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Cushing and Harvin Win Rookie Honors
Photo – LB Brian Cushing - Texans
The current rookie class has had a huge impact during the NFL ’09 season with many first year players being a difference in their clubs overall performance. Linebacker Brian Cushing and wideout Percy Harvin had Pro Bowl rookie seasons and became core performers for their clubs.
Cushing was a difference maker on an emerging Texans club that fell just short of making the NFL playoffs for the first time. Cushing had 134 tackles for the Texans who had their first winning record of 9-7 this season. He also had five sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles in one of the most well rounded performers by a rookie defender in years. The Texans scouting staff has done a fine job in bringing in young talent and Cushing should be a core defender on this club for a number of years.
Harvin had a huge performance in the potent Vikings attack directed by veteran QB Brett Favre. Harvin became everything we felt he could be as a pro as both a receiver and returner. Harvin was added to the Pro Bowl roster off his outstanding rookie performance that included 60 receptions for 790 yards and 6 TDs. He also rushed 15 times for 135 yards; returned 42 kickoffs for 1,156 yards (27.5 yards per return) and 2 TDs. He set Minnesota's single-season franchise record for all-purpose yardage (2,081).
Here are the Scouting Reports on LB Brian Cushing and WR Percy Harvin from Draft Insiders’ Yearbook from March 2009. Draft Insiders’ Yearbook has over 400 In-depth Scouting Reports annually
Brian Cushing #10 - 6’3” 245 lbs. - Southern Cal - Sp. 4.7 Rating 90
Hindu Theory - Keith Brooking
Tough savvy outside linebacker has the athletic package to become a top NFL starter after an excellent college career in the Pac 10. Brian combines fine size, speed and quickness with keen instincts, especially toughness, to become an excellent NFL defender at any backer position in either scheme. Though best suited for the outside in a 4-3 set, he is capable of playing at a high level in any position and would welcome the attack backer role in a 3-4 scheme. He is a very good dedicated athlete with size, speed and quickness to become an excellent pro with the level of development to start as a rookie. He provides leadership and playmaking ability that will earn him high grades by most scouts that should solidify an early draft selection. He was a consensus N.J. high school All-American that has fine size and the overall athletic abilities that allowed him to become a core defender on the USC national championship college club. He made big plays that changed the outcome of games with the versatility to move along a front seven and create mismatches. He has rare versatility for a linebacker along with fine instincts, quickness and tackling skills plus the vital intangibles to become a top flight pro defender. He has the hip flip and movement skills of many safeties after earlier experience at that position. As a senior, he posted 73 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 6 PBU and 1 pick, while earning 1st team Pac 10 honors for the second time. As a junior, he posted 25 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 PBU, 1 FR and 0 picks, earning Pac 10 honors. As a sophomore, he played the strongside backer role and made 57 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 BK and 1 PBU in 13 starts, earning 1st team Pac 10 honors. He is a natural knee bender that shows fine balance and does well at hitting through the ball carrier. He can be a downhill player who is able to makes plays all over the field and does a good job of playing off blockers and getting through traffic. He understands his responsibilities in the defensive scheme and carries them out perfectly, being like another coach on the field. He stays in his lanes and does well at turning the play back inside or stringing it out to the sidelines without giving ground. He is a mature and intelligent person with outstanding work habits and fine character who is an avid film watcher in the mold of a Zach Thomas in game preparation. He will take on and shed blockers and will fight through them to reach and take down the runner. In pass coverage, he does a fine job of getting deep drops and can be walked off in coverage and is able to take on slot receivers. He is a natural fluid athlete that moves very well, both going forward and in reverse. He has an excellent burst of speed and quickness when attacking forward, displaying upside as a pass rusher in the right scheme, though not always utilized to the fullest in that role in college. He competes as well as anyone in this draft and is prepared to start as a rookie. His fine athleticism and explosion is displayed by a good 35” VJ and the flexibility to fill a number of roles. He knows how to use his hands to control and discard blockers. He needs to get stronger to be more consistently quicker getting off blocks, but is a sure tackler with top instincts. He is a blue-chip prospect who could slip down to the mid 1st in this deep draft that will be overloaded with juniors. He is similar to defenders like Keith Brooking and Chad Greenway who are athletic ‘backers with rare skills to play any position in any scheme. At the combine, he weighed in at 243 lbs. and did 30 reps. He ran a 4.74 time and had a 35” VJ and a 10’” BJ with an exceptional 6.84 three cone time. Excellent defender with fine talent and intangibles to be a playmaker on the outside. One of the toughest players in this class and a top 20 prospect who should go in the middle of the round. Future Pro Bowler.
