Player News

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NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Virginia Tech DT Tim Settle to former Patriots DT Vince Wilfork.

Lofty territory, and it speaks to Settle's (6'3/335) scintillating size/athleticism combination and upside. "Settle has rare gifts for a big man with good mass, play strength, quickness, and agility," Zierlein wrote. "He has the potential to become a very good starter with a Pro Bowl ceiling if he controls his weight and maintains his conditioning." An AFC defensive line coach broke Settle down to Zierlein thusly: "I need to watch him more but Bud (Foster) moved him around and I saw a guy who can play both nose spots, 3 (technique), 4, and maybe 5. Reminds me of when (Dontari) Poe came out. He ain't Poe, but he can play all over the line like Poe could."
Source: NFL.com
Feb 19 - 10:04 PM

FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman reports that former Miami DL coach Craig Kuligowski will join Alabama's staff.

Kuligowski is expected to become Nick Saban's new DL coach. Kuligowski played for Saban at Toledo. Since then, he's turned into one of the game's best DL coaches, getting rave reviews for his work with Missouri and Miami. He developed five first-round defensive linemen at Mizzou, and his Hurricane unit was incredibly active over the past two seasons.
Source: SI
Feb 19 - 9:48 PM

Miami announced in a press release that DL coach Craig Kuligowski "is leaving the program to pursue other opportunities."

This is disappointing -- Kuligowski is considered one of the top DL coaches in the game -- but not shocking. Kuligowski recently interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their DL coach opening. He didn't get that job, but perhaps he has his eye on a different position.
Feb 19 - 9:43 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Alabama DT Da'Ron Payne to Baltimore Ravens DT Brandon Williams.

"Payne possesses one of the most impressive combinations of strength and athleticism that we've seen from an interior lineman," he wrote. Pro Football Focus ranked Williams as the No. 3 run-stuffing 3-4 DE in the NFL last season. The 6-foot-2, 319-pound Payne is also a vicious, powerful run defender. Payne also acquits himself on tape as a player who'll be a better pass-rusher in the NFL than he was at Alabama. With the Tide, he was often asked to eat blocks to clear space for linebackers, a task he's exceptionally good at. An NFL executive told Zierlein that Payne will be a better NFL player than former Tide standout A'Shawn Robinson: "I think A'Shawn Robinson was more talented than Da'Ron (Payne) and I know Robinson had better (tackle-for-loss) and sack production than him, but Payne plays harder and I think he'll be the better NFL player. He's thick and strong, but he's also a really good athlete and I see his best football in front of him."
Source: NFL.com
Feb 19 - 9:39 PM

In his scouting report of Washington State QB Luke Falk, Walter Football's Charlie Campbell compares Falk to Kirk Cousins.

"Scouting sources have compared Falk to Cousins, which makes sense," writes Campbell. "They don't have great skill sets or overpowering arms, but they are accurate rhythm throwers." Cousins faced similar concerns about his arm strength coming out of the 2012 NFL Draft, but has become an upper-echelon quarterback who is about to get paid an awful lot of money by someone. He ended up going to Washington in the fourth-round that year, and Campbell writes that Falk could go right around that range in 2018. If he does, he could be a steal for a team that gives him a chance to play, or become a competent backup.
Feb 19 - 6:57 PM

NFLDraftScout's Rob Rang believes that Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch will be the combine's "breakout star."

Vander Esch was a breakout star for the Broncos in 2017 -- going from virtual unknown to winning the Mountain West Conference's defensive player of the year -- and multiple analysts have named him as a player they expect to do well in Indianapolis. Rang is not an exception. "Don’t be surprised when Vander Esch produces some of the top marks in 40-yard dash, shuttle drills and laps (among similarly sized prospects), regardless of position," he writes. The tape matters more, but if Vander Esch does stand out like Rang expects, he could start earning more first-round talk.
Feb 19 - 6:46 PM

While discussing the 10 receivers he's most excited to see during the NFL Scouting Combine, NFL Network Analyst Steve Smith compares Miami WR Braxton Berrios to Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman.

Smith acknowledges his bias to the shorter receivers, and considering how productive he was despite being "undersized," we can't fault him. Barrios was impressive during Senior Bowl practices, with Smith's colleague Bucky Brooks calling him the ultimate slot receiver. "Berrios can play all over the field and makes tough catches look easy," he writes. "I love what he brings to the table and is capable of being the next Danny Amendola or Julian Edelman. A lot of scouts focus on what players can't do, but if they look at what he can do, they'll be pleasantly surprised." If Berrios runs a quality time at the combine, it will do wonders for his draft stock.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 19 - 6:33 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline believes that Texas Tech WR Keke Coutee could be a sleeper as a receiver and return-specialist.

