I’m going to start creating an open thread each Saturday so if you’re watching a game or a prospect and want to throw some thoughts down – please do. I’ll be watching two games this week:
Tennessee at Georgia
The Bulldogs are intense this year and determined to have an impact in the SEC. They feel it’s their time. The defense is filled with NFL talent and Aaron Murray is putting together a solid Heisman campaign. It’s another opportunity for Jarvis Jones (DE, LB) to show what he can do as a pass rusher and playmaker – Jones could be the top 2013 eligible player at any position and the #1 pick next year. Jonathan Jenkins has tremendous potential as a nose tackle and he’s well supported by the underrated Abry Jones on the defensive line. Linebacker Alec Ogletree hasn’t received much hype after missing the start of the season, but he’s also a NFL talent. Defensive backs Shawn Williams and Baccari Rambo are also worth watching.
Aaron Murray is really hoping Russell Wilson blossoms as a starter this year. At around 6-1 Murray is taller than Wilson but will suffer from the same level of scepticism. At times he looks like a fine prospect, dissecting a defense like a surgeon while also showing enough athletic ability to make plays outside of the pocket. Then there are other games where he struggles – badly. So far he’s had a very good 2012, but to get around a lack of ideal physical attributes he’s going to need guys like Wilson to step up. If he does, and if Murray continues to perform, he could be a first or second round pick. It’s still a big ‘if’ at this stage. Wilson isn’t just playing to prove critics wrong in Seattle, he’s playing to change the way people think about quarterbacks.
Tennessee’s best prospects are on offense and the passing game, so it’ll be good to see how they match up against the talented Georgia unit. Tyler Bray is a gun-slinger without ideal mechanics or footwork. Reports also say he’s not the most natural leader – and it’s hard to forget his first bowl game as a freshman, which included tears after mistakes and a bizarre throat-slitting celebration every time he scored a touchdown. He is a natural passer though and can only boost his stock by winning games like this. He can’t complain about the options he has at receiver. Despite losing Da’Rick Rogers (who is doing pretty well at Tennessee Tech, as it happens), he’s inherited Cordarrelle Patterson. Last week was a down week for Patterson, who did a bad job on a route leading to a pick six against Akron and his quarterback didn’t let him forget it. He’s too much of a talent to ignore in this one though, so expect Patterson to get a lot of looks. He’s big, fast, strong and a playmaker. He’ll play opposite Justin Hunter who is still looking pretty consistent after returning from a serious knee injury. He’s also perhaps the most complete receiver eligible for 2013.
Ole Miss at Alabama
This is probably going to be a very easy victory for the Crimson Tide – Ole Miss’ best draft prospect might be punter Tyler Campbell. Alabama has no such concerns. A.J. McCarron is an underrated quarterback who benefits from a dominating ground game anchored by brilliant guard prospect Chance Warmack and versatile center Barrett Jones. I don’t expect to learn much from this game, rather than sit back and simply enjoy watching the best college team dominate. Aside from the names mentioned, ‘Bama also has the best 2013 eligible cornerback in Dee Milliner, a solid defensive tackle in Jesse Williams and an athletic linebacker in C.J. Mosley. Watch the game, have a look at a handful of players who will be significant pro’s at the next level.
According to Chris Steuber, the Seahawks will have representatives at this weekend’s Baylor vs West Virginia game. Could they be keeping tabs on Tavon Austin? He had 13 catches for WVU last weekend and three touchdowns. Steuber also reports Seattle will have guys at the Marshall vs Purdue game (Marshall – Aaron Dobson WR, Purdue – Kawann Short DT) and Oregon vs Washington State (Oregon – Dion Jordan DE, Washington State – Travis Long DE, Marquess Wilson WR).
— Chris Steuber (@ChrisSteuber) September 28, 2012
We’ve talked about some of the Georgia prospects above and I wanted to include some of the tape in this post. Below you’ll find Jarvis Jones and Aaron Murray vs Vanderbilt from last week. Thanks again to JMPasq for supplying the footage.