September 28, 2009

The fourth week of college football saw a highly ranked SEC program go down to defeat, while upstart Houston once again tamed a Big XII team. It was also a week that saw a number of receivers turn in top performances and a few well-known names disappoint NFL scouts.

Cliff Matthews/DE/South Carolina: Matthews is in the midst of a terrific junior campaign and the pass rusher was dominant during the recent upset victory over Mississippi. His stats line was outstanding as Matthews recorded six tackles including three for loss, two sacks, besides forcing a fumble, which South Carolina converted into the game clinching score. Matthews size and style reminds many scouts of John Abraham and Kalimba Edwards, two former Gamecocks that were early picks in the NFL draft.

Mardy Gilyard/WR/Cincinnati: The Bearcats are undefeated this season and Gilyard has been pivotal for the team's offense. He was a one man show against Fresno State, catching nine passes for 177 yards and two scores. Gilyard is stating his case as one of the best senior receivers that will be available in April's draft.

Danario Alexander/WR/Missouri: Alexander, graded as a late round choice by NFL scouts prior to the season, has made a swift move into the middle frames. He's helped keep the Missouri offense ticking this season despite the loss of several key pass catchers. Alexander suffered with knee issues as a junior but is averaging more than seven receptions and 100 yards receiving each game this season. He's proving to be every bit a game controlling, possession wideout with potential as a No. 2 receiver for an NFL team.

Pat Angerer/ILB/Iowa: His last name is befitting of his playing style and Angerer impressed scouts with his latest performance. The Hawkeyes leader on defense totaled a game high 14 tackles against Penn State and produced a pair of key turnovers. His interception in the fourth quarter sealed the win for Iowa.

Morgan Burnett/S/Georgia Tech: Burnett was the dominant force of the Yellow Jacket defense when they shut down North Carolina last weekend. The safety led the team in tackles with six besides picking off a pair of passes. Burnett possesses the measurables and athleticism to be a first team player in the NFL and will make a big move up draft boards as he continues to improve his coverage skills.

Chris Hawkins/CB/LSU: The LSU senior is turning into one of the biggest sleepers at the cornerback position. Hawkins ranks fourth on the Tigers defense with 22 tackles and was pivotal in the team's victory over Mississippi State when he intercepted a pass to stop a drive and broke up two more throws. His match up against Georgia receiver A.J. Green this weekend will be a great challenge for Hawkins.


Rodger Saffold/OT/Indiana: Saffold was graded as a late-round pick coming into the season, yet the Hoosiers left tackle has been playing more like a first day selection. He did a terrific job protecting his passer against Michigan and threw several key blocks on a number of touchdown runs during Indiana's razor-thin loss. Saffold possesses the size, athleticism and playing skill that will make him a fast riser as the draft draws near.

Jevan Snead/QB/Mississippi: Snead is justifiably considered the best NFL quarterback prospect in college after Sam Bradford, though he's not played like it this season. His accuracy has seemingly left him as Snead has scattered passes all over the field since the first game of the year. Snead's performance against South Carolina when he completed just 33% of his passes and could not move the offense in the first half has been a troublesome trend this year.

Corey Wootton/DL/Northwestern: Wootton, who suffered a serious knee injury in Northwestern's bowl game last December, has been very slow rounding into form. He was graded as a first round pick by NFL scouting services before the season but has totaled just six tackles and has not registered a sack in the team's four games. Wootton still has plenty of season left but he must quickly turn it around to cement himself as a top 32 choice.

A.J. Jefferson/CB/Fresno State: Jefferson possesses the size/speed numbers to be a top 75 pick next April. Unfortunately he teases scouts and does not consistently play at a high level. This was evident against Cincinnati as Jefferson made several incredibly athletic plays that were followed by instances of mental mistakes which resulted in long-gainers for the opposition.

Dennis Landolt/OL/Penn State: Landolt was considered by scouting services to be a potential late round pick yet has given no indication he's next level talent. He's struggled recently and Landolt's play against Iowa was disappointing, as the Hawkeyes registered seven sacks.

Notes: South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood continues his torrid pace in 2009. His two sacks against Mississippi made him the school's all-time leader in the category, and brought his total to six sacks this season. Scouts love Norwood's exploits on the field yet his measurables of 6-feet, 250-pounds will pose a dilemma for teams that are size conscious.

Cincinnati signal-caller Tony Pike, a week 2 riser, continues to state his case to be a top-75 pick next April. Pike was near flawless against a tough Fresno State secondary and turned in his third 300-yard passing effort of the season. His touchdown-to-interception ration of 11/2 is indicative of his wise decision-making in the pocket during the first month of the season.

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