BFTB Scouting: College Football Week 8

LSU's Kelvin Sheppard is another prospect that could help our pass rush. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Week 7 recap:

  • Texas A&M OLB Von Miller didn't get to produce like I thought he would. Missouri spread out the field and he had to go into coverage. This strategy hurt A&M since Miller is their best pass rusher. Later in the game they shifted him to a DE spot and he ended up with a sack.
  • Nebraska WR Niles Paul has a tough day vs. Texas. That could have been expected considering Texas' secondary, however Paul mostly beat himself. Scouts still like his potential, but this game hurt his stock.
  • Pretty epic days for 3 WRs. Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles (15 rec. 182 yds. 1 TD), Notre Dame's Michael Floyd (9 rec. 157 yds. 3 TDs) and Cincinnati's Armon Binns (8 rec. 175 yds. 3 TDs). Not sure if any of this boosts their stocks that much except for maybe Binns. Scouts have been waiting for Binns to produce big with his new QB. This is a start.
  • Both of the Clemson defenders on our watch list made an impact against a solid Maryland team. Da'Quan Bowers was a beast collecting 3 sacks, another tackle-for-loss and a couple of hurries. DeAndre McDaniel had an interception with a 33 yard return.
  • Jacquizz Rodgers defended his crown as Mr. Beaver. He had 4 TDs (3 rushing and 1 receiving) in an overtime loss to Washington. He is the Oregon State offense.

Week 8 Key Matchups
UCLA (3-3) vs Oregon (6-0) Thursday 10/21 6:00 PM PT ESPN
Purdue (4-2) vs Ohio St. (6-1) Saturday 10/23 9:00 AM PT (Big Ten Network)
LSU (7-0) vs Auburn (7-0) Saturday 10/23 12:30 PM PT (CBS)
North Carolina (4-2) vs Miami (4-2) Saturday 10/23 4:30 PM PT (ESPN2)

Every week I'll also ask all of you to please share what games you'll be watching and what players you'd think would look good in blue and gold or just generally impressed/disappointed you.

UCLA vs Oregon
UCLA has long been overdue for an appearance here. They've got two of the best prospects in the country at two of the positions the Chargers will be interested (OLB and S). Oregon presents an excellent scouting opportunity for these Bruins since the Ducks have Heisman trophy candidate LaMichael James who has been tearing up Pac-10 defenses. Most likely the majority of responsibility in stopping him, scrambling QB Darron Thomas and any passes those runs set up will fall on those two stud defenders. Oregon has a prospect of their own on defense in Casey Matthews who we first scouted back in week 5.

 

Akeem Ayers, UCLA, OLB, Junior, 6'3, 249 lbs (1st round) - Unlike many of the athletic LBs I've mentioned before in this column, Ayers is a guy that has the strength to take on blockers and maintain gap discipline. This is a big key to being a quality run defender in the NFL. He can definition drive his man back on initial contact. Not only is he strong, but he can cover a lot of ground too allowing him to seal off an edge or close quickly on a QB or ball carrier. He also has long arms which allow him to make tackles even when he doesn't get in the best position. UCLA uses him in coverage a lot, but his real potential may lie as a pass rusher, which is exactly what the Chargers need right now.

Rahim Moore, UCLA, S, Junior, 6'1, 196 lbs (1st or 2nd round) - This smallish safety just has a knack for the position. He's difficult to fool and rarely takes false steps that cost him in coverage. His abilities as a deep defender are pretty much unparalleled at the college level. He can react to the ball and makes plays. He has over a dozen interceptions in his time at UCLA. His size is currently an issue, but scouts say that his frame has room to add bulk and he certainly doesn't shy away from contact just because other players are bigger. Adding Moore to the Chargers secondary would be a perfect fit as he could play the deep responsibilities freeing up the other safety to play more in the box, which it seems like more and more safeties are best at.

