Tag:Matt Barkley
Posted on: June 17, 2011 10:29 am

Oregon Jr CB Cliff Harris suspended indefinitely

Oregon junior cornerback Cliff Harris, an underrated component of the Ducks' drive to a berth in the BCS Title Game last year, has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Chip Kelly after being arrested for speeding and driving a rental car with a suspended license early this week.

Harris, along with two other unidentified Oregon football players, was pulled over by an off-duty Oregon State police officer after the car Harris was driving was clocked at approximately 118 miles per hour. They were pulled over south of Albany, Oregon, which is north of the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.

This is at least the second time that Harris, 20, has been cited for driving with a suspended license.

Kelly announced that Harris would be suspended for Oregon's opener against LSU in Cowboys Stadium in Texas "at the very least" and cautioned that the suspension could go on for much longer should Harris' behavior not improve.
“Cliff’s future clearly is in Cliff’s hands,” Kelly said. “Earning an opportunity to represent the University of Oregon and this football program certainly rests far beyond a player’s ability on the field of play. Our behavior out of the spotlight often is more important and will be held to a higher standard. Until Cliff is able to conform to the same standards all of us must comply with, his status will remain unchanged.”
Though he's only entering his junior season, you can be sure NFL teams are already paying attention. Harris, 5-11 and 180 pounds, led the country with 23 passes defensed last season and led the Pac-10 with six interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown (against Tennessee). Harris is perhaps just as well known for his special teams' prowess, as he's one of the more dynamic return-men in college football.

Last year, he broke the Oregon school record with four punt returns for scores.

Harris currently ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 junior cornerback prospect behind only Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick. Each would rate as first round values at this early stage in the process.

As this video will show, Harris' return skills are undeniable. So too are his ball skills. And while some of his punt returns come against weaker competition, three of his interceptions last year came against elite NFL prospects Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley.


Posted on: May 26, 2011 12:51 pm
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Posted on: November 23, 2010 11:38 am

Oregon St DT Paea earns Prospect of the Week

Week Twelve of the college football season saw some spectacular individual performances. Many of them came from offensive players in high profile contests.

Boise State wideout and return specialist Titus Young made his bid to be the No. 1 rated senior at the position with eight receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns in a dominating performance by Boise State over Fresno State.

This week's reigning Prospect of the Week -- Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi - was just as dominant in the Badgers win over Michigan this past weekend as he was during the annihilation of Indiana a week previous.

I reviewed their game film and of more than a dozen other highly touted senior prospects, writing about most of them in either this Weekend Review or Draft Slant , our weekly PDF file for premium subscribers. During the film review for these articles, however, the play of Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea stood out.


As is often the case with dominant interior defensive linemen not named Ndamukong Suh, Paea's statline don't do him justice. He registered six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble on the night. His forced fumble, the 8th of his career, gives the OSU career title.

Pac-10 officials recognized just how important Paea's performance was to the Beavers "upset" bid at home over USC. For his efforts Paea earned conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.

In reality, Paea (pronounced Pie-uh) deserved more for his role in the Beavers 36-7 trashing of the then No. 20 ranked Trojans. He thoroughly dominated Trojans' left guard Michael Reardon and often center Kris O'Dowd -- NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated senior center -- whenever O'Dowd came to double-team (which was often). In fact, at times, the Trojans triple-teamed Paea, sending their backs to chip the 6-1, 312 pound defensive tackle.

Using perhaps the best bull rush in college football, Paea continually drove Reardon into the backfield, virtually eliminating USC's interior running game, himself. At times, he was able to slip off and make the tackle for loss or sack, himself. On most other occasions, his play opened up easy tackle for loss or short gain opportunities for his teammates.

Take the opening play of the second quarter, for instance.

The Trojans were driving, down only 3-0. Paea drives Reardon and O'Dowd deep into the pocket, pushing Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley to hurry his throw. The pass was intercepted by Beaver defensive back Jordan Poyer and returned 65 yards for an Oregon State touchdown.

Paea was also responsible -- though again indirectly -- for the hit that knocked Barkley out of the game with only seconds left in the first half. Again double-teamed off the snap, Paea attempted to loop around to the right side. Rather than gain freedom, the two blockers assigned to him (Reardon, O'Dowd) followed him. There, they and right guard Khaled Holmes focused on Paea, while the Beavers' other starting defensive Kevin Frahm simply rushed upfield to sack Barkley, pinning his ankle under him in the process.

Scouts knew of Paea's brute strength. That facet of his game has been obvious since he transferred in from Snow Junior College two years ago. Paea has made significant gains this season in terms of his mobility and overall awareness on the field.

There are few 6-1, 312 pound defensive tackles drafted in the first round. Paea, however, could be one of them. 
Posted on: August 5, 2010 4:03 pm

Pac-10 film room notes

Over the past few weeks I've posted notes on my impressions of the senior talent in the ACC and SEC. Perenially two of the "power" conferences, I wasn't surprised at all to see that each group boasted a high number of legitimate top 100 senior prospects.

