NFL Draft
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last updated:10/31/06
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Demotion takes running back by surprise -- Tony Temple is no longer Missouriís No. 1 tailback.

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Another long time DD.com friend (R.Pickett) has brought to our attention a potential hidden talent: Former University of Kentucky basketball player Desmond Allison, now playing tight end for South Dakota.

DD.com Comment: While we don't know much about Allison, we have to assume N.F.L. scouts know a lot about him and he's definitely a player worth watching -- although his age (almost 27) will be a negative factor. One positive, however: Unlike a lot of former hoopsters, who try to make the jump to football with little experience since high school, Allison had the right idea -- play some college ball, before trying to make the N.F.L.

So far this season, Allison has 18 receptions for 291 and 4 TD's (9 games).

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The Fresno Bee reports junior running back Dwayne Wright is reportedly leaving Fresno State following this season to enter the NFL draft. "There were certain goals I had for myself going into the season, and if the opportunity to go into the NFL draft presents itself, that's where I'd like to be next year if things end well," Wright said.

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Florida State quarterback Xavier Lee will stay in starting spot at quarterback.

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New DD.com Feature:

Who are BLESTO and the National? A Brief History of the Scouting Combine Organizations.

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When the season began, we looked at all the undrafted rookies that beat the odds and made N.F.L. rosters. Mostly through practice squad promotions, more rookies have made rosters since that time:

WR Glenn Holt ~ Cincinnati -- Former University of Kentucky star had a tough time showing off his talents due to the mediocre play of Wildcat quarterbacks during his career. Ran extremely well at his Pro Day (4.4's) and impressed the Bengals enough to get a promotion from the practice squad.

WR Chris Francies ~ Green Bay -- Was part of an impressive offense during his college days at Texas El-Paso. Another young wide receiver hoping to make his mark in Green Bay. Ran his 40's in the 4.53 area coming out of U.T.E.P.

WR Devale Ellis ~ Detroit -- Was one of the better wide receiver prospects in Division I-AA football in 2005, but clearly took a back seat at Hofstra to current N.F.L. rookie sensation Marques Colston. Did not make the Lions initially, as he was beaten out by fellow undrafted rookie Shaun Bodiford (now in Green Bay). Eventually, Bodiford was cut and Ellis was brought aboard. He's hoping to stick with the Lions, a team that clearly needs depth at wide receiver.

WR Jason Carter ~ Minnesota -- Carter was granted a sixth season of eligibility at Texas A&M in 2005 and made the most his of last chance that season, impressing N.F.L. scouts with his hands and toughness. Had a strong pre-season for the Vikings, but was lost in the numbers game shuffle until a recent promotion from the practice squad.

WR Marcus Vick ~ Miami -- To the best of our knowledge, this former Virginia Tech quarterback hasn't played in a game for the Dolphins, but he's been on and off the active roster in recent weeks. It's clear Phins head coach Nick Saban wants to give him a look before the season is over. Played fairly well during the pre-season, but remains a project who is probably bound for N.F.L. Europe for experience at receiver.

OT Donald Penn ~ Tampa Bay -- We really felt this former Utah State star was going to be drafted. Actually, he probably would've been, had he not suffered a fairly significant injury at the Hula Bowl, which caused him to miss the Combine and spring workouts. Currently listed as the Buccaneers backup right tackle, behind fellow rookie Jeremy Trueblood. Penn is a good athlete for his size.

OG D'Anthony Batiste ~ Carolina -- This former University of Louisiana-Lafayette star is currently listed as the Panthers backup right guard, but has not played in a game yet. Panthers like his potential. Another player that would benefit from a stint in N.F.L. Europe?

DT Steve Williams ~ Kansas City -- Former small school standout (NW Missouri State -- Division II), was a smash hit for the Chiefs in spring OTA's, even logging time with the first team defense. A nagging injury, which forced him to miss much of the preseason, kept him off the 53 man roster in week one, but once he got healthy enough in September the Chiefs found a spot for him as a backup tackle. Hard worker. Good run-stuffer, with nice potential looking forward.

LB Ricky Brown ~ Oakland -- Somewhere in the Bay Area a football journalist will write that Brown is the ultimate over achiever and maybe even say he's the Raiders new special teams "Rudy". Well, that's far from accurate, as it was Brown's freakish display (sub 4.46 40 time; 4.00 short shuttle at 6' 2" 230 pounds) at Boston College's Pro Day last spring that got him squarely on radar of N.F.L scouts. We felt very comfortable projecting him as a 5th to 6th round pick, so we are not surprised he made the Raiders roster fairly early this season.

LB Brian Iwuh ~ Jacksonville -- Had a great preseason for the Jags. He was so good, there was talk he would compete for a starting job. He didn't make the 53 man roster to begin the season, but was brought aboard to help on special teams and add depth once injuries hit. Currently backs up Nick Griesen at outside linebacker. Iwuh, who played for the University of Colorado, was impressive at the last Senior Bowl. However, he was considered a safety/linebacker "tweener" coming out of college.

SS John Busing ~ Cincinnati -- Sort of overshadowed at Miami (Ohio) by fellow linebacker Terna Nande. Had a great career for the Hawks' at linebacker and was very impressive at the schools' Pro Day -- ran a 4.53 40 and displayed a 38" vertical jump at 6' 2" and 235 pounds. Showed enough speed at Miami's Pro Day, that he was switched to safety in the N.F.L. Busing is hoping to make an impact on special teams for the Bengals this season. A stint in N.F.L. Europe may be an idea the Bengals consider in order to get this talented athlete some experience at safety, because he clearly has potential to contribute on defense.

DB Jereme Perry ~ Cleveland -- Perry played his college ball at Eastern Michigan University. Has decent size and speed. Also, he has clearly displayed enough talent to impress Romeo Crennel and his staff. Used mostly as a special teams player at this point. Another very good athlete from the M.A.C., who has a chance to be a strong defender as he gains more pro experience.

CB Anthony Madison ~ Pittsburgh -- This is a player we felt was very "draftable" after he ran in the low 4.4's at his Pro Day. Former S.E.C. star did a nice job in the pre-season for the Steelers. Couldn't crack the lineup in week one, so he spent some time on the practice squad waiting for a promotion. He got his chance a few weeks into the season. Now he has to show he belongs. He has the potential to be a valuable reserve for the Steelers.

CB Steve Gregory ~ San Diego -- We projected Steve as a strong 7th round candidate prior to the draft. Former New York City high school superstar would've had a great statistical career at Syracuse, had he not (foolishly) been moved to slot receiver for his junior season. Still, Steve's size, speed and special teams talent impressed scouts enough to get a free agent look. We aren't surprised at all he made it. Was considered an elite special teams gunner in college, a skill that should help him stay in the N.F.L. while he sharpens his skills at cornerback.

CB Jovann Johnson ~ Pittsburgh -- Johnson isn't currently on the Steelers 53 man roster, but spent one week on the active roster. Doesn't have super size or speed for a cornerback (5' 8", 4.6 40), but as he proved during his career at Iowa, he can play the game at a high level. Displayed a tremendous nose for the ball with the Hawkeyes. Good special teams player, who can help out as a kick and punt returner. Played well at the Hula Bowl.

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last updated:10/30/06
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Earlier this month we looked at the top rookies in Major League Baseball....Now, check out our recently completed sneak peek at the top young players in the National Hockey League.

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Ankle injury shouldn't keep running back Ray Rice sidelined when Rutgers faces Number 5 Louisville.

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Talented Cal-Poly middle linebacker Kyle Shotwell came up with a big game against a Division I-A opponent last Saturday (12 tackles; 4 sacks) -- impressed N.F.L. scouts.

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The Texas Longhorns are considering moving sophomore fullback Henry Melton to defensive end.

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Scout.com's NFL Draft "Weekend in Review" looks at 11 top prospects, including Florida defensive back Reggie Nelson, who as we've reported before, is expected to skip his senior season and enter the next draft.

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Wearing number 92 masks Matt Shaughnessy's freakish skills.

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College Fantasy football owners, are you looking for a few up-and-comers to fill out your rosters? How about Florida State quarterback Xavier Lee or Texas Tech wide receiver Jarrett Hicks?

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DD.com E-Mail:

Our friend Steve in Michigan informed us that Grand Valley State defensive end Mike McFadden had one sack against Ferris State last Saturday, giving him 33.5 for his career, which makes him the new Division II all-time sack leader.

Steve also told us:

Mike's only about 5' 11". But, as an indication of his athleticism and toughness, I was talking to a former GVSU assistant basketball coach last week, and he said that after seeing McFadden play for Saginaw High (a basketball power), he wanted him to play hoops, too, but the head coach couldn't get past his height. This same assistant at that time was recruiting the class that now has Grand Valley hoops pre-season top 5 in Division II.

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Feature Article: Lack of experienced talent has made this one of the bleakest years for potential N.F.L. talent in the Big 12 Conference.

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Don Banks: Several teams hurt by one of worst drafts in history?

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Baylor quarterback Shawn Bell will miss the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

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last updated:10/29/06
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Does under-sized Harvard defensive lineman Michael Berg have a legitimate shot of playing in the NFL?

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Quick glance at Villanova safety Allyn Bacchus, who is considered an NFL prospect.

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The following Florida Gator seniors have been invited to play in the Hula Bowl: Quarterback Chris Leak, wide receiver Dallas Baker and defensive lineman Ray McDonald.

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AOL Blog Draft Notes looks at 5 top wide receivers and 3top tight Ends.

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Florida quarterback Chris Leak may have played games with a concussion.

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Closer look at Wisconsin's Andy Crooks who has moved from middle linebacker to tight end in order to help his chances to make it in the N.F.L.

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New Hampshire wide receiver David Ball has been invited to the Hula Bowl.

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With a full compliment of NFL scouts present, David Jones -- a star cornerback for Wingate College -- did not disappoint Saturday.

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According to the Chicago-Sun Times, Northwestern's Kim Thompson -- a promising junior wide receiver -- has left the team for personal reasons. Thompson, who has battled injuries, had only 4 receptions in 3 games for the Wildcats this season.

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last updated:10/28/06

Florida quarterback Chris Leak and several other stars agree to play in the Hula Bowl.

DD.com Comment: The Hula Bowl always invites a handful of players with ties to Hawaii in order to help the attendance at the game, so expect to see at least 5 or 6 Rainbow Warriors in the game...If the game is played (assuming debts are payed off), it looks like the caliber of quarterbacks this season will be much better than last season.

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Tulane quarterback Lester Ricard has been invited to play in the Las Vegas All-American Classic.

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N.F.L. scouts check out the top prospects at the University of Albany, including 6' 4", 290 pound defensive end Andre Coleman.

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We watched a bit of the Central Connecticut @ Monmouth game today, mostly to see how Central running back Justise Hairston -- a Rutgers transfer and N.F.L. prospect -- would fare. Hairston looked athletic and quick, but had a tough day, rushing 19 times for only 64 yards, as Monmouth's top notch defense came up strong on this day to stifle Central's running attack and win the game 19-13.

A player that stood out on Monmouth's defense, from our stand point, was quick, hard-hitting strong safety Matt Hill, who was all over the field today and looked like a Big East caliber talent. While it's not real likely Hill will end up getting drafted, wise N.F.L. (as well as C.F.L. & Arena League) teams should certainly give him a look.

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Look at the book "The Blind Side", which is a non-fiction tale based on Ole Miss sophomore left tackle/N.F.L. prospect Micheal Oher.

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Fresno State has just one win this season, but isn't short on N.F.L. talent.

