Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Sunday with the Fantasy Sports Channel



FEBRUARY 1, 2009 SCHEDULE - FROM 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. - CLICK TO LISTEN

8am-9am - Encore presentation w/Frank Maniscalco (/sportsfromfrankiesview)
9am-9:30am - Live w/Lenny Melnick (/lenny-melnick)
9:30-10am - Live w/Eli Gold (/thedream)
10am-11am - Live w/Tony Cincotta (/AFFC-Football)
11am-12pm - Live w/Scott Engel & Ben Ice (/rotoradio)
12pm-1pm - Live w/Greg Kellogg (/Fantasy-Sharks)
1pm-2pm - Live w/Craig Davis, Ryan Brooks & Steve Sheiner (/twofeetinbounds)
2pm-4pm - Encore presentation of Fantasy Fest '09 (/itt)
4-5pm - Live w/Chris Wassel (/theprogram)
5-9pm - Encore presentation of The FSTA Awrds & Winter Conference
9-10pm - Live w/Audley Stephenson & Dave Mendonca (/thenbabreakdown)

Additional Scheduling Note: A full encore presentation of the Fantasy Fest '09 Show will air on Tuesday (2/3) at 8am EST and the FSTA Awards Show from 10am to 4pm EST.

Coaches Corner With Dave Christensen


Brought to you by All Access Football Radio Channel, in affiliation with Blog Talk Radio.

** LISTEN NOW **


Coach DAVE CHRISTENSEN is in his first year as headman at the University of Wyoming after orchestrating one of the most explosive attacks as the Offensive Coordinator at Missouri. Coach Christensen talks with CFI Founder and NFL Draft Bible President Daniel Mogollon about his knew job, as well as several of his players at Missouri who are moving on to the NFL -- Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman, Chase Daniel and Chase Patton.

Photo Credit: Mizzou Media Relations

Friday, January 30, 2009

DICK VERMEIL On All Access Football

ALL ACCESS FOOTBALL FRIDAY SHOW! JANUARY 30th, 2008 * 8:00-10:00 PM EST

Every Friday Night on the All Access Football Radio Channel, in affiliation with Blog Talk Radio.

The Two Hour show will be hosted by Rodney Towe with analysts Daniel Mogollon (College Football Insiders Founder/NFL Draft Bible President) and NFL Draft BibleCFI Senior Writer Ralph Mancini

WHAT'S ON TAP:


• Special Guest Super Bowl winning head coach DICK VERMEIL
• Boston College TE RYAN PURVIS, who will be playing in the Texas vs. the Nation game
• NFL Draft Bible Super Scout KELRON SYKES, Small School Insider JOSH BUCHANAN and Draft Guys CECIL LAMMEY and SIGMUND BLOOM call in from the Texas vs. the Nation game
• Fantasy Five: Ones To Watch - Five Sleeper Running Backs for 2009
• Scott Daniels of the Legal Line joins us to discuss a potentially game-breaking

*** LISTEN HERE ***

*Join our chat or call-in with your questions: 347.945.6275

*Missed It Live? Shows are archived 15 minutes upon conclusion of each episode here

Senior Bowl: South - Practice Notes

Quarterbacks: Pat White had a solid week throwing the football, displaying good zip on his sideline passes. On one play in 11-on-11 Alphonso Smith – hands down the best cover corner – thought he could jump White’s pass, but did not get there in time. White also showed the ability throw on the move, rolling both to his right and left. It’s hard to say how much NFL personnel people were turned off by White’s reluctance to play another position during the week--if he holds firm on that stance, he could hurt his stock. However, if he agrees to play a slash role, White may have opened some eyes in terms of being a viable option as a number two quarterback. He could be very valuable, saving an extra roster spot or two.

John Parker Wilson had his moments – both good and bad. His arm is solid and he made some sharp throws, but also was off target on several occasions. Wilson does seem to have the intangibles teams look for and commands the huddle, making him a solid candidate as a number two quarterback.

The least impressive quarterback on the South squad in practice was Cullen Harper. Many of his passes were short or behind his intended target. He also didn’t exude confidence with his body language. Harper did not have the bounce back week he desperately needed after a down senior season.

Running Backs: NC State product Andre Brown showed good burst running the football throughout the week, particularly for a man of his size. After the underclassmen are selected, Brown could be the first senior running back off the board. Durability is his biggest question mark.

James Davis couldn’t have been more disappointing in passing situations. He struggled trying to block linebackers and he completely missed Rey Maualuga…didn’t even get a hand on him. He wasn’t any better coming out of the backfield as a receiver, allowing passes to go through his hands coughing the ball up after he was hit by a defender in the Thursday scrimmage.

Small school runner Rashad Jennings looks as good as any of the backs in the blocking drills. More importantly, he looks like he belongs among the big boys…for my money he’s the best FCS prospect heading into the 2009 Draft. A big back who runs with power between the tackles and has more than enough speed.

Arian Foster did a solid job on Rey Maualuga. Considering Foster will likely make a living as a number two back and a pass catcher, the ability to protect in pass coverage is critical to his evaluation.

LSU fullback Quinn Johnson was not stellar in pass blocking drills, but he has the look of a very good lead blocker in the running game – he’s at his best in the eye-formation. He’s shown enough this week to earn a draftable grade.

Wide Receivers: Mohamed Massaquoi
looked very smooth coming in and out of his routes – he’s a natural athlete. He made a nice catch on Alphonso Smith. We saw the good and the bad from this Georgia product on one play: Massaquoi beat Derek Pegues with crisp move at the line of scrimmage…but dropped the ball, which has always been the knock on him. A hamstring injury cut his week short, which was too bad…he looked like he had a chance to help himself this week.

Quan Cosby
made several great catches and held on to the football after taking a big hit from Corey Francies. No one can question his hands.

The same can’t be said for former Seminole Greg Carr, a late injury addition, who had several passes bounce off his hands. Way too many balls end up on the ground after touching his hands.

Mike Wallace had a good week, showing the ability to run crisp routes and blowing by most of the defensive backs he was matched up against. He did have a bad drop, but I think he made an impression on scouts this week. He could be one of those guys who turn out to be a better pro than he was a collegian. Wallace has nice tools.

Patrick Turner flashed some nice moves to shake free from coverage. Not many receivers can go up and get the football like this former Trojan – he catches the ball with his hands. He’s a big kid, with good athleticism making him a very intriguing prospect. Turner looks comfortable running slant patterns, which is how he can make a living at the next level – as a West Coast Offense wide receiver. With his size, he could be a real red zone weapon.

Tight Ends: Shawn Nelson surprised with his ability as an in-line blocker, particularly when he man-handled Rey Maualuga, throwing him down to the ground in a one-on-one blocking drill. Nelson really helped himself this week–everyone knew he could catch the football and if he continues to show this type of ability as a blocker, his stock will only continue to rise.

Travis McCall
had his issues blocking linebackers. First Darry Beckweth blew by him, then Ashlee Palmer used a spin move to evade him. Pass catching isn’t McCall’s calling card so his stock may be slipping, especially when you consider that neither one of these linebackers are considered pass rushers.

Anthony Hill impressed as a blocker, a role which wasn’t considered his forte coming into the Senior Bowl. He constantly drove back linebackers and did an excellent overall job run blocking.