Purdue vs Ohio St.
The last time Purdue came up here was back in week 1, but DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan has been on the prospect tracker all season. He's continued to play at a high level this season just like his junior campaign and currently grades out as a mid-first-rounder. For all we know, that could be a pick the Chargers have. Kerrigan had big game last year vs. Ohio St. when Purdue upset the Buckeyes in West Lafayette. This year the game is in Columbus and the Buckeyes are again heavily favored. Ohio St. just made an appearance here, but they're back because its the best competition Kerrigan will face all year and we need to be on the lookout for pass rushers. It also doesn't hurt us to take additional looks at RB Brandon Saine, WR DeVier Posey, ILB Ross Homan and CB Chimdi Chekwa. We can also take a peek at first round prospect Cameron Heyward, the DE that really doesn't project well to the 3-4, but could possibly be a Richard Seymour-type DE in the system.

 

LSU vs Auburn
This game is probably the most meaningful of the week as far as the National Championship is concerned. Both teams are undefeated and both teams have the strength of schedule to survive any BCS chaos. For all intents and purposes this is a playoff game for both teams. Do or die. Win or go... back to trying to just get another lucrative bowl game. Sorry if I lost the momentum there, but such is college sports. LSU boasts two players we've been tracking all season. WR Terrence Toliver has been producing at a level that solidifies him as a 1st or 2nd round pick and CB Patrick Peterson is playing well at both on defense and as a kick/punt returner. The Tigers are a team on the rise and we'll talk about a DE/DT on the rise below. They also have the QB whose name is on everybody's lips. Cam Newton is making a case for being one of the nation's best collegiate QBs and his wowing people with his size, strength and agility. The jury is still out on him as a top pro prospect however.

 

Kelvin Sheppard, LSU, OLB, Senior, 6'2, 244 lbs (2nd or 3rd round) - I passed on mentioned Sheppard the previous times I covered LSU, but he's been turning some heads. The big knocks on him have been his toughness and his technique. However, he's been trying to prove doubters wrong all season by playing at a high level. The Chargers need OLBs, so I don't want to pass up an opportunity to find a future Bolt.

Nick Fairley, Auburn, DE/DT, Junior, 6'4, 299 lbs (1st or 2nd round) - Another fast riser like Sheppard. Fairly just started turning head just like his team has in the past few weeks. He's probably not a great fit for the Bolts considering that I think they'll stay away from drafting defensive line, but he's worth mentioning. He's good at splitting double teams and getting penetration, but no one is really sold on his ability to hold the line against a double team to free up his teammates like a 3-4 DE would do. He's tied for 2nd in the SEC in sacks and leads that league in tackles for a loss. He was a handful for Arkansas Razorbacks last week.

North Carolina vs Miami
These schools should both be familiar to us by now. The one thing that does keep changing is North Carolina. The investigations have ended and a few of their prospects are now playing (S Deunta Williams, LB Bruce Carter, when healthy ILB Quan Sturdivant, and some others that aren't as intriguing as future Chargers) and some have been ruled ineligible (WE Greg Little, DT Marvin Austin and top 10 prospect DE/OLB Robert Quinn). Miami is the same middle of the pack team we've seen a few times and this just presents another opportunity for rising prospect WR Leonard Hankerson to prove himself against a solid secondary..

 

Bruce Carter, North Carolina, OLB, Senior, 6'3, 225 (1st or 2nd round) - I passed over Carter before because of his size and because he was under investigation and thereby not playing. I'm pretty sure I did mention him waaay back when I did my bowl game previews last year, but he never declared for the draft. Well, he's back playing and perhaps I was too hasty to dismiss his size. His speed and range are fantastic and he's a fundamentally sound tackler. He also has played special teams and blocked 6 kicks in his collegiate career. Suffice it to say he's one heck of an athlete just like his partner Quan Sturdivant. His size keeps him from being able to shed blockers, but in the open field his quickness, speed and explosiveness hide his lack of bulk when he goes in for a tackle.

