Saquon Barkley
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It has been argued that scouting takes the joy out of football. Sometimes it is fun to simply watch a game unfold and to enjoy the athleticism of the players without losing oneself in their potential as future NFL stars.

 

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay spend their days looking at young talent, and they know how to spot a future NFL star. However, the players they have listed below have less to do with how they would have impacted the college football lines for Week 5 games and more to do with the fun they bring to the game.

 

If you are looking for talented athletes that are merely fun to watch, consider these guys:

 

+Saquon Barkley

 

As far as PSU Running Backs are concerned, Saquon is something special, at least on the college level. Forget about Leonard Fournette, this is a 230-pound player that makes lateral cuts he shouldn’t be capable of. With amazing breakaway speed, Saquon makes waves in every game in which he plays.

 

+Baker Mayfield

 

This Oklahoma QB’s future in the NFL is a little uncertain. But when you see him run around for fifteen seconds only to throw the ball downfield, you will quickly forget about all the whining surrounding his small size and lacking arm strength. You know he will be in the Heisman conversation this season.

 

+Sam Darnold

 

This USC QB is the total package. Not only is he a team player, availing his receivers the opening to make plays but he has a way of using his physical prowess to extend plays, utilizing the entire field and countering any argument being made about his interceptions.

 

Darnold doesn’t look anything like a sophomore when he’s on the field.

 

+Damien Harris

 

Everyone that kept crying about this Alabama RB not being on par with 5-star recruits like Josh Jacobs has been forced to eat their words. Harris doesn’t look like he’s anything special until you see the consistent reliability he brings to the table. Harris always performs at his best regardless of the conditions or the challenger.

 

+Christian Kirk

 

It isn’t just his stats (19 catches, 250 yards, 4 touchdowns) that make this Texas A&M WR such a catch. Besides speed and agility, Kirk is always willing to go over the muddle.

 

+Devin Bush

 

This Michigan LB is following in the footsteps of his father (who was scouted in 1995) by lining up all over the field, making so many plays and proving to his naysayers why he might be better than Maurice Hurst. You won’t find that many sophomores that hit so hard.

 

+Roquan Smith

 

This Georgia ILB has been compared to C.J. Mosley and Coach Kirby Smart agrees. Georgia’s defense is pretty loaded and yet Smith has found a way to stand out.

 

+Hercules Mata’afa

 

This Washington State DE is versatile. That is his strength. Comparable to the likes of Deone Bucannon and already boasting 4.5 sacks so far in the new season, the athlete has shown an incredible ability to play on his feet and on the edge.

 

If you’ve been paying close attention to college football, then you know that there’s a lot of talent to marvel at, from Ben Banogu of TCU to Deatrick Nichols of South Florida and Elijah Marks of Northern Arizona.

 

But the names above tend to stand out for Kiper and McShay.