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ESPN's announcers stated during Friday Night's Texas El-Paso @ Tulsa game that some N.F.L. scouts feel Tulsa Hurricanes senior wide receiver Idris Moss might be a "hidden gem", due to his quickness and elusiveness.

Moss, who is only 5' 10" and 180 pounds, began his collegiate career at U.C.L.A. He was dismissed from that school prior to the 2004 season, but immediately transferred to a junior college that season, before signing with Tulsa in 2005.

Moss was very average for the Hurricanes last season, collecting only 22 receptions for 236 yards and 2 TD's. But he's stepped up his play a bit this season, recording 33 receptions for 543 yards in the Golden Canes first 8 games.

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Florida State linebacker Buster Davis, who has already been invited to the Senior Bowl, is not looking ahead to the N.F.L.

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last updated:10/27/06
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Scouting Saturday for draft talent: Scout.com looks at 24 N.F.L. prospects, including Oregon State tight end Joe Newton and Ole Miss' star linebacker Patrick Willis.

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BuckeyeXtra.com Chat Transcript. Among the excellent draft related questions: Who will be the better receiver in the N.F.L. Ted Ginn Jr. or Anthony Gonzalez?

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Texas El-Paso takes on Tulsa (favored by 14 points) tonight on ESPN 2.

DD.com Comment: Check out our summer Conference USA preview for a quick glance at some of the top senior prospects that will be playing tonight.

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Tony Pauline's "Risers and Sliders" Midseason report: Look at dozen prospects, including Iowa offensive tackle Marshall Yanda, who is playing like a Day 1 selection.

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Tony Pauline looks at who's "hot and who's not" in college football, including L.S.U. safety Laron Landry -- who is moving upwards.

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Former Navy running back Kyle Eckel, who actually made the Miami Dolphins opening day roster in 2005 before being summoned to military duty, still hopes to play in the N.F.L. someday.

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Talented Ohio State junior running back Antonio Pittman says he will not turn pro after this season.

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Quick glance at West Virginia center Dan Mozes and his fellow Mountaineer linemates that just dominate games, despite lacking ideal size.

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The Chicago Sun-Times takes a look at a pair of top Notre Dame defenders: Ambrose Wooden and Victor Abiamiri.

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The Chicago Sun-Times does an in-depth feature on Northern Illinois' star left tackle Doug Free.

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Are the Minnesota Gophers planning to move running back Alex Daniels to linebacker for the Ohio State game this weekend?

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Regular DD.com contributor Steve in Michigan informs us that Central Michigan defensive end Daniel Bazuin has been invited to the Hula Bowl. He also tells us Chippewas' offensive tackle Joe Staley has been invited to the Senior Bowl. Over the summer, both Staley and Bazuin received invites to the East-West Shrine game.

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Check out Mel Kiper's very recently updated Top 25 Big Board, which includes athletic Central Michigan offensive tackle Joe Staley.

DD.com Comment: We've seen a little of Staley on tape and he's impressive -- definitely looks the part of an NFL prospect. We were told in 2004, when Staley was a sophomore, that he was on the radar of NFL teams due to his unique athletic skills for a man his size. He had another solid season in 2005, then followed it up with a monster all-around Pro Day showing last spring, including running a 4.7 40 at 6' 5" and 300 pounds.

It really is too early to tell how good of a pro prospect he'll be, but Staley, who came out of high school as a speedy tight end, is definitely a player that has a chance to surprise people as the draft process goes forward....Staley has already been invited to the East-West Shrine game and the Senior Bowl.

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last updated:10/26/06
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This is quickly becoming a season to remember for Canadian running backs Jon Cornish (Kansas) and Clifton Dawson (Harvard).

DD.com Site Note: Check out our pre-season feature on the Top Canadians playing Division I football in the United States.

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Purdue features, perhaps, the best pair of sophomore starting defensive tackles in the nation, with the tandem of Alex Magee and Ryan Baker terrorizing opponents each weekend. Both players have a lot to room to grow to become complete players, but their futures look very bright.

Alex Magee played in all 11 games in 2005 as a true freshman -- including 2 starts. Currently, the powerful Illinois native is having a solid sophomore season -- 24 tackles and 2.5 sacks after 8 games. The only real knock on Magee is he's a little small for a defensive tackle at 275 pounds, but he's got a 6' 5" frame to add some muscle and bulk to. And, more importantly, he's got a lot of time to do it before he even thinks about the N.F.L.

Ryan Baker, a redshirt sophomore, is 6' 5", 285 pounds and has looked like a future star recently -- recorded 4 sacks and 1 interception in the last weeks. For the season, he has 5 sacks and 6.5 TFL's -- great numbers for a young defensive tackle. Also, don't let the lazy media fool you into believing Baker is a "classic overachiever". We are talking about a kid that was nimble and athletic enough to be ranked the 3rd best tight end prospect in the nation coming out of high school. Originally committed to attend Notre Dame.

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Speaking of talented sophomores, check out our new list of loosely ranked Top Sophomore Prospects.

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In depth look at Wisconsin's impact left tackle Joe Thomas.

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Former Clemson recruit Tymere Zimmerman, a tall, fast wide receiver, makes impact at a tiny Division II school in South Carolina, keeps his N.F.L. aspirations afloat.

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Iowa State cornerback DeAndre Jackson's stock tied to recovery from ACL injury.

DD.com Comment: Truth is, as we alluded to below in the Hickman story, no one can accurately project how a player will stack up in the draft process until he works out. But Jackson is probably correct -- the injury will likely have a significant effect on his draft stock.

When healthy, Jackson is a terrific all-around player -- nice combination of size and speed. From what we saw of him, he's a hard hitter and a fairly sure tackler. Also, you know a player is pretty good when opponents rarely throw at him --- that's what we saw while watching the Cyclones in 2005 and early this season.

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Senior defensive end Justin Hickman responds to challenge -- breaks out with a double-digit sack season for the U.C.L.A. Bruins.

DD.com Comment: We want to thank Rafael C. -- a long time DD.com friend and U.C.L.A. alum -- for sending us the link above. Justin Hickman is a player we have wanted to focus on for a while, but hadn't gotten around to it.

He doesn't look the part of a big time N.F.L. prospect at defensive end (too small), but his quickness, combined with his superb numbers (5.5 sacks in 2005 ; 10.5 so far this season) will be hard to ignore. Some football players are just "competitors" that just beat up beat their opponents, above everything else, and Hickman may be one of those at the college level.

But, don't forget, former Oregon State star Bill Swancutt -- who was a total monster during his entire Pac-10 career and a defensive MVP of the 2005 Senior Bowl -- just fell off the map after he ran a 5.0-plus 40 at the Combine? Therefore, we won't get a better read on how Hickman stacks up as a pro prospect until he attends the Combine or completes his Pro Day workouts for N.F.L. scouts.

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Pro Football Weekly just updated it's scouting reports for 9 prospects, including Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny.

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Pro Football Weekly scouts the Ohio State Buckeyes top three senior pro prospects, including quarterback Troy Smith.

DD.com Comment: Scroll to the bottom of the Ohio State article and you'll find links to "top three senior pro prospects" features for nine higly ranked teams, including Southern Cal and Auburn.

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last updated:10/25/06
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Yahoo! Sports lists "5 falling prospects" and top senior defensive linemen, then looks at 16 draft prospects, including Pittsburgh Panthers junior cornerback Darrelle Revis.

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Tennessee junior quarterback Erik Ainge said today that he plans to return for his senior season rather than entering the NFL Draft.

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Impact Player: Virginia junior defensive end Chris Long .

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Although the Connecticut Huskies are having a rough season, so far, there is some hope with young athletes like sophomore cornerback Darius Butler and speedy true freshman wide receiver Brad Kanuch developing.

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Looks like a couple stars from mid-major level schools are on the cusp of making Mel's Top 25: Wyoming safety John Wendling and East Carolina wide receiver Aundrae Allison.

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Miami paper takes a quick glance at the pro potential of Hurricanes junior quarterback Kyle Wright.

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The Hawaii Warriors defense, led by hard hitting safety Leonard Peters, gains respect from N.F.L. scouts.

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Hawaii offensive lineman Samson Satele has received an invitation to the Senior Bowl, according to KITV 4 Sports (Hawaii).

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Arizona State's student newspaper looks at Sun Devils senior safety Zach Catanese.

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last updated:10/24/06
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Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Ryan Moore, who was suspended indefinitely two months ago, has been reinstated to the team.

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Delaware tight end Ben Patrick, a Duke transfer, has been invited to play in the Hula Bowl.

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The Missouri Tigers must move on without star defensive end Brian Smith, who suffered a season-ending hip fracture Saturday.

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Tony Pauline's NFL Draft Weekend in Review looks at how 15 N.F.L. prospects fared last weekend, including Fresno State's Kyle Young, who could play right tackle in the N.F.L?

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Strong safety Brannon Condren, once an unwanted walk-on, is now an N.F.L. prospect heading to the Hula Bowl.

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Talented junior linebacker Garry Pack kicked off the Ole Miss football team, four others suspended indefinitely.

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In depth look at the draft prospects of injured Pitt offensive lineman John Simonitis, who is hoping to be granted a medical redshirt.

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Texas' starting defensive tackle Derek Lokey, a rapidly improving junior, broke his leg in the Longhorns win over Nebraska Saturday and will be out indefinitely. ****

last updated:10/23/06
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Raiders second year quarterback Andrew Walter outperformed Arizona's Matt Leinart yesterday, and earned himself another start.

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Clemson left guard Roman Fry, who according to some insiders was really impressing N.F.L. scouts this season, tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Saturday's win against Georgia Tech.

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DD.com looks at a pair of tall, young Division I-AA wide receivers having fine seasons. Both could be on N.F.L.'s Draft radar if they continue to progress:

Shaheer McBride ~ Norfolk State -- McBride, a junior with excellent size and a knack for making big plays, is having another strong season for the Hornets -- 40 receptions, for 636 yards and 8 TD's in just 7 games. Was very productive in 2004 and 2005, collecting 96 receptions and 13 TD's in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Steve Ogden ~ Valparaiso -- After 8 games, this sophomore star has accumulated 748 receiving yards (19.2 YPC ave.) and 6 TD's for Valpo. In 2005, as a freshman, he averaged 22.3 yards per catch, so he's definitely a bigtime playmaker at the DI-AA level.

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Northwestern lost more than just a 35 point lead Saturday against Michigan State -- senior linebacker/N.F.L. prospect Nick Roach was lost for the season with a broken leg.

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Look back at a game winning drive only a special quarterback like Brady Quinn can make.

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The East Carolina Pirates will have a tough time finding another James Pinkney.

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Top 5 Division I-A receivers -- yards per game average:

Chris Williams ~ New Mexico State (So) -- 121.57

Adarius Bowman ~ Oklahoma State (Jr) -- 113.00

Robert Meachem ~ Tennessee (Jr) -- 108.86

Johnnie Lee Higgins ~ Texas-El Paso (Sr) -- 106.43

Jaison Williams ~ Oregon (So) -- 101.29

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Top 5 Division I-AA receivers -- yards per game average:

Nick Ruhe ~ Dayton (Sr) -- 112.43

Terrell Hudgins ~ Elon (Fr) -- 112.43

Curtis Hamilton ~ Western Kentucky (Jr) -- 110.66

Bruce Hocker ~ Duquesne (Jr) -- 106.00

Shaine Smith ~ Hofstra (Sr) -- 105.00

DD.com comment: Bruce Hocker of Duquesne is one of the better small school prospects in the junior class and is already attracting serious attention from N.F.L. scouts.

