What to Watch- 15 September 2012

Keenan Allen (#21) Junior WR, California

12:00PM at Ohio State. ABC/ESPN.

Keenan Allen is the most dominant WR that Jeff Tedford has coached at Cal.  His 2011 season was more dominant than any Desean Jackson recorded and certainly more dominant than other NFL receivers Lavelle Hawkins and Marvin Jones.  Allen’s productivity score of 77 is the best Cal WR season I have in my database.  And get this, he did it as a sophomore.  Now in his Junior season, Keenan Allen is widely considered to be the best WR prospect in the 2014 class.  At noon on Saturday you get to see why.

In 2011 he had 75+ receiving yards in 11 of Cal’s 13 games.  Over the course of the season, his average stat line was  7.5 catches 103 yards and .46 Touchdowns per game.  Pretty impressive.  But get this, when the competition was at its toughest, Allen put together his best games:

@ Washington: 10-197-1TD

@ Oregon: 9-170-1TD

USC: 13-160-0TD

@ Stanford: 6-97-1TD

His averages in those four games against the Pac-12’s best: 9.5 catches, 156 yards,  .75 touchdowns.  Any questions?  While I fully expect the Cal Bears to get annihilated at The ‘Shoe on Saturday, that will provide Keenan Allen with plenty of opportunities to catch passes as his team is playing catch up.

Casey Pachall (#4) Junior QB, TCU

12:00PM at Kansas.  FX.

In 2010 TCU went 13-0 and capped their season with a Rose Bowl win over B1G Ten power Wisconsin.  They were led by Senior QB Andy Dalton who had a phenomenal season and went on to be a RD2 pick of the Cincinnati Bengals and successful rookie starter.  In steps then-Sophomore QB Casey Pachall and what does he do?  Nearly match Dalton’s outstanding season.

Pachall’s 2011 graded as a 107.7 in my system (anything above 95 indicates a potentially elite NFL prospect).  For comparison, Dalton’s 2010 graded as a 115.5, one of the highest grades in my database.  Pachall is my #2 rated QB in America (behind #1 Geno Smith).  He has the size, the arm strength, and the upside to become a Sunday signal caller.  So why should you care about a stinkin’ game against Kansas?  The knock on TCU has been their weak conference.  Well, this week Pachall gets his first shot as a quarterback in the Big12 conference.  Feast your eyes on #4 and see what the buzz is about.  If TCU is to make an immediate splash in their new conference, Pachall will be the key.

(pardon the first 35 seconds, he goes nuts after that)

Bryn Renner (#2), Junior QB, North Carolina

330PM @ Louisville.  ABC/ESPN2.

In 2011 Renner got his opportunity as a Sophomore and excelled.  His 15 touchdown passes in ACC play ranked him third in the conference despite having thrown 70+ fewer passes than #1 Boyd and #2 Glennon.  Overall, his 2011 season graded at 97.3  (anything above 95 indicates a potentially elite prospect).  Not only was he good, but he was consistently good, throwing for at least 2 TDs in ~70% of his games.  As of now, I have Renner as my #6 QB prospect in College Football.

Last year this game was a slugfest, with the Tarheels winning 14-7 over the Cards.  Renner was sacked four times and completed 12-18 for 178 yards and 1TD/0INT.  Expect this year’s game to be a little higher scoring as both Renner and Louisville QB Bridgewater have more experience than they did  last year as first year starters.  Tune in and catch a glimpse at one of the best (and most under the radar) Quarterback prospects in America.

(Notice how well he moves and stays with the play.  Shows off some arm strength in the first 60 seconds too!  Focus on the player, not the competition)

Donte Moncrief (#12), Sophomore WR, Ole Miss

9:00PM vs Texas.  ESPN.

You would probably agree with me that the SEC is the best conference in college football.  Further, you would probably agree with me that teams in the SEC play the best defense in the country.  On the same page?  K, good.  Well if both of those are the case, then you should consider Ole Miss Sophomore WR Donte Moncrief as one of the emerging stud wide receivers in the country.  If we isolated conference games played during the 2011 season, here are the results for SEC wide receivers who hauled in the most touchdown receptions against SEC defenses:

  • Jarius Wright- 6 TD (2012 NFL Draft, Rd 4 pick, Minnesota Vikings)
  • Alshon Jeffery- 5 TD (2012 NFL Draft, Rd 2 pick, Chicago Bears)
  • Rueben Randle- 5 TD (2012 NFL Draft, Rd 2 pick, NY Giants
  • Donte Moncrief- 4TD
  • Jordan Matthews- 4 TD  (one of the best JR Wide Receivers in America)
  • Tavarres King- 4 TD  (one of the top SR Wide Receivers)

