College Football Week One - hot and cold
COLLEGE FOOTBALL DRAFT NOTES
August 29-September 3
Born to run!!! … Entering the season, there were almost as many questions as answers regarding the potential RB class for the 2013 draft because of injuries and off-field issues. One back who provided some answers this weekend was Michigan State junior RB Le’Veon Bell who put on a one-man show against pesky Boise State. Bell bulled his way for 210 yards on 44 carries to lead the Spartans to a 17-13 win, while chipping in another 55 yards on 6 receptions. Bell is a 6-1, 244-pound specimen who runs with real power, however, he’s also surprisingly light on his feet and for a guy that size and has the agility to make a jump-cut to a secondary hole, as well as make people miss in space. This weekend’s performance started to generate some early Heisman buzz for Bell, but it also started to get his some notice as a potential mid-to-late first round prospect for the upcoming draft, should he opt to leave school after the season.
Meanwhile, Clemson’s Andre Ellington and Johnathan Franklin of UCLA, a couple of senior second-day RB prospects, also ran for over 200 yards in their respective season openers. The electric Ellington, for example, averaged over 9.0 yards per carry on his way to piling up 228 yards on 25 carries in the Clemson’s win over Auburn in a battle of Tigers. Franklin was even more efficient in the Bruins’ season opener against Rice as he piled up 214 yards on just 15 carries and three scores including two of more than 70 yards, although he wasn‘t going against one of the better defenses in the country.
Born to throw!!! … West Virginia QB Geno Smith, who is considered to be more a second-day prospect for the 2013 draft at this time, turned in some Robert Griffin like numbers on Saturday when he had as many TD passes (4) as incompletions as the Mountaineers hung 69 points on cross-state rival Marshall in their season opener. For the record, the athletic Smith completed 32 of 36 passes against the Herd for 323 yards and no picks and added a fifth score on the ground. Meanwhile, Tennessee junior Tyler Bray still looks a little spindly, but threw nothing but darts in the Vols’ win over North Carolina State.
Eureka, we found it!!! … May become a common phrase among pro scouts who will tempted to troop to DIII Eureka College - for the record, its in central Illinois - after QB Sam Durley passed for a new NCAA single-game record of 736 yards in leading his team to a come-from-behind 62-55 victory over Knox. And while top DIII QBs are often relatively small, Durley is a full-sized 6-4, 235-pounder with a live arm. However, while he at least looks the part of an NFL pocket passer, Durley has never been that accurate in his career; indeed, he completed just 52% of his pass attempts in 2011 so has a long way to go technically before he gets anything near a draftable grade this year, however, those big numbers this past weekend might at least have gotten his name on the watch list.
Maybe shoudda stayed in bed … Coming into the season, North Carolina State junior CB David Amerson, who picked off a remarkable 13 passes last fall, was being considered to as a possible top 10 prospect for the upcoming draft, however, he got off to dreadful start in the Wolfpack’s loss to Tennessee. In particular, Amerson was beaten for a couple of long TD passes and whiffed on a tackle on a long TD run. Things weren’t much better for Amerson’s teammate QB Mike Glennon, who likely saw his stock plummet as he threw 4 picks and just never looked very poised in the pocket against the Vols.
What can be fun about some of the pre-season games is that players from slower level schools can get the chance to test their skills against better competition. In fact, that was the case for Southern Utah QB Brad Sorenson and Elon WR Aaron Mellette, arguably the top-rated small-school prospects for the upcoming draft, whose teams played D1A opponents this past weekend. However, neither was able to do much positive. Sorenson, a one-time BYU recruit whom some scouts believe may have the strongest arm of any QB in the country, for example, completed just 12 of 31 passes for only 153 yards and a pick in a 34-3 loss at Utah State. Meanwhile, the 6-3, 215-pound Mellette, who caught 113 passes in 2011 for over 1,600, was a non-factor in Elon’s 62-0 loss at North Carolina catching just two passes for a measly 9 yards.