Another week of College Scout. The big game of the weekend is the LSU-Alabama matchup at 3:30 PM EST on CBS. That has National Championship implications, but we won’t look at that one today as we’ve profiled several of both teams players already this year. There are other good, important games on the slate. Lets take a look:
Virginia at Miami
(9:00 AM EST Channel 38): Virginia can keep itself alive for Bowl consideration with a win here, though they’ll need at least 2 more in addition. A loss would pretty much kill any shot of going Bowling at all. Miami still has an outside shot at getting to the ACC Championship game as they hung Georgia Tech’s only loss on them. So the game is important to both teams, though somewhat of an elimination game for at least some of their remaining goals for the loser.
(#41): Clark is a big, middle linebacker who checks in at a tall 6’5″ 245 and is playing more this season but still a backup. Came into the season with 11 career solo tackles, but that really shouldn’t be held against him because he has played behind a lot of great talent at Virginia such as Clint Sintim and Antonio Appleby. Now, recovering from a major knee injury this year, its taken him some time to work his way back in but he is playing decently in spots. The fact is, Clark is a project because he got injured after winning the starting spot as a junior and has never played a full season as a full-time player. Now a senior, he probably is only going to be a role player as he comes off injury and Virginia looks to groom younger players. But Clark is a talented, big kid who has shown a lot in spurts and deserves a shot as a free agent in an NFL camp.
(#45): Burrell is starting at outside linebacker for the Cavaliers and playing well. He shows NFL size at 6’4″ 245 lbs., has good speed, a lot of experience and already plays in Al Groh’s defense which is similar to the Patriots’ system. Good special teams player. This year Burrell has 32 stops thru 8 games, has held up well on the edge and is decent in coverage. He has good athletic ability. A late round choice, he’d appear to be a perfect candidate for the Patriots to take a look at as a role player who fits their system and also is good on special teams, as well as having some room to grow into a better player.
(#4): Hall is a do-it-all player for Virginia and a tremendous athlete. He has started at quarterback, cornerback and wide receiver at various times for the Cavs. He doesn’t have much of a future as an NFL quarterback, but he has shown some ability as a slot receiver and was a very good corner prior to playing more offense this year. For the year Hall has 18 catches for 205 yards and a touchdown. He has played some corner too and done decently there. Last year he started 11 games at corner and had 59 tackles and two picks. Hall is a great athlete who could play corner, receiver, return kicks and cover kicks in the NFL. He makes a good project due to his natural athletic ability. If he can post some blazing times at the combine, he may justv shoot up the charts as a draftable player.
(#5): James has had a solid, but not spectacular, career at Miami. The cousin of Edgerrin James, the former ‘Canes and NFL star, Javarris has not had the career Edge did at the U. But he has been solid, put up over 2,000 career yards rushing and shown decent receiving ability as well. This year he leads the ‘Canes in rushing with over 400 yards and a 5.2 per carry average. He’s been a bit banged up lately, but is probable to play this week. James is a fairly solid, shifty back with decent power but only average speed. Look for him to be about a mid to late round pick. He is versatile and solid in many aspects, but great at none. Perhaps if he bulked up or so from his 210 lb. frame he could be a fullback or more of a power back in the NFL.
(#64): Fox is a team captain and underrated player. He plays left tackle for the Hurricanes and is tough, physical and rarely gets beat on a pass assignment. On run blocking he is strong and relentless. He is a bit slow footed physically, so may be better suited for the right side in the NFL, but can certainly play at that level. He strikes me as someone who may interest the Patriots, though he’d have to prove he has the athletic ability to block in space. Additionally, the Patriots have locked up a lot of tackles long-term so may not be looking to add another in the next draft. If they did, Fox would be a possible mid-round choice.
UConn at Cincinnati
(8:00 PM ABC): The Huskies head to Cincinnati who surprisingly find themselves at 8-0 and 4th in the Nation at the moment. Cincinnati was thought by some to take a step back this year as they only returned one starter on defense. But, instead they have only gotten better and tougher under fantastic head coach Brian Kelly. They still have dreams of National Championship games, so they’ll be focused in prime time at home here. UConn has suffered some very difficult losses two weeks in a row after the death of one of their team members. They’ll need an inspired performance to pull an upset here.
(#9): A pass rushing defensive end with the size for linebacker and possibly the athleticism as well. As a part-time player last year, Witten showed he could get to the quarterback with 5 sacks for the year. This year Witten is playing more and playing well. He is listed at 6’5″ 260 lbs. and he moves well for a man that size. Started only 8 games in 3 years entering this year but had 10.5 sacks. This year he has matched that in 8 games, which has sent his draft standing soaring up the charts. His best chance at the NFL may actually be as a linebacker as he may not be stout enough at the point of attack to play 4-3 end. He has a lot of ability and makes plays.
(#33): A slightly undersized, but smart and solid player at safety, Vaughn is a local kid who hails from North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Had 27 starts entering this season. Was 2nd team All Big East last year. This year, Vaughn ranks third on the team in tackles and continues his playmaking ways with 4 interceptions, which gives him 13 for his career. Vaughn is a typical centerfielder type, smart, good instincts and ball skills, directs the plays and isn’t the most physical guy in the world. Good, but not great athletic ability, he is probably a late round choice. Has been a very good college player and can play special teams, so he’ll get a shot.
(#15): Pike is actually unlikely to play after breaking his non-throwing arm and dislocating his non-throwing wrist in a game October 15th. He has resumed practicing, but probably won’t get back in this week. He is a top NFL draft prospect however. He was displaying great decision-making, accuracy and leadership for the undefeated Bearcats while hurt. We’ll check back on him around Bowl time, but he has great size, an excellent arm and was moving up into first round discussions at the time he got injured.
(#17): Webster was actually the only returning starter on the Bearcats defense this year, though many others had significant experience. A good cover safety and pretty effective run helper, Webster has solid 211 lb. size and the versatility to both cover and play in the box. A smart, leader who can play special teams, he may interest the Patriots as a sort of late round pick with lots of experience, decent ability and able to play special teams they seek.