Draft Projection: 1st Round - Top 20 Prospect
Percy Harvin #1 - 5’11” 190 lbs. - Florida - Sp. 4.40 Rating 90
Hindu Theory - Steve Smith (Panthers)
Electrifying all-purpose junior playmaker has been one of the most explosive performers from the college ranks to enter the NFL early in recent years. Percy is a fast receiver/return specialist who shows explosiveness quickness after he gets his hands on the ball whether as a runner, receiver or a return specialist. He is a premier playmaker who has been instrumental in the Florida national title victories. Despite some concerns about size, he is a tough athlete who is well built, though he has only marginal NFL measureables for the position. He is a highly developed athlete as both a receiver and returner. He is both fast and quick with the explosive burst to separate easily and dangerous to score from any on the field. As a receiver, he possesses fine hands with the separation speed to get deep and hit the home run regularly. He also has outstanding openfield running skills after he gets his hands on the ball to create special problems for a defense. He has the components to become an NFL star - speed, quickness, hands, great vision and the natural running skills to strike from anywhere. After helping the Gators win another national title, he declared for the NFL Draft ’09. He has elite speed to get deep and hit the home run and displayed this consistently over his career. He has the top burst of speed to separate and get past cover men in the deep game to hit the big play. At the line, he needs to show he can beat the bump and run vs NFL caliber defenders after rarely facing that technique in college. His ability to handle the physicality of the NFL game is a major concern despite his big play ability at a very high level in the SEC. Once into his patterns, he can take the short hitch pass and create room to break a big play. His excellent running skills after the catch will warrant a very early selection and probably in the mid first round area. He is especially dangerous on the shorter routes to take the play the distance and is ideally suited for the West Coast offenses. His ability to find the end zone and natural running ability will make him a top commodity in April with every club looking for playmakers. He has fine hands and shows the ability to run sound routes and create separation consistently. He must prove he has the ability to stay on his routes and go over the middle in the NFL game. On the deep pass, he has developed good instincts tracking and the body control and hands to make the big play. He shows the ability to track the deep ball with the savvy to be in position to make the big catch. He is well developed as a route runner and recognizes coverage quickly with the ability to adjust and help his passer. His speed off the line puts him in a position to eat up a corners cushion when he comes off the line clean. Once into his route, he retains his top speed very well at the breakpoint and creates consistent separation. He has sudden speed and is very quick into his routes and cuts with the ability to create space in patterns. He needs some strength development to battle the jam and fight through being pushed off his routes. As a collegian, he was rarely tested with the bump and run and must prove he can beat that technique to become a starting NFL receiver.
The Numbers: As a junior, he started 11 of 12 games and caught 40 passes for 644 yards and 7 TDs for an 16.1. yard average per catch that earned him SEC honors. As a sophomore, he started 10 of 11 games and caught 59 passes for 858 yards, a 14.5 yard average per catch. As a freshman, he started 5 of 13 games and caught 34 passes for 427 yards and 2 TDs for a 12.6 yard average. At the NFL Combine, he checked in over 5’11” and a chiseled 192 lbs. He ran 4.39 and 4.41 times with and 10 reps in the lifting. He stopped due to an ankle injury.