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DD.com Mailbag: Long time DD.com friend Art C. was nice enough to send his thoughts on Rutgers' dynamic backfield tandem of Brian Leonard and Ray Rice.

Art C. responds to our contention in Saturday's blog that Brian Leonard should've declared for the N.F.L. Draft after the 2005 season:

I'll start by saying I'm a Rutgers season ticket holder and I've seen all their games this season, home and away. I agree in part with your comments about Brian Leonard, but I also disagree in part.

Yes the iron was hot for Leonard at the end of 2005 and it's my guess he would have been a second round pick. I also agree he's no longer RU's first option - that role is filled quite well by Rice. That being said, I feel that if Leonard remains healthy and performs well at the Combine and in post season workouts he'll still be a second round pick. The chances of him moving into the first round will be determined by his timed speed - not his on the field performance.

Despite his lack of touches this season, I think he can still be a power running back in the right NFL offense - and if he's seen as that then he may sneak into the first round. At worst he'll be one of the best rounded NFL fullbacks. I don't think any pure fullback will be a first round pick because the position has been devalued from 20-30 years ago.

Despite the role Leonard is playing this season I have yet to see a player in any of RU's games, whether he's on RU or the opposition, that is a better football player (emphasis added) than Leonard. I also believe Leonard will have a long and successful NFL career (if he can stay healthy) no matter what team(s) he plays for.

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Per our request, Art C. evaluates Rutgers tailback Ray Rice. We also asked him if the 5' 9", 200 pound super sophomore is being "overworked" by Rutgers' coaches:

If I had to put a draft grade on Ray Rice now it would be a 3rd or 4th round pick. He has great vision, balance, strength, and he's a tackle breaker. However, he lacks breakaway speed and the special moves you'd like to see in an elite running back prospect. To me he looks like a poor man's Emmitt Smith. I guess in summary he's a great college runner who lacks the measurables to be a top pick. One last thing - he's a very determined and competitive player that I would not count out. I do think he's a better back than Michael Hart of Michigan.

Yes, I am worried about burn-out with Rice and he's on pace to carry the ball about 350 times this season. For example when RU was trying to kill the clock at Pittsburgh, during the last series, I would have lined Leonard up at tailback and put in freshman fullback Jack Corcoran as a lead blocker.

By the way, keep your eye on Jack Corcoran. He's a true frosh fullback who looks like a keeper. He was New Jersey's 215 pound class wrestling champ and the best player on a state championship team. Typical of many of Rutgers players he was a "two star" recruit, yet had offers from schools like Penn State and Maryland (I don't get a lot of these recruiting rankings?). When he committed to Rutgers I said he'd be their top player when all was said and done. He's second on depth chart and head coach Greg Schiano has had nothing but praise for him.

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last updated:10/22/06
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Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman has been notified he will be suspended for four games for violating the NFL's steroids and related substances policy.

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Last weekend in our blog notes we looked at a trio of talented sophomore's from the woeful Temple Owls (0-8), who should provide hope that better days are ahead for the schools' football program....Yesterday, one of those players -- speedy wide receiver Travis Shelton -- had another great game, collecting 7 receptions for 204 yards and 2 TD's (65,44 yards) against Northern Illinois.

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Western Michigan's weakside linebacker Ameer Ismail was omnipresent in the Broncos' 41-27 victory against Ball State yesterday, returning an interception for a touchdown and recording six sacks.

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AOL Draft Blog looks at ten NFL prospects, including Clemson's high impact junior tackle Barry Richardson.

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Led by speedy running back Kyle Steffes, who rushed for 138 rushing yards yesterday, Division I-AA power North Dakota State almost upset Minnesota .

DD.com comment: Steffes is a fine small school running back, with decent size and reported sub 4.5 speed, who deserves a long look from N.F.L. scouts....The Bisons that are likely getting the most attention from scouts, however, are senior defensive tackle Justin Frick and huge junior left tackle Nate Safe.

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Washington Huskies quarterback Isaiah Stanback hopes a serious foot injury won't dash his chances to make it in the N.F.L.

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Closer look at University of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan.

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Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe was unable to get back on track Saturday, rushing for only 45 yards on 17 attempts against a struggling Temple team.

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It was said N.I.U. Huskies redshirt sophomore defensive end Larry English had the strength and speed to be a star in the MAC. He flashed some skills against Temple yesterday, registering a school record 4.5 sacks.

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Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge engineers a huge comeback win for the Vols.

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What if the Oakland Raiders had gone for quarterack Matt Leinart in the draft?

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SI.com: Three pages of observations/notes from a wild Saturday of college football, which included Jeff Samardzija's $14 million touchdown reception?

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Michigan State, infamous for big collapses, changes its identity with the NCAA's largest comeback win.

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Clemson's defense keeps Georgia Tech's high impact wide receiver Calvin Johnson from catching a pass for the first time in his career.

DD.com comment: Junior cornerback C.J. Gaddis, who came to Clemson as a quarterback, and sophomore safety Michael Hamlin are the Tigers that mostly covered and shut down the Yellow Jackets star last night.

We won't read too much negative into last nights game for Johnson. He's still a great N.F.L. prospect and it's hard to make an impact when you are constantly double teamed and the football is not coming your way very often. Johnson and Tech fans should just write it off as a bad night and move forward. Gaddis, a former starting safety, is showing Tigers fans he does possess the speed needed to make an impact at cornerback.

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Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams registered 1 sack Saturday night against Georgia Tech, giving him a total of 7.5 sacks so far this season.

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Former University of Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler, a first round pick in the 1994 N.F.L. Draft, has a reasonable chance of being elected to congress next month as a "conservative Democrat".

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last updated:10/21/06
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Freshman running back Ben Tate ran for 156 yards in Auburn's win over Tulane.

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Check out all today's college scores and box scores at Yahoo! Sports.

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College Blogger, who went 15-3 against the spread the last three weeks, is back and has increased his workload this week -- has made predictions for 10 college games to be played today.

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San Jose State defensive tackle Freddy McCutcheon finally making an impact as his tumultuous college career nears end.

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Fort Valley State senior cornerback Rashod Moulton worried about winning, not the N.F.L. Draft.

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Closer glance at Rutgers blocking back Brian Leonard.

DD.com comment: Right after the 2005 season ended, we felt Leonard would've been wise to leave for the N.F.L., as most projected him as a top 50 pick. There were basically three reasons we felt this way:

1) He was a redshirt junior last season, so he had already been at Rutgers for four seasons. No need to hang college forever, when employers are clamoring to pay you millions. Also, we realized all the preseason Heisman talk was bunk. Greg Schiano cut his teeth at the University of Miami, where fullbacks know their place in the offense: As designated blockers....Once Ray Rice showed some talent as a freshman, it was a given to us Leonard's touches on offense would be significantly reduced.

2) The average career for an N.F.L. player is fairly short (about 4 season) and as Tikki Barber of the New York Giants recently stated it's likely a little shorter for a running back/fullback. So, in essence, his body ( especially his shoulder and neck as a blocker) is taking an enourmous beating week in and week out for Rutgers, while he is not getting any money for it.

3) You have to "strike when the iron is hot". Leonard looked dynamic in 2005, scoring a whopping 17 touchdowns and displaying great skill as a runner and a receiver. The lasting impression from his 2005 season was he was an excellent all-around feature back, who could've sneaked into the first round with an outstanding Combine. But by staying in school and gladly accepting the fact Schiano has relegated him to a fringe role in the offense, he leaves the impression that he's nothing more than spare part and a good "team player".

If a Mike Holmgren type grabs a good "team player" like Leonard in round 2 or 3, you can bet he'll run the ball only about 5 to 6 times a season -- all those carries will come in the last minute of blowouts -- and be out of the N.F.L. in a fairly short span of time. He'll also lose millions of dollars, as blocking backs make much less than running backs that actually touch the ball from time to time.

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Former Georgia defensive end and currently injured Cincinnati Bengals linebacker David Pollack struggling to recover from a serious neck injury.

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last updated:10/20/06
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Look at Tennessee's dynamic receiving trio, which includes redshirt junior Robert Meachem.

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Tony Pauline, who probably doesn't have a Myspace page, "Scouts Saturday for talent".... Looks at 16 top prospects, including Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas who is really impressing scouts.

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Check out Mel Kiper's Myspace page.

We seriously doubt it's Mel's actual myspace. The give away is his height -- the real Mel is said to be 6' 5". Our bet is it's some Iowa State student, but it has a lot of fascinating (albeit also fake) links on the page and Mel's actual Top 25 Big Board (not updated).

Terry Bowden of Yahoo! Sports ranks his top 10 Heisman candidates, with Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith.

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In depth look at gifted Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.

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ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. breaks down the 9 Notre Dame players he expects to be drafted next April.

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Ohio State defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock's diet now includes opposing quarterbacks.

Pitcock leads all Division I-A defensive tackles with 7 sacks this season.....Also, we'd like to mention his younger brother Jafe Pitcock is an impact defensive end in high school that is being heavily recruited by several Division I "mid-major" programs -- mostly MAC schools.

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Rapidly improving Southern Cal junior linebacker Keith Rivers say he will "not" forego his final season of college eligibility in order to enter the N.F.L. Draft.

DD.com Quotebook: U.S.C. head coach Pete Carroll says Keith Rivers is a "tremendous" N.F.L. prospect: "He can cover tight ends, he can cover backs, all kinds of things. He just gets it more, which is what comes with experience. Each year you grow so much. Look how ready Matt Leinart was by staying around another year."

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Former Notre Dame recruit Freddie Parish, a senior that plays safety, standing out at Stephen F. Austin.

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Defensive lineman Dontre Brown has overcome injuries to give East Carolina solid play and good leadership.

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last updated:10/19/06
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Ten Semi-Finalist for the Butkus Award have been announced -- top college linebacker.

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Auburn Tigers quarterback Brandon Cox overcomes rough college start and muscle disorder.

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Defensive back Aaron Ross took long road to the University of Texas and success.

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In depth look at the Southern Cal Trojans' talented group of linebackers.

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LoboZone: Utah's Eric Weddle looks like Brian Urlacher.

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Rutgers tight end Clark Harris improves his blocking, which makes him an even better N.F.L. prospect.

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Pac-10 Football Notebook: Pac-10 quarterbacks getting fractured; U.S.C.'s super sophomore linebacker Rey Maualuga out of control off the field?

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Grambling fullback Ruben Mayes has received an invite to the All-American Classic, a game where college seniors compete before pro scouts.

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Arizona State junior Brandon Rodd thriving in the desert sun; offensive lineman grows into N.F.L. draft prospect.

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Yahoo! Sports reports the following players have already been invited to the Senior Bowl -- which is widely regarded as the top college all-star game.

RB Kenny Irons ~ Auburn

CB David Irons ~ Auburn

DE Ray McDonald ~ Florida

LB Earl Everett ~ Florida

LB Patrick Willis ~ Mississippi

LB Buster Davis ~ Florida State

S LaRon Landry ~ Louisiana State

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Yahoo! Sports looks at several top N.F.L prospects, 5 draft "risers" and the top safeties in the draft .

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Insurance is one thing that can cover Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson; NCAA-affiliated policy would pay if injury strikes receiver before he signs an NFL contract.

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Hawaii offensive lineman Samson Satele has been invited to play in the 82nd East West Shrine all-star football game in Houston.

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last updated:10/18/06
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In depth look at Texas Longhorns' impact offensive lineman Justin Blalock.

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Closer look at the leadership skills of Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith.

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Former University of Michigan and N.F.L. star Jim Harbaugh doing a great job at the University of San Diego.

