NEWS AND INFORMATION ON THE NFL DRAFT
WHO TO WATCH IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND
After two weeks filled with really intriguing games, the third week of the college football season looks like it will be a little tamer. Still, there is at least one huge early season SEC contest on the docket as well as at least a couple of other potentially interesting interconference match-ups.
#22 CLEMSON (2-0) at #1 FLORIDA STATE (2-0); 8 PM ET; ABC ... Needless to say this game took on added significance with news that star FSU redshirt sophomore Jamies Winston (#5, 6-4, 235) has been suspended for the first half of tonight's game after he put on an impromptu, pronaity laced internet parody at a central spot on campus earlier this week. Winston, of course, won last year's Heisman Trophy when he led the Seminoles to the BCS national championship. He is also considered to be a top 5-10 prospect for the upcoming draft, although the growing list of off-field issues threatens to bring his grade down. The game was aleady going to be something of a test for the Seminoles as Clemson just may be the the most talented ACC team FSU plays all year; there will also be some pressure on FSU, which truth be told hasn't been overly impressive in their first two games this season, to put up some numbers against Clemson which lost badly at Georgia in its season opener.
This game could also feature the week's best individual match-up when Clemson DE Vic Beasley (#3, 6-2, 225), the leading returning sacker in big-time college football this season, goes up against star FSU LT Cameron Fleming (#75, 6-5, 310). Both are considered to be pretty much locks to be selected in this years opening round, however, neither has gotten off to the kind of start scouts were expecting so both will really be under the microscope even more than usual on Saturday evening. Beasley, though, is the Tigers only bona fide prospect for 2015, although veterans such as WR Adam Humphries (#13, 5-10, 190), DE Corey Crawford (#93, 6-5, 270), and MLB Stephone Anthony (#42, 6-1, 235) are decent later round or free agent prospects.
No such problems for Florida State, though, which, by far, has the deepest 2015 draft class in the country. Indeed, in addition to Winston and Erving, juniors DE Mario Edwards (#15, 6-3, 295) and CB P.J. Williams (#26, 5-11, 195) are also considered to be potential first round picks this coming spring, while RB Karlos Williams (#9, 6-0, 225), WR Rashad Greene (#80, 5-11, 180), TE Nick O'Leary (#35, 6-3, 235), OGs Tre Jackson (#54, 6-3, 330) and Josue Matias (#70, 6-5, 325) are solid second-day candidates.
FLORIDA (2-0) at #3 ALABAMA (3-0); 3:30 PM ET; CBS ... There is a similar story at Alabama where Florida hopes to provide a test for the 3rd ranked Tide. However, the Gators were not all that impressive at all in a dress rehearsal last weekend when they barely survived 3 OTs last week to defeat Kentucky which has never been confused with a football factory. And while this is not the most talented Florida team of late it does have at least one potential first rounder for the 2015 draft in junior DE Dante Fowler (#6, 6-3, 265), while DT Leon Orr (##8, 6-4, 305), OTs Chaz Green (#75, 6-5, 300) and massive Trenton Brown (#74,6-7, 350), TE/FB Clay Burton (#88, 6-3, 260), TE Jake McGee (#83, 6-5, 255), and P Kyle Christy (#4, 6-2, 200) are mid-to-late round candidates. In fact, Florida's best prospect may very well be sophomore CB Vernon Hargraeves (#1, 5-10, 195) who won't be draft-eligible until 2016. The key guy for the Gators, though, wll be junior QB Jeff Driskel (#6, 6-3, 240), who is still trying to work himself back to 100% after missing much of the 2013 season with abroken leg.
For its part, Alabama is in something of a rebuilding phase, at least as much as Alabama rebuilds rather than just reloads. The Tide has at least a trio of juniors with first-round potential in WR Amari Cooper (#9, 6-1, 205), RB T.J. Yeldon (#4, 6-1, 225) and safety Landon Collins (#26, 6-0, 215). In fact, Alabama may have the best backfield in the country as Yeldon maynot even be the team's best back as sophomore Derrick Henry, the all-time leading rusher in prep history, has picked up pretty much where he left in high schol once he arrived in Tuscaloosa. Same story at TE where true soph O.J. Howard (#88, 6-5, 240) is arguably the best at the position in college football. Meanwhile, Alabama has several other mid-to-late round prospects in OG Arie Koundjio (#77, 6-4, 315), WR/KR Christion Jones (#22, 5-11, 190), RT Austin Shepherd (#79, 6-5, 320), MLB Trey DePriest (#33, 6-2, 250), and NT Brandon Ivory (#99, 6-3, 310). The Tide also appear to have a made a smooth transition at QB where veteran Blake Sims (#6, 6-0, 210) has won the job of replacing A.J. McCarron as he held off the challenge of star junior transfer Jake Coker (#14, 6-5, 230).
Bonus coverage: Its not quie like old times, but Miami and Nebraska hook up in Lincoln (8 PM ET; ESPN) for what could be a very interesting game for both teams. It certainly should be interesting for scouts who will get to see star Nebraska junior DE Randy Gregory (#44, 6-5, 245), a dominating edge rusher with top 5 potential for the ucoming draft who is another player off to a slowish start this fall. Scouts will also get a chance to check out two of the most productive scatbacks in the country in Miami's Duke Johnson (#8, 5-9, 205) and Ameer Abdullah (#8, 5-9, 195). Neither is particularly big, but both have the kind of quickness and make-you-miss ability in the open field that teams are looking for to juice up the new-age spread offenses that are becoming all the rage in the NFL. For the record, the 'Canes Johnson runs behind a decent offensive line anchored by junior LT Ereck Flowers (#74, 6-5, 325) and OG Jon Feliciano (#70, 6-4, 320), while MLB Denzel Perryman (##52, 6-0, 255) is arguably the best true LB in the country. Meanwhile, scouts will be watching #4 Oklahoma at West Virginia (7:30 PM ET; FOX) to see what all the fuss about emerging Mountaineers' WR Kevin White. The 6-2, 210-pound White is a physical receiver with sub-4.5 speed who is averaging over 10 receptions and almost 150 yards per game through three games to date.