Miami senior CB Ladarius Gunter "quietly enjoyed an impressive game" Saturday versus South Carolina, observed CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
"The 6-foot-2, 198-pounder has the blend of length, agility and physicality that will intrigue defenses looking to emulate the Seattle Seahawks' big press corners and he showed his versatility against South Carolina, logging snaps at boundary and nickel corner as well as safety," Rang wrote. We agree that the JUCO transfer fits with the NFL's increased desire to find big corners to combat jumbo-sized receivers. Gunter accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl earlier this month.
Miami junior OT Ereck Flowers "stood out in pass protection and as a run blocker" in Saturday's loss to South Carolina, wrote CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
Flowers was the best pro prospect on the field against the Gamecocks. "The 6-5, 324-pound junior is surprisingly light on his feet, demonstrating the balance to mirror edge rushers and the burst to get to the second level," Rang wrote. "Flowers was frequently able to seal off the left side, creating big lanes for [Duke] Johnson (and others) to exploit. Scouts are split on whether Flowers is athletic enough to remain at left tackle in the NFL but given his pro-ready frame and combative style of play, he could earn a first-round selection at right tackle or guard." Flowers went No. 12 to the Rams in Todd McShay's first 2015 mock draft. Now we await word on whether he'll declare for the draft. TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reported last month that Flowers "has told people he’s not thinking about the draft."
USC freshman WR/CB/KR Adoree' Jackson scored on a 98-yard kickoff return and a 71-yard reception in Saturday's Holiday Bowl win versus Nebraska.
Jackson, a natural corner, was also tasked with slowing down Huskers' WR Kenny Bell. It was a game for the ages in Jackson's first bowl. The kick return was particularly insane, as Jackson raced untouched to the opposite end zone and did a front flip without slowing down (drawing a 15-yard penalty). Jackson was named Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year earlier this month. The 5-foot-10, 182-pound Jackson, a five-star recruit, will be the rare defenders spoken of in Heisman conversations beginning next season.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban indicated that junior RB T.J. Yeldon (ankle) is continuing to progress and appears to be on track for this week's playoff game against Ohio State.
"Hopefully he’ll continue to progress," Saban said. "He had a significant amount of time off but he seems to be making progress now and I’m hopeful that he’ll be able to make a contribution in the game." Yeldon sprained his ankle against LSU last month. He also suffered through a hamstring injury in the first month of the season. Even so, Yeldon leads the Tide in rushing with 932 yards.
Miami junior RB Duke Johnson "is dynamic in space" and will compete with Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah as the "elite 'air back' in the 2015 draft," wrote CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
The 5-foot-9, 194-pound Johnson had 1,652 rushing yards on a 6.8 YPC average and 10 touchdowns in 2014, adding 38 receptions for 421 yards and three scores. "Though perhaps shorter and slighter than ideal for a traditional franchise back, Johnson proved precisely that for the Hurricanes, a program well known for producing elite runners," Rang wrote. "Johnson leaves Miami as the most productive back in school history, overtaking the likes of Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, Willis McGahee and Ottis Anderson, among others with 3,519 career rushing yards, including the 132 he ran for Saturday." On Sunday, Johnson officially declared for the 2015 NFL Draft. CBS projects him as a Day 2 pick. "Johnson is a natural runner with light feet and greasy knees which help him slither through gaps with a gait that looks almost effortless," Rang wrote.
South Carolina junior RB Mike Davis "is a virtual bowling ball whose strength lies in his determined, powerful downhill running," wrote CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
"[Davis'] low center of gravity, balance and power make him an ideal finisher," wrote the analyst. "With 'just' 982 rushing yards this season, Davis wasn't able to match last year's breakout performance. His no-nonsense game, however, projects well to the next level." The 5-foot-9, 223-pound Davis announced last week that he will declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. This year's running back class is outstanding, featuring elite prospects and good overall depth. That might be bad news for the Gamecock prospect.
Minnesota true freshman RB Jeff Jones was academically cleared to participate in spring practices.
Jones failed to qualifying academically coming out of Minneapolis Washburn as the nation’s No. 7 RB by Rivals.com. He has since done so, and will be on the field this spring competing for playing time. "He did a great job," HC Jerry Kill said. David Cobb and Donnell Kirkwood won't be around in 2015, so it's conceivable that Jones could start immediately. He'll have to fend off junior Rodrick Williams and redshirt freshman Berkley Edwards.
Minnesota dismissed sophomore WR Donovahn Jones for an unspecified violation of team rules.
We probably won't get details on the dismissal until Monday, when head coach Jerry Kill is scheduled to meet with the media. This is what we do know: Jones traveled with the Gophers last week to Florida to prepare for Thursday's Citrus Bowl against Missouri. On Friday morning, he was no longer a member of the team. Jones made nine starts and was the third-leading receiver on the team, posting 253 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. Isaac Fruechte could be in line for a start against the Tigers.