Today the college post season picks up with a slate of games (all on ESPN) which features three ranked teams and two 10 win teams, including a game to end the day between two top twelve schools.
The day starts at 2 PM with the USF Bulls taking on South Carolina. Then, at 5:30 there is what should be a very physical game between Virginia Tech and Arkansas. The day is capped off by an exciting match up of Oklahoma State and their high flying offense against the tough secondary of Colorado at nine.There is a ton of NFL talent playing today, including names that could sneak into the first round...
- Marlon Mack, Running Back, USF: Part of the Bulls' dynamic backfield, Marlon Mack may play second fiddle to his quarterback in USF's rushing attack but he is an NFL caliber running back in his own right. At six foot and 215 pounds, Mack has NFL size and has very good athletic ability for his size. He is a hard runner, but he can also make guys miss and break away from defenses. To make things better, Mack is an adept receiver who can be competent pass protector as well.
- Rodney Adams, Wide Receiver, USF: Rodney Adams was never a hugely productive due to the very run heavy nature of the offense, but his speed allowed him to take advantage of every touch he got. Adams is not just a dynamic athlete, he is a savvy runner who can get yards after the catch with excellent vision and dynamic running ability. He is a threat to score whenever he touches the ball; be that as a receiver, a runner on reverses or on special teams.
- Darius English, EDGE, South Carolina: The Gamecocks are still in a bit of a rebuild mode, but there is some talent on the team in Darius English. The 6-6, 245 pound pass rusher has obvious NFL size if he is to fill out his frame and has the athletic ability to suggest an NFL impact player. He is still relatively raw and has only been a starter for a short period of time, but he looks like a late round pick who has serious upside on a defense.
- Jeremy Sprinkle, Tight End, Arkansas: Loves to play old school football, but Jeremy Sprinkle brings next generation speed to the tight end position. Sprinkle is a very good athlete with an excellent 6-5, 260 pound frame. He is a solid blocker in-line, but his best work is done as a receiver. Sprinkle moves well in space, has dependable hands and can outrun or run over players after the catch. His numbers are never great just due to how Arkansas spreads the ball around and runs quite a bit, but I think he could have a very good NFL career.
- Deatrich Wise Jr, Defensive Line, Arkansas: Arkansas always seems to produce very solid defensive line prospects and Deatrich Wise is no different. Wise has an NFL body (6-5, 270) with tree trunk arms and incredible strength. Wise is not a great athlete, but compensates with incredible physicality, a high motor and impressive strength. Wise could play edge in a 4-3 defense, but I also would not be surprised if a team wanted to bulk him up and let him two gap in the NFL.
- Jerod Evans, Quarterback, Virginia Tech: It is to be seen if VT's junior quarterback wants to enter the draft after a strong season, but he definitely has the talent to garner interest. He is a thickly built, 6-3, 240 pounds and he has a strong arm and excellent athletic ability to run the ball with. Evans is an intelligent passer who is most adept throwing deep. He is still a bit raw and could be a top notch quarterback pro sect with more experience, so one wonders if he wants to stay another year in an offense that he runs so well.
- Isaiah Ford, Wide Receiver, Virginia Tech: Isaiah Ford is the most productive receiver in Virginia Tech history and his talents absolutely translate to the next level. Ford has good size at 6-2, 195 with some room to add weight, but it is his impeccable consistency that makes him a good NFL prospect. Ford has great route running skills, dependable hands and good ball skills that always gives him a shot when a ball is in the air. I don't expect anyone to be blown away by his athletic ability, but he has a long productive NFL career ahead of him.
- Bucky Hodges, Tight End, Virginia Tech: If a Hokie gets into the first round, it is more than likely going to be this 6-7, 245 pound pass catcher. Hodges is not an old school, blocking tight end, rather a monster match up advantage who can play in the slot and the outside of an offense and can create problems with his size and speed. Hodges has awesome athletic ability, but he will need to become a bit more consistent in the NFL. Regardless, he is a physical specimen with a huge ceiling as an NFL receiving tight end.