Pretty impressive list, right?  Let’s continue.  Within the context of Ole Miss’ anemic 2011 passing offense, Moncrief put up a productivity score of 69, which ranks second of any Rebel WR in the past decade and surpasses any productivity grade that Mike Wallace posted during his college days. With a new head coach, Hugh Freeze, the Rebels are speeding up and spreading out their offense.  Through his first two games, Moncrief has tallied stat lines of 8-104-1TD and 3-72-1TD.  With the Rebels expected to play from behind against Texas, expect Donte Moncrief to have plenty of opportunities to catch passes on Saturday night.

Check out this quick ESPN video of a nice Moncrief catch from 2011!

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What to watch- 8 September 2012

Robert Woods (#2), Junior WR, USC

3:30pm vs Syracuse.  ABC/ESPN2

Woods showed potential as a freshman, recording 65 catches for 792 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Not bad for his debut season in the Pac-12.  In 2011, as a sophomore, Woods became a star as he hauled in 111 balls for 1292 yards and 15 touchdowns.  Despite his smaller 6’1” 190lb frame, Woods is a dominant force in the red zone.  His 15 TDs last season ranked behind Dwayne Jarrett and Mike Williams (16TDs each) as the most outstanding endzone threats in the past decade of USC football.  His productivity score of 75 puts him on par with the best USC receivers in history.  While Marquis Lee stole the spotlight with last week’s big game, Woods still hauled in 2 TDs.  In his Junior season, playing on one of the best teams in America and with one of the best QBs in the country, Woods should became a household name, especially on the east coast, and a top NFL draft prospect.  Watch him today as the Trojans play Syracuse at MetLife stadium in NJ.

Keith Price (#17), Junior QB, Washington

7:00pm @ LSU.  ESPN.

Lost in the Luck/Barkeley love affair of 2011, Keith Price quietly had one of the best seasons in the country.  In my system, Barkeley’s season graded a 106.7 compared to Price’s 106.1  (a grade above 95 signifies an elite QB prospect).  He is probably a little too short to be a high draft pick, but he’s still young, so who knows whether he still could grow.  On the field, Price is electric.  In the 13 games that Washington played last year, Price threw for 3+ TDs on 8 occasions.  In his last game of 2011, a bowl game against Baylor/RG3, Price threw for 4 TDs and ran for 3TDs.   Tonight, the Price-led Huskies head to LSU.  As a practical matter, LSU should dominate Washington.  UW lost their top 2WRs, top RB, and several key O-lineman from the 2011 team.  While I expect the score to be ugly, Price should entertain as he attempts to single handedly keep the Huskies in the game.  In the long run, for Price to emerge as a top QB in year-2 as a starter.

James Franklin (#1), Junior QB, Missouri

7:45pm vs Georgia. ESPN2.

In Missouri’s first conference game as a member of the SEC, the Tigers welcome the Georgia Bulldogs to town.  As an NFL prospect, I’m higher on Georgia QB Aaron Murray, but Mizzou’s QB isn’t far behind and has an opportunity to make a splash tonight.

In 2011, Franklin’s season graded as an 89.9 passer (a score of 95 indicates an elite QB prospect).  In seven of Missouri’s 2011 games, Franklin threw for 2+ TDs which bodes well for his development.  Perhaps more interestingly, is that Franklin also RAN for 50+ in 8/13 Missouri games.  Tonight, Franklin will throw to the highly productive TJ Moe and #1recruit, freshman WR, Dorial Green-Beckham.  If  the Tigers are to pull the upset, the Junior QB will attack with his arm and his legs.  Look for his star to rise in the primetime spotlight.

What to watch- 31 August 2012

Night 2 of the 2012 season.

North Carolina State vs Tennessee (in Atlanta) ESPNU 7:30 EST

Tonight’s game will be a first look at two solid QB prospects.  Based on my 2011 passing ratings, I have them ranked similarly in my QB prospect grades for the 2013 NFL draft.  Tyler Bray, JR, (Tennessee) is ranked 8th.  Mike Glennon, SR, (NC State) is ranked 9th.  Now let’s get into the analysis.

