Josh Norris

Weekly Prospect Matchups

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Week One Matchup Preview

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Saturday 7:00 pm EST on ESPN
Auburn vs. Clemson (Atlanta, Georgia)

What To Watch For:
The Tiger throwdown in the Georgia Dome, Clemson technically enters as the home team and deploys the top talent on either team. Despite missing sophomore stud WR Sammy Watkins (#2/6’1/200) to a suspension after he was arrested in the spring on a drug charge, they still have zone running specialist RB Andre Ellington (#23/5’9/192) and acrobatic junior WR DeAndre Hopkins (#6/6’1/200), who consistently makes difficult catches. We consider Ellington the second best senior back in the country because of his decisive one cut style and the ability to outrun tacklers' angles if given a seam. Many tout junior QB Tajh Boyd (#10/6’1/225) because of his blend of athleticism and strong arm, but he struggles tremendously when under pressure and consistently falls away from his throws. That means junior DE Corey Lemonier (#55/6’3/242) could make a huge impact off the edge, especially after gaining 10 pounds during the offseason, while junior DT Jeffrey Whitaker (#54/6’3/302) could push the pocket from the interior. For legitimate reasons, Clemson fans have worried about their offensive line starters and depth. Their most consistent staple, C Dalton Freeman (#55/6’4/286), even pondered a move to T.


Auburn will put forth their own athletic QB in sophomore Kiehl Frazier (#10/6’1/220), who was intercepted on two of his 12 throws last year, but did pick up 327 yards on the ground. Their top two receiving targets, WR Emory Blake (#80/6’1/170) and TE Phil Lutzenkirchen (#43/6’4/250), are not made for speed, but the latter is a versatile option that creates separation with his routes. With only one upperclassmen starting on Auburn’s offensive line, G John Sullen (#71/6’4/336), Clemson power rusher DE Malliciah Goodman (#97/6’4/280) could teach the two freshman tackles a lesson if they fail to anchor. Auburn could slow him down with some play action by RB Onterio McCalebb (#23/5’10/176). who is gone if given some space along the sideline.

Other Auburn Prospects
DE Dee Ford (#95/6’2/245)
CB T’Sharvan Bell (#22/5’11/185)
CB Chris Davis (#11/5’10/185)

Other Clemson Products
LB Jonathan Willard (#46/6’1/223)
T Brandon Thomas (#63/6’3/300)
LB Quandon Christian (#34/6’2/224)
LB Corico Hawkins (#42/5’11/230)
WR Jaron Brown (#18/6’1/200)
S Jonathan Meeks (#5/6’1/210)

Saturday 8:00 pm EST on ABC
Alabama vs. Michigan (Arlington, Texas)

What To Watch For:
In the house that Jerry built, the defending national champions face off against a viable offense in the Michigan Wolverines. The Crimson Tide lost plenty of talent on defense, but as always they seem to easily reload. Despite his smaller stature, DT Jesse Williams (#54/6’3/320) will take over at NT for the departed fire hydrant Josh Chapman. Williams offers a different skill set and should play in the backfield more often. On the outside in Bama’s three man front are two strong seniors in DE Damion Square (#92/6’3/282) and DE Quinton Dial (#90/6’5/304) who will face-off against prototypical T Taylor Lewan (#77/6’7/310), lean T Michael Schofield (#75/6’6/300) and athletic G Patrick Omameh (#65/6’4/305), who excels on the move. At the second level, LB Nico Johnson (#35/6’2/245) will be a force against the run and will rotate out with LB C.J. Mosley (#32/6’2/232) in passing situations. Johnson will have to contain ultra-mobile QB Denard Robinson (#16/5’11/197) and junior RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (#28/5’9/202), who is listed as the starter but is technically still under suspension. With WR Roy Roundtree (#21/6’0/180) possibly hurt, backup QB Devin Gardner (#12/6’4/203) has been taking snaps on the outside, and combined with Robinson’s erratic placement, junior CB Dee Milliner (#28/6’1/198) and S Robert Lester (#37/6’2/212) could really give the Wolverines’ passing attack plenty of trouble. Milliner does rely on his length and make up speed to get himself out of tough situations at times.


The Crimson Tide are much more traditional with their offensive approach, featuring junior QB AJ McCarron (#10/6’3/210) under center and a thunderous offensive line led by G Chance Warmack (#65/6’2/323). C Barrett Jones (#75/6’4/305) moves inside from left tackle to anchor the line, but we consider Warmack the better prospect. Even junior T D.J. Fluker (#76/6’6/335) gets more publicity and he certainly projects as a power blocker in the NFL. This is all leading the way for physical junior RB Eddie Lacy (#42/5’10/220), who shows an underrated burst after lower his shoulder on incoming tacklers. Rugged DE Craig Roh (#88/6’4/280) has shifted positions in each of his offseasons, and will line up on the strong side this year. Former walk-on S Jordan Kovacs (#32/5’11/202) has been a super reliable tackler and rarely misses his assignment in coverage. Both Wolverines will face large and in charge TE Michael Williams (#89/6’5/272) who is a solid blocker with reliable hands. A new wrinkle in Saban’s offense may be junior H-back Jalston Fowler (#45/6’0/242), who has received positive reports throughout camp.