Offensive Tackles: Troy Kropog disappointed as he was bull-rushed way too easily and was even knocked on his rear end. While he has a solid frame, Kropog needs to put on some weight. It will take some time for him to develop before he sees regular action on Sundays. He is a bit of a project – boom or bust.

Michael Oher had an uneven week – at times he was dominant, flashing the potential we’ve seen over his four years at ‘Ole Miss. He owns a heck of a punch--once he gets his hands on a defender, consider his man blocked. Oher showed a nasty side and I mean that strictly in good way. However, he was beaten more often than one would expect from a potential top-10 pick. He is not a lock franchise left tackle and may have fallen behind fellow seniors Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith, who interestingly chose not to attend the Senior Bowl.

Florida’s Jason Watkins had trouble with speed and quickness throughout the week, which doesn’t bode well for a tackle.

Centers: Eric Wood is a physical interior lineman. He may have helped himself even though he wasn’t always winning the one-on-one battles. He’s not very athletic, but may be the most powerful center. Wood isn’t for everyone, but if you like your centers big, strong, and nasty, this Louisville man is for you.

Not a great week for Jonathan Luigs who too often was moving back, not of his own volition. Luigs can get overpowered at the point of attack by bigger linemen.

Antoine Caldwell battled well all week. The Alabama product is at his best holding his ground and going power against power.

Guards: Herman Johnson was overmatched at times, particularly when asked to block fellow SEC product Peria Jerry, who had him backpedaling and stumbling on several occasions. The big man was overpowered at times, and while some like his potential as a tackle, I’m not sure the lateral quickness is there and believe he should remain at guard.

Tyrone Green made a name for himself this week and in a year that is not deep at the guard position, Green is creeping up the charts. He struggled on the first day, but bounced back well and finished very strong.

Defensive Ends: Kyle Moore looked very good this week and should be moving up draft boards. His long arms allow him to keep linemen away from his body. He was beating interior linemen all week – at times overpowering them – and you could see him shifting to the inside in pass rushing situations in the NFL.

Robert Ayers did it all this week, showing he is stout at the point of the attack and that he possesses the athleticism to get into the backfield off the edge. He put an impressive spin move on Jonathan Luigs, blowing by him almost untouched. Not many players helped their cause in Mobile as much as this Volunteer.

Lawrence Sidbury
may not have come to the Senior Bowl with a recognizable name, but certainly made an impact as a pass rusher, something no team can have too much of. Another small school product who looks like he will make a smooth transition to the big leagues.

Did David Veikune just whiz by Michael Oher? Yes he did, displaying good speed and quickness. The second time this duo matched up, Oher dominated Veikune – once he was able to get his hands on the defensive end, Veikune wasn’t going anywhere. Veikune continued to flash potential throughout the week, showing quickness and the ability to get leverage.

Defensive Tackles: Peria Jerry beat Herman Johnson pretty easy with his quickness, then got around Eric Wood – he's a pure 3-technique type disrupter from the interior of the line. On the next rep, he pushed Wood off his heels. In 11-on-11, Jerry bested his man for what would have been a sack on John Parker Wilson. He could easily be the defensive player of the week for the South squad. His stock has risen all season and continues to do so.

Fili Moala flew under the radar, overshadowed by the performances of Peria Jerry and B.J. Raji, but he had a solid week in his own right. He went around Tyrone Green using his quickness on one play and on the next rep, he just bulldozed the Auburn product right into the pocket. Moala also beat Eric Wood, Jonathan Luigs and Herman Johnson, who he overpowered on one play, then followed it up by making the guard move his feet as Moala beat him with his quicks. I think Moala is underrated for two reasons –he’s overshadowed by bigger name players at USC, and he was hurt by playing so much nose tackle in USC’s 3-4 system. I could see him as a potential 5-technique 3-4 end at the next level, not a noseman.

Corvey Irvin doesn't always win the battle, but boy does he battle--it’s collision time when he's in there. Matching up with a fellow SEC product, Irvin got low and pushed Tyrone Green back. Irvin knocked John Parker Wilson down in 11-on-11s, he just couldn't help himself after making a nice move to break through the offensive line. You gotta love it! On the next play he got penetration against the run, beating Eric Wood. Irvin beat Jonathan Luigs with speed then pushed him back into the pocket. In the Thursday scrimmage he displayed good instincts reading a screen play.

Linebackers: After a mediocre Tuesday, Rey Maualuga came out like a man on fire on Wednesday, tossing James Davis aside like a rag doll in blocking drill. He then flashed his shoulder and got around Quinn Johnson, exploded by Arian Foster and used a swim move to burst by Davis again. He looked a different player, more like someone who will be off the board among the top 10 picks come April. In the scrimmage he proved he can cover and no one hits like this Man of Troy.

Brian Cushing showed the ability to shed blockers and was tough to contain as an edge pass rusher. He can do it all and is worthy of being a top ten pick.

He’s not quite as explosive as teammates Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing, but no one can doubt that Clay Matthews is going to be a player at the next level. He looks like such a natural pass rusher, who showed he can overpower blockers using leverage in addition to his ability to get off the edge.

Darry Beckwith has good athleticism, but can be overpowered if he gets engaged by blockers. Beckwith seems to try and go around blockers rather than beat them.

Cornerbacks: Alphonso Smith is what we thought he was…the best coverman in the 2009 Draft. He blanketed several receivers in one-on-one situations throughout the week of practice, and showed big play ability when he jumped a John Parker Wilson pass with nothing but green between him and the end zone. Smith dropped the pick, but his resume (21 interceptions) indicates ball skills aren’t an issue.

Ellis Lankster had a solid week and could be moving up the charts among his fellow cornerbacks. He had excellent coverage and showed the ability to cut and change direction quickly. The WVU product locked up several receivers and knocked a pass or two away.

Corey Francies is a very intriguing prospect because of his length, although he did not look great coming out of his pedal. He’s at his best in press coverage, but struggled some in off coverage.

Safeties: Defensive back Sherrod Martin is a little too aggressive, making him vulnerable to the double move. Martin’s tackling skills are in question, which limits his potential as a safety, but does he have the cover skills to play corner?

Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media, College Press Box, Chris McGuire (USC)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All Access Football Radio: All-Star Game Special

ALL ALL STAR GAME SPECIAL! JANUARY 28th, 2008 * 10:00-11:00 PM EST

Powered by All Access Football Radio Channel, in affiliation with Blog Talk Radio.

The One Hour show will be co-hosted by Daniel Mogollon (College Football Insiders Founder/NFL Draft Bible President) and NFL Draft Bible/CFI Senior Writer Ralph Mancini

WHAT'S ON TAP:
• Former Oklahoma Sooner NIC HARRIS who played in the last week.
• Live from the El Paso, Texas vs. The Nation participants for The Nation team QB CURTIS PAINTER from Purdue and San Jose St. CB CHRISTOPHER OWENS, who is representing Texas
Draft Guy SIGMUND BLOOM on location from the Texas vs. The Nation game
• The Fantasy Five: Which All-Star Game Participants can help your fantasy team in 2009

*** LISTEN HERE ***

*Join our chat-room or call-in with your questions: 347.945.6275

*Missed It Live? Shows are archived 15 minutes upon conclusion of each episode here

Photo Credit: OU Athletics Department

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Q&A: Aaron Maybin, Penn St. - Walter Camp On Location

Penn St. All-American Aaron Maybin sits down with All-Access Football Radio
at the Yale University Commons in New Haven prior to the Walter Camp 42nd Annual National Awards Diner on January 17, 2009.


