Scouting future Falcons: First week of college football edition (Thursday August 29th preview)

1. UNC vs South Carolina: Thursday August 29th 6PM ESPN

Last we saw them:

UNC, banned from post-season play, finished it's season 8-4 by beating Maryland 45-38.

QB Bryn Renner completed 71.8% of his passes, while thowing five TDs without a pick.

Meanwhile, South Carolina finished 11-2, after beating Michigan 33-28.

In that game, SC's two-headed QBs combined for 425 total yards, with 341 yards passing, and four TDs without a pick.

Last seasons's stats that may make a difference:

Last year, UNC set school records in total offense, scoring and passing yards, while allowing just 11 total sacks, ninth-fewest in the nation.

Meanwhile, South Carolina's 43 sacks last season was sixth-best in the nation.

On to the pro prospects:


Key question for NFL scouts: After South Carolina, UNC's schedule appears to be one of the easiest. Will Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee State, Boston College, Virginia, Duke, Pittsburgh, NC State, and East Carolina make UNC players appear better than they are?

DE Kareem Martin 6'6/265 Sr: Prototype body for 4-3 DE, needs better production (QB pressures, sacks, and TFL). Match-up with talented SC Offensive Tackles could bet telling.

TE Eric Ebron 6'4/254: (4.57 speed?) Already a weapon as a receiver, Ebron has worked hard to become a better blocker, and has gained over 10 pounds since last season. Top-50 potential.

LT James Hurst 6'7/305: started 36 career games since earning the starting job in the second week of his true freshman season. How will be perform against Clowney?

QB Bryn Renner: Ended last season with four straight games of over 300+ yards passing.

S Tre Boston 6'1/205 Sr: Team's leading tackler last season. Former CB has great speed for a FS.

DT Tim Jackson 6'5/285: Could rise up the charts after teams envision him as a 3-4 DE.

Russel Bodine Center 6'4/310 Jr: Centers rarely leave early, but I wouldn't be shocked if Bodine did.

RB AJ Blue 6'2/215 Sr: Back-up to Giovani Bernard has been banged up this fall, and may not be 100% for the opener.

CB Jabari Price 6'0/200: Late rounder prospect.

South Carolina:

Key question for NFL scouts: Is Jadeveon Clowney truely the best defensive prospect to come into the league in the last decade?

DE Jadeveon Clowney is a 6'6/275 Junior, who could have entered the NFL after his Sophomore season, if NFL rules allowed. Many believe he will be one of the all-time greats.

DT Kelcy Quarles 6'4/300 Jr: Might become a top 3-4 DE?

LT Corey Robinson 6'8/340: Giant fourth-year Junior, very raw after spending time on D-line, projects as as Phil Loadholt (Vikings) type NFL RT.

Brandon Shell 6'6 325 Red-shirt Soph: Eligible, but unlikely to declare. May get to play LT next season, if Robinson leaves?

DE Chaz Sutton DE 6'5/265: Sutton has been productive (5 sacks last season) as a back-up/rotational player (two career starts), but will be a full time starter as a Senior.

WR Bruce Ellington 5'9/196: Smart, hard-working, rumored to have run 4.34 40-yard dash, but only 15 career starts with modest numbers, kick-off returner. Senior, but has one more year of football eligibility. Starting PG on Gamecock's basketball team.

CB Jimmy Legree 6'0/187 Fifth-year Senior: Only ten career starts. Experienced at FS and CB, but has not excelled at either.

2. Ole Miss at Vanderbilt:Thursday August 29th 9:15PM ESPN

Last we saw them:

Vanderbilt beat NC State 38-24 in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl to finish the season 9-4 after winning it's last seven games.

In that game, Vandy intercepted Mike Glennon (3rd round pick) three times, returns three starting DBs from a unit that was 6th in the nation in defensive QB efficiency.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss finished 7-6 after beating Pittsburgh 38-17, while piling-up 224 yard rushing. They return their top two RBs from that game, and return four starting offensive linemen.

Last seasons's stats that may make a difference:

While improving from a 2-10 record in 2010 to 9-4 in 2012, Vanderbilt also improved its PPG from 16.9 to 30, and defensively improved from 31.2 to 18.7 during that time.

While improving from 2-10 to 7-6, Ole Miss scored 409 points last season, their third most ever.

Interestingly, both teams are near the top at number of returning starters, with Ole Miss bringing back 18 and Vanderbilt 17 (16 if WR Chris Boyd is ineligible).

Additionally, Ole Miss adds the #1 overall HS recruit, in DE *Robert Nkemdiche* and a top JC in DT Lavon Hooks to 11 returning starters on defense, while also adding the top high school WR and OT.

On to the pro prospects:


Key question for NFL scouts: After scoring the most points (390 on the year) since 1916, can Vandy duplicate last season's success without QB Jordan Rodgers?