Continue to Next Page for rest of Percy Harvin Scouting Report
NFL Draft 2010 Selection Order - First Round
x - NFL Playoff team - Playoffs will determine the final draft order
y - Coin flip to determine position
Photo - DT Nda Shu – Nebraska
# Team / W-L
1 St. Louis - 1-15
2 Detroit - 2-14
3 Tampa Bay - 3-13
4 Washington - 4-12
5 Kansas City - 4-12
6 Seattle - 5-11
7 Cleveland - 5-11
8 Oakland - 5-11
9 Buffalo - 6-10
y - 10 Jacksonville - 7-9
y - 11 Denver (Chicago) - 7-9
12 Miami - 7-9
13 San Francisco - 8-8
14 Seattle (Denver) - 8-8
15 N.Y. Giants - 8-8
y - 16 Tennessee - 8-8
y - 17 San Fran (Carolina)- 8-8
18 Pittsburgh - 9-7
19 Atlanta - 9-7
20 Houston - 9-7
x y - 21 New York Jets - 9-7
x y - 22 Baltimore - 9-7
x 23 Arizona - 10-6
x 24 Cincinnati - 10-6
x 25 New England - 10-6
x 26 Green Bay - 11-5
x 27 Philadelphia - 11-5
x 28 Dallas - 11-5
x 29 Minnesota - 12-4
x 30 San Diego - 13-3
x 31 New Orleans - 13-3
x 32 Indianapolis - 14-2
Legendary Bobby Bowden Retires
Photo – Coach Bobby Bowden
28 of Bobby Bowden's former players have been selected in the 1st round of the NFL Draft over the last 20 years with one final draft class this spring.
One of the legendary college head coaches, Bobby Bowden retired yesterday after a 44 year coaching career. The great majority of his career was spent at Florida St where he won two national championships and competed for the title for two decades before recent problems. The 80-year-old coach retires as the second winningest head coach behind only Penn St’s Joe Paterno. He finishes with 389 career wins are second only to Paterno among major college head coaches. Coach Bobby Bowden was carried off the field by his players after the Seminoles upset No. 18 West Virginia 33-21 in the Gator Bowl. Bowden finished his career with a 389-129-4 record, and most importantly to him, a 33rd consecutive winning season. Bowden and Florida St finished the 2009 season with a 7-6 record and Gator Bowl victory over #18th ranked West Virginia, marking the 21st bowl victory in his illustrious career. Ironically, Bowden coached at West Virginia prior to taking the head position with the Seminoles. The Gator Bowl in the final game of Bowden’s storied 57-year coaching career. It was a pleasure knowing Bobby Bowden over my long scouting career first at the Kickoff Classics at the Meadowlands in the late '80s and then at Florida St in Tallahassee beginning in the early '90s. Bowden was a brilliant coach and a true gentleman who was always fair and honest with pro personnel executives and the huge contingent of media people who swarmed him and the high profile Seminole program over his long college career. He was always concerned with his players careers after their playing career at Florida St whether they went on to the NFL or into the work force.
“The winning was really a bonus,” Bowden said. “Knowing it’s your last game, I’ll be honest with you, I’m kind of interested in this retirement business. I ain’t got to set my alarm no more, I’ll get up when I’m darn good and ready, then like I say, go out and look for a job.”
Next week, Jimbo Fisher takes over at Florida State, which finished 7-6 for the third time in the last four years. That run of mediocrity was the 80-year-old Bowden’s downfall that essentially forced into retirement after Florida St offered him a lesser role for 2010. With under 2 minutes to go in the Gator bowl, Bowden went down to the Florida St band section, removing his autographed white cap and tossing it into the seats.