You had a break out season, what does it mean to be a Walter Camp All-American?

Maybin:
It means a whole lot. It’s been a good year and a good career. I’ve really enjoyed myself at this wonderful event. I’ve had a chance to meet a whole lot of people and make some good connections, so overall it’s been a very good experience.

How tough of a decision was it to declare for the draft?

Maybin:
It was a very tough decision. I had to do a lot of praying and consulting with my family and people who were very close to the situation who gave me a pretty good description of where I would go in the draft. It was probably one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I think in the end I was able to make a very smart decision – the best decision for me and my family.

What are you hearing from the people in the league, what type of grade are you hearing from them?

Maybin:
I haven’t really disclosed what that grade was. But it was something that definitely I felt was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Of course nothing is guaranteed in this league, but it was something that gave me the confidence to make sure that this was a good decision for me.

It was good enough for you to make the decision, so it was a positive one?

Maybin:
Very positive.

Did you talk to your teammate Maurice Evans about declaring for the draft?

Maybin:
I tried to really stay out of his process as much as possible so that he could make a very sound decision for himself, but I tried to talk to him as much as I could just to lend support and provide a support system for him if he needed any help gathering information or just talking to certain people to make sure he made the right decision for himself.

Did you speak to former Penn State corner Justin King who declared last season or any other guys in the league about coming out early?

Maybin:
Yeah I basically talked to as many guys that were at Penn State that have gone on to the league as possible and really talked to them about their experiences; what the highs and lows were and what were some of the good things and bad things they encountered during their time. It really helped me out a lot as far as making my decision.

If you were sitting down with an NFL scout or GM and they wanted to know what you could bring to their team, what would you say?

Maybin:
They’re going to get a tireless worker. They’re going to get somebody that will come in every day and bust my butt for their team. I’m going to bring my hard hat to work and going to work extremely hard; I’m a guy that plays with everything I have inside me and it’s something that has been in me since I started playing the game. I absolutely love the game and I am very passionate about it. That’s just something I play with; it’s something that was instilled in me when I was younger. So they are going to get somebody that is going to give 110 percent of everything that he has to that program and is going to do anything possible to make sure that he helps to bring a lot of victories and a lot of success.

Have you selected an agent yet and have you started the workout process?

Maybin:
I have started the workout process; I haven’t yet declared who my agent is going to be. I’m still in the process of narrowing some things down with that. But right now, as far as my mindset, I’m training, working out several times a day at a spot in Pennsylvania. I’m really getting the most out of my workouts; everything has been going extremely well and I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made so far. Really I’m just waking up every day trying to get better, trying to learn as much as possible, and trying to make sure by the time the draft comes around I’m prepared to bring everything the team needs to the table that looks to draft me.

What’s something that you look to work on the most? In terms of becoming a better football player and preparing for the combine.

Maybin:
I’m preparing for the combine, preparing to make sure that I turn in an all around performance, something that opens up a lot of eyes and proves to everybody that I’m the type of player that a team would want to spend a high draft pick on. Overall, I’m just trying to make sure that I’m as complete a player as I can be. I want to make sure I leave no doubt and make sure that everybody that has a chance to watch me, whether that be on film or in person at my workouts, that they’re confident that I’m the type of player that can really help turn a franchise around.

Any sneak peak as to what kind of measurables you can put up, what kind of vertical, 40 time, or bench press?

Maybin:
Not going to get that out of me. It’s going to be a big surprise, but I’m going to say this – I’m working really hard and I’m looking to open up a whole lot of eyes with the performance I put out.

Tell me what it's like to play for Joe Paterno.

Maybin:
It’s been a wonderful experience. Joe is the type of guy where everyday you’re learning something. He’s the type of guy that has helped to shape me as a man and as a player, and he teaches you a lot and he really helps to build you up as a man and a guy in society where you can really be successful in any and every endeavor that you pursue. I’m really thankful to Joe for the lessons he’s taught me and the type of man he’s helped to make me into.

What do you like to do in your off time?

Maybin:
I really enjoy relaxing and spending time with my family. I enjoy going to the movies and sitting down and working on some artwork because I do have the artistic bug in me.

What is your favorite movie?

Maybin:
My favorite movie of all time would have to be Gladiator.

What type of artist are you?

Maybin:
I’m into painting and drawing. Pretty much anything that catches my eye I like to pursue and just try to fine tune my skills a little.

If you do put up a stellar performance at the combine I want you to look up to the scouts and say, “Are you not entertained?”

Maybin:
(Laughs)

Can you do that for us?

Maybin:
I can definitely do that for you…

Photo Credit: College Press Box (Penn St.)

SENIOR BOWL – NORTH PRACTICE NOTES

Quarterback: Of all the quarterbacks, Rhett Bomar has the most potential, but he needs a lot of work in terms of his mechanics and consistency. Don’t expect him to be an instant impact rookie a la Joe Flacco regardless of the similarities. Like Flacco, Bomar transferred from a FBS school (Oklahoma) to a FCS school (Sam Houston St.) before earning a Senior Bowl invite. (Flacco ended up at Delaware after starting his college career at Pittsburgh) In addition to having the best arm of this group, Bomar is the most athletic quarterback of the North threesome. He had some issues taking the ball from under center, making the transition from a shot-gun quarterback.

Going under center, Graham Harrell did a nice job dropping back and talking the ball. He didn’t look like a quarterback who spent his entire career (high school and college) in shot-gun spread offenses. Too bad he wasn’t as impressive when asked to throw the football – his ball flutters. Even on the rare occasion when he threw a tight spiral, Harrell simply didn’t have the arm on the deep comeback throws.

Nathan Brown had some issues under center and fumbled a couple of snaps. He is short and doesn’t have the strongest arm, which makes his lack of crisp mechanics and side-arm delivery even more concerning. Like Harrell, Brown didn’t show the arm strength to make sideline throws. Brown looks his best in “game situations” – in the 11-on-11 he was able to settle in and make some solid throws. Thursday was Brown’s best day as he ran the 11-on-11 very well.

Running Backs: Jeremiah Johnson stood out among this group. He has very good lateral quickness – simply put, he can make you miss. Coming out of the backfield, this former Duck is a tough cover and while he is not a feature back, he will make somebody very happy with his ability as a number two.

Cedric Peerman looks like a natural route runner. He should land somewhere as a third down back.

Syracuse product Tony Fiametta had a stellar week. Fearless and physical as a blocker, he also looked good as a receiver coming out of the backfield. At this point, he is the odds-on favorite to be the first fullback off the board come April.

Wide Receivers: Brian Robiskie has terrific hands, maybe the best of this group. He also has no peers in terms of his route running skills. A true technician who plays like his father is a receiver’s coach in the NFL…which he is (Terry Robiskie coaches wide receivers for he Minnesota Vikings).

