Scouting for future Falcons: College football preview (Sat. August 31st games)

1. BYU at Virginia: Sat. August 31 BYU 3:30 p.m. ESPNU

Last we saw them:

BYU finished the season 8-5 by beating San Diego State 23-6. Although neither will get drafted near is high as Ezekiel Ansah, BYU returns the two biggest starts from Poinsettia Bowl WR Cody Hoffman caught ten passes, and was named offensive MVP, while OLB Kyle Van Noy outscored SDS 12 to 6 by scoring one TD on an interception return, and one on a fumble recovery.

Meanwhile, UVa finished it's season 4-8, with two of it's wins being by a mere one point.

Last season's stats that may make a difference:

BYU has has a top-25 defense the last three seasons, including the #3 defense in both scoring and total D last season, but only returns four starters, with only two playing in the front seven.

NOTE: BYU has 14 former players currently playing in the NFL, with only one player (Ansah) drafted since 2010.

On to the pro prospects:


Key question for NFL scouts: Will Kyle Van Noy and Cody Hoffman find success in the NFL, or are they just great college players?

OLB Kyle Van Noy 6'3/245: registered 13 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, two interceptions, two blocked kicks and a fumble recovery last season as a junior.

WR Cody Hoffman : Put up 100 receptions, for 1247 yards and 11 TDs last season, but will be tested by better DBs this year, including UVa's Demtrious Nicholson.

LT Ryker Matthews: red-shirt Soph.


Key question for NFL scouts: Is Demtrious Nicholson the most underrated player in the country? In addition to Hoffman, Nicholson faces Devin Street, Stefon Diggs, Sammy Watkins, and the Oregon combination of Josh Huff, and De'Anthony Thomas.

CB Demtrious Nicholson 5'11/185: Junior CB has started every game of his career

OT Morgan Moses 6'6/335: Four year starter, gets to play his last season at LT.

DT Brent Urban 6'7/295: Former hockey player has the frame of an NFL 3-4 DE.

TE Jake Tyler: Some are calling the Junior UVa's best TE since Heath Miller. New OC Steve Fairchild likes to pass to TE.

FS Brandon Phelps: Jr DB moved from CB to FS

RB Kevin Parks: 5'8/205 Might lose job to super-freshman Taquan Mizell

2. Oklahoma State vs Mississippi State Sat August 31 3:30 ESPN2/ABC

Being played in Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.

Last we saw them:

Oklahoma State beat Purdue 58-14, with both Clint Chelf and JW Walsh completing over 70% of their passes, while combining for a five TDs and zero picks.

Meanwhile, Mississippi State lost to Northwestern 34-20, ending their season 8-5 after a 7-0 start. Both sides of the ball return six starters from last year. The Northwestern defense forced MSU QB Tyler Russel into four interceptions, after throwing only six picks during the regular season.

Last season's stats that may make a difference:

OSU is the only program in the FBS to rank among the top 10 nationally in scoring, passing and total offense in each of the last three seasons. During this three-year span, OSU's average of 46.21 points per game ranks second nationally.

Last season, MSU was ranked 45th in pass defense, (52 in total D), and return only one starting DB from last year.

On to the pro prospects:


Key question for NFL scouts: Just how good is this offensive line, that returns four starters...a line that has combined for over 100 career starts, making it the strength of the team

Gabe Jackson : A possible first round pick? but is he really better than Larry Warford (65th pick last year out of Kentucky)

LT Blaine Clausell 6'7/310: Enters Junior season with 17career starts (all at LT) after red-shirting as a Freshman. One to watch!

MLB Benardrick McKinney 6'5/235 First-team Fresh-AA last season, but is a draft-eligible red-shirt Soph.

RB LaDarius Perkins: 5'10/195 with sprinters speed. Rushed for 1024 yards in 2012, his first season as a starter, and should benefit from an outstanding OLine this season.

DT/DE Kaleb Eulls 6'4/290 4th-year Junior: Has already started 26 games

QB Tyler Russell: At 6'4/220, this fifth-year Senior looked pretty good last year - until he threw four interceptions in MSU's bowl game against Northwestern.