“It’s got to be memorable,” Bowden said. “It’s my last dadgum ballgame after 57 years of coaching.” Bowden leaves as major college football’s second-winningest coach. Joe Paterno earned his 394th victory Friday in the Capital One Bowl as Penn State beat LSU 19-17, now the official winner of the back-and-forth race to be the game’s all-time win leader, something that wasn’t lost on Bowden. Paterno could win No. 400 next year. By his own math, Bowden’s already beyond that benchmark. “How about them 22 wins I got at South Georgia College? How come they don’t count?” Bowden said, talking about where he was from 1956-58, before heading to Samford. “I know it doesn’t count NCAA, but will somebody mention, please, that I have 400 wins during my lifetime?” Bowden was head coach at Samford from 1959-62, led West Virginia from 1970-75 and took over at Florida St the next season. Bowden is the only coach in NCAA history to win 11 consecutive bowl games (1985-95) and the only coach ever with 14 consecutive bowl appearances (1982-95) without a loss (FSU tied Georgia 17-17 in the 1984 Citrus Bowl). Bowden and Florida St finished the 2006 season with an Emerald Bowl victory over UCLA.
Among his many accomplishments, one of the most amazing has to be the remarkable 14 straight top five finishes in the AP poll from 1987-2000. During that run Florida St was 152-18-1 and captured national championships in 1993 and 1999. In 1999 the team became the first and only squad to ever go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the AP poll. The Seminoles also played for the title three other times during that span and since 1993 no team in the FBS has played for more national titles than FSU. Bowden has won 12 ACC Championships since FSU joined the conference in 1992. Under Bowden's guidance, FSU has not only produced great teams, but many great players as well. Two Seminoles, Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke won the Heisman Trophy, 24 of his players have been named consensus All-Americans, three of his QB's have won the Johnny Unitas Award and two have won the Thorpe Award, the Butkus Award, the Davey O'Brien Award and the Lombardi Award.
Success on the field is not enough for Bobby Bowden as he expects his players to contribute more than just athletically. Two of Bowden's greatest players, Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks, went on to not only become phenomenal pros, but each defender were honored as the NFL's Man of the Year. Florida St is one of just five schools to produce multiple players to win the NFL's top award for community service.
Favre & Manning Earn Pro Bowl Classic
Photo – QB Peyton Manning - Colts
Veteran NFL passers, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning have had outstanding '09 seasons that earned them another Pro Bowl berth. Each veteran has been longtime Pro Bowl regulars and were again selected to this season’s game after leading their clubs to divisional titles. Favre was among eight Minnesota Vikings who made the NFC team, while Manning was one of six Indianapolis Colts named to the AFC squad. This will be Brett Favre’s 11th Pro Bowl appearance while Peyton Manning will play in his 10th classic. No other QBs in NFL history have been to 10 all-star games. Both players will direct their clubs in the NFL playoffs and could possibly miss the Pro Bowl this season with the All-star event scheduled the week prior to the Super Bowl for the first time. Both the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl will be played in South Florida. The Super Bowl will be played on Feb. 7 in Miami while the Pro Bowl has been moved to the previous Sunday at Dolphin Stadium. No Super Bowl participants will play in the all-star game.
Pro Bowl Rosters
Tom Brady, New England
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis
Philip Rivers, San Diego
Chris Johnson, Tennessee
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville
Ray Rice, Baltimore
Andre Johnson, Houston
Brandon Marshall, Denver
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis
Wes Welker, New England
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis
Antonio Gates, San Diego
Le'Ron McClain, Baltimore
Nick Mangold, N.Y. Jets
Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis
Kris Dielman, San Diego
Alan Faneca, N.Y Jets
Logan Mankins, New England
Ryan Clady, Denver
Jake Long, Miami
Joe Thomas, Cleveland
Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis
Mario Williams, Houston
Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh
Haloti Ngata, Baltimore
Vince Wilfork, New England
Ray Lewis, Baltimore
DeMeco Ryans, Houston
Brian Cushing, Houston
Elvis Dumervil, Denver
James Harrison, Pittsburgh
Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland
Champ Bailey, Denver
Darrelle Revis, N.Y. Jets
Brian Dawkins, Denver
Jairus Byrd, Buffalo
Ed Reed, Baltimore
Shane Lechler, Oakland
Kick Return Specialist
Joshua Cribbs, Cleveland
Nate Kaeding, San Diego
Kassim Osgood, San Diego
Continue to next page for NFC Pro Bowl Players
Legendary Bobby Bowden Retires
Photo – Coach Bobby Bowden
28 of Bobby Bowden's former players were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft over the last 20 years
One of the legendary college head coaches, Bobby Bowden retired yesterday after a 44 year coaching career. The great majority of his career was spent at Florida St where he won two national championships and competed for the title for two decades before recent problems. The 80-year-old coach retires as the second winningest head coach behind only Penn St’s Joe Paterno. He finishes with 388 career wins are second only to Paterno among major college.