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DD.com Site Note: We recently updated our list of "athletic quarterbacks" that could project at other positions in the N.F.L -- we added South Carolina's Syvelle Newton, who moved back to quarterback last month.

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The Miami Dolphins activated rookie receiver Marcus Vick from the practice squad Tuesday and cut receiver Cliff Russell, who had played sparingly.

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Florida State wide receiver Greg Carr looms large in upcoming A.C.C. showdown against Boston College.

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Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson addressed his recent collarbone injury during a news conference on Tuesday, but he did not address his future at the school.

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Look at South Florida's gifted trio of linebackers -- Ben Moffitt, Pat St. Louis and Stephen Nicholas.

DD.com comment: Stephen Nicholas, a senior who is sort of a hybrid linebacker-defensive end for the Bulls, considered entering the N.F.L. Draft after the 2005 season. We reported in this blog (back in January) he was given a 5th round projection by the N.F.L.'s Draft Advisory Panel. But, there is no reason to believe he can't go a bit higher than that with another season of experience under his belt. It must be noted, however, that at 225 pounds, his future in the Pros will be at linebacker.

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Talented Oregon State tight end/N.F.L. prospect Joe Newton hasnít made as many catches as anticipated, but his concern is with victories.

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Trent Edwards' college football career ended Tuesday because of a foot injury, but better days could be around the corner for the beleaguered Stanford quarterback.

Chris Anderson of The Stanford Daily (student newspaper) take on Trent Edwards' injury.

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If you are looking for a potential John Randle clone, look no further than Iowa State defensive tackle Brent Curvey (surname pronounced: Kerr-vay), who is having a monster season for the Cyclones -- 5.5 sacks and 9.5 TFL's in just seven games.

Although "Big Play Curvey" isn't all that big at 6' and 295 pounds, he is very powerful and plays with great intensity. He also displays solid athletic ability and footwork, and rarely gets knocked off his feet by opposing offensive lineman. After impressing us in 2005, as a junior, we decided to pay close attention to him this season. So far, so good -- he's played better than he ever has. Curvey is definitely a player N.F.L. scouts will keep a very close eye on this season.

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last updated:10/17/06
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Can Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson win the Heisman?

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Washington senior quarterback Isaiah Stanback has been diagnosed with a tarsometatarsal articulation of his right foot and will miss the rest of the season.

DD.com comment: Clearly a bad day for the Quarterback rich Pac-10. First the news that Trent Edwards is done for the season, now we find out the vastly improved Stanback will miss this season and likely be out for between 8 and 12 months.

Stanback is a quarterback we've thought highly of since early in the 2005 season (which was reflected in our rankings). He was off to a strong start this season and will get a long look at quarterback in the N.F.L. However, the severity of his injury could really harm his draft stock -- rehab expected to take between 8-12 months. If Stanback struggles making it as a quarterback at the next level, N.F.L. teams will certainly look at him at wide receiver -- the position he used to play for the Huskies.

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The Indianapolis Colts' leaky run defense got some much-needed help when it acquired defensive tackle Anthony McFarland for a second-round draft pick.

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NBCsports: U.C.L.A. kicker Justin Medlock battles racial stereotypes.

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Louisiana State junior Jacob Hester receives ribbing because he's a white tailback.

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Stanford announced that senior quarterback/N.F.L. prospect Trent Edwards will miss the final five games of the season after breaking a bone in his foot early in Saturday's game against Arizona.

DD.com comment: It's often said that "quarterback X" or "quarterback Y" lacks the required talent around him to succeed. Many times this is just an excuse for mediocre quarterback play -- particularly with quarterbacks the media likes. But in Edwards' case it's very true. He played behind one of the most porous offensive lines in Division I football -- Edwards was sacked 18 times in his last three games this season.

Also, after losing All-Pac 10 caliber receivers Mark Bradford and Evan Moore to serious injuries early this season, his top target at wide receiver became redshirt sophomore Kelton Lynn. No disrespect intended to Lynn, who has done a nice job this season and is a young athlete worth following, but he came to Stanford as a walk on punter/ wide receiver and just got his first taste of playing time this season.

As far as Edwards' draft chances, we think scouts will have a tough time with him. While they certainly know he possesses a ton of talent (top 50 type prospect), his lack of supporting cast at Stanford and injury history won't help his cause. Hopefully Trent can get healthy and impress scouts in post-season all-star games and workouts.

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Texas A&M coaches vague on the fitness of senior tailback Courtney Lewis.

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Despite his recent injury, Oklahoma tailback Adrian Peterson's NFL stock keeps rising.

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Tony Pauline looks at 6 risers and 6 sliders in the upcoming draft, including Ohio State defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock.

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The Pitt Panthers and Rutgers Scarlet Knights, both in thick of Big East race, meet this weekend on ESPN 2.

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Comcast Sports Southeast has fired Lamar Thomas over Orange Bowl brawl remarks.

DD.com comment: Catch Thomas' fight commentary at You Tube Miami-F.I.U. fight.

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Taking the advice of N.F.L. scouts, injured Clemson linebacker Tremaine Billie has decided to stay in school and accept a redshirt.

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TFY Draft Preview looks at how 16 N.F.L. Prospects fared last weekend, including Pitt linebacker Clint Session.

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Florida International boots 2 players; Miami safety Anthony Reddick suspended indefinitely after Saturday's brawl.

DD.com comment: F.I.U Panthers safety Chris Smith, who started the brawl after attacking the Canes' kick holder, was considered a fringe N.F.L. prospect coming into the season. Although Smith was off to a great start this season (62 tackles and 4 PD's in 7 games), it's possible any chance he had to make it in the N.F.L. vanished Saturday night.

Anthony Reddick, a freshman All-American caliber safety in 2004, sat out last season with a major ACL injury. Going into Saturday night's game he was listed as a backup for the Hurricanes.

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last updated:10/16/06
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MSNBC Sports: Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn heads list of top 50 pro prospects.

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Oklahoma State junior wide receiver Adarius Bowman, a transfer from North Carolina, is having a huge season for the Cowboys....Will he jump to the N.F.L. early?

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Miami analyst Lamar Thomas' comments during UM-FIU brawl may get him fired.

DD.com comment: Catch Thomas' fight commentary at You Tube Miami-F.I.U. fight.

DD.com opinion: If you want to fire Lamar Thomas, fire him for being a poor announcer -- if he is one?

As avid N.H.L. fans, we feel there is a code of conduct in sports: When an opponent brutally and visciously attacks a teams smallest and most vulnerable players on the ice or field (i.e. walk-on kick-holder's and long snapper's), the bigger players from that team have to stick up for them. No way around it!

Now we realize things got way out of hand with the kicking and crutch and helmet swinging, but those players have been suspended and dealt with. Hopefully some of the biggest fools in the brawl will be suspended for a long while.

In reality, Lamar Thomas' main flaw Saturday night was he did not have the ability to explain Miami had to retaliate against F.I.U.'s transgression's in a politically correct and articulate enough way.

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Defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who lost his starting job with the Rams after skipping two days of practice and meetings this season, was traded Monday to the Buffalo Bills for a fifth-round draft choice.

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For seven weeks, there was no question that prized University of Washington recruit Jake Locker would redshirt. But one bad step by Isaiah Stanback on Saturday night might have changed Washington's entire plan for Locker.

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Linebacker Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma's leading tackler, was arrested early Sunday on two misdemeanor charges.

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He can run it, and he can throw it. From the looks of it, he is on his way to embarrassing a lot of N.F.L. scouts. Perhaps you already knew that about Bruce Gradkowski.

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Check out Mel Kiper's recently updated Top 25 Big Board.

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One N.F.L. scout thinks injuries will drop Oklahoma tailback Adrian Peterson's draft stock.

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After reviewing a sideline-clearing brawl between players from Miami and Florida international, officials from both schools and their conferences on Sunday announced the suspension of 31 players.

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last updated:10/15/06
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Wyoming junior wide receiver Michael Ford does something few have done this season -- play well against Utah's top cover corner.

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USC's secondary is ailing after sophomore cornerback Kevin Thomas broke his left foot and will require surgery.

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Ohio based paper talks to N.F.L. scouts and below is a sampling of what the scouts said:

1) Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith is a likely 2nd round pick, at this point.

2) Michigan has much more talent than Ohio State.

3) Michigan has 4 first round picks, including junior Chad Henne, who may be the best quarterback in the draft.

4) Ohio State junior Ted Ginn is more highly regarded by N.F.L. scouts, at this point, than fellow Buckeyes wide out Anthony Gonzalez.

DD.com comments: First of all, there is still a long way to go in the evaluation process, so much can change.....Also, in the last five National Football League Draft's, a total of 27 quarterbacks were drafted in the top 3 rounds and only one (Rex Grossman) is listed as being shorter than 6' 2", so Troy Smith's height could pose a problem....Chad Henne is a junior, therefore he would have to declare for the draft. We "assume" the other 3 first round picks on the Michigan roster the anonymous scout alluded to are cornerback Leon Hall, offensive tackle Jake Long and defensive end Lamarr Woodley....It must be pointed out, in fairness, Ohio State wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez is also very fast -- some say he runs a sub 4.4 in the 40 yard dash.

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Florida A&M offensive lineman Dan Parrish is attracting the attention of the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Gifted Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards has seen most of his offensive weapons go down with injuries this season -- now he goes down with a leg injury.

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Chaos (a major brawl) erupted with nine minutes to go in the third quarter of the inaugural University of Miami - Florida International game.

DD.com comment: By the way, it was very "macho" of Florida International's powerful starting safety Chris Smith , a fringe National Football League Draft prospect, to pick on the Miami Hurricanes' walk-on kick-holder and long snapper, which caused the whole mess, it seemed.....While we don't condone the head kicking and helmet and crutch swinging, the Canes' bigger (scholarship) players simply had to come to the defense of the teams' smallest players on the field, we think.

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College blogger slumped a little yesterday, going 4-2 with his predictions -- he went 5-1 and 6-0 the last 2 weeks. His record against the spread is 25-9 for the season....Now, check out our N.F.L. picks for today.

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last updated:10/14/06
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The hits just keep on coming for Michigan State Spartans quarterback Drew Stanton.

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Breaking News: Oklahoma star tailback and Heisman Trophy candidate Adrian Peterson may be out for the season after suffering a broken collarbone today.

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Check out all today's college scores and box scores at Yahoo! Sports.

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A closer look at Tulane quarterback Lester Ricard.

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A pair of tall and talented receivers square off when the Iowa Hawkeyes take on the Indiana Hoosiers.

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TFY's Tony Pauline does a nice job Scouting Saturday for talent: Can the son of N.F.L. Hall of Farmer Howie Long really be a first round pick? .... Will hard working Penn State running back Tony Hunt move into the top three rounds?

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Texas starting right guard Cedric Dockery, an impact sophomore, will miss the remainder of the season after an MRI test revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

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We think we provide the best, unbiased and updated draft news info 12 months a year on the Net. We offer this daily for free, while similar sites charge a significant amount of money for a subscription fee. Therefore, we ask our loyal readers to please support our subscription free web site by spreading the word that we are here and by checking out the products of those that support our site....This helps keep DD.com's content free for all, because it's certainly not a given we can keep up this pace indefinitely.