Other Alabama Prospects
G Anthony Steen (#61/6’3/303)
WR Kevin Norwood (#83/6’1/195)
DE Ed Stinson (#49/6’4/282)

Other Michigan Prospects
CB J.T. Floyd (#8/5’11/184)
ILB Kenny Demens (#25/6’1/242)
C Rocko Khoury (#63/6’4/288)
DT William Campbell (#73/6’5/308)

Sunday 6:30 pm EST on Fox Sports South
SMU at Baylor

What To Watch For:
The QB Nick Florence (#11/6'0/205) era begins in Waco... Okay, maybe not. Still, Florence led Baylor to a win last season against Texas Tech by completing nine passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns while adding 14 yards and a score on the ground. His biggest opposition, literally, will be DE Margus Hunt (#92/6’7/280), a converted track and field stud. Hunt made a name for himself on special teams, blocking 14 career kicks, but failed to make an impact on defense until the school's bowl game last year against Pittsburgh when he registered three sacks. Hopefully he will be matched up at some point with Baylor’s top O-Line prospect in junior C Ivory Wade (#78/6’3/310), who is taller than most centers but has the footwork to step in the departed Philip Blake’s place. Hunt will certainly square off against junior G Cyril Richardson (#68/6’5/335), who is strong at the point of attack but gets beat on counter moves. With Kendall Wright gone, the spotlight will be on WR Terrance Williams (#2/6’2/205), who is best in the slot and out running coverages vertically. SMU does sport some other defensive talent in LBs Ja’Gared Davis (#56/6’0/235) and Taylor Reed (#44/5’11/240).


June Jones deserves a lot of credit for offensive success wherever he goes, and SMU is no different. With plenty of four receiver sets, including WR Darius Johnson (#3/5’10/175) who excels after the catch, the Baylor can’t overlook RB Zach Line (#48/6’1/230) due to his toughness and ability to get what is blocked for him. Junior S/LB hybrid Ahmad Dixon (#6/6’0/210) may be the Bears best defender, but his understanding for the game needs to catch up to his natural ability.

Other Baylor Prospects
LB Terrance Lloyd (#11/6’3/235)
CB Joe Williams (#22/5’9/182)
TE Jordan Najvar (#18/6’5/260)
S Sam Holl (#25/6’1/200)
WR Lanear Sampson (#3/5’11/205)
S Mike Hicks (#17/5’10/200)
CB K.J. Morton (#8/5’9/178)
CB Chance Casey (#9/5’11/185)

Monday 8:00 pm EST on ESPN
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech

What To Watch For:

An ACC Coastal division matchup, the Virginia Tech defense has had all summer to prepare for Paul Johnson’s triple option offense. The Jackets line is led by G Omoregie Uzzi (#77/6’3/302), but NFL scouts will obviously have concerns about his ability to pass protect. QB Tevin Washington (#13/6’0/205) will touch the ball on every snap, but the misdirection and pulling offensive linemen is what LBs Bruce Taylor (#51/6’2/244) and Jack Tyler (#58/6’1/236) will have to key off of. DT Antoine Hopkins (#56/6’1/313) will have to hold the point of attack, with DE James Gayle (#99/6’4/268) setting the edge. Gayle reportedly gained 17 pounds during the offseason, while still running in the mid 4.4s, but will need to stick to his responsibility. Although overshadowed by Gayle, DE J.R Collins (#42/6’1/261) is a prospect in his own right due to an aggressive, yet balanced, mentality.


The Hokie offense is obviously led by junior QB Logan Thomas (#3/6’6/260), who has all of the desired physical traits of a top quarterback prospect, specifically arm talent and mobility, but he needs to continue to build off of last year’s success. WR Marcus Davis (#7/6’4/232), a large but athletic downfield target lacks polished technique, which could cause difficulties when attempting to separate from physical CBs Rod Sweeting (#6/6’0/187) and junior Louis Young (#8/6’1/196). The Jackets are physical at the second level also with LB Jeremiah Attaochu (#45/6’3/240), and although he tends to overrun plays and make mistakes, he absolutely does it at full speed.

Other Georgia Tech Prospects
OLB Quayshawn Nealy (#54/6’1/232) rSoph
DE Izaan Cross (#94/6’4/300)

Other Virginia Tech Prospects
CB Kyle Fuller (#17/6’0/193) Junior
DT Derrick Hopkins (#97/6’0/306) Junior
T Nick Becton (#54/6’6/318)
WR D.J. Coles (#18/6’4/226)
S Detrick Bonner (#8/6’0/198) rSoph
S Antone Exum (#1/6’0/224) rJunior
WR Dyrell Roberts (#11/6’1/195)

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris

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