With the exception of Washington quarterback Jake Locker and Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea, the Pac-10, however, appears relatively weak -- at least in terms of senior NFL prospects.

Here are my preseason thoughts based on watching last year's film on every team in the conference.

  • Considering the sanctions levied by the NCAA and the relatively weak senior talent, Lane Kiffin is going to have his hands full at USC attempting to replace Pete Carroll. Sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley looks like a future first round prospect and, of course, quarterback is the game's most critical position. The difference in talent between USC's second string and some of the other top schools in the Pac-10 (Oregon, for example) had always been an underrated component in the Trojans' success. Sure, USC boasted first round talent at nearly every position on the field at one time or another, but it was their depth at every position that really stood out. When USC sent a Reggie Bush or Sedrick Ellis to the NFL, they had a Joe McKnight or Fili Moala there to pick up the slack. That, however, doesn't appear to be the case this year. One of the more intriguing USC athletes this season who could break out is senior outside linebacker Michael Morgan, a 6-4, 230 pounder with obvious athleticism. Playing time has been tough to come by considering the talent USC had at linebacker, but Morgan, like many of USC's highly rated young talent, flashes on film, but appears to be a better athlete than football player. Let me put it this way -- I'm being asked to write a Pac-10 preview soon. In the article I'll feature the top ten senior prospects in the conference. USC has more of those players than any other school -- but I wouldn't rate any of them (RBs Allen Bradford, CJ Gable, WR Ronald Johnson, C Kristopher O'Dowd, Morgan) as a top 50 prospect. Cornerback Shareece Wright may end up the highest drafted senior Trojan -- as he's a talented player -- but he's missed virtually the past two years due to injury and academic suspension. Stanley Havili is my top-rated fullback in the country, but where has USC gone if their top-rated prospect plays fullback...?
  • The face of the conference -- and perhaps the Heisman race -- is clearly Locker. Possessing a combination of arm strength, running ability and guts that have led to comparisons to John Elway, Locker simply needs to continue to develop the intricacies of the position to earn his place as NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior prospect. Locker isn't there yet, but he is capable of making the "wow" play that can't be coached. I don't actually expect Locker to win the Heisman. He's got too many things working against him -- not the least of which is a porous offensive line that will be sorely tested against Nebraska in September. But Locker is the conference's best player. And folks, it ain't even close.
  • One of the more underrated prospects in the Pac-10 is California defensive end Cameron Jordan. With Cal playing in the 3-4, Jordan (6-4, 285) didn't rack up the numbers last year (43 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 5 sacks) to warrant a great deal of national acclaim -- especially considering the attention that his teammate Tyson Alualu earned. Jordan, however, is a good athlete and possesses good strength at the point of attack, which makes him an ideal fit for this scheme. If Jordan played in the Big 12 or SEC, he'd be earning a great deal more attention. In fact, I'd rate Jordan as a very similar prospect to South Carolina's Cliff Matthews, who is earning some All-American hype.
  • There is bound to be a great deal of attention this season on Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews, considering the success of his older brother Clay Jr. with the Green Bay Packers and, of course, the earlier success of father (Clay) and uncle (Bruce Mathews). Unless Casey is able to duplicate the remarkable one-year turnaround of his older brother (who came to USC as a walk-on and turned himself into a first round pick), the lack of attention -- at least from NFL scouts -- may be surprising. Voted a Second-team All-Pac-10 choice last year with 81 tackles, Matthews breaks down well in space, but doesn't fight through blocks well enough yet to play inside and lacks the straight-line speed to beat backs to the edge. Oregon, which has often historically relied on athleticism rather than size and strength on the defensive line, is surprisingly stout up front. Senior defensive lineman Brandon Bair flashed some intriguing pass rush ability given his size (6-6, 268) and the fact that Oregon often lined him up inside, but he's older than most prospects given the fact that he took two years off for an LDS mission prior to playing for the Ducks. 
  • I typically reserve judgement on players until they are at least entering their senior season. However, with all of the attention surrounding the underclassmen quarterbacks I posted some thoughts on Arkansas' Ryan Mallett and thus, here are my thoughts after having time to scout Stanford's Andrew Luck. Some of the areas in which concerned me about Mallett (footwork, ability to read defenses) I found Luck to be surprisingly effective given his lack of experience. He certainly has the arm-strength and accuracy scouts are looking for and he has a terrific coach in Jim Harbaugh. If Luck is able to string together another season like 2009, he is a definite first round prospect and quite possibly competes with Locker, Ponder and Mallett (among others) to be the first passer selected. That said, Luck had the great fortune of playing second fiddle to Toby Gerhart last year. He's an extremely talented player, but don't count me among the shocked if there is a bit of a sophomore slump this season as defenses focus more on stopping the passing game. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com