Tracking Prospects Mentioned In Previous Articles:

Prospect Name College Position Week 4 Opponent Notes
Jacquizz Rodgers Oregon St. RB Bye 32 car. 140 yds, 3 TDs, 4 rec. 49 yds. 1 TD.
Brandon Saine Ohio State RB Purdue 1 rec. 15 yds.
Jonathan Baldwin Pittsburgh WR Rutgers
1 rec. 61 yds.
Armon Binns Cincinnati WR South Florida
8 rec. 175 yds, 3 TDs
Ryan Broyles Oklahoma WR Missouri 15 rec. 182 yds. 1 TD
Michael Floyd Notre Dame WR Navy
9 rec. 157 yds. 3 TDs
Leonard Hankerson Miami WR North Carolina
6 rec. 80 yds, 1 TD
Julio Jones Alabama WR Tennessee 1 rec. 8 yds.
Greg Little North Carolina WR
NCAA ruled him permanently ineligible.
Chris Owusu Stanford WR Washington St.

Niles Paul Nebraska WR Oklahoma St.
6 rec. 66 yds. 1 car. 1 yd.
Austin Pettis Boise St. WR Bye
3 rec. 53 yds.
DeVier Posey Ohio State WR Purdue 4 rec. 38 yds.
Terrence Toliver LSU WR Auburn
2 rec. 20 yds.
Nick Toon Wisconsin WR Iowa 6 rec. 72 yds.
Titus Young Boise St. WR Bye 2 car. 19 yds. 1 TD., 7 rec. 105 yds, 1 TD
Gabe Carimi Wisconsin OT Iowa

 

Demarcus Love Arkansas OT Mississippi
Jason Pinkston Pittsburgh OT Rutgers
Jared Crick Nebraska DE/DT Oklahoma St.
Stephen Paea Oregon St. DE/DT Bye
Ian Williams Notre Dame DE/DT Navy
1 sack and 3 tackles
Pierre Allen Nebraska DE/OLB Oklahoma St.
Da'Quan Bowers Clemson DE/OLB Georgia Tech 3 sacks, 5 tackles, 2 hurries, and 4 TFLs
Ryan Kerrigan Purdue DE/OLB Ohio St.

Greg Romeus Pittsburgh DE/OLB Syracuse
Back surgery, out indefinitely
Jabaal Sheard Pittsburgh DE/OLB Syracuse

Von Miller Texas A&M OLB Kansas 1 sack, 6 tackles, 1 PBU
Ross Homan Ohio State ILB Purdue
Nate Irving North Carolina St. ILB Bye
4.5 tackles, 1 hurry, 3 PBUs
Greg Jones Michigan St. ILB Northwestern
Casey Matthews Oregon ILB UCLA
Quan Sturdivant North Carolina ILB Miami Injury has limited his playing time lately.
Travis Lewis Oklahoma LB Missouri
Colin McCarthy Miami LB North Carolina
Prince Amukamara Nebraska CB Oklahoma St.
Chykie Brown Texas CB Iowa St.

Curtis Brown Texas CB Iowa St.
Rashad Carmichael Virginia Tech CB Duke
1 PBU and 1 tackle
Chimdi Chekwa Ohio State CB Purdue
Marcus Gilchrist Clemson CB Georgia Tech
Brandon Harris Miami CB North Carolina
Janoris Jenkins Florida CB Bye
Patrick Peterson LSU CB Auburn 43 yd kick return and 34 yd punt return
Aaron Williams Texas CB Iowa St.
Mark Barron Alabama S Tennessee
1 int
Ahmed Black Florida S Bye
Quinton Carter Oklahoma S Missouri 1 PBU
DeAndre McDaniel Clemson S Georgia Tech
1 int w/ 33 yd return, 2.5 tackles
Deunta Williams North Carolina S Miami
4 tackles and 1 PBU
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