Who to watch: Vanderbilt v. NC State (Music City Bowl)

Stay tuned for must-see prospects from every game of the bowl season.

Music City Bowl

Monday, December 31, 12:00pm EST

ESPN

The one guy I’ve been dying to watch all bowl season

Vanderbilt

Jordan Matthews, #87, Junior, WR

The best wide receiver prospect in the state of Tennessee isn’t Justin Hunter or Cordarrelle Patterson, it is Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews.  In my November WR rankings, I named Matthews the #2 receiver prospect for the 2013 draft. In fact, JM is one of the best SEC receiver prospects of the last decade.  Check out this production compared to other elite SEC performers:

  • Alshon Jeffery (2010)  6.3 receptions,  108.3 yards,  .64 touchdowns  *played one more season before entering NFL
  • Jordan Matthews  (2012)  7.3 receptions,  105.2 yards,  .58  touchdowns
  • AJ Green  (2010) 6.3 receptions,  94.2 yards,  1 touchdown
  • Julio Jones (2010)  6 receptions,  87.2 yards,  .54 touchowns

In five of Matthews’ eight SEC conference games, he hauled in at least 115 yards and one touchdown, proving his consistency and high-end ability.  #87 is also a big play threat, tallying five receptions of 50+ yards throughout the season.

In the Music City bowl it will be fascinating to watch Matthews face NC State CB David Amerson, who many considered to be the #1CB prospect in the country coming into the 2012 season.  Let’s hope that the poor field conditions don’t spoil this.

If he were to enter the NFL Draft and forego his senior season, he would easily grade in my top four wideouts, and possibly even grade as my #1 receiver in the draft.  Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin said: “The funny thing, and the scary thing, is I think he can get a lot better.  Probably the most powerful trait he has is he thinks he is the best wide receiver in the country. He behaves like that, he acts like that and he practices like that every day.”  I too think he might be the best wide receiver in the country.

Check the highlights vs Georgia…

North Carolina State

Mike Glennon, #8, Senior, QB

The National  Football Post’s Russ Lande just named Mike Glennon his #1 quarterback prospect for the 2013 draft.  I have some other thoughts on Glennon.

In the five games when the lights shone brightest on Glennon, there’s one word to describe him: quantity.  In relevant games, Glennon threw 49.6 passes per game, up from 32.6 in 2011, a  52% increase in attempts.  In these games, the Wolfpack went 1-4, and presumably Glennon was throwing to play catch up.  This theory is further supported by the fact that his yards/completion jumped from 11.3 (in 2011) to 14 (in 2012) while his completion percentage dropped by nearly 7%.

I’d attribute those numbers mostly to the environment in which he played… so, let’s look at what he could control.  He threw touchdowns 5% more frequently compared to 2011, but also threw interceptions 5% more often compared to 2011.  This advances my theory of quantity: he threw more, he threw more touchdowns, he threw more interceptions.

Overall, his grade in my system fell slightly from 90.4 in 2011, to 87.5 in 2012, neither of which puts him above the “potentially elite” hurdle of 95.  Watch the Music City Bowl and see what you think, but I think he’s far from the #1 quarterback prospect in the draft.

Watch him against NC State’s big rival…

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