Ramses Barden had trouble adjusting to playing against a higher level of competition. Even with his big school size, Barden had some trouble getting off jams at the line of scrimmage.

Juaquin Iglesias
showed good quickness and the ability to change direction. He plays faster than his 40-time.

None of these defensive backs on the North – and there were some good ones – were able to stay with Derrick Williams in terms of his speed/quickness. After making most of his yardage at Penn St. on screen and junk passes, Williams showed he can in fact run routes and get down the field.

Before he was injured, UNC’s Brooks Foster flashed the ability to stretch the field, but he can also be pushed around. He needs to get tougher and more physical.

In addition to displaying skills as a pass catcher, Brandon Gibson laid an impressive crack back block on defensive end Will Davis in 11-on-11 drills. Gibson showed great hands and could not be held in check – he always found a way to get open.

Malcolm Johnson was a late (injury) addition but quickly became a favorite target of the North quarterbacks, seeing a lot of action in 11-on-11, flourishing in the Red Zone.

Tight End: Brandon Pettigrew
pushed Scott McKillop out with relative ease in one-on-one blocking drills. He is a man at tight end, one of the few legitimate in-line blockers at the position.

Big man John Phillips is known as much for his blocking as he is his pass catching, if not more so, but he displayed excellent hands in 11-on-11 drills. He doesn’t necessarily get a lot of separation so he won’t be an explosive pass receiver but appears to be a safe/reliable option.

Offensive Tackles: One of the more intriguing prospects is UConn tackle William Beatty. He needs to do a better job of keeping his back upright and bending his knees, but you have to love the upside he possesses. He got better as the week went on, which is how his pro career will likely go. He needs to put on weight or he’ll be vulnerable to a bull rush, but he has the frame to do so and he’s got the athleticism and footwork to protect the quarterback’s blindside.

Early on, the weakest offensive tackle on the North team was Illinois product Xavier Fulton, who was beaten pretty regularly in one-on-one situations. I did like that he improved throughout the week, rather than hanging his head after his early struggles.

Phil Loadholt was very inconsistent in one-on-one pass blocking drills. The problem is his footwork and lack of lateral mobility. When he gets his hands on pass rusher, it’s game over. The size and length (excellent wingspan) are there for him to play left tackle, but in all likelihood his lack of footwork will prevent him from playing the marquee position. He will shift to the right side on Sundays. Against some of the lesser talent, Loadholt was able to block them, but when he had to block the premier pass rushers on the North, he couldn’t handle them – yet another sign he belongs on the right side.

Guards: Wisconsin guard Craig Urbik was the most consistent interior lineman all week. How do you not love this guy? While most of the centers and guards were getting outplayed by a strong group of defensive tackles, Urbik held his own on almost every snap. He anchors well and even showed excellent footwork when the opposition changed direction. You're not going to overpower Urbik

Andy Levitre is making the move inside after playing tackle at Oregon St. He simply lacks the length to play in the perimeter as his short arms prevent him from pushing linemen away and knocking them off their moves. Levitre had trouble when asked to block speed rushers but has good technique and uses his hands well.

Centers: Max Unger
had some trouble handling the faster/quicker players and powerful linemen. When matching up with a noseman like Ron Brace, he was pushed right back into the pocket – the same happened when he was asked to block B.J. Raji. He does a better job when the opposition tries to out-quick him – he’s more athletic than your typical center.

Alex Mack is tougher than Unger, but he had troubles with Ziggy Hood’s spin moves. He was also overpowered by B.J. Raji (in 11-on-11), putting in doubt whether he will be able to handle premier defensive tackles one-on-one. Mack has a nasty streak and does a good job of maintaining leverage.

Defensive Tackles: At his best, B.J. Raji was dominant, pushing around most guards and centers throughout the week. He displayed both the quickness to get around offensive linemen as well as the strength to overpower them. Raji can be so disruptive – at one point breaking up a hand-off in 11-on-11, pushing Alex Mack back into the quarterback.

The other Boston College defensive tackle, Ron Brace, is a one-trick pony. He’s not trying to trick anybody – it’s a straight power bull rush every time. At times he comes out of his stance too high, a no-no for man expected to make his living over the center. It was disappointing to see Brace get handled on back-to-back plays by Virginia Tech’s Ryan Shuman, a borderline draftee. He easily had the most false starts in one-on-one drills. Brace will get solid push from time-to-time, but rarely will flat out beat his blocker.

If you’re looking for moves, Mizzou’s Ziggy Hood had the O-Line baffled with his spin move. While he typically put the offensive linemen through the spin cycle, Hood also busted out an occasional swim move to beat his man. He is tough to block one-on-one.

Mitch King blew by several offensive linemen using his quickness on inside moves, as well as speed off the edge. He also uses hands well. The one-on-one scenarios play to his strengths. When he tried to use a power move, he was cut off at the path – he had no chance to get into the backfield. He is explosive, but simply lacks the size NFL teams are looking for, which doesn’t mean he can’t create a niche for himself as a role player at the next level.

Alex Magee who was added to the roster on Tuesday, exploded by Andy Levitre, using his hands to get by the former Beaver. Magee displayed a speed rush and showed a nice combination move when he powered outside to set up with spin move back inside. I really like his quickness.

Defensive Ends: Larry English showed some glimpses as an edge pass rusher. It looks like he put on some weight for Senior Bowl week, but has he robbed himself of some quickness? He picked up his play as the week went on, displaying a variety of pass rush moves, which is how he’s going to make his money on the next level. English looked solid when asked to cover. He is an ideal candidate to move to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

Tim Jamison
had some moments, but often goes too wide, always trying to beat his man on the perimeter. He looks like a ‘tweener – to small to play on the line of scrimmage, not long enough to be an outside pass rusher.

Cody Brown plays a little too upright. He could not get by Phil Loadholt on numerous one-on-one opportunities. Brown responded later in the week, at times attacking the blocker – he knocked both Xavier Fulton and college teammate William Beatty on their rear ends.

After spending most of his time at tight end, Connor Barwin did get an opportunity to show what he could do as a pass rusher. He was able to drop his inside shoulder and go around the pass blocker and also showed his natural instincts and quickness setting up linemen with a hesitation move.

Linebackers: Tyrone McKenzie
, out of USF, looks like a solid three-down linebacker. He’s not very explosive but he can cover and there is something to be said for not having to leave the field. He did a great job sticking with Brandon Pettigrew and knocked some balls away.

Marcus Freeman had trouble shedding blockers, although he did avoid Brandon Pettigrew in 11-on-11 as the former Cowboy was trying to block him. He will be a productive pro, but is likely limited to being a weakside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. Freeman is at his best playing in space, whether he is trying to avoid a block or make a tackle. He may be the best linebacker in coverage – so smooth and natural when dropping back.

Clint Sintim
is trying to prove he can play in a 4-3 defense after flourishing in a 3-4 system at Virginia. He might be able to play the strongside, but is probably better suited to be a rush linebacker. On that note, he struggled in one-on-one coverage when asked to stay with running backs.