 | Posted by | Categories: College Football | Tagged: College Football |

From BestUniversities.com
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The identity of a college football program is shaped by its head coach. We associate the pass-happy Fun ‘n’ Gun offense with Steve Spurrier and the Gators, the swagger of “The U” with Jimmy Johnson, and a hard-nosed rushing attack, particularly the option, with Tom Osborne and his Huskers. The success of Florida State, for example, is attributed to Bobby Bowden, who made the once forgettable program into a national power. Given their impacts, it’s no wonder high profile athletic departments are shelling out five or six million dollars per season for the services of guys such as Nick Saban and Mack Brown. Every athletic director wants to hire the next legendary coach, and if they’re lucky, they’ll find someone who’ll achieve just a fraction of the success of the coaches listed below. Here are 10 who have cemented their places in college football lore.
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  1. Bear Bryant: Nick Saban may have a 43-11 record and a national championship in just four seasons at Alabama, but he has a long way to go before he comes close to earning the same kind of admiration and adoration from Tide fans as The Bear. Almost 30 years after Bryant’s death, his presence is felt during every game in Bryant-Denny Stadium, as numerous fans don his patented houndstooth hat to keep his memory alive. During his quarter of a century in Tuscaloosa, he compiled a 232-46-9 record, including 19-6 and 16-7-2 records against hated rivals Auburn and Tennessee, six national championships and 13 SEC championships. He coached notable players such as Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, John Hannah and Ozzie Newsome. Bryant, a football lifer, died just four weeks after his final game as Bama’s head coach, almost confirming his prediction that he’d “probably croak in a week” after retirement.
    .
  2. Knute Rockne: Knute Rockne tragically died at the age of 43 in a plane crash, so his coaching resume isn’t as extensive as, say, Bear Bryant’s, Joe Paterno’s or Bobby Bowden’s. But he certainly made the most of his 13 years leading the Irish, going 105-12-5 and winning five national championships. His success, early use of the forward pass and knack for public relations and marketing — valued skills in modern head coaches — helped shape Notre Dame into the nation’s most beloved football program.
    .
  3. Robert Neyland: General Robert Neyland, a graduate of West Point, served as an officer in the Corps of Engineers during World War I, an aide to Douglas MacArthur, and in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II, earning the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. The leadership skills he acquired while in the army transferred well onto the gridiron, where he led Tennessee to a 173-31-12 record, six undefeated seasons, four national championships and seven conference championships, five of which were in the SEC. Like modern SEC coaches, Neyland emphasized speed and defense, and his 1939 squad exemplified that, as it went the entire regular season without surrendering a point. Overall, the Vols recorded 17 consecutive shutouts from 1938 to 1940. His teams strictly adhered to his maxim to “Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes.”
    .
  4. Bud Wilkinson: On Oklahoma’s Mount Rushmore of head coaches, which includes Bob Stoops, Barry Switzer and Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson is the most esteemed and recognizable. He coached 17 seasons for the Sooners, tallying a 145-29-4 record, three national championships, 14 Big Eight championships (previously known as the Big Six and Big Seven), and an 8-2 record in bowl games. Oklahoma’s dominance under Wilkinson was highlighted by three impressive streaks — 13 consecutive Big (Six, Seven and) Eight championships, an astounding 74-game lossless streak in the conference and, of course, a 47-game winning streak that still stands as the longest in college football history. Retiring at the age of 47 to pursue a career in politics, Wilkinson certainly wasn’t a “compiler” of wins, but had he stuck around for another decade or two, one could only imagine what his career record would look like today.
    .
  5. Woody Hayes: Woody Hayes had a temper that makes his one-time student Bobby Knight blush. Say what you want about his character flaws, there’s no doubt the guy knew how to coach and motivate a team of young men. During his career at Dennison, Miami (Ohio) and Ohio State, he amassed a 238-72-10 record, three national championships and 14 conference championships, including 13 in the Big 10. In the same way Robert Neyland represents the modern SEC coaching philosophy, Hayes represents the prominent Big 10 coaching philosophy through the years with his conservative three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense. He coached 58 All-Americans, including two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin. He was a disciplinarian who preached the value of hard work, attributing much of his success to simply outworking his opponents. His intense focus and surly demeanor can be explained by one quote: “Show me a gracious loser, and I’ll show you a bus boy.” He lived to win.
    .
    Click here for the rest of the list.

The 2010 Fantasy Football Team Name has ended, with Dezzie Does Dallas taking home top honors (click here to see all the winners). Here are some fantasy football team names you can use if you want to support a college. They can be used for either pro or college fantasy football games. Feel free to add any that you come up with.

 

The Bantam Punch – Ode to Trinity College (CT) and Muhammad Ali’s Phantom Punch.
Lindsay Lohan’s Battlin’ Beavers – Ode to Blackburn College (IL).
Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders: She Needed the Money – Ode to Lindsey Wilson College (KY).
Deliver Us Boll Weevils – Ode to University of Arkansas-Monticello.
Gator Done – Self-explanatory.
Larks Like We Made It – Ode to Hesston College (KS).
Whip Out Your Little Johns – Ode to Penn State-Abington. Blame the cold.
Midnight Marauders – Ode to Tribe Called Quest and Central State University (OH).
Sweaty Nads – Ode to Rhode Island School of Design.
Norse Code – Ode to Luther College (IA).
Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana – Ode to Syracuse and the lamest knock-knock joke ever.
Not-For-Prophets – Ode to Oklahoma Baptist College.
Favre and Peterson Have Purple Aces – Ode to University of Evansville (IN).
Slip You The Shockers – Ode to Wichita State.
Webbies Does Dallas – Ode to Webb Institute (NY) and the contest winner.

CBSSports Fantsy Football Commissioner

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CBSSports.com Fantasy Football Commisioner has been named “Best League Manager” a record 7 times.  What are you waiting for.  Fantasy football season is here.  Sign up now and save!

If College Fantasy Football is your thing, click here to play for free.