Pro Football Focus listed Coutee as one of the most versatile offensive players in the class because of his ability in the slot and also the deep ball. Pauline adds that he could be an effective returner because of his speed and ability to make tacklers miss. "The junior is an explosive player who’s a threat to score any time the ball is in his hands," he writes. "Even though he’s slightly undersized and will probably check in around 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, Coutee plays tough, competitive football." Pauline also notes that he'll likely be the fastest wide receiver that receives a top-100 selection.
Feb 19 - 6:18 PM

Rivals National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell calls Ohio State five-star T signee Nicholas Petit-Frere the best fit of the tackle signings in the Big Ten.

To be fair, a talent like Petit-Frere (6'6/272) would be a perfect fit for everyone; he's considered one of -- if not the -- best offensive lineman in the class. It is fair to point out how well he fits with the Buckeyes, however, because of the type of offense Urban Meyer runs. "Petit-Frere has as high a ceiling as any offensive lineman in this class and will be an elite left tackle down the line," Farrell writes. "He's a guy who can also get out to the second level in Ohio State’s offense." There's a real chance we'll see him play early, but the Buckeyes may be tempted to let him get stronger and not burn a redshirt season.
Source: Rivals
Feb 19 - 6:05 PM

Charlotte has hired Howard co-DC Chip West to be the new co-defensive coordinator and CB coach.

West also was the recruiting coordinator and DB coach for the Bisons, so it sounds like he was pretty busy. Prior to joining Howard, he coached at Virginia, James Madison, Fordham, Colgate and Old Dominion.
Feb 19 - 5:49 PM

Uncommitted five-star 2019 ATH Bru McCoy is hoping to make spring visits to Oklahoma and Alabama.

McCoy is one of the true two-way prospects in the 2019 class, as he's considered an elite potential player at both wide receiver and outside linebacker. He told 247 Sports he doesn't want to take any officials this spring, but does want to visit Oklahoma and Alabama's spring game. He also notes he wants to visit Michigan at some point, but probably not for their spring contest. He ranks as the top athlete in 247 Sports composite rankings, and the eighth best prospect overall.
Source: 247 Sports
Feb 19 - 5:33 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline writes that Texas CB Holton Hill has "next level" ball skills.

Hill was suspended in November for failing a drug test, and reports are that it was the third time he had failed one while a member of the Texas program. The talent has never been in question, as Pauline notes. "I like his ability in bump-and-run or press coverage and believe he’ll start as a nickel back before growing into a starter," he writes. "This relies on good testing numbers at the combine as well as a clean background check." Teams will especially be nervous about the latter, but if he tests well and they believe he can contribute without causing distractions, he'll certainly be drafted.
Feb 19 - 5:15 PM

Louisiana Tech will hire Northern Iowa CB coach Jeff Burris to work in the same capacity.

Burris replaces Kevin Curtis as the new defensive back coach, who left the Bulldogs to join the staff at SMU under Sonny Dykes. Prior to working for NIU, he worked for the Miami Dolphins from 2013-2015, and he also coached at Notre Dame in 2016.
Feb 19 - 5:03 PM

Florida State sophomore RB Cam Akers said his goals this year are to win a national championship and rush for 2,000 yards.

While neither of these seem terribly likely on paper, there's at least a chance of both, particularly the latter. Akers ran for 1,024 yards last year, but he did it on only 18 carries a game, and also while often facing 8-man fronts as teams didn't fear the Seminole passing game. Much of his damage was done after contact, so if Florida State can open more seams for him, he should at least be among the ACC leaders in rushing in 2018.
Source: ESPN
Feb 19 - 4:49 PM

247 Sports National college football writer Chris Hummer ranks South Carolina 25th in his way-too-early top 25 series.

South Carolina was one of the more pleasant surprised in 2017, and they could take another step forward in 2018, as Hummer notes. They return 12 starters this fall -- eight on offense, four on defense -- and one of them is talented junior QB Jake Bentley. "The defensive side of the ball is where South Carolina will truly be tested with seven starters departing," writes Hummer. "Three of the Gamecocks' four starting defensive linemen are gone. Fortunately for South Carolina, standout defensive end Dennis Wonnum (13 TFL) is back to anchor the group and edge defender Bryson Allen-Williams returns from injury." The SEC is always loaded, but if the defense holds and Bentley takes strides forward, they could contend for the SEC East.
Source: 247 Sports
Feb 19 - 4:22 PM



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