12-30-2005, 08:33 AM
Here you go Cbz40, from the Great Blue North site:
GAME OF THE WEEK EXTRA:
Who to watch in today's college bowl game
(Ed. note: Over the course of this year's bowl season right through the Rose Bowl on Januray 4th we take a look at the players to watch in each game with an eye toward the 2006 draft).
Friday, December 30th
Virginia vs Minnesota, Music City Bowl; Nashville; Noon, ET; ESPN
Bowl action really starts to heat up with four games today starting with Virginia and Minnesota in the Music City Bowl in what should be a treat for pro scouts with at least three solid first-round prospects o display. Indeed, Virginia OT D’Brickashaw Ferguson (#66, 6-6, 295) could very well be the first player off the board on April 29th not from Southern Cal. Ferguson isn’t huge by current NFL standards, but he’s a heady, athletic battler with long arms and quick feet. And in a perfect world, the Cavaliers could actually have a couple of top 5 prospects, however, junior MLB Ahmad Brooks (#34, 6-3, 245), who has DB speed and likely would have been the first defensive player off the board this spring if he were healthy, has been banged up all year. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Brooks will enter the 2006 draft, but may see his stock fall somewhat because of the injuries. Brooks could be joined in the 2006 draft class by fellow junior ILB Kai Parham (#44, 6-3, 250), who isn’t quite as athletic but is just as productive. Meanwhile, other Virginia seniors to watch with an eye to the 2006 draft include QB Marques Hagans (#18, 5-10, 210), another very good athlete who could find a role as a slash type player at the next level; RB Wali Lundy (#33, 5-10, 215); OT Brad Butler (#69, 6-8, 296); G-C Brian Barthelmes (#62, 6-5, 290); DE Brennan Schmitt (#96, 6-3, 270); DT Kwakou Robinson (#98, 6-4, 325); and PK Connor Hughes (#6, 5-10, 175).
Minnesota will challenge LBs Brooks and Parham and the Virginia defense with a ground game featuring star junior RB Laurence Maroney (#22, 5-11, 205), who entered the season on a par with Southern California’s Reggie Bush, but struggled with injuries this fall. Still, Maroney ran for almost 1,400 yards this fall and shouldn’t last much past the middle of the opening round this April if, as expected, he opts to enter the 2006 draft. Maroney, and backup RB Gary Russell (#24, 5-11, 205), a sophomore who also ran for over 1,000 yards this season, run behind a terrific offensive line anchored by C Greg Eslinger (#61, 6-3, 285), arguably the best center in college football, although he is a tad undersized, and rugged OG Mark Setterstrom (#68, 6-3, 305). The Minnesota defense isn’t quite as talented as the offense, but does have a solid run-stuffing DT in Anthony Montgomery (#95, 6-5, 310), who works the defensive front along with fellow DT Mark Losli (#97, 6-6, 290) and DE Keith Lipka (#99, 6-3, 260), while heady FS John Pawielski (#34, 5-11, 200) leads the back seven.
Northwestern vs UCLA; Sun Bowl; El Paso; 2 PM ET; CBS
This on has an old-time Rose Bowl feel about with the Pac-10’s UCLA taking on the (Northwestern of the Big 10 in a battle of two teams that really opened people’s eyes this fall. And, as an added bonus, the Bruins and Wildcats feature arguably the two most productive QBs in the country outside the Rose Bowl in Drew Olson (#14, 6-3, 217) of UCLA and Brett Basanez (#14, 6-2, 210) of Northwestern. The Bruins’ Olson was arguably the comeback player of the year in college football this fall after he rebounded from a torn ACL suffered in UCLA’s 2004 bowl game to complete 66% of his pass attempts for over 3,000 yards and 31 TDs against only 3 picks. Meanwhile, Basanez came close to matching those numbers as he completed 63% of his pass attempts for just under 3,000 yards and 17 scores against 6 interceptions. For good measure, the reasonably athletic Basanez also ran for over 300 yards. Whether that translates into a first-day looks for Olson and Basanez this coming April, though, remains to be determined.
No question, however, that UCLA TE Marcedes Lewis (#19, 6-6, 255), Olson’s top target, won’t last much past the middle of this year’s opening round. Meanwhile, Bruins’ OT Ed Blanton (#73, 6-8, 345) and OG Robert Cleary (#75, 6-7, 315) give UCLA a huge wide side OL, while junior RB Maurice Drew (#21, 5-8, 200) is as slippery as they come. Not to be outdone, Northwestern also has an outstanding OT in veteran LT Zach Strief (#63, 6-7, 335), a second-round type prospect for the upcoming draft, while DT Barry Cofield (#67, 6-4, 305) who could ultimately make a fine 3-4 DE at the next level. The Northwestern defense also features one of the top tacklers in college football in MLB Tim McGarigle who had 129 stops this fall giving him over 500 for his career. And just for fun, check out the Wildcats’ true freshman RB Tyrell Sutton (#19, 5-9, 190), one of the top newcomers in the nation who ran for 1,200 yards this fall and scored 16 TDs.
