Today, we’re going to do something a bit different and look around the country at a few of the best juniors in all of college football. Some (but probably not all) may end up in this spring’s NFL draft, and all will at some point be playing in the NFL.
Florida QB Tim Tebow (#15)
The defending Heisman Trophy winner is as unique a quarterback as I have seen. On one hand, he has traditional drop-back QB size at 6’3″ 232. He also possesses a strong arm and is smart. Yet, he doesn’t play conventionally. He uses his legs to scramble around the pocket and at times takes off running. As a freshman, Florida basically used him as their short yardage and goal line running back. He has the strength to overpower, as witnessed by his 23 rushing touchdowns as a sophomore. Tebow’s passing has also clearly improved. He throws a lot on the run and is somewhat of a product of Florida’s unique offense, but he does have the physical tools to play quarterback in the NFL. It should be interesting to see how he adopts to the NFL, but it should be noted he plays in the same offensive system as the former #1 pick of the 49ers, Alex Smith. Smith has yet to adjust to NFL offenses. You can watch Tebow play on CBS at 3:30 against South Carolina, but in the meantime, here are some highlights from his historic 2007 season.
Probably one of the two most talented running backs in college football, along with Georgia sophomore Knowshon Moreno. Wells is a big 237 lb. back who can also burn a defense with elusive moves and breakaway speed. Wells is an all-around combination of size and speed whose one weakness is lack of involvement in the passing game. But the talent is obvious, he can punish a defense with power or run away from them with moves and speed. If he came out, he quite possibly could be the top pick in the draft and would instantly be a workhorse stud running back in the NFL for whatever team gets him. Watch him wear out the Illinois defense at Noon on ESPN. Here is a great run Wells made against Wisconsin.
Texas QB Colt McCoy (#12)
McCoy has been one of the two best quarterbacks in college football this year, along with Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell. McCoy is a strong armed athlete who runs the Longhorns with cool efficiency. One of the strengths of McCoy’s game is that he never seems to get rattled. He does need to bulk up a bit as he isn’t the biggest quarterback, and he has improved on not forcing balls this season, but still needs to work on that. He has great touch on balls and excellent accuracy. He can throw on the move. Also a natural leader, he’ll be a first round pick. Watch him today take on Kansas at 12:30 PM EST on Fox Sports Networks.
Here is one of my favorite linebackers in college football, Herzlich reminds me very much of Mike Vrabel. Not quite as big as Vrabel, but he has the frame to bulk up a bit more at 6’4″ 238. He plays similarly to Vrabel in that he can rush the passer, or get out in coverage, and is a good athlete who also has speed to get out on the edge of the field. He is nowhere near the pass rusher he can be at this point, but the talent to do it is there. Right now, BC rarely uses him down to rush the passer. I like this kid a lot, he’s a playmaker. He surely won’t come out in 2009, but has a chance to be a high pick after his senior year in 2010. Watch him and the rest of the BC Eagles visit Florida State tonight at 8:00 PM on ABC. Here are some highlights of the underrated Herzlich.
USC S Taylor Mays (#2)
USC has perhaps one of the best safety tandems in the history of college football. At strong safety, they have senior Kevin Ellison, who’ll likely be a very high pick this upcoming draft. And at free safety, they have the awesome athlete Mays, who could end up being better than the more heralded Ellison. At 6’4″ 225, Mays is the athlete that Ellison isn’t. Ellison is more of an in the box bruiser. While Mays has the size to do that, he also has the speed and athleticism to be a cover guy and to always be in the vicinity to intimidate receivers in space as well. This is a safety with great size, but who has also run a 4.25/40. Just a remarkable athlete. If he comes out, there is a chance he could race up the charts past Ellison when he is tested and more closely examined. He should be a combine star given his athleticism. If he does come out, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up being a top 5 pick, far in front of Ellison. Known to be a punishing hitter as well. Given his love for physical, athletic safeties I can not think of a player Bill Belichick is more likely to fall in love with. One concern is he has had some past ankle problems and only 1 interception over the past two seasons, though he did have 3 as a freshman. Will he be the best safety of all-time someday? USC takes on Stanford at 7:00 PM on Versus Cable.
Greg Doyle’s ‘College Scout’ appears weekly on Patriots Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.