Josh Norris

Weekly Prospect Matchups

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Week 12 Matchup Preview

Friday, November 16, 2012


Saturday 3:00 pm EST on Fox
USC vs UCLA

Despite absolute dominance in recent memory, expect the Trojans to be pressed in this game by UCLA, with this being one of the more talented and well coached Bruins teams in quite some time. Obviously USC churns out offensive talent, with QB Matt Barkley (#7/6’2/218) at the helm. Evaluators still need to decide if Barkley is helped or limited (or somewhere in between) by the team’s offensive style. Around 75 percent of his throws are targets five yards or shorter with the occasional downfield target to sophomore Marqise Lee. In my eyes, those vertical throws have excellent placement and touch, but lack velocity. Lee, along with junior WR Robert Woods (#2/6’1/184), can take short targets the distance with strong after catch move and superb straight-line speed. Bruins CB Sheldon Price (#22/6’1/180) will likely draw Lee as an assignment, while bigger bodied CB Aaron Hester (#21/6’1/206) should face off with Woods, who does most of his work on intermediate and short routes. Luckily, UCLA deploys two excellent pass rushers. First, DL Datone Jones (#56/6’4/280) attacks with an explosive first step and power on initial contact from all along the defensive line. Outside, junior OLB Anthony Barr (#11/6’5/238) has really excelled this season, utilizing natural length and closing speed to consistently make a home in the backfield. On the edge, junior T Kevin Graf (#77/6’6/300) will man the right side, while the blind side will be held by freshman Max Tuerk. C Khaled Holmes (#78/6’3/310) can move quite well, but he’ll need to focus on junior DE Cassius Marsh (#99/6’4/295) if the tweener shoots the A gap. In the backfield, junior RB Silas Redd (#25/5’10/209) is questionable to play, so expect a heavy dose of RB Curtis McNeal (#22/5’7/182).

UCLA is quite young offensively, but they do have two intriguing skill position players. TE Joseph Fauria (#8/6’7/252) is mostly used split out instead of his 2011 H-back role that did not fit him. Fauria flashes the length and acrobatic catches that will likely earn him a draft day selection, but faces a good matchup with underwhelming S T.J. McDonald (#7/6’2/205) and the rangy S Jawanza Starling (#29/6’1/195). Closer to the line of scrimmage, RB Johnathan Franklin (#23/5’10/195) has displayed better tackling breaking ability at the second level. DE Wes Horton (#96/6’5/265) has looked more like a football player than athlete this season, and has made up for the drop off from junior DE Morgan Breslin (#91/6’2/250), who started the season on a tear.

USC
S Drew McAllister (#19/6’1/205)
junior CB Nickell Robey (#21/5’8/172)
junior G John Martinez (#59/6’2/302)

UCLA
OG Jeff Baca (#60/6’4/305)


Saturday 8:00 pm EST on ABC
Stanford vs Oregon

The biggest question mark in this game will be Oregon’s health defensively. After already losing two starting safeties for the season, the Ducks can ill afford more top players to sit on the sideline. However, their most versatile defensive weapon, OLB/DE Dion Jordan (#96/6’6/246), has a lingering shoulder issue but is expected to play. NFL evaluators will surely be watching how Jordan matches up with either junior TE Zach Ertz (#86/6’6/250) or junior TE Levine Toilolo (#11/6’7/263) in the slot. With Ertz, Jordan has to use his fluidity in space to stick with the slippery tight end, while Toilolo will attempt to create separation with a physical style. Redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan will again draw the start, and his best friend will surely be RB Stepfan Taylor (#33/5’11/210), a back that makes plenty of tacklers miss at the second level with shifty moves and tough running. His main opponent will be OLB Kiko Alonso (#47/6’4/240). Alonso can look tight hipped, especially when facing misdirection, but he loves to wrap up and finish plays. It will be critical for C Sam Schwarzstein (#64/6’3/292) to get to the second level and seal blocks while junior FB Ryan Hewitt (#85/6’3/238) anticipates and sustains blocks with linebackers.

Chip Kelly’s offense is difficult to stop, mainly because of how fast paced the Ducks move from play to play. The Cardinal will rarely be able to substitute, but they already play gap and responsibility sound football. T Kyle Long (#74/6’7/311) has really impressed scouts in practices and has started to earn more and more playing time. We hear he may look into an extra year of eligibility, but a good performance against OLB Chase Thomas (#44/6’4/240), a senior who can perhaps shed technically better than anyone else in the country. The Cardinal also sport powerful DE/OLB Trent Murphy (#93/6’6/261) and junior DE Ben Gardner (#49/6’4/252). Oregon RB Kenjon Barner (#24/5’11/195) hits the lane hard and can take any carry to the house when given a sliver of space. However, he tends to struggle when his initial line is blocked, so junior NT Terrence Stephens (#99/6’2/295) and ILB Shayne Skov (#11/6’3/244) need to fill alleys technically and quickly.

Stanford
Redshirt Junior QB Josh Nunes (#6/6’4/216)
G Kevin Danser (#76/6’6/298)
Junior CB Terrence Brown (#6/6’1/178)

Oregon
DT Wade Keliikipi (#92/6’3/300)
Junior S Avery Patterson (#21/5’10/175) injured
FS John Boyett (#20/5’10/202) injured
OG Carson York (6’5/292) injured
P Jackson Rice (#49/6’3/225)
G Nick Cody (#61/6’5/302) hurt
Junior WR Josh Huff (#1/5’11/207)
OLB Michael Clay (#46/5’11/225)
Junior DL Taylor Hart (#66/6’5/285)
DT Ricky Heimuli (#90/6’4/321)
Redshirt sophomore CB Terrance Mitchell (#27/6’0/189)


Saturday 10:30 pm EST on ESPN2
BYU at San Jose State

Although both teams are predominantly stacked on one side of the football, this is a west coast game worth watching. Defensively, the Cougars top talent (and one of the top upside prospects in the country) is DE/OLB Ezekiel Ansah (#47/6’6/270). We’ve said a lot of Ansah, but our own Alen Dumonjic wrote a full feature here. BYU’s pass rush continues with junior OLB Kyle Van Noy (#3/6’3/235), a relentless rusher that often catches the eye. Both will face a projected late round selection in T David Quessenberry (#76/6’6/295). Luckily, the Spartans have one of the best unknown junior QBs in David Fales (#10/6’3/220). Fales has somewhat of an awkward style but is not afraid to move within the pocket and possesses plenty of arm talent to do damage. Fales specifically likes to target move TE Ryan Otten (#82/6’6/245), who gives solid blocking effort but is best when allowed to work downfield. We wouldn't be surprised if CB Preston Hadley (#7/6’0/200) is asked to cover Otten once in awhile.

BYU
junior S Daniel Sorensen (#9/6’2/215)
ILB Brandon Ogletree (#44/5’11/228)
ILB Uona Kaveinga (#4/5’11/233)
junior WR Cody Hoffman (#4/6’4/215)
T Braden Brown (#75/6’6/300)
G Braden Hansen (#76/6’6/307)
junior TE Kaneakua Friel (#82/6’5/250)

San Jose State
junior ILB Vince Buhagiar (#36/6’4/237)
junior WR Noel Grigsby (#23/5’11/175)
DE Travis Johnson (#43/6’3/244)
junior OLB Keith Smith (#31/6’1/229)
RB DeLeon Eskridge (#2/5’11/215)



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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