Cornerbacks: Darius Butler displayed good footwork throughout the week. He’s a little undersized, but his hips are as fluid as any corner playing this week. At times, Butler disappointed a bit with his speed – does his 40-time translate to the field? For a corner who lacks ideal size, he needs to show more closing speed. He did impress with his physical play at the line of scrimmage, at one point spinning Brooks Foster completely around right at the line. He looks like he has the skills to play bump-and-run.

Coming out of Oregon St. Kennan Lewis is a physical corner, not at all afraid to mix it up.

I believe Macho Harris had a better week than he’s being given credit for. He’s never going to be an on the island corner, but will find a place in the NFL. He was very physical with Ohio St.’s Brian Robiskie, simply not allowing the former Buckeye to go where he wanted to go (by most accounts, Robiskie was one of the tougher receivers to cover). He also showed the ability to play off-man coverage, which is not his strength.

Safeties: William Moore lacks the fluid hips to be effective in coverage, which is why some scouts are speculating he may have to make the move to linebacker, like Oklahoma’s Nic Harris. He seemed to get pushed back step-by-step by Brandon Gibson in coverage and then was completely turned out of position.

Coming out of Western Michigan Louis Delmus also struggled as a coverman. On one drill, he gave Derrick Williams a ton of cushion only to see the Penn St. product run right by him anyway. This Bronco is at his best running down hill and will flourish against the run. Delmus will get caught peeking into the offensive backfield on play-action.

One safety who was solid when asked to cover wide receivers one-on-one was Oregon’s Patrick Chung, who surely helped his stock this week.

Photo Credit: Mizzou Media Relations; OU Athletics Department; David Knachel, Virginia Tech Athletics Communications; USF Athletics Communications; OSU Athletics; Sam Houston State Athletics, College Press Box

Friday, January 23, 2009

Football Friday Show!

ALL ACCESS FOOTBALL FRIDAY SHOW! JANUARY 23rd, 2008 * 8:00-10:00 PM EST

Every Friday Night on the All Access Football Radio Channel, in affiliation with Blog Talk Radio.

The Two Hour show will be hosted by Rodney Towe with analysts Daniel Mogollon (College Football Insiders Founder/NFL Draft Bible President) and NFL Draft Bible/CFI Senior Writer Ralph Mancini

What's On Tap:
• Special Guest DICK BUTKUS, Chicago Bears Legend & Hall of Famer
• DE Jeremy Navarre of Maryland, who will be playing in the Texas vs. The Nation Game next week
• Arizona Republic Columnist PAOLA BOIVIN Talks Arizona Cardinals
Draft Guy CECIL LAMMEY & NFL Draft Bible Super Scout KELRON SYKES call in from the Senior Bowl
• The Fantasy Five: Ones to Watch - Five Quarterbacks who could surprise the fantasy world in 2009
• Plus Hot Topics From Around the NFL & More!

*** LISTEN HERE ***

*Join our chat-room or call-in with your questions: 347.945.6275

*Missed It Live? Shows are archived 15 minutes upon conclusion of each episode here

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Teams Have Questions, Do They Have Answers?

1. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech – The Red Raiders’ signal caller is coming off back-to-back 5,000-yard/40 touchdown seasons…yet NFL scouts still have questions regarding his ability to throw the football. Is it fair? To answer a question with a question – how have Kliff Kingsbury (5,017 yards, 45 touchdowns in 2002), B.J. Symons (5,883 yards, 52 touchdowns in 2003), Sonny Cumbie (4,742 yards, 32 touchdowns in 2004) and Cody Hodges (4,197 yards, 31 touchdowns in 2005) fared in the NFL? While Harrell is a far better pro prospect than any of his predecessors, the fact they have done absolutely nothing in the league where they play for pay doesn’t help the Texas native. Most of Harrell’s passes travel 10 yards or less and he will have to adjust to playing under center after playing in the spread offense not only in his entire college career, but in high school as well.

2. Pat White, West Virginia – Pat White wishes he had Harrell’s problems…as he has to prove to NFL personnel people that he is in fact a quarterback, otherwise he is headed to wide receiver. While Harrell was reaching the 400-yard mark on a regular basis the past two seasons, the Mountaineers’ leader in the huddle didn’t turn in his first 300-yard performance until his career finale. White is a winner – he is the first quarterback ever with four bowl wins as a starter – but did as much damage with his legs as he did with his arm at the college level, if not more. White’s Meineke Car Care performance (26-of-32 passing, 332 yards, three touchdowns) opened some eyes and proved he deserves at least the opportunity to prove he is a quarterback. Thus far, White is sticking to his guns and playing exclusively at quarterback in Mobile. It says here that in all likelihood when White lines up in shut-gun on Sundays, it will be in some sort of “Wildcat” package, not as a traditional quarterback.

3. Nic Harris, Oklahoma –
While this Boomer Sooner got to keep his No. 5, Harris isn’t playing his customary safety position this week at the Senior Bowl. Instead, the First Team All-Big 12 defensive back is lining up at linebacker. At 6’3 and 230 pounds Harris is bigger than many college linebackers and even saw some time there when Oklahoma suffered a rash of injuries at the middle linebacker position. Harris is at his best playing in the box and moving towards the line of scrimmage with the speed to cover ground. His move to linebacker is clearly a sign scouts are not impressed with his cover skills. Now he must prove that he can play in the front seven or he could be in danger of being labeled a ‘tweener – not quick or rangy enough to play safety and not big or physical enough to be a linebacker.

4. Connor Barwin, Cincinnati –
Like Pat White, this Big East product has scouts arguing about where he should play. In fact, many teams differ as to which side of the ball best suits this Bearcat. So far he has played predominately at tight end, with a few reps sprinkled in at defensive end towards the end of day two. Tight end was where Barwin lined up during his first three seasons at Cincinnati and he recorded 31 receptions for 399 yards and two touchdowns in 2007. As a senior, he made the switch to defense and made a major impact despite being a neophyte at the position. Taking to his new position with relative ease, Barwin turned in 10 sacks this past season. At 6’4/255 pounds he has the build, as well as the athleticism, to either get after the quarterback or catch passes from one. Only the team that will call his name on the last weekend April will know where Barwin will ultimately play on Sundays.

5. Ramses Barden, Cal-Poly –
The only thing small about this wideout is the competition he played against in college. At over 6’5 and 225 pounds with mittens for hands, Barden is among the biggest and longest receivers in the class of 2009 and the Football Championship Subdivision stud is as productive as any wide receiver not named Michael Crabtree. He will pass the eye test for sure, but how will he fare on the field against big-school competition? This week of practice at the Senior Bowl and the game on Saturday is Barden’s best opportunity to show NFL scouts that he belongs with the big boys. With former FCS stars Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Arizona), Tim Hightower (Arizona) and Joe Flacco (Baltimore) helping their teams advance deep into the playoffs in the NFL, you can be sure Barden will be given every opportunity to prove just that.

Photo Credit: OU Athletics Department, College Press Box (Texas Tech), Matt Brown Photography

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All Star: Senior Bowl Report - Day 2

DAY TWO NOTES FROM BOTH PRACTICES:

* Liberty U./Pittsburgh running back Rashad Jennings…
impressed everyone during the weigh-in; solidly built upper-body and carries 235 pounds very well. Shows an extra burst in the open field. Coachable kid that listens to his position coach and then responds by improving portions of his game. Made a cut and move in the open field that kept the defender off-balance, but for his size he plays as fast as some of the smaller RB’s on the roster. Should he run in the 4.4 range at the Combine he could easily move his way into being the highest draft senior RB in this class.

