Week two of the college season offers a number of important intraconference games on the schedule. The second week of the 2012 campaign also has a number of players from the defensive side of the ball impressing NFL scouts.
Arthur Brown/LB/Kansas State -- Brown started his college career at Miami and had something in store for his former team when the Hurricanes came to town. The ferocious linebacker was omnipresent during the contest, displaying skill in all aspects of the game. His final stats read a team-leading 10 tackles with two tackles for loss, one sack and a fumble recovery. Brown was tremendous in pursuit and easily made plays sideline-to-sideline. His fumble recovery late in the first quarter, which Kansas State converted into a touchdown, sealed victory for the Wildcats. Brown plays like a first round choice and is a three down defender that can be used in a variety of systems at the next level.
Demetrius Hartsfield/LB/Maryland -- Hartsfield has flown under the scouting radar despite being a productive starter since his freshman season. He's graded as a late round choice/free agent prospect by NFL scouts yet his performance against Temple proves he belongs at the next level. Hartsfield lacks classic size and speed (6-1½, 236 pounds, 4.85 seconds) yet he's a smart, instinctive football player who constantly makes plays on the ball. His play and leadership helped Maryland hold the Temple offense to just nine first downs and 52 rushing yards for the game during the Terrapins' victory.
Kyle Fuller*/CB/Virginia Tech -- Fuller had a relatively quiet day on the stats sheet against Georgia Tech, recording two tackles, one tackle for loss and an interception. On film it was a different story. The few times he was challenged Fuller came up big and shut down Georgia Tech receivers. The end result was Georgia Tech purposely throwing away from Fuller. He's a well-sized defensive back who defends the run like a safety while also displaying terrific ball skills in coverage.
Jonathan Banks/CB/Mississippi State -- The senior cornerback made his presence felt during the Bulldogs all important SEC victory over Auburn. Banks posted six tackles and hauled in a pair of interceptions. He also had a hand in containing Auburn's big play receiver Emory Blake. Banks is a tough, smart cornerback with the size and ball skills necessary to be a top 75 choice.
Morgan Moses*/T/Virginia -- Moses flashed dominance during the Cavaliers' last minute victory over Penn State and his blocking on the game winning drive was key. The junior is an imposing figure on the field and easily moves his 6-7, 320-pound frame around the field. Moses consistently knocked Penn State pass rushers from their angle of attack or annihilated linebackers blocking in motion. He comes with a large upside and only needs a bit of time to develop his game though reports are circulating Moses is already meeting with agents in preparation to enter the 2013 draft.
Jarvis Jones*/OLB-DE/Georgia -- This was a "wow" performance for Jones, who once again proved he's more than just a pass rusher. He was unstoppable all game and regularly defeated three different offensive tackles that attempted to block him. Jones forced a pair of fumbles on Missouri's opening drive of the second quarter then later had a third forced fumble overturned by replay. Jones was disruptive yet at the same time played patient, disciplined football. He correctly diagnosed plays and showed terrific instincts. His tally included one interception, one pass broken up as well as eight tackles. This was the dominant game people will point to when they speak of Jones as a potential top twelve pick next April.
Damontre Moore*/DE-OLB/Texas A&M -- Moore was another disruptive force and really stood out despite being on the losing side. Florida was unable to block the junior who totaled 10 tackles, three tackles for loss as well as three sacks. The junior has flashed dominance the past two seasons and reminds many of former Aggie Von Miller.
Ezekiel Motta/S/Notre Dame -- The Irish have a recent history of putting talented safeties into the NFL and Motta will be the next. He's a forceful run defender who looks and plays like a linebacker at the safety position. Motta explodes up the field and imposes his will on opponents. His nine tackles in the victory over Purdue helped keep the Boilermaker running attack under 90 yards for the game. Motta lacks the range teams want in a true center fielder yet nicely projects to a zone system or as a traditional strong safety.
Ricky Wagner/T/Wisconsin -- Wagner's poor performance in the loss to Oregon State was not due to lack of effort rather inconsistent play throughout four quarters. He looked stiff, played back on his heels and was occasionally pushed into the pocket by defenders. Wagner struggled with his run blocking most of the game and did not look like the first-round pick some have predicted he will be.
Marquis Spruill*/OLB/Syracuse -- Spruill looked like a star in the making as a freshman yet his game has since leveled off. An undersized but explosive defender who shows great skill in pursuit, Spruill has looked indecisive and uninspired during the first two games of the 2012 campaign.
Notes: Though his stats were pedestrian (230 yards passing and two scores) the performance of Logan Thomas during Virginia Tech's victory over Georgia Tech is noteworthy. He was accurate, made good decisions and looked terrific leading the Hokies into the end zone on their final drive. Considering the Hokies starting skill players from last season graduated to the NFL, as did four-fifths of their offensive line, scouts were impressed with the leadership and poise Thomas displayed during the contest.
On the other hand, the news could not be worse for Florida State's Brandon Jenkins. The senior pass rusher suffered a Lisfranc injury in his left foot during the teams blowout victory over Murray State and will not play again this season. Considered in some circles as a potential first round pick, his recovery could take 8-to-12 months. Jenkins, who has a red-shirt season available to him, will have a big decision to make in the coming months as to whether he'll enter the draft or petition the NCAA for another season on the college field.
The injury to Jenkins could provide an opportunity for teammate Bjoern Werner. Scouts love his upside potential and the junior is slowly growing into the complete package at defensive end. He is now the focus of attention by opponents and a big season could vault Werner up draft boards.
Tyler Wilson, the highly rated quarterback from Arkansas, suffered a shoulder injury during the teams overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe and was forced to leave the game at halftime. The Razorbacks face off against Alabama next week and scouts hope to see Wilson perform against Nick Saban's defense.
Kawann Short of Purdue grades an incomplete for his performance against Notre Dame. He dominated play on occasion, setting up shop in the Irish backfield yet Short looked overweight and seemed to easily wear down. His two sacks and two tackles for loss were impressive but Short left scouts thinking he's capable of much more.
* - Denotes underclassman