South Carolina vs Missouri; Independence Bowl; Shreveport; 3:30 PM ET; ESPN
This afternoon’s match-up between the ‘other’ SC and Missouri in the Independence Bowl won’t rank way up their on the ‘must-see’ scale for pro scouts, but it should be close to a ‘10’ in entertainment value. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, of course, is always worth the price of admission, at least in college football, while Missouri is led by QB Brad Smith (#16, 6-2, 210), one of the best overall athletes in college football. This fall, for example, Smith ran for almost 1,200 yards and scored 13 TDs on the ground; and while he lacks an NFL arm, Smith also passed for over 2,000 yards this fall, and another 12 scores.
While this one should be a wide-open affair, the best prospects for the 2006 draft are actually almost all found along the offensive line. South Carolina OT Jabari Levey (#78, 6-6, 312), for example, heads a strong group of second tier offensive tackles in this year’s senior class, while OGs Na’Shan Goddard (#70, 6-5, 313) and Freddie Saint-Preux (#54, 6-5, 310) are both solid with pro size. Same story for Missouri OG Tony Palmer (#52, 6-2, 325), who isn’t very tall, but he’s plenty wide. Other SC seniors to watch include LBs Lance Laury (#48, 6-1, 240) and Ricardo Hurley (#42, 6-1, 230), while sophomore FS Ko Simpson (#10, 6-1, 200) and redshirt freshman WR Sidney Rice (#4, 6-4, 195) both figure to be high picks as early as the 2007 draft, as should junior CB Fred Bennett (#8, 6-1, 195). Meanwhile, other Missouri seniors worth a look include WR Sean Coffey (#12, 6-5, 220) and CBs Marcus King (#36, 5-10, 195) and A.J. Kincaide (#7, 5-10, 190). Junior DE Brian Smith (#39, 6-3, 225), an explosive tweener who had 9 sacks this fall, is also an interesting prospect for 2007.
Miami vs LSU; Peach Bowl; Atlanta; 7:30 PM ET; ESPN
Other than next week’s Rose Bowl dual between Southern California and Texas, no bowl has more potential talent for the 2006 draft than the Peach Bowl match-up between LSU and Miami. Indeed, both teams enter the game with a bit of a burr under the saddle as both figure they should be playing on the 2nd. Unfortunately, though, LSU sophomore QB JaMarcus Russell did not make the trip to Atlanta because of an injury. With Russell back in Baton Rouge, the Tigers will try and run the ball with Joseph Addai (#10, 6-0, 205), a strong second-tier prospect at the position who brings sub 4.5 speed to the table, along with junior Justin Vincent (#25, 5-10, 210) and kick return specialist Shyrone Carey (#2, 5-7, 200). They’ll run behind a big, experienced offensive line anchored by veteran Andrew Whitworth (#76, 6-7, 325). Pro scouts may even be more interested in the LSU defense which starts with the DT tandem of Kyle Williams (#95, 6-2, 295) and Claude Wroten (#98, 6-3, 295), both of whom are second round types for the upcoming draft, while DE Melvin Oliver (#90, 6-3, 275), who posted a team-high 8 sacks, provides the outside pass rush. Meanwhile, junior FS Laron Landry (#30, 6-2, 190) has a chance to be the first safety off the board if he opts to leave school early.
Miami isn’t going to dominate the 2006 draft like the Hurricanes did in the early part of the decade when 19 former Miami players were selected in the first-round in the four drafts in the 4-year period between 2001 and 2004 including a record 6 in the opening round of the 2004 draft. Miami, though, should make it 12 years in a row with at least one first rounder when OT Eric Winston (#74, 6-7, 310) goes somewhere in the middle part of the first round this coming April. Winston, in fact, was considered to be a potential top 5 prospect before tearing up a knee last year. Winston could be joined in the first round by CB Kelly Jennings (#22, 6-0, 180), a rising star in the 2006 draft class, while DT Orien Harris (#98, 6-4, 300) and WR Sinorice Moss (#83, 5-8, 195), while LBs Rocky McIntosh (#50, 6-2, 237) and Leon Williams (#44, 6-3, 237), SS Greg Threatt (#5, 6-2, 195), OG Tyler McMeans (#68, 6-4, 340), FB Quadtrine Hill (#23, 6-2, 225) are all later round types. The Miami draft class could also get deeper in a hurry if any of Hurricane undercalssmen like junior FS Brandon Meriweather (#19, 6-1, 185), KR Devin Hester (#4, 5-11, 185), and DT Baraka Atkins (#98, 6-4, 265) enter the 2006 draft
Do I get a gold star now? :laugh2:
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