* Oregon running back Jeremiah Johnson… is shorter than ideal, but well-developed and looks like he could add ten pounds to his frame. Has shown good acceleration, took the ball on an off-tackle to the right side and was able to hit the corner and propel himself down the sideline during team drills. Running hard both days and has given team’s something to think about in terms of his ability to be an every-down back.

* Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholt…
has played both left and right tackle during the first two practices. Has played on the left side in college, but many NFL scouts see him as being just a right tackle prospect for the next level. He does a good job when he locks onto defenders, but struggles with quicker, more athletic pass rushers on the left side. Gets way to erect off the snap, gives up too much of his big frame and than does not have the ability to re-direct if he misses on his initial punch. Carries more of a fourth-round grade as of today, but if the run on OT’s starts as early as expected than it could impact his final grade in a positive way.

* Southern Miss tight end Shawn Nelson… has really gained the attention of everyone watching the tight end position. He is smooth in his routes, catching most balls with his hands and then accelerating well in the open field. Appears to be about 4.6 40-time and then has done much better than expected in terms of his in-line blocking. Was able to block USC linebacker Ray Maualuga to a standstill during pass rush drill. Still needs to get bigger/stronger in the upper-body, but the effort and production has been there throughout both practices.

* Connecticut offensive tackle William Beatty… this is my guy long-term at the tackle position. He can play left tackle at the NFL level, brings a very good combination of natural size, foot work and athleticism. Has room to grow, will over-extend at times and also not create as much force as desired with his initial punch, but he can slide and mirror with any defender on the North roster, including Larry English and Cody Brown. Just moves so well and effortlessly for a 290-pound blocker. Has the frame to one-day weigh in at 315-320 pounds. Over the course of his career I could see Beatty earning just as many trips to Hawaii as guys like Jason Smith, Michael Oher and Andre Smith, and with the added benefit that you would not have expend a high first round choice to choose him.

* Cincinnati defensive end/tight end Connor Barwin... practiced again at tight end, but did see a few late practice reps at defensive end. He will play defensive end for the most part on Wednesday. He also stands a great chance of setting a record on Saturday as he can become the first player in the history of the 60-year contest to play on both sides of the ball during the actual Senior Bowl game.

* Northern Illinois defensive end Larry English…
thickly built natural pass rusher that continues to flash that all important quickness off the ball while also getting scouts talking about where he fits best at the NFL level. One key evaluator said that he would play OLB in a 3-4, but another countered with the idea that he should remain at defensive end like Alex Brown (Bears) or Robert Mathis (Colts).

* Ole Miss linebacker Ashlee Palmer… while a lot of the media and internet scouts have said this kid was added to the roster because he’s an SEC defender the NFL scouts know for a fact that this kid could be one of the best all-around athletes on the South defensive roster. Runs as well as some safeties, gets a very good break on the ball and attacks the line of scrimmage on run plays. Little under-sized for certain schemes, but he can make big-plays and should standout in the game itself.

* Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers… his grade has skyrocketed since the start of his senior campaign and the past two days have done nothing to stop that progress. He is strong at the point of attack, relentless in his pursuit of the football and has flashed good pass rush moves, as well. Has done very well in his 1-on-1 match-ups. He could turn out to be one of the best strong-side 4-3 defensive ends in this draft and a solid second round choice.

* Georgia defensive tackle Corey Irvin… does not impress with his body type, but he has a very good motor, physical and looks to finish the play. Did so both during 1-on-1’s and in team drills. Nearly killed one of his own QB’s by running over them in team drills and has gotten the better of most interior defenders on run plays. Has only one real year of game film for scouts to observe, so that could keep him from jumping into the first few rounds.

* USC defensive lineman Kyle Moore… the most under-rated of the Trojans’ prospects in attendance this week. He can play several positions, but will likely be drafted as a defensive end by a team using a 3-4 scheme. It is hard to find quality 5-technique DE’s that has the length, bulk/size and then talent to actually make plays. He can add 10-15 pounds to his frame over time and become a starting caliber player in the right scheme.

* USC outside linebacker Clay Matthews, Jr… more unsung and under-rated but either way he is making a name for himself in-spite of being a future second-generation NFL player. Has done very well as a pass rusher and just plays with great intensity on every rep. Very good strength; does not stay blocked and has hustled to the ball on each down. Could also be used as a stand-up DE depending upon the scheme.


* Mississippi State defensive back Derek Pegues…
have liked his play style, getting aggressive with receivers and showing the ability to stick with nearly all of them during 1-on-1 drills. Fluid hips and likes to come up and get involved versus the run. Certain teams view him at cornerback and others free safety. Can also provide a dangerous return man to the team that selects him.

* West Virginia kicker/punter Patrick McAfee…
has a huge and naturally powerful leg, able to really boom both his punts and kickoffs. Accurate on field goals, but the ability to handle all of the kicking duties for a team may allow him to now sneak into the back end of the draft.

WHAT WE’RE HEARING:

* Purdue defensive lineman Alex Magee was in uniform and practicing today, although he was not on the initial roster and did not weigh-in with the rest of the game’s prospects on Monday morning.

* Utah sophomore defensive end Paul Kruger, BYU junior wide receiver Austin Collie and Southern Mississippi were not listed on the list of underclassmen that declared for the NFL Draft because they have already completed their fifth year of eligibility. Collie and Kruger both did a Mormon mission while Gerald McRath missed a season due to an injury.

* Tuskegee senior defensive back Derek Douglas has spent the past two days watching the practices from the sidelines and handing out his bio and highlight DVD to scouts. Thus far he’s been able to meet up with evaluators from 14-16 teams and has contacted Auburn University about working out at their Pro Day.

* Questions are now surrounding what issue or issues might have come up last week in regards to Wisconsin offensive guard Andy Kemp. Kemp weighed in at the East-West Shrine Game only to leave shortly there after when it was announced and shared with all in attendance that he had been invited to the Senior Bowl. He was never listed on the roster here in Mobile and when questioned the game staff and even a former teammate denied that he was ever suppose to attend this week’s game. The speculation is that he either failed his physical or had some type of personal issue arise last week in Houston.

* A total of eight offensive tackles were taken in the first-round of last year’s NFL Draft, according to several evaluators on-hand they expect that number to potentially be lower (4-5) in round one, but the Top-4 tackles could come off the board before the first 15 picks are made.

Photo Credit: OU Athletics Department, SEC Sports Media

All Star: Senior Bowl Report - Day 1

Mobile, AL – A total of 104 senior prospects started the process of impressing the NFL scouts, coaches and front office staff that has traveled to Alabama following a week of doing evaluations in Houston, Texas at the East-West Shrine Game.

A host of star names failed to depart their current training facilities, so the group features a handful of possible first round picks, but mainly 2nd to 4th round choices following this year’s group of underclassmen entering the draft.

I headed over to the North practice site on Monday afternoon as both teams spent 90 minutes on the field at the same time, which will not happen the next two days. I had two evaluators, one a former NFL scout, in attendance for the South practice, which is reflected in the proceeding report.