- Woody Baron, Defensive Tackle, Virginia Tech: Woody Baron is a big reason the Hokies had one of the better defenses in the country. The 6-2, 280 pound tackle may be undersized by NFL standards, but he is a stout player with a great motor. His quickness allows him to win at the snap, but his overall physicality helped him rack up 17.5 tackles for a loss this season and overall be one of the better run defenders in the country. Baron looks like he would be an excellent three technique in the NFL and could be a mid round pick who makes an impact early as a rotational player.
- Brandon Facyson, Cornerback, Virginia Tech: Every year, Virginia Tech has a new defensive back to share with the universe. This year, their 6-2 senior, Brandon Facyson looks to be that player. Facyson obviously has the size, but it is his physicality that makes him such a player. He fights at the line of scrimmage, is physical in coverage and has no issues sticking his nose in the run game. The lack of overall turnovers may be a bit of a worry considering he hasn't had an interception since the five passes he picked off his freshman year, but he also has not seen ton of targets. Despite the lack of targets, he has still broken up 21 passes in the last two years and forced two fumbles this season.
- Philip Lindsay, Running Back, Colorado: Colorado has been winning mostly because of their defense, but it would be unfair to diminish the large role Philip Lindsay has played in their success. The small running back has carried the offense for the most part as the most viable threat on every down. At 5-8, 190, Lindsay is thickly built and packs a punch, but also has good burst to run away from defenses with. He is also a very good third down back, which will likely be his role in the NFL.
- Ahkello Witherspoon, Cornerback, Colorado: With three NFL prospects in their defensive backfield, the Buffalos secondary is basically Nirvana. And if they're Nirvana, Witherspoon is Krist Novoselic... Sorry, maybe that was a bad analogy. My point is, that Witherspoon is severely underrated due to the other two talents he has to play next to. At 6-2, Witherspoon has NFL size and his long arms back that up. Witherspoon may not be a great athlete, but he is a very tough player who will fight to make a play at every opportunity. He doesn't have flashy interception numbers, but his 21 defended passes this season speak highly of his ability to find the ball, albeit he could work on catching it. Witherspoon may be relegated to a press man heavy scheme, but he absolutely has the ability to be an impact NFL starter.
- Tedric Thompson, Safety, Colorado: Tedric Thompson's 13 interceptions in the last three years are a testament to his ballhawking skills that tie the Buffalos secondary together. Thompson has good size at six foot and 200 pounds. He is a quick moving player with a quicker mind and is an aggressive, playmaking type of player. His aggressiveness translates to a willingness to make impact plays against the run, but his love for the kill shot can often get him into trouble. However, a player with his mentality should be coveted for the big plays they can bring a defense.
- Chidobe Awuzie, Cornerback, Colorado: Chidobe Awuzie is the most well rounded player on the Colorado defense and is arguably the most complete cornerback in this NFL draft. While Awuzie does not have spellbinding athletic ability, his incredible physicality and intelligence at the position will afford him a long, productive, impact career in the NFL. Awuzie has good size (Six Foot, 195 Pounds) and is a quick player who does a great job clicking and closing on a play. Not only is he excellent in coverage, he is a seriously good run defender as well,a counting for a crazy 18 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons, which is unheard of for a cornerback. Awuzie is very versatile and his overall game may also translate to safety. Regardless of where he plays, he has a bright NFL future ahead of him.
- Jordan Sterns, Safety, Ok State: Jordan Sterns has longtime been the glue of the Cowboys defense. The 6-1, 215 pound tackling machine is a very good run defender but has gotten better in coverage every year. He is an intelligent player and makes plays despite lacking elite athletic ability. Sterns looks like an NFL strong safety and while he may not start early, teams will realize eventually that he can help their defenses.
Vincent Taylor, Defensive Tackle, Ok State: Vincent Taylor makes Oklahoma States' front seven work. The 310 pound tackle has impressive movement skills for his size and his strength makes him hard to handle. He is a very good run defender and disrupts the pass game consistently. Taylor's best fit would be inside a 4-3 defense, but I could see an NFL team trying to make him a nose tackle considering his natural strength.
- Note: The Best prospects in this game are the Oklahoma State quarterback, Mason Rudolph and their wide receiver, James Washington, both of whom would warrant a first round grade had they decided to enter the NFL draft. That being said, both have expressed their intentions to return to school for their senior seasons. Both are excellent, dynamic players and while they will not be in this draft, will test a very good Colorado secondary and make for one of the better draft match ups of this season.