there will naturally be some disappointments. It is worth repeating that the NFL is full of prospects who appeared too small, too heavy or too thin in shorts only to prove Pro-Bowlers on the field. Still, the relatively soft builds for Washington running back Chris Polk, Alabama center William Vlachos, Boise State defensive lineman Billy Winn and Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry were a bit surprising. So too was the fact that North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated prospect in Mobile for this game, measured in lighter than expected at 281 pounds. Coples measured in at just under 6-6 (6-5, 3/4") and had been listed by the Tar Heels at 285 pounds and some expected him to measure closer to 295. Clearly, Coples is attempting to prove he's lean and athletic enough to remain at defensive end rather than move back inside to defensive tackle.

Following the player weigh-ins is the first practice of the week. On every day of the week the North and South teams will alternate practicing at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile per day. Today, however, the North team will practice at Ladd-Peebles whereas the South team will be practicing simultaneously in nearby Fairhope.  

Posted on: December 24, 2011 12:36 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:44 pm
 

Utah State RB Turbin heading to NFL

Utah State running back Robert Turbin, who rushed for 1,517 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, is parlaying his monster 2011 campaign into an early entry into the NFL.

Largely due to Turbin's strong running, Utah State went to their first bowl game since 1997. For his exploits Turbin was voted the WAC's Offensive Player of the Year.

Turbin continued the recent trend of athletes breaking news via their Twitter accounts by announcing the news Friday.

Turbin, operating under the handle @RobT_33wrote:
Id like to Thank all the fans of Utah state for all ur support thru wins n losses, and thru injuries and health.. some of u already kno but after going back and forth with my decision I've decided that its best for me n my family to take the next n go pro.. I appreciate everyone who's helped me along the way and who has supported.. Utah state will continue to grow and hopefully I've left something new guys can improve on when they go in and get their opportunity..

For those who haven't seen Turbin, he's a virtual pinball of muscle. Possessing as impressive an upper body physique as any running back in the country (well, perhaps excluding Alabama's Trent Richardson), Turbin uses his strong arms and good leg drive to plow through defenders. He's hardly just a power runner, however, possessing surprising agility and acceleration for such a powerful back.

Turbin's decision wasn't a surprising one, considering the relatively short shelf life of running backs and the fact that Turbin missed the 2010 season with a torn ACL.

Rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a likely fourth round pick and the No. 11 running back overall, Turbin rushed for 3,315  yards and 40 touchdowns over his Aggie career. He's also a reliable receiver out of the backfield, having caught 67 passes for 845 yards and 11 more scores and is among the stouter pass blockers of this year's running back class.



Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 11:02 am
 

Senior Bowl adds QB Tannehill, LB Wagner

Over the next few weeks there will be announcements from dozens of players accepting invitations to the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and the mutlitude of other all-star games this winter.

Few players, however, will have more on the line than Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner, each of whom NFLDraftScout.com has learned will be playing in the January 28 contest.

A year ago it seemed unlikely that Florida State's Chrstian Ponder (or Washington's Jake Locker, for that matter) had a chance at the first round. Tannehill, blessed with even better physical skills that Ponder could also enjoy a signficant rise up draft boards with a strong showing in Mobile. As I pointed out in our current cover article, the 6-4, 225 pound Tannehill has the arm strength, mobility and upside to entice teams despite the fact that Tannehill and Texas A&M, as a whole, struggled mightily late in games this season.

Wagner, on the other hand, stood out throughout the season but scouts will want to see how he performs against the elite competition 2012 has to offer. Though he was a three-year all-conference pick at Utah State, the WAC is far from the SEC in terms of week-in and week-out competition. Also, at 6-0, 235 pounds Wagner lacks the bulk scouts prefer at inside linebacker, where he played the majority of his snaps for the Aggies. Any thoughts on moving Wagner outside full-time will be tested against the speed he's likely to face in Mobile. As such, an impressive performance there could vault the linebacker NFLDraftScout.com currently grades as a solid second round prospect, even higher.

Wagner has been creating a great deal of buzz in recent weeks in the scouting community. Though no television feed can accurately portray a linebacker's full range of responsibilities, the following YouTube video capturing Wagner against Auburn in the season-opener does give you an idea as to why. The video comes courtesy of BrownsOrBust.





