Risers and Fallers (December)
For the 2010 NFL Draft:
Welcome to Draft Dog's weekly column on the college football players that are either helping or hurting their draft stock throughout the college football season.
3 January 2010
RB Dexter McCluster-Ole Miss- If McCluster was a little bigger than 5' 8" 167 pounds he would easily be a first round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. As a 3rd down back, return man and slot receiver in the NFL he will be special. Ole Miss beat Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl 21-7. McCluster broke the game open with an 86 yard TD run, he made one quick cut upfield and was gone, he was so much faster than everyone else on the field it wasn't even funny. He finished with 184 yards on 34 carries with 2 TDs.
The East Carolina offensive line pushed around Arkansas all day en route to ECU's 20-17 overtime loss to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl. The three senior offensive linemen: Terence Campbell (6' 5" 322 lbs), Doug Palmer (6' 3" 302 lbs) and Sean Allen (6' 3" 305 lbs) were dominant and they paved the way for ECU racking up 24 1st downs and 184 rushing yards. ECU lost the Liberty Bowl, but it was not due to their stellar offensive line.
1 January 2010
RB Toby Gerhart, Stanford- Nearly carried the Cardinal to victory over Oklahoma with 32 carries for 135 yards and 2 TD.
WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma- Caught a Sun Bowl record 3 TD passes, which is also a Sooners bowl record, along with 13 passes, also a Sooners bowl record, and 156 yards, second most in Sooners bowl history. All in all a career day for the soph.
Ohio State Defensive linemen senior Doug Worthington (6' 5" 280 lbs) and junior Cameron Heyward (6' 6" 287 lbs). They dominated the line of scrimmage and held the high powered Oregon offense to 260 total yards and just 17 points. The Ducks' no-huddle offense was held to its worst passing game of the season. Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli threw for just 81 yards and RB LaMichael James rushed for only 70. Ohio State won the Rose Bowl 26-17.
TE Aaron Hernandez, Florida- The go to player for Tim Tebow. Florida Dominated Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl 51-24 and Hernandez made some key catches with 111 receiving yards and one TD.
QB Tim Tebow, Florida- I had my doubts that he could play quarterback in the NFL, but he made a believer out of me. He has limitations however, he doesn't have the strongest arm and he has a long, slow delivery, but his other attributes out weigh the negative. He has incredible touch, accuracy, vision, smarts and above all intestinal fortitude. He is just a winner, there is no doubt about that. Tebow had a fantastic game and his 533 total yards were the most ever in a BCS game and a career best for him. Tebow completed 31 out of 35 of his passes with 3 touchdowns.
RB Rex Burkhead, Nebraska- I normally don't mention freshmen, but Burkhead really got my attention in this game. He led all Cornhuskers' rushers in a 33-0 shutout of the Arizona Wildcats in the 2009 Holiday Bowl, carrying 17 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Speaking of Freshmen, how about Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams, who ran for 117 yards and 2 TDs. On defense, junior outside linebacker Jason Worilds (6' 2" 262 lbs) had a fantastic game, harassing Tennessee QB Jonathan Crompton all day. Virginia Tech won the Chick fil-a Bowl 37-14.
31 December 2009
WR Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green- Set a NCAA FBS record for most catches in a single season with 155 after catching 17 passes for 219yards and 3 TD against Idaho in the Humanitarian Bowl. 2 of his TD came in the 4th quarter, tying the game at 28 then later putting BG ahead 42-35 with 35 seconds to go. Idaho would eventually score with 4 seconds remaining and convert the 2-point for a 43-42 win.
DT Mick Williams, Pitt- Finished with 3 tackles and 2 sacks against the Tar Heels in the 19-17 win. Williams has 17 TFL and 6 sacks on the year.
RB John Clay, RB, Wisconsin- Clay helped power Wisconsin to a 20-14 upset over the #14 Miami Hurricanes, rushing for 121 yards and 2 TD. The 6'2" 247lbs soph now has 1,517 yards and 18 TD this season.
LB Von Miller Texas A&M- I don't understand why his coach kept taking him out of the game, he looks like a situational pass rusher at best at this point. When he was on the field, Miller was ineffective against Georgia, as they (Georgia) ran up 366 total yards and blew out Texas A&M 44-20.