CBSSports College Fantasy Football

CBSSports Fantsy Football Commissioner

CBSSports has slashed the prices of their fantasy football leagues to $99.99.  You heard me.  You don’t even have to trade in that clunker of the team you had last year to reap the benefits of this economic stimulus program.  Just click the link below for $80 savings for the most reliable fantasy football platform going.

http://football.cbssports.com/splash/football/spln/mgmt/save?refcode=bp_lslg_150

INCLUDED FEATURES:
  • Custom rules and scoring
  • Saved league history
  • Live scoring and stats
  • Expert player analysis
  • Keeper league capability
  • Individual defensive players
  • Live chat and more trash talking tools
SERVICE AND RELIABILITY:

  • 12 years in the business
  • Multiple Fantasy Sports Trade
    Association awards for outstanding
    service

CBSSports.com Fantasy Football Commisioner has been named “Best League Manager” a record 7 times.  What are you waiting for.  Fantasy football season is here.  Sign up now and save!

If College Fantasy Football is your thing, click here to play for free.

CBSSports College Fantasy Football

Written by David Funk, Basic Bloganomics

This is the beginning of my previews and rankings for the upcoming fantasy college football season. I’ll break down team offenses and defenses while listing player names by each conference to help fantasy college owners out with deciding who to pick in 2009. A number of factors that determined my rankings include, but are not limited to: returning experience, talent, overall depth, schedule strength, offensive/defensive schemes, and coaching. In no way are these rankings listed predict how teams finish in the overall standings in each conference or in national rankings. This is to help fantasy college football owners in team offensive and defensive leagues like Sporting News and also to provide some player names for individual leagues, too. I begin by breaking down ACC offenses.

ACC Team Offensive Rankings:

1. Florida State(Starters returning: 7)
The good news for Florida State is the entire offensive line returns fully intact for this year led by center Ryan McMahon, and is one of the nation’s best. Christian Ponder returns at quarterback, but there will be new starters at receiever though talent exists with Richard Goodman and Bert Reed as the projected starters. The running game will be fine with the veteran offensive line opening holes for Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones. Head coach Bobby Bowden thinks they will be better on offense, but their non-conference schedule is tough with games at Florida and BYU as well as South Florida at home.

2. North Carolina State(Starters returning: 7)
There’s plenty of optimism in Raleigh on offense with Russell Wilson returning at quarterback, who can win with his running and throwing. His top receiver targets in Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams are back for him to throw to. Senior Jamelle Eugene returns at running back, and the Wolfpack will get a boost with Toney Baker coming back from injury to provide depth. The offensive line returns four starters including right tackle Jeraill McCuller. The team won four straight to end the regular season after starting 2-6, and they only play four road games which gives them a shot to have a productive fantasy season on offense.

3. Georgia Tech(Starters returning: 9)
The triple option offense under first year coach Paul Johnson worked well in 2008. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt returns as the right guy to run the offense along with running back Jonathan Dwyer who led the ACC in rushing a year ago. Roddy Jones is the A-back, and averaged 8.5 yards per carry, too. Demaryius Thomas and Tyler Melton return as receivers in a run-heavy offense, but they usually draw single coverage which gives them a chance to put up big numbers at times like when Thomas had 230 receiving yards against Duke in 2008. The offensive line returns three starters, but they had to transition from a pro-style offense to triple option which was a struggle for them.

4. Virginia Tech(Starters returning: 8 )
Tyrod Taylor will not have to contend with starting at quarterback this year, but he still has much to prove as a passer. Jarrett Boykin, Danny Coale, and Dyrell Roberts were all freshmen a year ago, and should help Taylor out in the passing game. Darren Evans returns at running back coming off a year in which he broke the school’s record for rushing yards as a freshman. The concern once again for the Hokies will be the offensive line which has allowed more sacks than anyone in the ACC the last three seasons. Their first game against Alabama in Atlanta will test the offense very quickly.

5. Maryland(Starters returning: 5)
With Chris Turner returning at quarterback along with depth at running back, this offense has a chance to be very good even with the loss of receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to the NFL. Da’Rell Scott is the leading rusher and he earned first-team All-ACC honors in 2008. Torrey Smith is an athletic receiver that was most productive at the end of last season, and Ronnie Tyler gives them a solid option in passing situations. The offensive line loses three starters and only two were on the roster a year ago, but center Phil Costa is back. Their youth will be tested with road games at California, NC State, and Florida State.

6. Wake Forest(Starters returning: 9)
The Deamon Deacons have accurate quarterback Riley Skinner returning which gives them a chance to rebound from a disappointing offense from a year ago. Running back Kenny Harris had a big game against Navy in their bowl game, and Josh Adams returns at the position, too. Question marks loom at receiver, but Marshall Williams did catch 26 passes last year. Devon Brown and Terence Davis need to step up to give Skinner more options in the passing game. The offensive line struggled last year which hurt Jim Grobe’s offense that usually dominates on the ground. Their favorable schedule could see a marked improvement this year.