Posted on: January 25, 2011 9:10 am
 

WR Sanzenbacher, CB Sherman added to SR Bowl

Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher and Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman got the call every prospect is hoping for -- a late invitation to the Senior Bowl.

The Buckeye and Cardinal athletes get an opportunity to come into Mobile and significantly boost their stock after injuries to Troy's Jerrel Jernigan and Utah State cornerback Curtis Marsh (among others) limited the rosters.

The 5-11, 182 pound Sanzenbacher started all 13 games for the Buckeyes this season, leading the team with 55 catches for 948 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is known as a savvy route-runner with good hands. Scouts want to see if he'll be able to shake free of quality coverage, as there are questions about his straight-line speed.

Sherman, 6-2 and 192 pounds, started 12 of 13 games for Stanford this season. He posted 50 tackles and led The Cardinal with 13 passes broken up, including four interceptions. The lanky Sherman has the height teams are looking for in a press corner, but has struggled, at times, in coverage.

Monday's practices were split with the North practicing at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile and the South practicing in nearby Fairhope.

The rest of the practices will all occur at Ladd-Peebles with the North team starting off this morning and the South this afternoon.

For the very best in NFL draft coverage, including this week at the Senior Bowl, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com.


Posted on: December 22, 2010 11:55 am
 

Five Top 75 Prospects You Don't Know

The Bowl season is always one of my favorite times of the year for scouting. The biggest reason is simply time management. With only a few games a day or week to scout, I have time to catch up on some of the film that I'd glossed over earlier.

The same applies to NFL scouts. With many home for the holidays, they're easier to get on the phone and exchange notes.

It is during this time that I'm usually able to pinpoint a few prospects across the country that are viewed as legitimate 2nd or 3rd round prospects by scouts but are perhaps not getting the media attention you'd expect for players with such high grades.

Here are five players that are earning these high grades but aren't yet generating a buzz in the mainstream media.

Learn these seniors' and juniors' names now. You'll be hearing them a lot more often soon.

WR Tandon Doss, Indiana: I listed the five prospects alphabetically, but it is appropriate that Doss leads off the list. With the likes of A.J. Green, Justin Blackmon, Julio Jones and so many other top underclassmen receivers generating all of the attention there are a host of talented wideouts not getting enough hype. At the top of that list in my opinion is the Hoosiers' Doss, a 6-3, 200 pound junior who quietly led the Big Ten with 175.8 all-purpose yards per game. How disrespected is Doss? The Big Ten media only recognized him as a Second Team all-conference player. The league's coaches, on the other hand, made him a First Team choice. 

RB Jamie Harper, Clemson:
With NFL teams increasingly moving towards a committee of running backs, big backs are finding more opportunities to run and catch rather than just be relegated to blocking duties. Running and catching is precisely what the 5-11, 235 pound junior does well. Scouts on hand for Harper's 197 all-purpose yards in the win over Florida State left gushing about his power, quick feet and soft hands... 

CB Curtis Marsh, Utah State: Marsh might just be the hottest senior defensive prospect in the country right now. Switching from running back to cornerback only two years ago, Marsh has shown rare agility and straight-line speed for a man of his size (6-1, 200). The Senior Bowl has noticed, reportedly inviting Marsh to the game. 

CB Johnny Patrick, Louisville: Patrick wasn't on my original list (BYU OT Matt Reynolds was), but his standout performance last night in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl matchup against Southern Miss only confirmed what I'd seen on tape earlier in the year . Patrick was beaten for a TD early, but I love the competitiveness he showed throughout the rest of the game, forcing a fumble, blocking a kick, providing lockdown coverage and coming up aggressively in run support. The four-letter network that covered the game last night rank Patrick 35th among cornerbacks. NFLDraftScout.com ranks him 6th (among seniors).

DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple: Wilkerson has received some attention this year, but not nearly enough. The past two seasons Wilkerson, a junior, has averaged 65 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. If Wilkerson had enjoyed this production in the SEC or Big 12 rather than the MAC, he'd not only be considered a first round pick, he'd be in the top 20. As more scouts break down his tape, don't be surprised if he ends up there.

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

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