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Anyone who follows college football closely is aware of the problems the Temple University football program has faced this season -- The Owls, once a member of the Big East Conference, are off to a dreadful 0-7 start and have been outscored by a total of 308-43 in those games.....Temple's overall talent level isn't as good as it can be in the junior and senior classes (maybe a few undrafted free agent types), but there is some hope in the sophomore class, which features at least 3 players that could attract the attention of N.F.L. scouts, if they can improve their games as they go along:

WR Travis Shelton -- Shelton, a redshirt sophomore who hails from the Fort Lauderdale area, is the Owls primary return specialist. As a former member of the Owls track team (100m), Shelton possesses a rare commodity at Temple -- big time speed. Returned 5 kicks for 205 yards and added 30 more yards on a rushing attempt against Clemson Thursday night.

OC Alex Derenthal -- Rugged 6' 4", 280 pound pivotman from the state of Florida, was an honorable mention Freshman All-American in 2005. Who knows how he'll project as an N.F.L. prospect down the line, but he's certainly a solid Division I-A caliber starting center.

DT Terrance Knighton -- This bullish, 6' 4", 300-plus pound sophomore defensive tackle is definitely a bright light in a otherwise dismal defense. The Windsor, Connecticut native has recorded 34 tackles (20 solo), 6.5 TFL's and 3 sacks this season. Was in All-State caliber tight end as a prep star, so you have figure he has pretty good athletic skills for a big fellow. Knighton is a player N.F.L. teams will eventually have to look at.

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Nate S. sighting at Temple?

FB Nate Schiccatano -- At a different time, not too long ago, just about every major college football program in America chased this former prep star with the speed of a halfback (4.45) and the power of a bullish fullback or hammerhead linebacker. Feeling was, he would bulk up a bit and turn into a solid college starter, who would eventually be a potential N.F.L. prospect. He chose Notre Dame over the likes of Florida, Iowa and Penn State. But for whatever reason, he was never an impact player and bounced around the bottom of Notre Dame's depth chart, moving from position to position, for 3 seasons.

Thanks to a new rule in college football, he transferred to Temple without sitting out, hoping to re-jump start his career and impress N.F.L. scouts. But, at this point, he has only recorded 1 reception for 8 yards this season. The news isn't all bad, as Schiccatano is an excellent student (already has a degree from Notre Dame) and his background as a fullback/linebacker may help him if he wants to try his hand at Arena Football, before he goes into coaching.

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last updated:10/13/06
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SI.com: Ten N.F.L. players who should be traded.

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AOL.com Sports: The Washington Redskins should save a draft pick for Oregon defensive end Dexter Manley.

DD.com comment: Manley II is only a junior. He's a JUCO transfer, who is "reported" to possess outstanding speed (4.50?) at 6' 4" and 260 pounds....Dexter II, who had 1 tackle going into last weeks Arizona State game, is a player to watch. But it must be noted that the Sun Devils' offensive line that yielded 6 sacks to Oregon (3 to Manley) has been ravaged by injuries recently, so Manley will face better competition going forward.

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Check out SI.com's mid-season All-American Team and SI.com's Cheerleader of the Week.

DD.com comment: This is actually a test for our readers. Which link will they click first -- the mid-season All-American list or the photo shoots of the 4 major conference cheerleaders?

DD.com football comment: The Iowa State linebacker on SI's second team defense answers to the name Alvin Bowen....That's a typo on SI's part

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Arizona Notebook: Will high-impact Arizona Wildcats cornerback Antoine Cason leave early for the N.F.L. Draft?

DD.comment: Per our long standing policy, we don't rank juniors with the seniors until they declare for the draft, but we have Cason and Pitt's Darrell Revis rated as the top two cornerbacks in the junior class. Keep an eye on vastly underrated Arkansas cornerback Chris Houston, however. N.F.L. scouts might really fall for him down the line.

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Check out our list of Top Junior Prospects. We feel really strong about this list, but we must note we haven't extensively revised it since the season started -- we will do that soon.

DD.comment: There is a feeling in the mainstream media that Internet draft sites merely steal info from the likes of Mel Kiper and others and just "recycle it". We can't speak for other sites, but our recent extensive look at the top sophomores in college football and our long junior watchlist -- which we first started last February -- should be an indication we do our own research here (for better or worse) and don't care much how others rank players. As far as we know, with all due respect, Mel hasn't compiled a list of 500 to 600 juniors and sophomores for us to copy from.

Matter of fact, folks could hardly accuse us of stealing other sites info in July of 2005, when we ranked then little known Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler as a solid first round pick. At that time, most sites didn't even have Cutler as draftable and even had players that weren't drafted as quarterbacks as potential high first round picks at the position -- i.e. current Bengals wide receiver Reggie McNeal.

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In depth look at gifted giant Sam Baker, who is the anchor of USC's offensive line and possibly the best offensive lineman in the nation.

DD.comment: Good, well-written article, which points out the perils young offensive lineman face when they enter the draft early. For the record, Baker has stated he wants to stay in school until his eligibility expires.

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As we mentioned in the blog last month, Syracuse quarterback Perry Patterson is attracting attention from N.F.L. scouts.

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Notre Dame defensive end Ronald Talley has decided to leave the football team after starting four games this season.

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After going 5-0 in week 4 and 6-0 last week, our own College Blogger improved his season record against the spread to 21-7!....Check out his 6 college picks, as well as all our N.F.L. picks for this weekend.

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One of the more talent laden small schools in the nation is Hampton University. Hampton, a Division 1-AA school that competes in the M.E.A.C., is off to a great start at 6-0 and it's possible they will be 12-0 going into the Division I-AA playoffs.

A quick glance at some of the Pirates better prospects:

CB Travarous Bain -- Played football and ran track at Miami (Florida), before transferring to Hampton. Has decent size at 6', 180 pounds and runs extremely well (4.4). If Bain continues having a big senior season and follows it up with a strong Combine showing, he's got a chance to be a Day 1 selection.

CB Calvin Bannister -- Impressive defensive back, who is strong in coverage and can hit hard. Like Bain, Bannister has a track background and 4.4 speed, which should attract the attention of scouts. Has already been noted as a small school player to watch by respected NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt. Is listed at only 5' 8", so size might be an issue with Bannister on draft day.

LB Justin Durant -- This 6' 1", 235 pound tough-as-nails inside linebacker, with reported 4.56 40 speed, registered a team-high 124 tackles last season (15 TFL's) for Hampton. Has been named M.E.A.C. Defensive Player of the Year twice and could win the honor again this season (M.E.A.C. Hat-Trick?). Is considered one of the top small school linebacker prospects, and is heavily on the N.F.L's draft radar.

RB Alonzo Coleman -- 5' 11', 205 running back is aiming for his 4th consecutive 1,000 yard season for the Pirates. Coleman has solid size and speed. Decent prospect, who can help his stock with a strong post-season showing.

WR Marquay McDaniel -- 6', 200 pound receiver, who can help out on special teams returning kicks. Will get a shot in the N.F.L. in some form -- draft pick or free agent.

QB Princeton Shepperd -- 6' 5", 200 pound quarterback, with a fairly strong and accurate arm, who's having a big season for the Pirates. If he continues to improve, expect Shepperd to get a shot in the N.F.L. -- Day 2 pick or free agent?

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last updated:10/12/06
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Wisconsin-Whitewater wide receiver Derek Stanley grabbing N.F.L. attention.

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Michigan left tackle Jake Long, an All-American caliber redshirt junior, says he probably won't enter N.F.L. Draft early.

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DD.com Site Note: Check out our recently updated and expanded list of top small school prospects.

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A suddenly healthy Troy Vincent, tired of being on the Bills injured reserve list, ask's Buffalo to release him. After his release is official, he will be eligible to play for any N.F.L. team this season, except the Buffalo Bills.

DD.comment: This story is a good one, because it explains how healthy N.F.L. players placed on the injured reserve list can take control of their own destiny (and careers) and avoid needlessly sitting out for an entire season.

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Good friends and similarly gifted athletes Drew Stanton and Troy Smith ready to battle it out this out weekend in Lansing, Michigan.

Marla Ridenour does a great job with Stanton and Smith in the article above, but the best part of that article, by far, is the news that former Buckeyes punter/wide receiver Tyson Gentry moved his toes Tuesday night. Let's hope that's just the start for young Tyson, who's goal is to walk again.

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What if Utah's All-American cornerback Eric Weddle hadn't turned his back on the University of Wyoming's scholarship offer and played with standout safety John Wendling in the Cowboys secondary?

DD.comment: If Weddle and Wendling did play together, the Cowboys would have an elite secondary and we would have probably already invested in a satellite dish to catch all their games (only partly joking)....Check out our pre-season M.W.C. preview for our opinions on the dynamic pair of Mountain West defensive backs.

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Penn State's talented sophomore safety Anthony Scirrotto has no regrets giving up baseball to play college football.

DD.com Comment: Most times we'd suggest an athlete take the money and play baseball, but Scirrotto looks like an impressive prospect (very smooth and quick to the ball), who should be a very good N.F.L. prospect, as long as he tests well (speed) and continues to improve. With Scirrotto at safety and fellow soph's Tony Davis and Justin King at the corners, it's simply scary to think how good P.S.U's secondary can be in the future.

Related Article: DD.com's October of 2005 feature on former football stars in Major League Baseball.

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Look at University of Oregon basketball player Jordan Kent, who is now a wide receiver on the Ducks football team.

Related Article: Kent made a wise choice switching from basketball (where he was a limited N.B.A. prospect) to football. Excellent size/speed ratio means N.F.L. teams will be keeping a very close eye on him....Also, it appears Kent's sudden rise on the Ducks depth chart has really affected the N.F.L. chances of fellow wide out James Finley, who came into this season with extremely high hopes of becoming a go to player for the Ducks.

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Washington State coaches and pro scouts think senior cornerback Tyron Brackenridge may project as a safety in the N.F.L., if he adds some weight to narrow frame.

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Former Ole Miss running back Jamal Pittman, now at Jackson State (1-AA) hopes a move to fullback will attract N.F.L. scouts.

Related Article: Jackson State's backfield, which includes sophomore Eric Haw -- a highly regarded Ohio State transfer, brimming with talent.

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Fairly recent article about very inexperienced, but physically gifted Northern Colorado junior quarterback Dominic Breazeale.

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Yahoo! Sports looks at several rising N.F.L. prospects, including a several we've featured in our blog recently -- i.e. Cal-Berkley linebacker Mickey Pimentel and Central Connecticut running back Justise Hairston.

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Yahoo! Sports: Let's go to the N.F.L.'s injury report and find out who's in, who's out and who might be getting signed or even suspended.

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The Miami Hurricanes have lost wide receiver Darnell Jenkins to season-ending knee surgery.

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The following is a list of top sophomore cornerback prospects, extremely loosely ranked....It's still very early and things can change significantly-- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Malcolm Jenkins ~ Ohio State

Aqib Talib ~ Kansas

Reggie Smith ~ Oklahoma (S)

Mike Mickens ~ Cincinnati

Justin King ~ Penn State

Joe Burnett ~ Central Florida

Keenan Lewis ~ Oregon State

Allen Langford ~ Wisconsin

Tony Davis ~ Penn State

Brandon Flowers ~ Virginia Tech

Avery Atkins ~ Bethune-Cookman

Victor Harris ~ Virginia Tech

Rod Council ~ Louisville

Otis Wiley ~ Michigan State (S)

Kevin Thomas ~ Southern California

Michael Ray Garvin ~ Florida State

Darius Butler ~ Connecticut

Randy Phillips ~ Miami (Florida)

Orlando Scandrick ~ Boise State

Londen Fryar ~ Western Michigan

JaCorey Shepherd ~ Rice

Derek Pegues ~ Mississippi State

Domonique Johnson ~ Missouri

Dominic Spinks ~ Murray State

Darcel McBath ~ Texas Tech

Brice McCain ~ Utah

Charles Stewart ~ Michigan

Tony Carter ~ Florida State

Dominique Williams ~ Arkansas State

Tyson Maugle ~ Pennsylvania

Brandon Jackson ~ Georgia Southern

Roy Roberts ~ Tulsa

Chris Singleton ~ Iowa State

DD.com comment: This wraps up our look at the top sophomore prospects, by position. Check our blog archives from the last 3 weeks (or so) for all our position rankings, but we must note things have changed since we first started at some position (i.e quarterback). We hope to update all the positions and place them on one big list soon.