What Bobby Bowden meant to Florida St and college football off the playing field cannot be measured. He is well respect, honest, humble man with a great sense of humor and integrity. It was a pleasure to meet him over 20 years ago. He always had time to discuss college football, Florida St and life. He has been one of the best examples of leadership in the country in any field of endeavor.
Bowden is in his 34th season at FSU and will finish his career after Florida St bowl game over the next month. He will be replaced by next season by offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. Bowden had been on a one-year rollover agreement with the university for several years, but that ends after the 2010 season. As the winningest coach in ACC history, Bowden teams put together the one of most dominant runs in college football history between 1987 and 2000 with 14 consecutive finishes in the nation’s top five and a pair of national titles. The 2001 Orange Bowl was the Seminole's third straight national title game.
The Seminoles’ fortunes have not been as good in recent years when they finished this year with a 6-6 record after starting the year with high expectations and a preseason No. 18 ranking. In 1993, despite a late-season loss at Notre Dame, Florida St won its 1st national title after near misses in 1987, 1988, 1991 and 1992 — because of losses to nemesis Miami, which won three national titles during that span. Since winning their 12th ACC championship in 2005, the Seminoles have been 16-16 over the past four seasons against league opponents.
In 2007, Bowden passed another truly remarkable milestone. With his victory over Maryland, he won his 300th game at Florida St. He is one of only two coaches in major college football history to win 300 games at one school. The victory gave him seven wins and he has now won at least seven games for 26 straight seasons. Bowden also ensured himself his 31st consecutive winning season in Tallahassee. He has won 10 or more games 18 times in his 32 years in Tallahassee and over the last 20 years no program in America has a higher winning percentage than Florida St. The man who is synonymous with Seminole football took Florida St to a bowl game for the 26th consecutive season when his team played in the 2007 Music City Bowl for the first time in school history. With the invitation he passed Tom Osborne and became the first coach in college football history to lead his team to 26 straight bowl games.
Bowden is the only coach in NCAA history to win 11 consecutive bowl games (1985-95) and the only coach ever with 14 consecutive bowl appearances (1982-95) without a loss (FSU tied Georgia 17-17 in the 1984 Citrus Bowl). Bowden and Florida State finished the 2006 season with an Emerald Bowl victory over UCLA marking the 20th bowl victory in his illustrious career. Among his many accomplishments, one of the most amazing has to be the remarkable 14 straight top five finishes in the AP poll from 1987-2000. During that run Florida St was 152-18-1 and captured national championships in 1993 and 1999. In 1999 the team became the first and only squad to ever go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the AP poll. The Seminoles also played for the title three other times during that span and since 1993 no team in the FBS has played for more national titles than FSU.
Bowden has won 12 ACC Championships since FSU joined the conference in 1992. Under Bowden's guidance, FSU has not only produced great teams but great players as well. Two Seminoles, Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke won the Heisman Trophy, 24 of his players have been named consensus All-Americans, three of his QB's have won the Johnny Unitas Award and two have won the Thorpe Award, the Butkus Award, the Davey O'Brien Award and the Lombardi Award.
Success on the field is not enough for Bobby Bowden as he expects his players to contribute more than just athletically. Two of Bowden's greatest players, Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks, went on to not only become phenomenal pros but both were honored as the NFL's Man of the Year. Florida St is one of just five schools to produce multiple players to win the NFL's top award for community service.
