Bowl season kicks off today. This is always a fun time of the year.
2pm – ESPN – New Mexico Bowl – Temple vs Wyoming
The Owls best player is RB Bernard Pierce. He’s only a Junior, but there are rumblings that he is coming out. Not a dynamic back, but a good workhorse runner. I am always impressed with his goal line running. Has a good feel for when to hit the hole and when to bounce the play wide.
LBs Tahir Whitehead and Adrian Robinson are also NFL prospects. Whitehead looks like a good athlete, but his run defense needs work. Robinson is a pass rusher. Goes about 6’2, 250. Has 22 career sacks. 3-4 teams will like him as an OLB. 4-3 teams have to decide if he’s a DE, LB, or just situational rusher.
Wyoming FS Tashaun Gipson is a talented player. He’s played both CB and S in his career. Good size at 6’0, 203. 9 career INTs. Wyoming has had some talented Safeties in recent years.
530pm – ESPN – Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Ohio vs Utah State
WR LaVon Brazill is a star for Ohio. He went 64-1042-10 this year. Also had 5 carries for 73 yards. Legit NFL prospect. LB Noah Keller is a highly productive college player, but doesn’t look to have NFL athleticism.
USU has some good prospects. Junior RB Robert Turbin is the guy to watch on offense. I wrote about him in the previous ScoutsNotebook post. Good runner, receiver. Muscular player with good power. The star on defense is LB Bobby Wagner. He is a complete LB. Ranks 8th in the country in tackles. Also has 4 sacks and 2 INTs. Can do it all. Lists at 6’1, 232.
9pm – ESPN – New Orleans Bowl – San Diego State vs Louisiana-Lafayette
The Aztecs have a Senior QB named Ryan Lindley. I thought he could be a 2nd round prospect back in the summer. Unfortunately Lindley had to break in a pair of new WRs and that led to an inconsistent season. He is an old school NFL QB prospect. He throws the ball downfield. Not a shotgun, spread guy or runner. Good arm. Good mechanics. Understands a pro style passing attack.
RB Ronnie Hillman is a 3rd year Sophomore that might come out. He has big time ability. Gifted RB with outstanding speed. Lacks ideal size at 5’10, 190, but has the frame to add some muscle. Doesn’t have the strength to be a starting RB in the NFL right now, but could be a very good #2 RB. In a year or two might develop into good starter. Had good vision and elusiveness. Excellent change of direction ability. Okay receiver. Hillman is 3rd in the nation in rushing. Averages 6 yards per carry and has 19 TDs (36 in 2 years).
LB Miles Burris is 6’3, 235 and has 19 career sacks. Could bulk up and be a very good fit for 3-4 teams at OLB. Has the frame they want and is a natural pass rusher.
LA-Lafayette has some players of their own. Devon Lewis-Buchanan is a 6’2, 215 defender that will face the question of whether he’s a big Safety or small LB. He plays LB for ULL. Teammate Lance Kelley is even smaller, but also plays LB in college. He does have 3 INTs this year so maybe he can make it at Safety.
The offensive star is TE Ladarius Green. He lists at 6’6, 230. He’s got 21 career TD catches and is a gifted athlete. He should be fun to watch. In the team’s last game (vs Arizona) Green had a 20 yard run. He’s not a normal TE.
* * * * *
Miami lost 2 more underclassmen. LT Brandon Washington and DE Olivier Vernon are heading to the NFL. Washington looked up and down to me this year. Vernon leaves college with unimpressive numbers (just 9 career sacks), but he always impressed me. I always noticed #35 being disruptive and was excited to study him as a Senior. Vernon only played half the season this year because of a suspension due to the scandal. I don’t know Vernon’s value, but he’s 6’4, 260 and a gifted pass rusher. He will generate some real interesting discussions among NFL teams. Tons of potential.
Matt Kalil made it official that he’s leaving USC for the NFL. Smart decision. He’s the top OT prospect. Reportedly, he and Matt Barkley were going to go or stay together so this would make you think that Barkley is coming out.
Stanford OG David DeCastro is coming out. He’s the top G prospect in the draft and should be a 1st round pick. Very good player.
Oregon RB LaMichael James is coming out. Smart decision. He’s a small RB that has taken a beating. Might as well get paid for that. He isn’t a starter in the NFL, but can be a very good role player. Might be a 3rd round pick.