FS Nickoe Whitley 6'1/205, 5th yr Senior

...also, keep an eye out for true Soph DT Nick James, and true Fresh DE Chris Jones


Key question for NFL scouts: With six returning defensive starters, is the "real" NFL talent on the defensive side of the ball, while the offensive players simply products of the "system"?

CB Justin Gilbert 6'0/200 Sr: Elite athlete, must become more technically sound to regain 1st round status. KR value

DT Calvin Barnett Sr 6'2/300 JC transfer : Hoping he is lined up over MSU's Gabe Jackson the whole game.

WR/PR Josh Stewart 5'10/185 Jr: 101 catches for 1210 yards and 7 TDs

WR Tracy Moore 6'2/215 Sr: Suffered a season-ending injury last season.

WR Blake Jackson 6'3/235 Sr: Averaged a team-best 19.9 yards per reception in his first season after community college.

WR Charlie Moore 6'2/202 Sr.

RB Jeremy Smith 5'10/208 Sr: Kendall Hunter (4th round), Joeseph Randall (5th round), Jeremy Smith (6th round??)

G/T Parker Graham 6'7/315 : Last year's starting LT, expected to move to guard this season.

S Shamiel Gary : Wyoming transfer

**QBs JW Walsh (red-Soph), Clint Chelf (Sr)

3. Alabama vs Virginia Tech: Sat August 31 5:30 ESPN

Being played at the Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons.

Last we saw them:

Alabama won it's second straight national championship (three in four seasons) by dominating Notre Dame 42-14, while showing a balanced offense that ran for 265 yards, and passed for 264.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech beat Rutgers 13-10 in OT in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Last season's stats that may make a difference:

Last season, VT finished a mediocre 7-6, but it could have been worse, as three of their wins were in OT. Last season, VT had the 81st ranked scoring offense.

Meanwhile, Alabama beat Michigan (then #8) 41-14 in last season's opener, and returns seven starters from last season's top-ranked defense.

On to the pro prospects:


Key question for NFL scouts: Are Alabama players entering the NFL as "damaged goods"?

LT Cyrus Kouandjio 6'6/310: Prototype. As a Sophomore, chosen to start at LT over DJ Fluker (11th pick in the draft) and Barrett Jones (Outland award winner while starting at LT as a Junior).

OLB/DE Adrian Hubbard: 6'5/252:
LB CJ Mosley 6'2/232: Enters the season as the best non-pass rushing LB.

FS Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix: 6'1/208: A better athlete than Mark Barron, true Junior, might be top safety prospect.

AJ McCarron: 6'4/214: Winner. 24-2 as a starter. 30-3 TD-interceptions last season. Many debate his pro-potential. I believe he is an early 2nd rounder, with great intangibles, but limited upside.

OLB/DE Xzavier Dixon 6'3/265: Only six starts, could he be a better pass-rusher than Hubbard?

ILB Trey DePriest: 6'2/245: Likely will be labeled the dreaded "two-down" LB (offers little against the pass)

G Anthony Steen: 25 game starter, not as versatile as Barrett Jones (4th round).

CB Deion Blue: JC transfer, mid rounder?

DE Ed Stinson: Late rounder

WR Kevin Norwood:

...also watch true Sophomores RB TJ Yeldon, and WR Amari Cooper (among others)


Key question for NFL scouts: Will NFL teams be able to resist Logan Thomas' potential?(likely to impress at combine, and pro-day) and if not, will he be the next Jamarcus Russell?

CB/S Antone Exum: 6'1/224: Nearly the same size as Ohio State's Ryan Shazier, but last season's starting corner, Exum could be this draft's top Safety if healed from ACL.

DE/OLB James Gayle 6'4/253 (Gayle has experimented with his weight the last two seasons) so far, production does not match rumored athleticism.

QB Logan Thomas 6'6/257: Great size, huge arm, and nifty feet. It is not too late to put together, but also not likely he does.

CB Kyle Fuller 6'0/189 Sr: A four-year starter, comes from a family that has already put several players in the NFL.

WR DJ Coles 6'4/238: Unproductive in the past, and injured last season, could breakout and be intrigue as a "joker"

TE. DT Derrick Hopkins 6-0/312, height likely will cause him to be drafted late.

