College football's regular season heads down the stretch, as teams battle for a coveted shot at the national title. Several draft-eligible players continue to impress NFL scouts and are watching their stock rise. For some well-named prospects, time is running out and they must quickly turn their games around. Here are the risers and sliders after Week 8 of the season.
Kurt Coleman/S/Ohio State: Coleman continues to prove he's one of the most complete and versatile defensive backs in the nation. The senior captain leads all Buckeye's in the secondary with 52 tackles, which nicely compliments his team leading three interceptions. The durable Coleman has been a three-year starter at Ohio State and heads towards April's draft with a polished game. He lacks the proto-typical safety size but has the ability to effectively play in a number of defensive schemes, which is attractive to teams.
Navorro Bowman/OLB/Penn State: The Penn State junior is developing a complete game and slowly growing into one of the better prospects at the linebacker position. His performance during the blowout victory over Michigan was evidence as he led the team with eleven tackles besides intercepting a pass, forcing a fumble as well as registering a sack. Bowman's athleticism and ability to make plays in space has scouts excited.
Von Miller/OLB/Texas A&M: Miller has come from nowhere to turn in an all-American campaign and scouts have taken notice. He is one of the nations leaders making plays behind the line of scrimmage this season with totals of 14.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in just seven games. The junior is a forceful defender that will garner the interest of 3-4 defenses around the league once he enters the draft.
Demaryius Thomas /WR/Georgia Tech: Tech's option offense has been helped immensely by the performance of their big play receiver. Thomas has posted 30 receptions this season and is averaging just under 25-yards per catch. The redshirt junior is a terrific combination of size (6-feet, 2-inches and 220-pounds), game day speed and pass catching skill.
Brandon Minor/RB/Michigan: Minor received late round grades entering the season but the Wolverine senior has elevated his game this year. He's a hard running, interior ball carrier that continually displays the ability to pick up the tough yardage when necessary.
Colin Peek/TE/Alabama: Peek has been a major contributor this season, his first on the field for Alabama. His 19 receptions place him second on the team and Peek has been reliable when called upon to block. NFL scouts gave Peek, who transferred to Alabama from Georgia Tech in 2008, a wait and see grade at the start of the season. Thus far the big tight end has exceeded expectations.
Reggie Stephens/OL/Iowa State: Stephens did a solid job against a tough Nebraska defensive line during the Cyclones upset victory in Lincoln. He's a wide-bodied blocker with the athleticism and skill to handle the guard or center positions at the next level.
Adam Ulatoski/T/Texas: NFL scouting services gave Ulatoski a free agent grade entering the season but that opinion has changed. The Longhorns left tackle blocks with sound mechanics, strength and plays a smart brand of football. He's likely to move to the right side at the next level and has worked his way into the middle rounds.
Kao Misi/DE/Utah: The three year starter has been one of the most consistent performers on the Utes defense this season. Misi posted 12 tackles with one tackle for loss against Air Force, whose offense ranks fourth nationally rushing the ball. He known as a terrific athlete and is expected to post some jaw-dropping workouts leading up to the draft. Misi could make a big move up boards and sneak into the draft's initial 40 selections by the time April arrives.
George Selvie/DE/South Florida: Two seasons ago as a sophomore Selvie was one of the most dominant pass rushers in the nation, leading the country with 31.5 tackles for loss besides posting 14.5 sacks. He was widely considered a top-15 pick but that opinion has since changed. Selvie's play has been sliding since 2008 and midway through his senior campaign he's totaled 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Most disturbing is the way opponents regularly handle Selvie in one-on-one blocking situations. The first round is out of the question at this point in time and Selvie must quickly get his game back on track to remain a top 45 choice.
Sam Young/OT/Notre Dame: Notre Dame's starting left tackle has struggled throughout his senior season. Young has not displayed the balance or footwork necessary to stay on the blind side in the NFL and does not possess the brute strength teams want in a strong side blocker.
Arrelious Benn/WR/Illinois: Benn started the season with an ankle injury and to date his play has been disappointing. The junior's production is way down from last season and Benn has not caught a touchdown pass in more than a year; an ominous statistic for a prospect known as a game controlling possession receiver.
Notes: Cincinnati's Tony Pike has been the most impressive senior quarterback of the season, but the signal-caller cannot stay away from the injuries, which is cause for concern. Pike again injured his left arm, the same one he broke in 2008, and combine doctors will surely give it a good going over in February to test the integrity of the bone.
The struggles continue for Trent Williams of Oklahoma. He seems out of sorts at left tackle this season after moving over from the right side. His draft stock has dropped significantly and Williams will need a strong showing in post season All Star games to make scouts believe he can handle to blind side in the NFL.
Adding another element to his game to impress scouts even further, Ndamukong Suh blocked two kicks in Nebraska's loss to Iowa State. Besides the athleticism and power needed to accomplish the feat, scouts had to be like the grittiness shown by Suh to make the plays on special teams.
Similar credit must be given to Terrence Cody of Alabama. The dominant nose tackle blocked two field goals against Tennessee, which not only sealed victory for the Tide, but may have also saved the season.