CBS Sports' Rob Rang ranks Washington junior LB/S Shaq Thompson as the No. 17 overall prospect.
This is a generous preseason grade from an analyst who clearly believes the Huskies' tweener won't have problems acclimating to the NFL. TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline, for instance, graded Thompson as a Rounds 4-5 prospect earlier this summer. "Since signing with the Huskies as a prep safety, Thompson has grown into a true three-down linebacker, maintaining his agility, speed and open-field tackling skills while improving his strength," Rang wrote. Thompson, 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, runs a 4.56 forty. It will be important for him to keep adding weight if he intends to stick at linebacker (CBS lists Thompson at 231 pounds).
Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth "will emerge as one of the hottest commodities in college coaching" this season, writes FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman.
"And it'll have nothing to do with the fact that he can bench press more than like 95 percent of his players," Feldman deadpanned. "Well, almost nothing. The 45-year-old Hudspeth, 99-33 all-time as a head coach, has 18 returning starters and has a good shot to knock off Ole Miss or Boise State even though both games are on the road." ULL athletics director Scott Farmer gave Hudspeth a six-year contract extension in June after three straight 9-4 seasons that all culminated with bowl victories.
Louisville senior RB Michael Dyer (quadriceps) is considered questionable for the season opener on Sept. 1 against Miami.
"He still has some swelling in there," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said Monday. It was assumed that Dyer would progress quickly enough that he wouldn't have to miss any game time, but Petrino said the running back has not healed as expected. Dyer (5-foot-9, 214 pounds) missed practice every day last week. True freshman L.J. Scott (6-foot, 228 pounds) will back up senior starter Dominique Brown if Dyer can't go on Monday.
NFLDraftScout.com projects four running backs -- Todd Gurley (Georgia), Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), Mike Davis (South Carolina) and T.J. Yeldon (Alabama) -- as possible first-round picks.
No running back has gone in the first round in the last two drafts. Quick! Name the last running back drafted in Round 1. Stumped? If you said David Wilson, step up and accept your prize of a free NFL Draft news blurb. Trent Richardson was a top-five selection in the 2012 draft, and Doug Martin and Wilson went with the last two picks in the first round in that class. The Browns regret taking Richardson, the Colts regret trading for him, Martin's career has been up and down, and Wilson has already retired due to injury. This, along with the realization that the pass should be used to set up the run and not vice-versa, is the reason the NFL doesn't devote valuable high draft picks to the position. Gurley and Gordon are good enough to change that, however.
Former Nebraska junior DT Aaron Curry transferred to TCU.
"Not only is it close to home but I like TCU's defense," Curry said. Curry left Lincoln a few weeks ago and was reportedly set to transfer to Oklahoma. However, the Sooners didn't have a scholarship for him, re-opening Curry's recruitment. "I feel like I can fit in with it well. I've always wanted to play in the Big 12. I like the coaches and the players, and it's a great fit." The 6-foot-1, 280-pound junior from Keller recorded 26 tackles and two sacks last season.
Texas A&M redshirt senior G Jarvis Harrison "has been described by Aggies' coaches as their most athletic offensive lineman and he flashes the talent worthy of early round consideration," reports CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
"Harrison has impressive initial quickness, including a burst to get to the second level that belies his massive frame," Rang wrote. "He has a thick build, especially in his lower body, that helps him absorb bull rushes and generate power as a drive blocker and is surprisingly fluid in pass protection." The 6-foot-3, 325-pound Harrison runs a 5.27 forty. "Harrison is too satisfied with getting an initial block on his opponent and doesn't work hard enough to sustain," Rang wrote. "Harrison carries a little too much weight around his middle, which causes him to bend at the waist rather than at his knees, making him top-heavy. He must show improved awareness and balance to re-direct towards moving targets when run blocking at the second level."
Auburn announced sophomore QB Jeremy Johnson will start the opener against Arkansas on Saturday.
Perhaps the bigger news -- though it was expected -- is that Tigers coach Gus Malzahn announced Tuesday that Nick Marshall will play on Saturday. "We have a plan, and they know the plan," Malzahn said. Marshall isn't starting as punishment for a marijuana citation he received over the summer. "We have a lot of confidence in [Jeremy] to run our entire offense, and like I said before, he's very talented," Malzahn said. "The two games he played last year, he was the freshman SEC offensive player of the week." Johnson, who will be making his first SEC start, threw for 422 yards and six touchdowns in starts against Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic in 2013.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer compared true freshman wide receiver Isaiah Ford to Antonio Freeman on Monday.
A reporter asked Beamer at Monday's news conference to compare Ford to a previous receiver he'd coached. "Maybe an Antonio Freeman?" Beamer said. "He makes plays. He's got some height to him." Freeman, who played nine seasons with the Packers and Eagles, is a former Hokies' receiver. Ford (6-foot-1, 174 pounds) will start in Saturday's opener against FCS opponent William & Mary. He wants to walk on to VT's basketball team when the football season concludes. "There have been a lot of football guys that wanted to play basketball, but he's the first one I ever thought that actually could play basketball, too," Beamer said. "He's just a gifted athlete, he's got a great head on his shoulders, he's smart, he keeps everything in perspective. I think he's the real deal."