CB Brandon Facyson: should start until Exum's return, but could lose job to true Freshman Kendall Fuller (younger brother of Kyle)

MLB Jack Tyler 6'1/225: Unlikely to be anything more than a special-teams player in the NFL. Underclassmen

Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner are both CB to Safety converts, unlikely to declare.

4. Georgia at Clemson: Sat August 31 8PM ABC

Last we saw them:

Georgia finished it's season 12-2 beating Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One bowl. Their only two losses were to Alabama in the SEC championship game, and at South Carolina.

Meanwhile, Clemson narrowly beat LSU 25-24 to finish 11-2. In doing so, Clemson registered eight sacks, and outgained LSU a whopping 445 to 218 in total yards.

Last season's stats that may make a difference:

Last season, Georgia averaged 37.79 PPG (19th nationally), while surrendering only 19.64 PPG (18th). Only Alabama, Florida State, and Georgia finished in the top 20 in both categories.

Clemson returns seven starters from last season's #6 scoring offense (41 ppg) and was 13th in passing yards per game.

On to the pro prospects:


Key question for NFL scouts: Even with 12 returning starters (including 9 on offense) will Georgia's 2014 NFL draft class even come close to what should be an outstanding 2015 class?

NOTE: Georgia released an updated depth chart Monday, and 10 spots out of 23 in the defensive two-deep were occupied by players who had not played a down of Division I football

Read more here:

LB Amarlo Herrera :

WR Malcolm Mitchell : Will concentrate on WR this year, but has already done what Florida's Loucheiz Purifoy is expected to do.

CB Damien Swann: One of top two Georgia defenders that will be draft-eligible.

TEs Jay Rome (6'6/255 Soph. Flex) and Arthrur Lynch (6'5/255 Sr. In-line): In addition to having the best 1-2 punch at RB, the Bulldogs may have the best at TE?

DE Garrision Smith 6'3/299: WRs Chris Conley 6'3/206 Jr: Emerging...? and WR Michael Bennett 6'3/205: red-shirt Jr: Will he remain a starter?

QB Aaron Murray: Did he stay in college too long?

...also catch four true Sophomores: OLB Jordan Jenkins, SS Josh Harvey-Clemons (suspended for game one), and RBs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.


Key question for NFL scouts: Does a QB's height still matter to NFL teams?

WR Sammy Watkins 6'1/205: Burst on to the scene as a Fresh., then took a step backward as a Soph. Deep threat, who can also take a five yard pass all the way. I believe he will be more focused this season.

QB Taij Boyd 6'1/225 Sr: A shorter Colin Kaepernick?

Stephone Anthony 6'2/235 Jr: Only ten career starts. If plays up to potential (nation's #1 ranked HS OLB) the sky is the limit.

LT Brandon Thomas 6'3/305: A lack of length will force Thomas to move inside in the NFL. Many of the NFL's best guards were collegiate LTs.

DE Vic Beasley 6'3/225 Jr: DE will need to move to 3-4 OLB, but lead team with eight sacks last season.

LB Spencer Shuey 6'2/230: Productive on the college level.

RB Rod McDowell: 5'9/195: Late rounder

5. LSU vs TCU: Sat August 31 9PM ESPN

Being played at Cowboys Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Last we saw them:

LSU (10-3) lost to Clemson 25-24 as Clemson registered a season-high eight sacks against LSU, while limiting the inconsistent passer to 120 yards.

Meanwhile, TCU (7-6) also lost by one point, 17-16 to Michigan State, as TCU's 10th ranked rush-defense surrendered 145 yard rushing (on 32 carries) to Le'Veon Bell.

Last season's stats that may make a difference:

TCU QB Casey Pachall has a 15-2 record as a starter, and his 163.1 career passing efficiency is #1 among active QBs.

Meanwhile, LSU brings back 8 starters on offense, hoping for a large improvement from their 85th ranked total offense, and 92nd ranked passing offense.

NOTE: LSU lost 7 starters on defense to the NFL, while TCU brings back nine defensive starters (however super-soph. Devonte Fields is suspended for the first two games)

On to the pro prospects:


Key question for NFL scouts: Can new OC Cam Cameron turn Zach Mettenberger into the SEC's best QB prospect?