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Talented, but underrated Duke defensive lineman Eli Nichols could be out for several weeks due to a knee injury.

DD.comment: Duke senior defensive end Eli Nichols, who showed us glimpses of talent in 2004 and 2005, is an athletic 6' 4", 260 pound edge rusher, with decent speed (4.8?) and a 34.5" vertical. He is the strongest member of Duke's team with a 475 bench and 30 reps at 225 pounds.

Nichols led a struggling Duke team (1-10 in 2005) in sacks and averaged 47 tackles the last two seasons, despite facing a steady dose of double and triple teams. He also showed versatility playing some nose guard and defensive tackle in 2005 because of Duke's depth problems on the defensive line. Eli, who might project as a Day 2 selection if he's healthy, is also an Academic All-American, who earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering last May and intends to earn a Masters degree by next May.

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last updated:10/11/06
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Northern Arizona Lumberjack's quarterback Jason Murrietta Added to Payton Watch List.

DD.comment: The link above has full list of 16 "Payton Watch" Candidates.

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Small-town quarterback Kevin Kolb doing big things at the University of Houston.

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Look at some former N.F.L. players, likely run out of the league too early due to salary cap reasons (younger players make much cheaper backups), who desperately want one more shot at playing in the N.F.L.

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DD.com Site Note: We'd like to ask our readers that E-Mail or contact us to leave a return address. We try to personally respond to all readers with legitimate questions, but we need a way to get back to them via the Net....Thanks ahead of time

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Powerful Miami (Florida) senior Bryan Pata has seen his N.F.L. Draft stock soar since moving to defensive tackle.

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More info on San Jose State's suddenly very popular junior cornerback Dwight Lowery.

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Efficient quarterback Tyler Palko drives the Pitt Panthers offense.

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A look Kansas State nose tackle Quintin Echols, who was recently elevated to the first team for the Wildcats.

DD.comment: Echols is a good player who impressed us a bit last season. He may lack ideal height at only 6' tall, but he's a true plugger inside and there aren't many that fit that description in this senior crop. We think Echols projects similar to former Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Adams.

Scouts Eye on the Trenches: Ole Miss sophomore offensive tackle Michael Oher recently turned in a performance on national television against ranked Georgia and their N.F.L.-caliber defensive ends #94 Quentin Moses and #99 Charles Johnson.

First, the positives: This player shows amazing explosiveness on running plays and can create huge holes at the point of attack. Mississippi runs a power/speed offensive line, meaning that Oher routinely switches from right to left tackle depending upon the strong side of the field. This will help his versatility. Oher held his own in pass protection against some amazing players.

The negatives: As one would expect from a player who did not play organized ball until 11th grade, Oher is extremely raw. He lacks awareness in key situations, and needs to be more aggressive not just at the point of attack but once the play breaks down and he is space. His handplay needs work and on some down his pace is a half step slow than the rest of the team. What does this add up to? In terms of pure physical potential we are talking about a possible franchise player - however mentally this player has alot of maturing to do and it might take longer than the allotted 4 years. Whatever team drafts this player when the time comes will be getting a workout warrior and an immense specimen. However, he will have to be coached up to the speed of the N.F.L. game, and that is what will determine whether he ultimately lives up to the hype.

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To redshirt or not to redshirt?....Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden hopes to convince linebacker Tramaine Billie to delay injury return.

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last updated:10/10/06
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In-depth look at Georgia Tech's outstanding sophomore left tackle Andrew Gardner.

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Kentucky Wildcats tailback Rafael Little likely will miss a month of action due to a knee injury.

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Sophomore quarterback Ben Olson and the U.C.L.A. Bruins got relatively good news from an MRI Monday -- Olsen doesn't need knee surgery, but he'll miss 4 to 6 weeks with an MCL tear.

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Tony Pauline looks at the drafts' Risers and Sliders...Washington Huskies quarterback Isaiah Stanback is among the "risers".

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Former Northern State quarterback Toby Korrodi is now playing football for Central Missouri State and has received interest from professional scouts.

Here is a quick scouting report on C.M.S. quarterback Toby Korrodi and 12 more Pro Hopefuls at D2Football.com.

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Closer look at vastly improved North Carolina State defensive tackle Tank Tyler.

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The following is a list of top sophomore safety prospects, extremely loosely ranked....It's still very early and things can change significantly-- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Kenny Phillips ~ Miami (Florida)

Reshard Langford ~ Vanderbilt

Courtney Greene ~ Rutgers

Demetrice Morley ~ Tennessee (CB)

Anthony Scirrotto ~ Penn State

Patrick Chung ~ Oregon

Devin Gregg ~ Texas A & M

Brandon Sumrall ~ Southern Miss

Kevin Ellison ~ Southern California

Nic Harris ~ Oklahoma

Danny Verpaele ~ Southern Florida

Jamarca Sanford ~ Ole Miss

Anthony Reddick ~ Miami (Florida)

Dominic Jones ~ Minnesota

Brendan Smith ~ Northwestern

Jason Venson ~ Central Florida

Mike Pagnotta ~ Colorado State

Louis Delmas ~ Western Michigan

Lovon Ponder ~ Miami (Florida)

Jamario O'Neal ~ Ohio State (CB)

Chris Clemons ~ Clemson

DeAndre Wright ~ New Mexico

Sha'reff Rashad ~ Central Florida

Dwain Crawford ~ Baylor

Marcus McClinton ~ Kentucky

Tom Nelson ~ Illinois State

Matt Hewitt ~ Arkansas

Brandon Patterson ~ Memphis

Blake Ligon ~ New Mexico

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DD.com comment: We realize that some defensive backs can play cornerback or safety. We will post our list of top sophomore cornerbacks soon.

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last updated:10/09/06
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Look at a pair of talented University of Minnesota receivers -- wide receiver Logan Payne and tight end Matt Spaeth.

DD.com comment: We'd like to ask our readers that E-Mail or contact us to leave a return address. We try to personally respond to all readers (particularly long time supporters like our friend Ace) with legitimate questions, but we need a way to get back to them via the Net....Thanks ahead of time

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TFY's Weekend in Review: Looks at about a dozen top prospects, including South Carolina wide receiver Sidney Rice and Southern Cal weak-side linebacker Keith Rivers.

Central Connecticut State (DI-AA) running back Justise Hairston, who ran for 332 yards last weekend and has rushed for 991 yards and 12 touchdowns in 6 games this season, is a transfer from Rutgers....N.F.L. execs have noticed Hairston.

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Georgia Bulldogs defensive end Quentin Moses' production can not be measure by sacks alone.

DD.com comment: Moses will get his share of sacks as the season goes forward, although it's unlikely he matches his 2005 output (11.5 sacks). We think very highly him of as a defender, but we'd like to point out he'd probably be better suited as an edge-rushing outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme at the next level, unless he adds a lot of weight to his reported 249 pound frame.

Word is Moses, who is 6' 4" and also considered playing basketball at UGA, runs a very respectable 4.75 40. That number is unofficial. We would not be surprised if he runs a better time than that at Georgia's Pro Day. Will sort of remind you of former North Carolina State star/current San Francisco 49er Manny Lawson.

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It looks like University of New Hampshire officials soon may be forced to erect an auxiliary press box to accommodate all the N.F.L. scouts and media that want to see superstar wide receiver David Ball.

DD.comment: Soon you will read "enlightened" draft guru's -- that charge people to read their stories -- write that Ball "lacks athletic ability, but works hard and has great hands".

Well, having watched Ball play quite a bit, the part about his hands is correct. We'd also assume he works hard, considering he went from a walk-on to an N.F.L. prospect. But as the link above notes, Ball is a tremendous athlete -- great leaper and has incredible stamina. So let's make no mistake about this, this kid is a legit N.F.L. caliber athlete.

The one issue going forward, however, is his foot speed in the 40 yard dash. Even Ball has acknowledged he's not sure how fast he'll run, but will do everything he can to train for that all important 4-point-something second sprint that scouts are infatuated with.

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Media Alert: Listen to future N.F.L. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, who was probably the hardest working N.F.L. player ever -- in terms of off-season training and game effort -- interview and praise David Ball for breaking his old touchdown Division I record and having a strong work ethic.

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A pair of Pac-10 seniors that should be catching the attention of scouts with their play this season:

While we've spent a lot of time praising Cal inside linebacker Desmond Bishop, fellow Bears' linebacker Mickey Pimentel, a former JUCO star, has had a strong season: 21 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 1 interception. Don't let his single digit uniform number fool you, he's got decent size for a linebacker (6' 2", 238) and possesses 4.6 speed. Overall, Cal's linebackers are outstanding -- starters and young backups.

You Tube Video: Mickey Pimentel shows off his speed.

With starting right tackle/top N.F.L. prospect Andrew Carnahan out for the season with an ACL tear, Arizona State has moved valuable, experienced right guard Stephen Berg outside to replace him. The 6' 5", 315 pound Berg, who has missed some time this season due to a concussion and has also been hobbled by a nagging ankle injury, is a very powerful run blocker and improving pass protector....While he's a natural fit at guard, he can certainly enhance his chances of making it at the next level if can show good footwork and athletic ability at tackle for the balance of this season.

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last updated:10/07/06
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Ever since Wayne Chrebet made the New York Jets as a rookie free agent in 1995 and eventually became a impact starter, Hofstra wide receivers have sort of been in vogue in the N.F.L. The list of former Flying Dutchmen/Pride receiver's that have made it in the N.F.L. includes current New Orleans' rookie sensation Marques Colston, Detroit Lions rookie Devale Ellis and former Denver Broncos wide out Charlie Adams.

So who will be the next wide receiver with pro potential to come out of this relatively small private Division 1-AA school in Long Island, New York?

We can't answer that with certainty, but after catching the Pride the last two weeks, we can tell you 6' 3", 180 senior Shaine Smith is looking real good and he is off to a great start -- 35 receptions for 613 yards and 5 TD's after just 5 games this season. If he continues playing like he has, there is no doubt he'll get a look from the in N.F.L. in some form -- draft pick or free agent.

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Speaking of the Pride, impact linebacker Gian Vallante is back from a serious knee injury that knocked him out of action for the entire 2005 season. Vallante, a red shirt junior, is back to being 100% and looking real quick and sharp this season -- 33 tackles (3 TFL's) and 1 sack in 5 games.

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SP Times article looks at Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowki and tries to come up theories to explain why so many mid-major conference quarterbacks have made an impact in the N.F.L.

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While the Washington State @ Oregon State game was not as high scoring as we expected, the Cougars won the game and covered. That means our friend college blogger went 6-0 against the spread this week with his college picks, following a 5-1 record last week.

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Absolutely no surprise here: Talented Florida Gators junior safety Reggie Nelson thinking about entering the N.F.L. Draft after this season?

DD.comment: We generally don't like commenting on juniors before they declare for the draft, but we've had Reggie Nelson rated among the top safeties in his class since October of 2005. Nelson was a highly anticipated JC transfer, who has done nothing but impress since he took the field in Gainesville last fall.