DE Everson Griffen, USC- USC- beat Boston College but Griffen finished the year on a 7 game sackless streak after racking up 7.5 sacks in the first 7 games of the year.
RB Greg Cooper, Miami (Fla)- Tore his right knee to shreds and his 2010 season is in doubt. Could have been a 2nd round pick if he had entered the draft this year.
QB Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada- Kaepernick is proving he's not a draftable prospect as a QB but could have a shot as a WR. He barely throws the ball, averaging only 21.7 passes per game this year, and completing 58% of them for a career low 2052 yards.
RB DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma- Oklahoma managed only 58 yards rushing (compared to 418 passing) thanks to Murray's 20 carry 27 yards day. His lone TD run was an over-the-top, 1 yard leap that put Oklahoma ahead 31-24.
RB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma- Why is Bradford the loser? Because Sooners' freshman QB Landry Jones has kept the offense playing at a high level this year with less talent than Bradford had during the record-breaking 2008 season, meaning just about anybody can step in to this offense and run it successfully. We knew Bradford's stats were inflated but Jones' performance may be opening eyes to just how inflated they were.
QB Case Keenum, Houston- Keenum tossed 6 INT to only 1 TD in the Cougars loss to Air Force. It marked only the second time all season Keenum has thrown for less than 300 yards and his first game with more INT than TD.
6 December 2009
CB Devin Ross, Arizona
A super sleeper that looks to be a lock down corner in the NFL. This 5' 11" 178 pound speedster is the his teams leading tackler with 74 tackles and an additional 3 tackles for loss (TFL). He also has one interception and 12 pass break ups. He should grade out well at the NFL Scouting Combine as he has ran 10.95 in the 100 meters.
QB Jake Locker, Washington (JR)
It's unclear if Locker will leap to the NFL early, but if he does he looks like a certain 1st round draft pick. He finished his junior season strong going 19 of 23 for 248 yards and 3 TDs in a 42-10 drubbing of California. He also rushed 14 times for 77 yards and another 2 TDs.
TE Aaron Hernandez, Florida (JR)
Not big at just 6' 2" 250 pounds, but he is fast and uses his body to shield defenders away similar to Falcons and long time Chief TE Tony Gonzalez. Against Alabama he was his teams leading receiver with 8 catches for 85 yards. For the season he has recorded 59 catches for 739 yards and 4 TDs, but I look for Hernandez to be an excellent NFL H-back.
ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama (JR)
McClain was all over the field against Florida and he was just to big (6' 4" 258 lbs) and fast for Florida QB Tim Tebow. Alabama held Florida to just 88 yards rushing and McClain kept Tebow from getting loose. He should come of the draft board within the top 10 picks if he declares for the 2010 NFL Draft
WR Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati
Gilyard is one of the most consistent playmakers in the nation and will likely be an NFL star in short order. In Cincinnati's 45-44 win against Pitt, Gilyard was fantastic, catching 5 passes for 118 yards and a TD and he also scored another TD on a 99 yard kick off return.
DE Alex Carrington, Arkansas State
Carrington is making a late season push up the draft boards. The 6' 5" 275 pound playmaker has NFL size and ability. In a 24-20 win against Western Kentucky he finished with 6 solo tackles , 5 tackles for loss (TFL) and 4 sacks. He also recovered a fumble and returned it 27 yards for a TD. For the season he has recorded 9 sacks and 14.5 TFLs.
Jason Pierre-Paul, UConn
Pierre-Paul was a virtually non existent in a 29-27 loss to Connecticut. He finished with only one assisted tackle, no sacks and no TFLs, but with his long arms he did block one kick. Pierre-Paul is still an incredible raw talent and even though he is 6' 6" 260 pounds, he plays very fluid, is nimble and has the athletic ability to play outside linebacker in a 34 defense.
LB Brandon Spikes, Florida
The Gators needed a huge game from Spikes against Alabama, but he was mostly ineffective and then left the game with either leg cramps or an injury to his calf. Spikes and the vaunted Gator defense gave up 251 yards rushing to Alabama.
QB Colt Mccoy, Texas
Doesn't have great arm strength and couldn't handle the Nebraska pass rush. Texas got a little lucky and still won the Big 12 Championship, but McCoy was held to only 184 yards and threw 3 interceptions.