September 14, 2009

Week two of the college season was highlighted by the shocking upset of a top ten team on their home turf by an unranked opponent. The second weekend in college football also saw a number of outstanding performances by several quarterbacks, cornerbacks as well as defensive front seven prospects. Here are the college players rising up and sliding down NFL draft boards.

Jerry Hughes/OLB-DE/TCU: Hughes' performance in the opener against Virginia was terrific. He posted 11 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss and another 1.5 sacks. The ability to make plays in space or run down ballcarriers in pursuit excites scouts. Hughes lines up in a three-point stance for TCU but is widely considered an outside linebacker prospect by most in the scouting community.

Derrick Morgan/DE/Georgia Tech: Tech's defensive end was omni-present in the Yellow Jackets win over conference foe Clemson. He was disruptive force on the field totaling ten tackles, including four for loss and three sacks. Morgan possesses the athleticism and skill NFL teams desire in the defensive front seven player and the junior has possibilities at both defensive end or outside linebacker.

Jermaine Cunningham/DE/Florida: Cunningham does not get the same headlines as many of his much heralded teammates yet is well thought of in the scouting community. He's an athletic edge rusher from his defensive end spot and plays with terrific speed as well as explosion. Cunningham makes a lot of plays up the field as evidenced by his performance against Troy State when he posted four tackles, forced a fumble and recovered one as well. Scouts gave Cunningham a mid-round grade in July but that's likely to improve to a top-100 ranking.

Dan LeFevour/QB/Central Michigan: The Chippewas totaled 418 total yards in their upset victory at Michigan State this weekend, with 328 coming courtesy of LeFevour's passing arm. The quarterback played almost mistake free football in front of a hostile crowd, twice driving his team down the field for scores during the games final seven minutes. LeFevour was given a late-round grade by scouts yet there's no doubt more performances such as the one against Michigan State will push him into the draft's top 120 choices.

Tony Pike/QB/Cincinnati: The Bearcats opened the season with an important conference game on the road against Rutgers. Pike made sure it was no contest from the start, completing 27 of the 34 passes he threw for 362 yards and three touchdown strikes. Pike is highly thought of by NFL scouts and shredding the usually tough Rutgers defense on the road is a good start to his senior season.

Charles Brown/CB/North Carolina: Brown, a junior we listed as one of the top cornerback prospects in the nation two weeks ago, showed why on Saturday. He was all over the field against Connecticut, offering lock down coverage against receivers while also displaying plenty of grit defending the run. The playmaking corner created a lot of opportunities for the Tar Heels as he forced a fumble then recovered another, besides intercepting a pass.

Donovan Warren/CB/Michigan: Warren, the Wolverines well-sized cornerback, seems to have his game back on track after a disappointing sophomore campaign. He broke up three passes during the victory over Notre Dame and was forceful helping to stop the run. The junior's game comes with a great amount of upside potential and should Warren consistently play at a high level, he will eventually move into the draft's initial 45 selections.

Case Keenum/QB/Houston: Keenum shredded a solid Oklahoma State defense on the road, leading the Cougars to biggest upset victory of the weekend. His passing numbers were impressive and included 70% completion of his throws for 366 yards with three scores. Keenum's resiliency also made people take notice as he helped lead Houston to a 17-point lead in the first half, then was forced to play from behind after the Cougars lost their advantage. The junior signal-caller has a nice blend of size and smarts and is considered a possible top-100 choice once he enters the draft.

Sleeper: Antonio Brown/WR/Central Michigan -- Brown is one of the best-kept secrets in the nation besides being one of college football's most versatile skill players. The junior has been an all-Conference return specialist the past two seasons as well as the Central Michigan's leading receiver. He totaled ten receptions for 71 yards and a score against Michigan State, including two critical catches during the game winning drive. Brown does not possess great size yet has terrific game day speed and is a threat whenever he handles the ball.

Zac Robinson/QB/Oklahoma State: Robinson comes off another unimpressive outing just two games into the season. He posted 240 yards passing and threw an interception late in the fourth quarter that was returned for a score and sealed Oklahoma State's fate against Houston. NFL scouts graded Robinson as a fringe late round pick and he's done nothing to enhance his value this year.

Boris Lee/ILB/Troy State: The usually reliable Lee had his struggles and looked overmatched against Florida. Troy State's leading tackler the past two seasons, Lee followed up a 12-tackle effort against Bowling Green by posting just two against the Gators.

Notes: Indiana defensive end Greg Middleton, a Week 1 riser, was again prominent during the Hoosiers' victory on Saturday. With Western Michigan driving for the game-winning score late in the fourth quarter, Middleton forced a fumble, which was recovered by Indiana, who held on for the win. ... Mississippi State's Jamar Chaney was graded by NFL scouts as one of the top middle linebacker prospects prior to his senior season in 2008. A broken ankle suffered during the season opener sent Chaney to the sidelines for the rest of the campaign. Scouts gave Chaney a mid-round grade prior the '09 season but the defender has been slow returning to form and had just four assisted tackles in the game against Auburn.

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