Continue to view Bobby Bowden’s career information
Yankees Win 27th World Title
Photo – Yankee Hideki Matsui
The New York Yankees won their 27th world championship with a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in game six of the 2009 World Series. Veteran Hideki Matsui tied a World Series record with six RBIs, Andy Pettitte won on short rest and the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 seizing that elusive title — the most in all of sports. It marked a title in their first season at the new Yankee Stadium just as they did in their inaugural campaign in the original Yankee Stadium in 1923. It was the Yankees first world title since 2000 and their first WS appearance since 2003.
Hideki Matsui’s 6 RBI’s on his first three at-bats pushed New York to 7-1 lead, they never surrendered. With a 2-run HR, a 2-run single and a 2-run double, slugger Matsui gave the Yankees all they needed to insure their 27th championship.
Matsui won the Series MVP award for his heroics that began when he powered a quick rout of old foe Pedro Martinez. When Yankee longtime bullpen stopper Mariano Rivera got the final outs, it was celebration time in the Bronx for sports greatest team of all-time.
One season, one World Series crown — the team’s first since winning three straight titles from 1998-2000.
DraftInsiders.com and ProFootballDraftNetwork.com
will be collaborating on a weekly article posted mid week during the college football regular season to review the prior weeks most notable performances from a NFL Draft 2010 perspective.
NFL Draft 2010 Prospects - Week 8
Frank Coyle - www.draftinsiders.com
Draft Insiders’ Digest –19th Season
Jimmy Clausen - Fast Rising Prospect
Photo - QB Jimmy Clausen - Notre Dame
QB Jimmy Clausen - Notre Dame
Talented junior passer has played brilliantly often this season, showing coolness and playmaking ability in weekly pressure situations. Clausen shows fast developing skills for this demanding position. He displays the talent to make all the throws with fine accuracy and timing, in addition to going through his progressions quickly. This prospect has the package NFL head coaches look for in a top flight starting QB, though there are certainly questions related to his readiness for the pro game. He has improved his accuracy in the intermediate game and the ability to pick up secondary receivers well with few mistakes for a young prospect. Though he is having a breakout season, he needs further development in all areas of lay. He will be tempted to consider entering the NFL Draft 2010, though his overall level of development would benefit from working with HC Charlie Weis for another season.
DE Jerry Hughes – Senior - Texas Christian
Explosive edge rusher has displayed impact ability over his MWC career and had another strong effort vs BYU in a key matchup. Hughes had only 4 tackles, but it did include 1 TFL with 1 sack and 1 FF. He commanded double team blocking throughout the huge TCU win. Over this season, he has 10.5 TFL with 9 sacks and 35 tackles and has been a major difference maker for this undefeated club. He relies on a very quick first step and good hand technique to separate from blockers with the upfield speed to sack the QB. He has the frame to fill out further to be an every down pro defender at end, though he also has the mobility to also play up in the 3-4 scheme. His ability to apply pressure off the edge will earn him invites to both the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine All-star classics this postseason.
RB C.J. Spiller – Senior - Clemson
Clemson running back/kick returner set a school record for all-purpose yards with 310 yards as the Tigers defeated ACC-rival and 10th -ranked Miami, 40-37, in overtime. For the game, Spiller had 81 yards rushing (14 carries), 104 yards receiving (6 catches) and 125 kickoff return yards. He scored two TDs – a 56-yard reception and a 90-yard kickoff return. He is a versatile major playmaker with the power to run inside and the speed and quickness to be very dangerous on the perimeter or return game. His versatility to fill so many roles will earn him a high grade in this running back class. He is a difference maker as a kickoff returner.
WR Terrance Toliver – Junior - LSU
Smooth junior receiver has been instrumental in the Tigers passing offense this season. He is a fast rising highly rated prospect who flashes impact ability at times despite some erratic QB play. He combines very good size, speed, agility and hands along with a fine level of development that will make him highly valuable for the pro game. He displays a well developed skill set for the position that has allowed him to make an impact at times over this season. He could be one of the top junior playmakers in this draft class with a consistent strong finish and he decides to turn pro.