WR Jordan Matthews: I thought Matthews would declare after last seasons breakout performance -94 catches, for 1324 yds and 8 TDs - numbers that may be difficult to duplicate with new starting QB Austyn Carta-Sammuel (former Wyoming starter).

CB Andre Hall: The best pro prospect on defense, the battle between him and Donte Moncrief will be most interesting to watch.

DE Walker May: Leader of last season's top 20 defense.

S Kenny Ladler:

LT Wes Johnson: Four year starter, will need to put on weight, has played T, G, and Center, looks like a zone-blocking interior lineman.

Ole Miss:

Key question for NFLscouts: How is QB Bo Wallace's heath after off-season shoulder surgery?

WR Donte Moncrief: While Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews has better stats, and Amari Cooper and Dorial Green-Beckham may better as well, Moncrief may be the SEC's top draft-eligible WR.

DT Lavon Hooks: At 6'4/298, was rated by some as last season's top junior college player, regardless of position

LT Emmanuel McCray may not have the feet for NFL LT, but is in no jeopardy of losing his job to top HS OT Laremy Tunsil.

DE CJ Johnson*6'3, 230 Jr will need to move to OLB in the NFL. After leading the team in sack as a Sophomore, he maybe a back-up to Channing Ward and Robert Nkemdiche by the end of the year.

KR Jeff Scott 5'8/165: Last year's leading rusher may lose carries to underclassman, but could prove to be an elite NFL return specialist.

WRs Ja-Mes Logan and Vince Sanders (out with broken collarbone)

CB Charles Sawyer (Sr) 5'11/178: Mid-round prospect

FS Cody Prewitt 6'2/220 Jr: Large FS prospect, could declare if he has a big year.

3. Rutgers at Fresno State: Thursday August 29th 10:30PM ESPN-U

NOTE: Fresno State was 6-0 at home last season, and this game will be begin at 10:30 PM (east coast), and that could be a disadvantage for Rutgers.

Coincidentally, both teams finished 9-4 last season under new head coaches.

Last we saw them:

Fresno State lost 43-10 to SMU in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Lead by Margus Hunt, SMU held FSU to negative 16 yards rushing (counting sacks). Added five wines from 2011.

Meanwhile, Rutgers lost 13-10 in OT to Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl, and was held to only 196 total yards. Began season 7-0, ended it losing it's last three.

Last seasons's stats that may make a difference:

Fresno's #12 pass offense (7 returning starters) vs Rutgers' #39 pass defense ( Although Rutgers was the country's fourth best scoring defense, only four starters return, and only SS Lorenzo Waters has started a single game at DB for Rutgers.

Fresno's #2 pass defense (8 returning starters) vs Rutgers' #86 pass offense (7 returning starters).

On to the pro prospects

Fresno State:

Key question for NFL scouts: FSU's QB Derek Carr is certainly a pro prospect, but will David's little brother have better NFL success?

WR DeVante Adams, only a Red-shirt Sophomore, he is a strong candidate to win the Fred Biletnikokk award, declare for the draft, and be a high draft pick. Why? At 6'2/216 Adams already has an NFL-ready body, and with Derek Carr back, his 102 receptions for 1312 yards and 14 TDs could actually go up in his second season.

Derek Carr, 6'3/218 completed 67.3% for 4104 yards with a 37-7 TD-Interception ratio. Considering the offense returns 7 starters - including their top two WRs and three offensive lineman - potential for improvement is there.

LT Austin Wentworth (13 starts at LT, 6 at RT, 7 at RG) is the best of three returning starters on the OLine, that allowed seven sacks against SMU.

FS Deron Smith 5'11/200 (6 interceptions) returns for last year's number 2 pass defense, but he is not as big or talented as Phillip Thomas who was a mid-fourth round pick last year.


Key question for NFL scouts: Is Brandon Coleman healthy and ready? He had off-season knee surgery, and has missed all of spring practice and most of the fall.

WR Brandon Coleman 6'6/225: Considering the Calvin Johnson comparisons, Coleman should be able to dominate, however Fresno State returns three starting DBs (8 defensive starters overall) from last season's #2 ranked pass defense.

OG Kaleb Johnson 6'4/305 moving to guard after being a Fresh AA at RT (11 starts) and 13 game starter at LT last season.

OG Antwan Lowerly 6'4/310

RB Savon Huggins former 5-star recruit, the Junior needs a breakout season.

Twins Jamil (6-4, 255) and Jamal Merrell (6'4/220) both project to OLB in the pros, with Jamil fitting best in a 3-4.

CB Lewis Toler 5'11/190 was a three year starter at Western Michigan before transferring.

SS Lorenzo Waters and FS Jeremy Deering. All three DBs look draftable....late.

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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