7. Clemson(Starters returning: 7)
The Tigers had one of the most disappointing seasons on offense after very high expectations a year ago. The starting quarterback position could go to redshirt freshman Kyle Parker, but Willy Korn is the only one on the roster that has played any snaps. The running back position is one of the best in the country led by C.J. Spiller. Freshman Andre Ellington is expected to do big things at running back, too. The receiver position is inexperienced, but Jacoby Ford is back and could be the best at the position in the conference. The offensive line continued to have problems last year, and that must improve in order for the offense to be consistent and good in 2009.

8. Miami(Starters returning: 6)
The talent is there for the Hurricanes to take another step forward on offense in 2009. Jacory Harris is now the starter at quarterback, and he showed leadership qualities to be able to manage the offense when he played a year ago. Graig Cooper is a breakaway threat at running back, and Javarris James is expected to compliment him with tough inside running after being hurt in 2008. Plenty of depth and talent return at receiver led by sophmore Aldarius Johnson. LaRon Byrd and three other freshmen from a year ago should provide Harris more options at receiver, too. The offensive line returns three starters. The other concern is their brutal schedule to start the season against Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma.

9. North Carolina(Starters returning: 7)
The Tar Heels continued to improve under head coach Butch Davis in 2008. The offense does see the return of T.J. Yates at quarterback, but only one receiver(Greg Little) is back that has caught a pass in a college game. Dwight Jones will likely be the other starting receiver with freshmen Joshua Adams and Todd Harrelson seeing a lot of playing time, too.With inexperience at receiver, running backs Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston need to continue to improve. The good news is that the offensive line returns four starters led by left tackle Kyle Jolly. The offense will need to run the ball better for them to be a solid option in fantasy football this year.

10. Boston College(Starters returning: 7)
For the Eagles to make an impact on offense, they must decide on who their quarterback will be between Dominique Davis, Justin Tuggle, and Codi Boek in new spread offensive scheme. The running game should lighten the load on whomever the starting quarterback is with solid sophomore running backs Montel Harris and Josh Haden. Rich Gunnell caught 49 passes a year ago, and leads a talented receiving corps that also includes senior Justin Jarvis. The offensive line will be good with four returning starters led by left tackle Anthony Castonzo and center Matt Tennant. With a new quarterback and new offense, growing pains are expected on this side of the ball.

11. Virginia(Starters returning: 4)
Head coach Al Groh felt the heat last year after the Cavaliers ranked 114th in scoring a year ago, so he changed offensive coordinators. The only returning starters on the offense are all along the offensive line, but one of them won’t be All-American Eugene Monroe. The no-huddle spread offense will be installed, but three quarterbacks in Jameel Sewell, Marc Verica, and Vic Hall are vying to be the starters. Hall is a great runner, and could fit the offense best. Running back Mikell Simpson returns after being injured for much of 2008. Receivers Jared Green and Javaris Brown are talented, but inexperienced. The new offense should help, but they must find a quarterback to run it properly.

12. Duke(Starters returning: 4)
The offense will once again hinder on the shoulders of quarterback Thad Lewis who is in his third year as starter. Eron Riley is gone at receiver, but Johnny Williams caught 31 passes in 2008 which he’ll be counted on more this year. Re’quan Boyette returns at running back after missing last season due to injury. The running game needs to improve on its 106 yards per game average from 2008. The offensive line returns two starters in left tackle Kyle Hill and center Bryan Morgan. Lewis has to take the next step forward and the Blue Devils must get better in the running game in order to see marked improvement in 2009.

Stud offenses: Florida State, North Carolina State
Rising offense: North Carolina State
Falling offense: Virginia
Top quarterback option: Russell Wilson
Top running back option: Jonathan Dwyer
Top receiver option: Jacoby Ford

Overall Analysis: Florida State has enough weapons to be a very good option for fantasy owners in 2009. NC State could be the best offense at season’s end in the ACC with not many glaring weaknesses on that side of the ball. Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, and Clemson have questions on the offensive line, but all still could emerge as solid options this year. Miami, North Carolina, and Boston College have talent to surprise, but all have concerns that make them a risk to own on offense at this point. It is best to avoid Virginia and Duke altogether unless one or both show balance as well as consistency on that side of the ball.

nfl-draft-helmet

I am mostly concerned with the skill positions (QB, RB, WR) when it comes to the NFL Draft because those are the players that will help your 2009 fantasy football rosters.  Here is my first look at the early declarers.