Nelson has the speed to play cornerback and the hitting and tackling ability to excel at safety. We'd guess N.F.L. teams would strongly consider drafting the hard-hitting Nelson fairly high (Day 1). But that's just a guess on our part. Nelson needs to lean on his coaches at Florida and consult the N.F.L. before he makes any move, because jumping to the N.F.L. after just 2 seasons of major college football could be risky.

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Congratulations to New Hampshire wide receiver David Ball -- a very athletic leaper with great hands -- who hauled in his 51st touchdown reception Saturday to break the Division I career record held by Jerry Rice.

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last updated: 10/07/06
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Closer look at Utah's steady middle linebacker Joe Jiannoni.

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Junior wide receiver Derek Kinder steps up his game for the Pittsburgh Panthers.

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Quick look at Maryland offensive tackle Stephon Heyer, who sat out the 2005 season due to torn ACL in his left knee.

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Junior Josh Johnson has developed into a record-setting quarterback for the University of San Diego Toreros and a potential future NFL prospect.

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Safety Zach Catanese and defensive tackle Jordan Hill, both Arizona State seniors, have been invited to play in the Las Vegas All-American Classic at the end of the season.

In June, Arizona State senior tackle Andrew Carnahan was invited to play in the 82nd East-West Shrine Game in Houston. However, it's unlikley he'll be to play due to a recent season ending injury.

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The following is a list of top sophomore kick and punt return specialist prospects, extremely loosely ranked....It's still very early and things can change significantly-- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Marcus Thigpen ~ Indiana (RB)

Jessie Henderson ~ Southern Methodist (RB)

Jeremiah Johnson ~ Oregon RB

Kenny McKinley ~ South Carolina

Dominick Goodman ~ Cincinnati (WR)

Tristan Davis ~ Auburn (DB)

Richard Davis ~ Toledo (RB)

David Grimes ~ Notre Dame (WR)

Chris Williams, New Mexico State (WR)

Andrew Smith ~ Georgia Tech (WR)

Brandon Tate ~ North Carolina (WR)

Patrick Jackson ~ Louisiana Tech (RB)

Cedric Peerman ~ Virginia (RB)

Danny Oquendo ~ Maryland WR

Steven Santoro ~ Yale (RB)

William Ford ~ South Carolina State (RB)

E.J. Daniel ~ Tennessee-Martin (WR)

DD.comment: It's very important for us to note here that we have ranked several of the top sophomore return specialist at other positions -- running back, wide receiver and defensive back....The main player to take note of in this group is Indiana's Marcus Thigpen, who has a great shot at being named a first team All-American as a return specialist.

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DD.com Mailbag, from our friend Shaun D. in Syracuse:

I was at the Wyoming @ Syracuse game last Saturday and needless to say Wyoming safety John Wendling is a specimen. He looked like a man among boys out there. Sideline to sideline player and a difference-maker. I also met him after the game and Iet me say, he's huge. He could easily be a linebacker or a tad undersized defensive end at that size. The fact that he ran a 4.38 last winter at 225 pounds is even more amazing to me now that I've been around him. Wendling probably won't get much respect coming out of Wyoming, but my humble opinion is he has star written all over him.

DD.comment: As always, we thank you. Wendling made respected NFL.com draft analyst Gil Brandt's list of top 150 propsects prior to the season, so he's getting some respect. But we agree, Shaun, Wendling will probably fly below the radar a bit.

We think, considering he's a defensive back with reported sub-4.4 speed and great athletic ability, the only position he should possibly consider switching to is cornerback. But, before our friends in the mainstream media decide to have us locked up for suggesting it, we certainly don't expect that to happen. Realistically, Wendling playing strong safety would probably be his best option at the next level, with outside linebacker being a possibility.

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last updated:10/06/06
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TFY's Tony Pauline: Scouting Saturday for N.F.L. Draft talent.

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The Washington Times looks at the remarkable turnaround of Navy's football program.

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Baseball/football Trivia: Do you know which future NFL Hall of Famer threw the first pitch in history of the Florida Marlins "organization" on June 15th, 1992?

Answer can be found at the very bottom of the page in our October of 2005 baseball post-season feature....We have not updated that page since 2005, but most of the info is still relavent.

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Notre Dame cornerback Mike Richardson, considered a top junior prospect, growing into his defensive role.

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Look at athletic Arkansas State defensive end/N.F.L. prospect Jonathan Najm, who is said to possess 4.5 speed.

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NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock looks at some of the top prospects playing this weekend, including Texas DB Michael Griffin, who Mayock says "is a first-round pick for sure".

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San Jose State cornerback Dwight Lowery is only four games into his NCAA football career, and there's already speculation about him entering the N.F.L. draft early.

DD.com comment: A Link to Lowrey's bio can be found in our Sunday (10/1) blog notes (check the archives).

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The following is a list of top sophomore insider linebacker prospects, extremely loosely ranked....It's still very early and things can change significantly-- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Rey Maualuga ~ Southern Cal

Rashad Bobino ~ Texas

Erin Henderson ~ Maryland

Braxton Kelley ~ Kentucky

Josh Johnson ~ Marshall

Mike Rivera ~ Kansas

Antonio Appleby ~ Virginia

Tyrone McKenzie ~ Iowa State

Antonio Clay ~ Clemson

Jeff Horinek ~ Colorado State

Zach Follett ~ California

Daniel Holtzclaw ~ Eastern Michigan

Jason Phillips ~ Texas Christian

Tim McCarthy ~ Northern Illinois

Merrill Johnson ~ Auburn (size)

Derek Nicholson ~ Florida State (injury)

Curtis Lofton ~ Oklahoma

Chase Rice ~ North Carolina

Kris Guyton ~ Alabama Birmingham

Reed Williams ~ West Virginia

DD.com comment: We realize the linebacker position is fairly fluid. Some of these players can play inside or outside linebacker any given weekend....Also, Florida State linebacker Derek Nicholson suffered a season-ending injury last night at North Carolina.

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Please support our subscription free web site by checking out those that support our site....This helps keep DD.com's content free for all.

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last updated:10/04/06
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Suspended defensive tackle Marcus Thomas has been reinstated and will play Saturday when No. 5 Florida hosts ninth-ranked L.S.U.

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Louisiana State junior defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey has the look a future star.

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Smallish Syracuse junior defensive end Jameel McClain leads Orange sack attack.

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Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden not holding his breath on ever getting Major League batting champ Joe Mauer to play quarterback for him.

DD.com comment: Coach Bowden, Joe Mauer might be M.L.B.'s brightest young star, so you'll never see him pull a "Weinke"....But maybe you can grab this former F.S.U. football recruit, who's struggling to make the Majors.

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DD.com is proud to present our Major League Baseball All-Rookie Team.

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Big hit for all involved that day: Monster hit in the 2005 Penn State/Minnesota game defined the Nittany Lions' season, but also ended the promising career of Gophers safety Brandon Owens.

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Quick look at West Virginia starting weakside linebacker Kevin McLee.

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Knee surgery may adversely affect the draft stock of Arizona State offensive tackle Andrew Carnahan.

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The following is a list of top sophomore outside linebacker prospects, extremely loosely ranked....It's still very early and things can change significantly-- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

James Laurinaitis ~ Ohio State

Brian Cushing ~ Southern California

Clint Stintim (DE) ~ Virginia

Geno Hayes ~ Florida State

Darry Beckwith ~ Louisiana State

Sean Lee ~ Penn State

Marcus Freeman ~ Ohio State

Jerod Mayo ~ Tennessee

Brad Jones ~ Colorado

John Hale ~ U.C.L.A.

Worrell Williams ~ California

Brock Christopher ~ Missouri

DeAndre Levy ~ Wisconsin

Clinton Snyder ~ Stanford

Jamar Chaney ~ Miss. State

Quin Harris ~ Louisiana Tech

Brit Miller ~ Illinois

Kevin Grant ~ Akron

Robert Francois ~ Boston College

Adam Carper ~ Iowa State

Spencer Adkins ~ Miami (Florida)

Trey Covington ~ Maryland

Ryan Reynolds ~ Oklahoma

Drew Quinn ~ Columbia

Mario E. Brown ~ Gardner-Webb

Freddie Fairchild ~ Arkansas (injury)

Cody Lubojasky ~ Houston

Lee Robinson ~ Alcorn State

DD.com comment: We realize the linebacker position is fairly fluid. Some of these players can play inside or outside linebacker any given weekend.

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last updated:10/04/06
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Yahoo! Sports looks at several potential N.F.L. Draft prospects, including Florida Gators wide receiver Dallas Baker and often injured Arizona State defensive end Loren Howard.

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Check out Mel Kiper's most recently updated Top 25 Big Board.

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ProFootballWeekly.com College Notes: Pass rushers Ryan McBean and Antwan Barnes opening NFL scouts' eyes.

DD.com comment: We looked at both players in our preseason previews back in early June -- McBean, Big 12 and Barnes, SunBelt.

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Rivals.com Week 6 Breakdown: Big East

Rivals.com Week 6 Breakdown: Big 12

Rivals.com Week 6 Breakdown: Pac-10

Rivals.com Week 6 Breakdown: S.E.C.

Rivals.com Week 6 Breakdown: A.C.C.

Rivals.com Week 6 Breakdown: Big 10

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Pitt Football Notebook: Broken leg ends season for senior guard John Simonitis.

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Senior Paul Thompson has settled in as Oklahoma's starting quarterback after the dismissal of Rhett Bomar.

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Salem-News.com is reporting Western Oregon senior tight end Kevin Boss has 21 catches for 287 yards this season and is attracting the attention of N.F.L. scouts due to his reported sub - 4.6 speed at 256 pounds.

DD.com comment: Here is a quick scouting report on Western Oregon tight end Kevin Boss and 12 more Pro Hopefuls at D2Football.com.

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Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm closer to throwing; hopes to do so next week and return for the Cincinnati game.

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The following is a list of top sophomore defensive tackle prospects, extremely loosely ranked....It's still very early and things can change significantly-- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Jeff Owens ~ Georgia

Myron Pryor ~ Kentucky

Matt Kroul ~ Iowa (DE)

Marlon Favorite ~ Louisiana State

Brandon Nicolas ~ Colorado

Terrance Taylor ~ Michigan

Cole Linehan ~ Oregon (injury)

Jock McKissic ~ Clemson

Darryl Richard ~ Georgia Tech

Dorrell Scott ~ Clemson

Ziggy Hood ~ Missouri

Adrian Grady ~ Louisville

Pat Sims ~ Auburn

Jason Chapman ~ Wisconsin

Gus Mustakas ~ Pittsburgh (DE)

Greg Brown ~ Indiana

Chase Moline ~ U.C.L.A.

Ty Steinkuhler ~ Nebraska

Ndamukong Suh ~ Nebraska

Jervonte Jackson ~ Florida Atlantic

Alex Magee ~ Purdue

Antwain Robinson ~ Arkansas (size)

Trevor Jenkins ~ Middle Tennessee State

Jonas Murrell ~ Florida International

Ramel Meekins ~ Rutgers

Roy Miller ~ Texas

Demonte Bolden ~ Tennessee

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last updated:10/03/06
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Clemson's top wide receiver Chansi Stuckey broke his foot in practice and could be sidelined up to five weeks.

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TFY's Tony Pauline looks at the draft's risers and sliders....Risers include Ohio State center Doug Datish.

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Although Cal-Berkley's Daymeion Hughes has been regarded as one of college football's best cornerbacks for two seasons now, he didn't believe he deserved the hype - until this fall.