Tyler Bray-   Bray took over the starting QB job about halfway through his freshman season in 2010.  In his first ten games after assuming the starting gig from Matt Simms, (November 2010-October 2011) Bray averaged 312 yards per game, 3 TDs, .9 INts, while completing passes at a 61.1%.  At that point–October 2011– he was injured and played in only 2 of UT’s final 7 games.  Tyler’s performance over this time earned his a score of 91.4 in my evaluation system (a score above 95 indicates an elite NFL prospect).  His numbers compare favorably to Matt Ryan’s final season at Boston College and his 6′ 4” frame will further that comparison.

The following video highlights his play from his last game prior to the 2011 injury.

Mike Glennon-  Glennon came to NCSU as a top high school recruit, but  Russell Wilson’s rise to stardom kept Glennon on the bench for two seasons.  In 2011 he started for the first time as a Junior and led the Wolfpack to an 8-5 record including a bowl win.  In my passer ratings his 2011 season grades a tick above Christian Ponder’s senior season, grading out with a 90.4 (a score above 95 indicates an elite NFL prospect).  As we look ahead to his senior season, Glennon has the potential to become a hot NFL prospect.  He has a young WR corp to work with, but behind a veteran offensive line, a quarterback of his stature should bring out the best in his receivers.  Tonight it will be interesting to see how Glennon fairs in his first game against an SEC defense.

The following video highlight is from his game against Clemson in 2011, arguably the best team he faced.

Boise St @ Michigan St, ESPN 8pm EST

Over the years there have consistently been two things that impress me about Boise.  First, is how physical they are compared to the common misconception of them being a finesse team from a weak conference.  Exhibit A: Defeated Georgia in 2011.  Exhibit B: Defeated Virginia Tech in 2010.  Second, I am always impressed by how prepared and efficient they are.  This team executes every time they take the field.  Now, the question tonight will be whether or not they can be physical and prepared with 15 new starters on the field after being hit hard by graduation.

For Michigan State, this is a program on the rise with increasing expectations and little resemblance to the mentally weak teams of the John L. Smith era.  Here’s what I am looking for tonight; how will their new QB handle the reigns he has inherited?  Can the defense, which is supposed to be a strength, overcome any mistakes or tough situations created by the offense.  MSU is a team ready to win a B1G 10 championship.  The balance of trusting their QB and relying on their defense will be interesting to watch.

What to watch- 30 August 2012

The College Football Season kicks off tonight.  A few things I’ll be watching:

South Carolina @ Vanderbilt, ESPN 7:00pm EST

Jordan Matthews #87, Junior WR, Vanderbilt– Over the last six games of the 2011 season, Matthews averaged 5.5 catches for 110 yards and .7 TDs.  After tallying only 8 catches in Vandy’s first seven games, Matthews shined when given the opportunity.  When he does make plays, they usually go for big yardage as evidenced by his 19 yds/catch average which ranked 6th in the NCAA last season (min. of 30 receptions).  With a historical context, Matthews 2011 season ranks right up there with Earl Bennett, within the context of the offense.   If the ‘Dores are going to pull the big upset in Nashville tonight, chances are Jordan Matthews will have something to do with it.

UPDATE:  Matthews hauled in 8 catches for 147 yards and 1 touchdown in Vandy’s 13-17 loss.  His impact could have been even greater if not being interferred with (missed call) on a critical fourth down play in the final minutes.

(A few nice highlights at the 28 second mark and the 59 second mark)

Washington State @  BYU, ESPN 10:15pm EST

Marquess Wilson #86, Junior WR, Washington St.– It’s easy to be overlooked when your team goes 9-40 over a four year stretch, but Marquess Wilson would like your attention.  In 2011 he was utterly dominant.  In 11 of 12 games, he tallied at least 75 receiving yards.  He recorded a touchdown in 8/12 games.  Overall, his 2011 season ranked as the second most dominant in the last decade of Wazzu football, behind Jason Hill.  With a new sheriff in town in 2012 (Air Raid genius Mike Leach) expect Marquess to become a Pac-12 STAR and an All-American caliber player.  His 2011 AVERAGES– 6.8 catches, 115 yards, 1TD– rank him right with Greg Jennings and Roddy White’s college numbers.  GET ON THE BANDWAGON!!!

UPDATE: Wilson caught 4 balls for 61 yards and 0 touchdowns as Wazzu was out of rythm and manhandled by BYU in a 6-30 loss.  Washington State’s offense looked out of rythm all night although Wilson flashed at times.  Brighter days lie ahead.

(The combination of music and phenomenal plays make at least the first two minutes of this video must-see)