LB Jesse Smith – Senior - Iowa St
Savvy senior linebacker recorded a game-high 12 tackles (7 solo), including two TFLs, as the Cyclones upset Big 12-rival Nebraska, 9-7. Smith also forced a fumble, broke up a pass, and made one interception as Iowa St earned its 1st win in Lincoln since 1977. He is a smart undersized Mike backer who flows nicely to the ball and finishes with sure tackling. Though not considered a highly regarded prospect he has been productive in many areas that should earn him a niche in the NFL game.
Denis Krusos - Editor
Pro Football Draft Network
TE Andrew Quarless, Senior, Penn State
Quarless only caught 2 passes in Penn State’s 35-10 win at Michigan, but they were for 91 yards. He displayed excellent speed on his 60-yard touchdown catch and run shortly before the 1st half. Quarless is not the typical Penn State blocking tight end that does not run particularly well. He can run and get down the field and catch the ball. Quarless is a good-sized target (6’5” and 254 lbs) and continues to work on improving his blocking. He has 23 receptions for 315 yards (13.7 per) and a touchdown in 8 games this season.
RB Noel Devine, Junior, West Virginia
The West Virginia junior running back exploded against Connecticut for 178 yards on 23 carries (7.7 per). His 56-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter helped clinch the 28-24 win over an emotional Huskies team. Devine went outside and used his terrific speed to make big plays. He possesses great balance and is tough to knock off his feet with his low center of gravity. Devine added a 13-yard reception against Connecticut and can catch the ball. He is one of college football’s most exciting players and will garner significant interest in the 2010 NFL Draft should he choose to declare early.
LB Daryl Washington, Senior, TCU
TCU remained undefeated with a resounding 38-7 victory at BYU. The Horned Frogs’ defense was too quick and fast for QB Max Hall and the BYU offense. Washington had 9 tackles and snagged an interception (his 2nd of the season). Washington’s speed fits well in TCU’s 4-2-5 defense and he has the range to cover backs and tight ends in pass coverage. He is undersized for an NFL linebacker, but packs a wallop for his size. BYU gained only 110 yards on the ground (3.0 per carry) and Hall finished 18-28 for 162 yards (5.8 per attempt) with 1 touchdown pass. Washington’s athleticism and versatility should make him an attractive special teams contributor at the next level.
LB Navorro Bowman, Junior, Penn State
Penn State’s defense dismantled Michigan in a 35-10 rout. Bowman has rounded into form after returning recently from a groin injury. He led Penn State with 11 tackles (1 tackle for loss) and also had an interception, a fumble recovery and a sack. The Wolverines were held to a season-low in yards gained (250) and points scored. Bowman plays with tremendous speed, instincts and aggressiveness. It is extremely difficult to run outside on Bowman and he does not shy away from taking on blocks. He is a do-everything linebacker with a very bright future. PFDN considers Bowman to be the Nittany Lions’ best player the past two years. Bowman is a junior, but he is expected to graduate in December. He should be a 1st round draft choice should he decide to enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
QB Tony Pike, Senior, Cincinnati
Pike did not play in the Bearcats’ 41-10 rout of Louisville. Pike had surgery (2nd straight year) on his left (non-throwing) forearm. He had a plate inserted in the same forearm last year and it was dislodged on a sack against South Florida. Zach Collaros, a sophomore, stepped right in and completed 15 passes in 17 attempts for 253 yards (14.9 yards per attempt), 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Pike is tall, but skinny and NFL teams have to be concerned about how much punishment he could take in the pocket. Cincinnati’s head coach, Brian Kelly, has done a masterful job since taking over the program in December of 2006. His offense did not miss a beat with Pike on the sideline. This will cause many to wonder how much of Pike’s success stems from Brian Kelly’s imaginative offense.