Quarterbacks
Nate Davis, Ball State
6’2″, 217 Lbs.
2008:  3591 yards, 26 TDs, 8 INTs, 64.3% completion percentage

Nate has had three solid years at Ball State throwing for 9233 yards, 74 TDs, and 22 INTs.  He has back-to-back 3500+ yard, 26+ TD seasons. He topped the 300 yard mark four times this year.  He finished on a sour note with a 9 for 29, 145 yards, INT performance in the GMAC Bowl vs. Tulsa.  Nate will be studied closely at the combines, which will better determine his draft stock.  I’d say he’s most likely a 3rd or 4th round pick.

Mark Sanchez, USC
6’3″, 225 Lbs.
2008:  3965 yards, 34 TDs, 10 INTs, 65.8% Completion Percentage

Sanchez capped an outstanding season with 413 yards and 4 TDs in a Rose Bowl victory over Penn State.  He completed 80% of his passes on the biggest stage of the year.  He ran a TD in as well.  It was the third time he threw for over 300 yards and the 11th time he thre multiple TD passes. Sanchez comes from a great lineage of USC QBs and will likely go in the first round.  There is a chance he could be the first QB taken, and possibly #1 overall if he impresses scouts at the combine or at his Pro Day.

Running Backs
LeSean McCoy, Pitt

5’11″, 210 Lbs.
2008:  1488 yards, 21 TDs, 32 catches for 305 yards

LeSean is very versatile catching 65 passes in his two years from Pitt.  It’s amazing he was able to improve on his fabulous Freshman numbers (1328 yards, 14 Tds, 244 receiving yards).  He scored in all but two games with six multi-TD games.  He also had six 100+ yard games.  Has decent speed (4.49) that should land him in the first round. 

Wide Receiver
Jeremy Childs, Boise State
6’0″, 196 Lbs.
2008:  72 catches for 802 yards, 7 TDs

Childs had a decent year, but not one that set the world on fire.  He managed just two 100 yard games and actually regressed from the 82 catch, 1045 yard, 9 TD season he had in 2007.  He has decent speed (4.48), but he doesn’t blow you away.  If he’s drafted at all, it will likely be in the 6th or 7th round.

Percy Harvin, Florida
5’11″, 195 Lbs.
2008:  40 catches for 645 yards, 7 TDs, 70 carries for 659 yards, 10 TDs

Percy was such a versatile threat for the Gators.  He had a pair of 100 yard receiving games and a pair of 100 yard rushing games.  He scored in every game he played in, including three games with rushing and receiving TDs and five multiple TD games.  He didn’t score as many TDs in 2007 (10), but he had even more yardage (858 receiving, 764 rushing).  He was nearly equal in receiving and rushing yardage as a freshman (427 to 428).  He has incredible speed (4.36) and will create havoc at the NFL level.  He could make an immediate impact as a return man, but may take some time to develop as a receiver.  Injuries could plague him as well.  That said, he’ll likely be a first rounder. 

Brandon LaFell, LSU 
6’3″, 210 Lbs.
2008:  63 catches for 929, 8 TDs

LaFell had a decent year, but not one that you’d think would inspire him to leave early.  He topped the century mark just twice on the year.  Additionally, he did not have impressive numbers prior to this year.  Finally, he was held to 26 yards on two passes by Georgia Tech in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.  Doesn’t have remarkable speed (4.54) that will likely be a 2nd-3rd round pick. 
UPDATE:  Brandon LaFell is returning to school.

Previous Profiles
QB Josh Freeman, Kansas State
QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia
RB Glen Coffee, Alabama
RB Shonn Green, Iowa

RB P.J. Hill, Wisconsin
RB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
RB Chris Wells, Ohio State

WR Kenny Britt, Rutgers
WR Austin Collie, BYU
WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland

WR Jeremy Machlin, Missouri
WR Hakeem Nicks,  North Carolina

nfl-draft-helmet

I am mostly concerned with the skill positions (QB, RB, WR) when it comes to the NFL Draft because those are the players that will help your 2009 fantasy football rosters.  Here is my first look at the early declarers.