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The Oregon Ducks lose promising sophomore defensive tackle Cole Linehan to possible season ending foot injury.

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Oklahoma State offensive lineman Corey Hilliard a pillar of strength on and off the field.

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Cal's sophomore quarterback Nate Longshore continues to dominate opponents.

DD.com comment: We are really starting to think Nate Longshore, who missed almost the entire 2005 season due to an injury, is the best quarterback prospect in the sophomore class. Watch him play some time, he looks a bit like a young a Carson Palmer.

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Is Garrett Wolfe really the best running back in the nation?

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Will Oklahoma junior tailback Adrian Peterson enter the N.F.L. Draft early?

DD.com comment: Don't forget, Peterson was hoping Maurice Clarett's lawsuit against the N.F.L. a couple years ago would pave the way for high school stars to jump directly to the N.F.L....That lawsuit failed, but now that Peterson is finally eligible to enter the draft we think it's pretty much a slam dunk he'll leave Oklahoma early.

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In depth look at rising U.S.C. junior quarterback J.D. Booty.

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Detroit wide receiver Roy Williams says he isn't calling out the coaches, but the Lions need to play Mike Williams.

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Is there a talent deficit at running back in the current senior class?

Well, perhaps, when you consider only 7 of the top 50 Division I-A running backs (average yards per game) are in the senior class, you might say "yes"!

We suppose this isn't totally unexpected, considering five top would-be-senior running backs entered the last N.F.L Draft early (R.Bush, L.Maroney, L.White, B.Calhoun and M. Drew) and Louisville's standout senior tailback Michael Bush suffered a major leg injury in early September.

Senior running backs that have averaged over 100 yards per game this season:

Garrett Wolfe ~ Northern Illinois -- 236.2 (ranks 1st nationally)

Jon Cornish ~ Kansas -- 116 (ranks 10th)

Kenny Irons ~ Auburn -- 110 (ranks 15th)

Tony Hunt ~ Penn State -- 105 (18th)

Robert Hubbard ~ Nevada-Reno --104.5 (ranks 19th)

Terry Caulley ~ Connecticut -- 103 (ranks 20th)

DD.com comment: Talented Miami senior running back Tyrone Moss has been hobbled by injuries since the 2005 season and has rushed only 15 times for 84 yards so far this season.....Also, Rutgers senior fullback Brian Leonard, who has the skills of a top feature back, has gained only 146 rushing yards in 5 games, as his running abilities continue to be phased out of the offense by the Knights' coaching staff.

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TFY Draft Preview's Weekend in Review: Looks at how several top prospects fared last week, including gifted Tennessee junior quarterback Erik Ainge.

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The Memphis Tigers recently changed over to a 4-3 defense. One casualty of the new defense was senior free safety Wesley Smith, a three-time first team All-C-USA honoree, who lost his starting job after failing to grasp some of the calls in the new system.

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The following is a list of top sophomore defensive end prospects, extremely loosely ranked....It's still very early and things can change significantly-- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Tyson Jackson ~ Louisiana State

Mitch King ~ Iowa (DT)

Phillip Merling ~ Clemson

Ian Campbell ~ Kansas State

Steve Davis ~ Minnesota

Barry Turner ~ Nebraska

Vernon Gholston ~ Ohio State

Derek Walker ~ Illinois

Kyle Moore ~ Southern California

Brian Orakpo ~ Texas (OLB)

Corey Wotton ~ Northwestern (OT)

Eric Moncur ~ Miami-Florida

Matthew Shaughnessy ~ Wisconsin

Stryker Sulak ~ Missouri (OLB)

Ray Brooks ~ North Carolina State

Derrick Harvey ~ Florida

Bobby Greenwood ~ Alabama

William Van DeSteeg ~ Minnesota

Justin Kershaw ~ Michigan State

Peria Jerry ~ Ole Miss

Albert McClellan ~ Marshall

Zach Davidson ~ Western Michigan

Jameson Hartke ~ Ohio University

Jake Paulson ~ Air Force

Cyril Obiozor ~ Texas A & M

Jeremy Geathers ~ U.N.L.V.

Trevor Anderson ~ Cincinnati

Ryan Bain ~ Iowa

Cody Brown ~ Connecticut (OLB)

Jake Ratliff ~ Texas Tech

Calais Campbell ~ Miami-Florida

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last updated:10/02/06
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Pat Kirwan, NFL.com Senior Analyst: First-round runners a good investment.

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Article's on a pair of young, tall N.F.L. wide receivers:

Look at Matt Jones of Jacksonville and a Q & A with New Orleans rookie Marques Colston.

DD.com Flashback: The following is an excerpt from our October 5th, 2005 blog notes. As we compared Marques Colston to former Monmouth WR Miles Austin (another former DI-AA star receiver), who is currently a backup for the Dallas Cowboys:

"Our correspondent felt Colston from Hofstra, who has also caught the eye of NFL scouts, looked like a better raw athlete and would still be the number one receiver if he was on the same team as Austin. Colston, at his level, is a sheer Terrell Owens type of athlete, with big hands, solid speed and ability to use his size (6' 4", 230 ) to dominate smaller defensive backs".

Full text is available in our October 2005 Blog archives.

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DD.com Mailbag, Lee:

What is your opinion on L.S.U. quarterback Jamarcus Russell? I've found that ya'll are pretty good at predicting when players will get drafted way in advance, so where do you predict he will go whenever he enters the draft?....He is having a very good year and has all the tools for the NFL, so it is kind of hard to know whether he will come out early or not. What do you think?

DD.com reply:

Thanks, Lee. Russell, from what we figure, will come out early if his back is pain free and he's projected high enough by N.F.L. scouts at the end of the season. Just seems like he's pretty mature physically and the general feeling among L.S.U. fans is he will jump, if the timing is right. So far this season, he's off to a great start statistically after 4 games -- 70.4 completion percentage and 10 TD's (only 1 int). So if he keeps that pace up, and the Tigers string together a very strong season, the timing might be right in his mind.

We've seen Russell three times this season and while he was impressive against Miss. State and solid against Arizona State, we thought he struggled against a very strong Auburn team (7-3 L.S.U. loss) -- particularly near the end of that game, when L.S.U. had a chance to comeback and win it. So we aren't quite sure if he's ready. However, we know that may not matter as N.F.L. teams generally draft players on perceived potential.

If he has a good season and fares well in workouts, the feeling is he'll have a chance to be a first round pick. He's a very similar prospect to Daunte Culpepper, in terms of being a pocket passer with the required height (6' 5") and a strong arm. So if Culpepper was a such a high pick ( 11th overall in 1999) coming from a smaller school (Central Florida), we assume some N.F.L. team might roll the dice on Russell in round one at some point.

Perhaps Baltimore would be a fit, as Steve McNair isn't getting any younger and Kyle Boller -- who we think still has a chance to be a very solid N.F.L. quarterback -- needs a change of scenery in a big way. If Baltimore has a shot at Russell, we can see their G.M. Ozzie Newsome grabbing him as a future prospect to replace McNair and Boller. According to insiders, Newsome never really wanted Boller anyway, but selected him at the urging of the Ravens coaching staff once Jacksonville jumped ahead of ahead Baltimore to draft Byron Leftwich -- the player Newsome coveted at the time.

But again, Lee, this is all wild speculation, as it's way too early to tell.

DD.com note: Here is a current 4 page feature on Jamarcus Russell, which mentions his potential draft stock.

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CFB Notebook from Rivals.com: Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson makes Heisman statement.

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Quick look at Hawaii junior quarterback Colt Brennan.

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The following is a list of top sophomore offensive tackle prospects, extremely loosely ranked....It's still very early and things can change significantly-- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Michael Oher ~ Ole Miss

Sean Sester ~ Purdue

Jared Gaither ~ Maryland

Andrew Gardner ~ Georgia Tech

Alex Boone ~ Ohio State

Yemi Babalola ~ Texas A & M

Max Unger ~ Oregon

Branndon Braxton ~ Oklahoma

Lydon Murtha ~ Nebraska

Reggie Youngblood ~ Miami-Florida

Eric VandenHeuvel ~ Wisconsin

Eugene Monroe ~ Virginia

Bobby Lepori ~ Fresno State

Dace Richardson ~ Iowa

Matt Slauson ~ Nebraska

Jake Figner ~ West Virginia

Jason Smith ~ Baylor

Franklin Dunbar ~ Middle Tennessee

Jesse Miller ~ Michigan State

Aaron Miller ~ Kentucky (injured)

Patrick Brown ~ Central Florida

Michael Parenton ~ Tulane

Brandon Pearce ~ Memphis

Thomas Herring ~ Southern California

Mike Tepper ~ California

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last updated:10/01/06
**

Georgia Tech's primary punt returner Andrew Smith, a redshirt sophomore wide receiver with potential, is the son of former Florida State standout Barry Smith, who was selected in the first round of the 1973 N.F.L. Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

*****

San Jose State cornerback Dwight Lowery, a 6' 1" JUCO transfer, leads all Division I-A defenders with 7 interceptions this season.

Rounding out the Top 10 I-A interception leaders:

CB Eric Weddle ~ Utah -- 5 (2 TD's)

CB Daymeion Hughes ~ California -- 5 (2 TD's)

CB Lionell Singleton ~ Florida Int'l -- 5

CB Trae Williams ~ South Florida -- 5

DB Stanley Franks ~ Idaho -- 4 (1 TD)

CB C.J. Wilson ~ Baylor -- 4 (1 TD)

S Reggie Nelson ~ Florida -- 4 (1 TD)

LB James Laurinaitis ~ Ohio State -- 4

S Craig Steltz ~ Louisiana State -- 4

****

Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe is about to rekindle one of college football's great debates: Should a player who mostly faces second-tier competition be considered worthy of winning the Heisman Trophy?

*****

College football Q&A with Paul Zeise -- Q: What do you think Tyler Palko's chances of getting drafted? Also, how tall is he really?

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Look at Notre Dame receiver Rhema McKnight, who had a career-high 10 receptions for 120 yards against Purdue yesterday.

*****

New Mexico State quarterback Chase Holbrook had a very busy day yesterday, completing 48 of 73 attempts for 506 yards and 4 TD's in a 44-38 loss to Texas El Paso.

DD.com notes: For more info on Holbrook, check yesterday's blog notes....Also, not to be outdone, U.T.E.P.'s winning quarterback, Jordan Palmer, throw for 414 yards and tossed 3 TD's last night at the Sun Bowl.

****

Did a pretty good job with my college picks yesterday, going 5-1 for the day and improving my season record to 15-7 against the spread .

*****

In front of the largest crowd in Iowa State's football history, the University of Northern Iowa Panthers (DI-AA) put on quite a show and nearly pulled off one of the program's greatest upsets before the Cyclones held on for a 28-27 victory.

N.I.U's top prospects would include:

LT Chad Reinhart ~ 6' 5", 310 pound junior is definitely on the N.F.L's radar as a future prospect. One of the best left tackles in DI-AA football.

CB Dre Dokes ~ Smallish 5' 9", 165 pound senior speedster has already registered 14 career interceptions for the Panthers. Lack of ideal size won't help him at the next level, but he'll get a long look as a nickel cornerback.

****

Northern Illinois tailback Garrett Wolfe set multiple records Saturday night, as he rushed for 364 yards and three touchdowns.

DD.com note: Link above mentions N.I.U. senior tight end Jake Nordin likely broke his leg last night. That could be a season ending injury for Nordin, who is considered a possible N.F.L. prospect -- 7th round/free agent type?

*****
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