Tuesday and Wednesday’s workouts will feature two-hour workouts in full pads, so the 1-on-1 sessions and team drills will provide some lively action and big hits.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS:

Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew…
stood out as a clear cut above the other tight ends thanks to his natural size and than today showing he can get open down-field and be a solid blocker at the point of attack. Has good, but not great straight-line speed; still carries a mid-to-late first round grade at the moment.

- Sam Houston State quarterback Rhett Bomar… had the most “Live” arm of the three North QB’s; Graham Harrell (Texas Tech) and Nathan Brown (Central Arkansas). He had the most velocity on his out routes and the windy conditions had little or no effect on his ball. Well-built has a sturdy frame and among this group his physical traits have a real chance to shine.

- San Jose State cornerback Coye Francies…
passed the eye-test during the morning weigh-in. Shows fluid hips and very good make-up speed, closing on the ball several times. His excellent size and footwork helped make him someone scouts were talking about at the South practice.

- Iowa defensive tackle Mitch King…
won most of his 1-on-1’s thanks to impressive quickness and use of his hands. Did not stay blocked too often during the first practice. Quick to see and read the play, very good penetrating his gap off the snap, but lacks ideal size to play every-down inside.

- USC linebacker Brian Cushing… made a very good impression during the morning weigh-in; he’s a solidly built 6’3”, 245 pound ‘backer. Can look a little stiff at times, struggles to get proper depth on drops, needs to turn and run sometimes rather than being fluid enough to just adapt on the move. Looks best attacking the line of scrimmage and making plays in front of him.

- Cal-Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden… great natural size, long, lean frame and did not appear to be 227 pounds as he did not have much fat on his body. Not a natural route runner. Had some trouble adjusting to similar level of competition in terms of ability, caught some balls against his body. Will still do well on jump balls or vertical routes, but he had some issues gathering himself and accelerating in-and-out of his cuts.

Purdue running back Kory Sheets… showed good hands out of the backfield and opened some eyes with his burst in the open field. Had good vision as a runner and several scouts noted he could be a very good all-purpose type back at the NFL level.

SECOND LOOK:

- Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin…
he was given jersey #82 and practiced the entire afternoon at tight end after spending his senior campaign on the defensive side of he ball. Following practice he said that a lot of teams wanted to watch him practice at tight end, but that he could still take reps at defensive end or even play both ways in the game itself.

- West Virginia quarterback Pat White… struggled throwing the ball, handling the windy conditions and then when he did throw a good ball it was dropped by one of his receivers. Not sure if he was not use to the NFL football or it was just a bad day at the office, but at Tuesday’s practice it will be huge for him to rebound before scouts think about seeing him at wide receiver.
WHAT WE’RE HEARING:

* A quick poll of those watching the afternoon practice session at Ladd-Peebles Stadium revealed that most believe Mike Singletary (49ers), Rex Ryan (Jets) and Raheem Morris (Buccaneers) will have the most success as first-year head coaches next season.

* An assortment of underclassmen and even some of the seniors that opted to pass on playing in the actual Senior Bowl game are expected to arrive on Tuesday and be around the practices and team hotel in order to attract the attention of NFL scouts and coaches.

* According to several sources the annual Monday night welcome cocktail party was far less attended than in years past. It also seems like although Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Miami Dolphins executive VP of Football Operations Bill Parcells were in attendance Monday morning that the total number of decision-makers currently in Mobile is also down a significant amount.

* The wheeling-and-dealing among current staff members, both coaches and scouts, that have seen major adjustments in their head coach or front office was obvious during the weigh-in process and shortly there after as those wearing Chiefs, Browns, Buccaneers and Lions gear were all concentrating on making contact with friends throughout the room after taking care of the initial business at hand; charting the height, weight arm and hand of the 104 senior prospects.

Photo Credit: WVU Sports Communication, College Press Box (USC, Oklahoma St.)

Decision Time: WR Brandon LaFell, LSU


LSU wide out Brandon LaFell has pulled out of the 2009 NFL Draft and will instead return to LSU for his senior season. All underclassman who declared and did not sign with an agent had 72 hours following the Thursday deadline to declare. He has 118 career receptions for 1,725 yards and 18 touchdowns, including 63 receptions for 929 yards and a SEC-leading eight touchdowns this past season. “We are extremely excited to have Brandon returning to the LSU football team for his senior season,” head coach Les Miles said on Sunday. “We were going to support him no matter what decision he made. We tried to give Brandon as much information as we could to help him with this decision, but ultimately it was a decision that Brandon and his family had to make. The news of Brandon coming back to school is big for our football team. His contributions to our football program have been very significant and I’m glad we are going to get another year with him.”

Mancini's Take: It sounds as though LaFell wanted to get a feel of where he was going to be drafted more than anything. What really baffles me here is that the LSU standout was ranked fifth among receivers entering the draft by a number of different services, making him second-round pick at worst. I think that LaFell can be faster version of Dwayne Bowe right now. Maybe LaFell thinks he can do better than that. This is a big roll of the dice, but one that can come up snake eyes.

Mandel's Take: Yeah, Rev--his hands were a problem this season, and might be why he--ahem--LaFell down the draft boards. He was wise to avoid hiring an agent and with his speed and size, all he needs to do is show the NFL scouts that his drops are a thing of the past. If he does so, he'll be a late first round pick after 2009.

Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media

Senior Bowl - Players to Watch in Mobile

By John Murphy - Next Level Scouting

A one-hour flight carried me from Houston to Mobile, Ala., earlier today for the NFL’s version of a corporate convention.

According to a Senior Bowl official, more than 500 credentials are expected to be distributed by the time the weigh-in begins Monday. However, a number of potential first-round prospects are not expected to be in attendance. Players I have confirmed who are not expected to play: Virginia OT Eugene Monroe, Ohio State CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis, Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry and Missouri TE Chase Coffman.

Which players could catch the attention of scouts this week? Here are a few worth watching:

Liberty U. RB Rashad Jennings, Cal Poly WR Ramses Barden, Connecticut OT William Beatty, Boston College DT Ron Brace, Ole Miss LB Ashlee Palmer, Oregon State CB Keenan Lewis and Western Michigan S Louis Delmas.

Photo Credit: Collegiate Images, GS Photo

East-West Shrine Game Report


GAME DAY REVIEW & MVP:

A tightly contested game ended with less than a minute to play on a fourth-and-goal throw by Central Washington quarterback Mike Reilly (West) that was broken up by Norfolk State cornerback Don Carey and other East defenders who closed on the ball. The East ran out the clock and held on for 24-19 victory for head coach Bobby Ross.

Duke linebacker Michael Tauiliili earned defensive MVP honors with 13 tackles for the East, which won despite being out-gained 434 yards to 257 and running 31 fewer offensive plays.

Nebraska running back Marlon Lucky gained 68 yards and scored a touchdown after a lackluster week of practices due to a lingering turf-toe injury. Tennessee State running back Javarris Williams gained 56 yards and also scored. The East team connected on just 6-of-15 pass attempts.

The West, led by Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee and Fresno State's Tom Brandstater, passed for 317 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Bowl-bound wide receiver Mike Thomas (Arizona) had five catches for 73 yards and one touchdown. Rice’s Jarett Dillard caught the longest pass of the game, a 35-yarder for a touchdown.