Running Backs
Glen Coffee, Alabama
6’1″, 198 Lbs.
1383 yards, 10 TDs

Coffee made a great leap in production in his Junior year averaging a robust 5.9 yards per carry.  He had five 100 yard games, including 218 against Kentucky.  Did not have a good showing on the ground in the Sugar Bowl (13 carries for 36 yards), but he had his most produtive contribution in the passing game (4 catches for 40 yards, TD).  Not a speedy back (4.53), he’ll likely fall into the 5th round or so.  He’d probably be better off returning to school.

Wide Receiver
Austin Collie, BYU
6’2″, 206 Lbs.
2008:  106 catches for 1538 yards, 15 TDs

Collie made great strides in his Junior year nearly doubling his Sophomore production.  He finished his career with a string of eleven straight 100 yard games.  He has six multiple TD in 2008.  Collie will have to improve his speed (4.56) to improve is draft stock.  He’ll likely go anywhere from the 2nd to the 4th round depending on that improvement.

Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
6’3″, 214 Lbs.
2008:  97 catches for 1165 yards, 19 TDs

How amazing is it that a 97 yards catch, 19 TD season could be looked as disappointing?  In 2007 though, Crabtree had 134 catches for 1962 yards, and 22 TDs.  Nobody is going to label the two-time Biletnikoff Award Winner a disappointment though.  Crabtree caught a TD pass in 21 of 25 games, including seven games with three and thirteen multiple TD games.  His speed (4.54) needs to improve, but there is little chance he isn’t an early first round pick.  He’ll likely be the first wideout taken.  Matt Millen is scheming to get in an NFL Front Office so he can be the one to make the pick.

Jeremy Machlin, Missouri
6’1″, 200 Lbs.
2008:  102 catches for 1260 yards, 9 TDs, 40 carries for 293 yards, 2 TDs

Machlin is very versatile rushing for 668 yards with 4 TDs in his two years with Missouri.  He wasn’t a bad receiver either catching 182 passes for 2315 yards and 22 TDs.  He went over 100 yards seven times last year.  Machlin possess incredible speed (4.38) that should propel him into the first round on this year’s draft.  He’ll be an instant boost to any teams return game, and depending on the situation could be a factor in the passing game right away.  

Previous Profiles
QB Josh Freeman, Kansas State
QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia
RB Shonn Green, Iowa
RB P.J. Hill, Wisconsin
RB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
RB Chris Wells, Ohio State

WR Kenny Britt, Rutgers
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland

WR Hakeem Nicks,  North Carolina

nfl-draft-helmet

I am mostly concerned with the skill positions (QB, RB, WR) when it comes to the NFL Draft because those are the players that will help your 2009 fantasy football rosters.  Here is my first look at the early declarers.

Quarterbacks
Josh Freeman, Kansas State
6’6″, 250 Lbs.
2008:  2945 yards, 20 TDs, 8 INTs, 58.6% completion percentage

Excellent NFL size with a big arm.  Left Kansas State as the school’s all-time leading passer with 8078 yards and 44 TDs.  Doesn’t lack confidence.  Not exactly a proven winner as he went 14-18 as a starter.  He’ll proably be a 2nd or 3rd round pick unless he blows the scouts away at the combines.

Matthew Stafford, Georgia
6’3″, 237 Lbs.
2008:  3459 yards, 25 TDs, 10 INTs, 61.4% completion percentage

Stafford was heralded out of High School and he didn’t disappoint.  He improved each season.  Has a very strong arm.  He struggled against Florida, but came up big in the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State.  He should be a top ten pick, and possibly #1 overall if Detroit goes that direction.

Running Backs
Shonn Green, Iowa
5’11″, 235 Lbs.
2008:  1850 yards, 20 TDs

Shonn came out of nowhere after not playing in 2007 and totaling just 69 carries in 2005 & 2006.  Doesn’t have great speed (4.58), but has a knack for making plays.  He ran for over 100 yards every game this season and had 14 TDs in his last six games including 121 yards and 3 TDs in a Outback Bowl win over South Carolina.  He only caught eight passes out of the backfield so versatility is not his game.  He’ll likely be a second round pick that could vault into the first or slide into the third depending on his workouts.

P.J. Hill, Wisconsin
5’11″, 236 Lbs.
2008:  839 yards, 11 TDs

Hill was awesome start to his career with 1569 yards and 15 TDs in 2006 and 1212 yards and 14 TDs in 2007.  He finished 2008  with a bang hitting 100+ yards in four of his last five games while picking up 8 of his 11 TDs.  He finished with just seven receptions.  He does not have great speed (4.59) and will likely be a second day pick unless he wows at the Combine.

Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
5’11″, 207 Lbs
2008:  1400 yards, 16 TDs

Knowshon followed up an impressive 2007 campaign (1336 yards, 14 TDs, 20 receptions, 253 yards) by improving in each category.  He was inconsistent though gaining 393 yards in six games against Georgia Southern, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, and Michigan State.  In his other seven games he had 1007 yards.  He has pretty good speed (4.48) and is an effective receiver out of the backfield.  He’ll probably be one of the top two or three backs taken and should go mid-first round.

Chris Wells, Ohio State
6’1″, 237 Yards
2008:  1197 yards, 8 TDs

Beanie has tons of talent, but durability issues could lower his stock.  He was a beast though when he could go.  Only Penn State (55 yards) kept him in check.  Not a speedster (4.53), but does have big play ability.  He’ll likely be a top two RB and should also go in the mid-first round.

Wide Receiver
Kenny Britt, Rutgers
6’4″, 215 Lbs.
2008:  87 receptions for 1371 yards, 7 TDs

Britt is a nice big target with big play ability.  He topped the 100 yard mark 8 times, including six catches for 119 yards and a score in the PapaJohns.com Bowl.  Doesn’t have good speed (4.54), but is a great football player.  He finished as the Big East leading receiver with 3043 yards.  He’ll probably go in the second or third round.  If he can improve his forty time he could improve his stock.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland
6’2″, 206 Lbs
2008:  42 catches for 609 yards, 5 TDs

Not exactly numbers that set the world on fire, but he did add 202 yards on 15 carries.  He only registered one 100 yard game and had just 113 yards in the three games to close out his season.  His biggest asset is his 4.37 speed.  He’ll likely be a second-round selection who could rise or slide based on his workouts.

Hakeem Nicks,  North Carolina
6’1″, 215 Lbs.
2008:  68 catches for 1222 yards and 12 TDs

His eight-catch, 217 yard, 3 TD performance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl likely gave him the confidence to test the NFL waters.  He had just three 100 yard games in the regular season though.  His amazing catch in that game has led to cult status.  He’ll need those hands to make up for his 4.57 speed, which will likely land him in the 2nd or 3rd round if he can’t improve.

 

 

For a complete list of declared Underclassmen, check out ESPN.com.

bcs-09

Written by David Funk

With all the other BCS bowl games out of the way, the Oklahoma Sooners and Florida Gators are set to face off for the BCS Championship on Thursday. Even in the storied history of both schools, this will be the first time they’ve ever played one another. Here’s my breakdown….

Oklahoma Sooners(12-1)

Scoring offense: 54.0(1st)
Total yards p/g: 562.1(3rd)
Passing yards p/g: 356.5(3rd)
Rushing yards p/g: 205.5(19th)
Scoring defense: 24.5(57th)
Total yards allowed p/g: 359.1(65th)
Passing yards allowed p/g: 253.1(100th)
Rushing yards allowed p/g: 106.0(18th)

2008 schedule:
August 30 Chattanooga W 57-2
September 6 Cincinnati W 52-26
September 13 @ Washington W 55-14
September 27 TCU W 35-10
October 4 @ Baylor W 49-17
October 11 Texas in Dallas L 45-35
October 18 Kansas W 45-31
October 25 @ Kansas State W 58-35
November 1 Nebraska W 62-28
November 8 @ Texas A&M W 66-28
November 22 Texas Tech W 65-21
November 29 @ Oklahoma State W 61-41
December 6 Missouri(Big 12 Championship) W 62-21

Oklahoma’s high-powered and balanced offense set numerous records during the regular season including the most points scored. Heisman trophy winner Sam Bradford led the way with over 4,400 passing yards with 48 touchdown passes and only six interceptions.  Wide Receiver Juaquin Iglesias led the team in receptions with 69 and receiving yards with 1,092. Tight End Jermaine Gresham led the team with 12 receiving touchdowns. The offense will miss explosive 1,000-yard rusher DeMarco Murray for the game who had to have surgery to repair a hamstring tear. But Chris Brown also rushed for 1,100 yards during the season, and Mossis Madu will back him up in the BCS Championship Game. The Offensive Line is one of the most experienced and best in the country while only allowing 11 sacks in 472 pass attempts on the season.

On defense, the Sooners played in a very pass-happy Big 12 Conference. The Sooners strength on defense is the front four as ends Frank Alexander and Jeremy Beal have played well in the absence of the injured Auston English. Gerald McCoy is one of the nation’s best interior lineman, and will be counted on to disrupt the Florida offense. Injuries at linebacker to Ryan Reynolds and Austin Box(who could play against Florida) likely means Mike Balogun will start in the middle. Linebacker Travis Lewis led the team in tackles on the season. Lendy Holmes led the team in inteceptions. The secondary has been much maligned for its play as they gave up yards in chunks on the season. Because of the conference they played in, it’s tough to judge them as they prepare for an offense that played in a defensive conference.