DT Anthony Johnson: Playing this season with an eye on being a top-10 pick

G/T La'el Collins 6'5/315 Jr: I had him as my third ranked guard, but move to LT (where he was a HS AA) this season should raise his stock.

Jalen Collins 6'2/195 red-shirt Soph: Even though true Soph Jalen Mills is better, Collins has the length and speed to declare for the draft, even though he enters the season with only one career start.

WRs Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry: Both are Juniors, but only one will be the top dog. Which one?

OLB Lamin Barrow 6'2/232: It seems like very few LSU starters play their Senior years

SS Craig Loston 6'2/209: Well, there is two.

FS Roland Martin 6'1/218 Jr.

RB Alfred Blue 6'2/222 Sr: Conceivably, LSU's third best RB, but still has NFL value.



Key question for NFL scouts: With the NFL being a passing league, could TCU's 4-2-5 defense be the future of the NFL?

CB Jason Verrett 5'10/182 Sr: Former JC transfer has dominated on the college level, but will he measure up? (no CB measuring 5'9 or shorter has ever went in the first round)

WR Brandon Carter 5'11/186 Jr: Expected to take over for Josh Boyce (4th rounder) as TCU's #1 WR.

SS Sam Carter

QB Casey Pachall 6'5/230: 35/8 TD/interception ratio, including 10/1 last season before drug/alcohol related incidents.

...also, True Sophomore LT Aviante Collins moves from RT to LT after being the first true Freshman to start on offense under Coach Patterson (12 Yrs)


6. Northwestern at California: Sat August 31 10:30 ESPN2

Last we saw them:

Northwestern's unconventional QB rotation continues to work, as they won their first bowl game since 1949 by beating Mississippi State 34-20, ending the season 10-3. The Northwestern defense forced MSU QB Tyler Russel into four interceptions, after throwing only six picks during the regular season. With 8 returning starters on offense and 7 on defense, can Northwestern replicate last season's win total?

Meanwhile, Cal ended their 3-9 season with an embarrassing 62-14 loss to Oregon State, where despite playing from behind nearly the entire game, the Bears only passed for 132 yards.

That won't happen again, as new HC Sonny Dykes and assistant Tony Franklin bring their version of the "Air Raid" offense to the PAC 12, and hands over the keys to true Freshman QB Jared Goff. How quickly can Dykes turn around a 3-9 team with a true Freshman QB?

Last season's stats that may make a difference:

Last season Dykes coached Louisiana Tech to a number one finish in both total offense and scoring.
Northwestern was the 84th ranked pass defense.

On to the pro prospects:


Key question for NFL scouts: What position does Northwestern QB Kain Colter play in the NFL?

SS Ibraheim Campbell 5'11/205

DE Tyler Scott 6'4/265 Big 10's leading returning sac man (nine). Senior Bowl work-outs and NFL Combine testing will determine if he can convert to 3-4 OLB how high he gets drafted.

Brandon Vitabile, 6'3/300 Center: My fifth ranked center behind USC's Marcus Martin, Arkansas's Travis Swanson, Oklahoma's Gabe Ikard, and FSU's Bryan Stork. Looking forward to his match-up with DeAndre Coleman.

KR/RB Venric Mark: At 5'8/175 Darren Sproles would be his ceiling, but unlikely to be that good in the NFL.

Kain Colter: 6'0/190. Northwestern's QB will likely will move to slot-WR, where he could have Antwaan Randle El potential. Not as quick-twitched or dynamic as Randall Cobb.

MLB Damien Proby 6'0/245: Last season's leading tackler, with 21 career starts.

CB Nick VanHoose: red-shirt Soph, very unlikely to declare.


Key question for NFL scouts: How is Brendan Bigelow's knee? and are comparisons to former Bear Jahvid Best misguided?

DT DeAndre Coleman 6'4/320: Jordan gets to play in a 4-3 defense for the first time since he arrived at Cal, and the switch could propel him into the top-50 come draft time.

RB Brendan Bigelow 5'10/187 big play specialist, will be a workhorse if off-season knee surgery allows.

MLB Nick Forbes 6'1/236: Late rounder.

WRs Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs should see their stats increase in the new offense.

<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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