Both kickers, Graham Gano (Florida State) and David Buehler (USC), showcased the leg strength to consistently put the ball at or near the goal line on their kickoffs. The two also converted three field goals.

Mississippi State safety Keith Fitzhugh continued his fine play by adding nine tackles for the East squad. Other top performers included Iowa cornerback Bradley Fletcher (six tackles), Kentucky defensive tackle Myron Pryor (six tackles) and Richmond defensive end Lawrence Sidbury, who pressured Reilly on the late play to help force the incompletion.

On the West side, Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller and USC linebacker Kaluka Maiava each had six tackles, while Utah State safety De’Von Hall, a late replacement, was active on special teams and added six tackles.

MEDICAL FILE:

Stillman (Ala.) DT Sammie Lee Hill (hamstring), USC S Kevin Ellison (knee), USC CB Cary Harris (hamstring), California LB Anthony Felder (hamstring), Texas OG Cedric Dockery (hamstring), BYU OL Ray Feinga (leg) and Texas A&M DE Michael Bennett (flu symptoms) each was affected by injuries during the week.

Bennett and Felder dressed for the game; the others did not take the field.

ALL-SHRINE GAME TEAM:

The All-Shrine Game team considers practice days, player interviews and game performance. An average practice player may have earned a spot with a great performance in the game.

The players are listed by position, starting with the week’s highest rated player. Positions are broken down based on total number of players in attendance; for example, 20 total offensive linemen as compared to just four fullbacks.

QB Stephen McGee, Texas A&M
QB Tom Brandstater, Fresno State
RB Gartrell Johnson, Colorado State
RB Javarris Williams, Tennessee State
RB Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern
FB/H-B Mark Hafner, Houston
WR Jarett Dillard, Rice
WR Mike Thomas, Arizona
WR Darius Passmore, Marshall
WR Deon Butler, Penn State
WR Taurus Johnson, South Florida
TE Brian Mandeville, Northeastern
OT Jamon Meredith, South Carolina
OT Ramon Foster, Tennessee
OT Sebastian Vollmer, Houston
OT Fenuki Tupou, Oregon
OG Seth Olson, Iowa
OG Louis Vasquez, Texas Tech
OG Jaimie Thomas, Maryland
OC Edwin Williams, Maryland

DE Matt Shaughnessy, Wisconsin
DE Lawrence Sidbury, Richmond
DL Clinton McDonald, Memphis
DL Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State
DL Myron Pryor, Kentucky
DL Roy Miller, Texas
LB Kaluka Maiava, USC
LB Mortty Ivy, West Virginia
LB Johnny Williams, Kentucky
LB Jason Williams, Western Illinois
LB Michael Tauiliili, Duke
LB Anthony Felder, California
CB Bradley Fletcher, Iowa
CB Ryan Palmer, Texas
CB Don Carey, Norfolk State
CB Ryan Mouton, Hawaii
S Keith Fitzhugh, Mississippi State
S Curtis Taylor, LSU
S Keith Ellison, USC
S C.J. Spillman, Marshall

K David Buehler, USC
P Jake Richardson, Miami (OH)
RT Aaron Brown, TCU

Top Canadian – Simeon Rottier, Alberta

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Exclusive: Draft Journal II - Andy Schantz, LB

Jan. 18th

Dear Journal,

My training regiment is continuing as usual. I am lifting and running pretty much every day of the week.

The biggest thing for me personally is to get my weight up and keep my flexibility and speed. That is the biggest thing I have been honed into while training. I want to put good quality weight on. I have pretty much hit everything on my body equally. I want to be proportional. Don't want to have a huge upper body and bird legs so I am focusing on everything so that I am well put together.

Next week I will start getting into game mode because I leave on the 25th for the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game.

I am just trying to keep my sleeves rolled up and do the work I need to be doing. The Texas vs. the Nation game will be a good opportunity. I am just getting ready for that and looking forward to the opportunity.

Sincerely,

Andy Schantz, LB, Portland State

Exclusive: Draft Journal - Rashad Jennings, RB

Jan. 17th

Dear Journal,

First of all, let me start off by giving a big shout out to all of my fans and supporters. Your support and prayers are very much appreciated. What a pleasure it truly is to share my journey with you.

While waking up this morning, I was provoked by a thought. “Am I dreaming?” Pondering on that thought, I dozed off. Suddenly, I was startled by a loud noise. Beep! Beep! Beep! The alarm clock went off for a second time. As I rolled out of the bed, I headed straight to the bathroom to prepare for my day. While in the shower, I had the thought again. “Am I dreaming?” As I begin to brush my teeth at the bathroom sink, I looked into the mirror and there I stood captured in the moment. I finally understood what my big brothers were trying to get me to see.

As a kid growing up in the shadow of my brothers footsteps, both being star football players; they would always encourage me and say, “Rashad, stop dreaming and live the dream.” It’s funny. I did not fully understand what they were saying at that time. I would just nod my head in agreement and smile with a confident yes; however, I had no clue as to what they were saying. It was very obvious to me what it meant to dream and set goals, but to live the dream confused me. I have grappled and questioned it for years. “How could someone live something that they have not yet experienced?” Interestingly enough, this morning it hit me clear as day. I finally realized, “I am not dreaming … I am actually living a dream.”

As I think about it, it’s really simple. Those who have learned to live the dream see themselves where others only dare to dream. They live life looking from the perspective as though they are already experiencing the dream. This mindset helps to focus on one’s decisions. I once heard a wise man say, “An individual has more to lose in life if they view themselves as having already attained than do those trying to gain.” These life lessons have tremendously opened my eyes and definitely have prepared me for the future.

Butch and Bryan (my older brothers), thanks for all your tough love, advice, and encouragement. I now understand that both of you did not want me to settle on the premise of just dreaming as so many people do, but your foresight and concept of “Live the Dream,” has changed my life. Love you both!

I look forward to staying in touch with everyone over the next several weeks leading up to the 2009 NFL Draft. Next week, I will elaborate on the grueling process I went through to select my agent, Adisa Bakari, out of Washington, D.C. with one of the top Law Firms in Country, DowLohnes.

Also, I will be leaving for the Senior Bowl this week. Please pray for my success as I partake in my first NFL interview.

God bless!

Rashad Jennings, RB – Liberty Univerersity
“If you believe, all things are possible, to him who believes”
Mark 9:23

Exclusive: Draft Journal II - Jason Boltus, QB

Jan. 17th

Dear Journal,

Training started this week the same as last week, but the intensity went up a little bit. We are getting new players week by week. New challenges everyday with the workouts and I feel I will be better prepared for the all-star game and combine. I am trying to get better everyday and get my timing down with the faster receivers so it won’t be such an adjustment going to the Texas vs. the Nation game.

We have mostly been working on flexibility to prevent injuries and on explosiveness because it helps you throw the ball better and have your feet under you. With the routes, I have been getting used to the speed of the receivers and timing on the comebacks and sideline routes. It has definitely been beneficial.

I leave Sunday for the Texas vs. the Nation game and hope to have a good week of practice.

Talk to you next week!

Sincerely,

Jason Boltus, QB, Hartwick