Three keys to victory for the Sooners:
1. Run the ball. As good as Bradford has been this year, I think how Brown and Madu play will determine how effective the offense will be against a very good Florida defense. If they run the ball effectively, Florida’s defense could be in for a long night.
2. Defensive line must win at the line of scrimmage. Oklahoma has been good upfront all year, and they must continue that in this game. Containment of Tebow in the pocket and getting upfield to slow down the running game is on their shoulders. Should the Sooners have to bring more guys in the box, they’ll be torched all night.
3. Special teams play. The Gators have scored with blocked punts and in the return game throughout the season, and this is an area the Sooners have had problems in. They cannot afford to let the Gators score touchdowns on special teams in this game.

Florida Gators(12-1)

Scoring offense: 45.2(3rd)
Total yards p/g: 442.4(18th)
Passing yards p/g: 212.6(61st)
Rushing yards p/g: 229.8(11th)
Scoring defense: 12.8(5th)
Total yards allowed: 279.3(8th)
Passing yards allowed p/g: 174.0(19th)
Rushing yards allowed p/g: 105.3(16th)

2008 schedule:
August 30 Hawaii W 56-10
September 6 Miami(FL) W 26-3
September 20 @ Tennessee W 30-6
September 27 Mississippi L 31-30
October 4 @ Arkansas W 38-7
October 11 LSU W 51-21
October 25 Kentucky W 63-5
November 1 Georgia in Jacksonville, FL W 49-10
November 8 @ Vanderbilt W 42-14
November 15 South Carolina W 56-6
November 22 Citadel W 70-19
November 29 @ Florida State W 45-15
December 6 Alabama(SEC Championship) W 31-20

Florida’s offense once again goes as 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow goes after throwing 28 touchdowns with just two interceptions while rushing for over 500 yards to go along with 12 touchdowns. Wide receiver Percy Harvin will return for this game, and he’s capable of scoring everytime he touches the ball as his 16 touchdowns(9 rushing, 7 receiving) will attest to. Chris Rainey and Jeffrey Demps are both explosive with each having broken off big runs this year. Louis Murphy led the team in receptions with 36 and receiving yards with 611. The offensive line has allowed 16 total sacks and is a big reason why five players have rushed for over 400 yards on the season. The offense is very balanced with playmakers that can change a game in a hurry.

The obvious strength of the Gators is on defense. They have five interception return touchdowns on the season with linebacker Brandon Spikes and safety Ahmad Black having two a piece. Spikes is one of the nation’s top linebackers and seldom if ever misses a tackle. Major Wright and Will Hill are also solid safeties, and Hill has been effective on blitzes this year, too. Joe Haden and Janoris Jenkins have been solid at the cornerback spots. Ends Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham along with nose tackle Lawrence Marsh have led a young, but very active front four as the team finished 8th in yards allowed on the campaign.

Three keys to victory for the Gators:
1. The secondary and defensive line must play well. The defense hasn’t seen this kind of offense all year, but then again, the Sooners haven’t seen this kind of defense. Nonetheless, the secondary must tackle well and keep the Sooners from stretching out big plays. The defensive line must win upfront against what maybe the best offensive line they’ve seen.
2. It’s all about Tebow. The offense runs as well as he plays, and if the defense is unable to slow down the Sooners, then it’s up to him to win the game. This could pose to be a problem because the Gators have won with defense and special teams all year, and the Gators only loss on the season came when Tebow didn’t play well.
3. Turnover battle. The Gators had 24 interceptions on defense this year, and only had three as a team on offense. Giving the Sooners a short field on turnovers has proven to be costly to anyone that has played them this year. I don’t see Florida winning this game if they lose in turnover margin.

No matter what anyone says, this game is not only for bragging rights, but for conference supremecy. Make no mistake about it, the Big 12 has evolved into an offensive conference. The SEC has continued to thrive on being a defensive conference. This is one game where something will truly have to give, and we’ll know which school’s strength wins out. Two Heisman Trophy winners clash in what should be a fun-filled game to watch. The test for both teams is coming in the BCS Championship in South Florida.

BOOMER SOONER!

Be sure to check out Basic Bloganomics for more of David Funk’s work.


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