by Greg Doyle
Big games on tap this weekend that will flush out the BCS standing even further. With Boston College idle, they could move up to #2 with South Florida losing to Rutgers this past Thursday. A loss by Ohio State to Michigan State and the impossible could happen – yes, BC at #1. Of course, they face their own extremely tough game next Thursday at Virginia Tech. The standings will be further subject to change as LSU looks to get back on track at home against Auburn and USC looks to take out Notre Dame after a string of lackluster performances by the Trojans. Should be an interesting weekend.
Kansas at Colorado (5:45 PM ESPN): Kansas remains under the radar at 6-0 and they had an exceedingly easy first four games on their schedule before finally getting an impressive win two weeks ago at Kansas State. They are now up to 15 in most polls and a win here on the road against an improved Colorado team should finally get the pollsters to pay closer attention. Kansas runs an entertaining style of offense under coach Mark Mangino. Colorado is in the second year of a rebuilding program and has made great strides, already knocking off highly ranked Oklahoma this year. This should be a real good game with young talent on both sides. We took a look at Colorado in the September 29th College Scout, so check that out. Let’s take a look at some more players in this game.
Kansas WR Marcus Henry (#86): A solid but far from great player his first few years at Kansas, Henry seems to have taken it to a higher level this season. Has 24 catches during the first six games and is averaging nearly 20 yards per catch, while finding the end zone 3 times. Has good size and the improvement he’s shown this year will impress scouts. He is likely a later round choice as he isn’t a speed burner, but there is potential for him to be a possession receiver and he’ll need to continue to display nice hands to solidify his standing.
Kansas FB Brandon McAnderson (#35): A fullback in the Jayhawks scheme who weighs in at 235 lbs. Has been given the ball a lot more by Kansas this year, racking up 461 yards rushing through the first 6 games. Has not gotten much experience catching the ball, but does flash some potential there. He is a team captain, which is something the Patriots always look for and like to draft. Has been a mainstay for the Jayhawks covering kicks throughout his career. Truthfully, McAnderson almost certainly will not be drafted. But he has an interesting size combination with an ability to run the ball. Throw in special teams skills and some pass catching capabilities and he reminds slightly of former Patriots versatile back Patrick Pass. McAnderson could get a look in someone’s camp and make a team or practice squad. A lot depends on his blocking and ability to show some versatility in what he can bring, but it wouldn’t shock me if he ends up spending years in the NFL and eventually becoming a solid pass-catching fullback type.
Colorado TE Tyson DeVree (#84): A big, athletic tight end who has a knack for finding the end zone. Spent his first two years at Western Michigan where he caught 55 passes. Settling in at Colorado and has 13 catches so far. A pass catcher with good size who has a lot of experience and will get a look. Smart, which is a trait the Patriots look for.
Idaho at New Mexico State (8:00 PM ESPN Game Plan): Believe it or not, there is some NFL-caliber talent in this game, which you’ll only be able to catch if you subscribe to ESPN Game Plan. Idaho is struggling at 1-6 and headed for their 8th straight losing season. New Mexico State sits at 3-4 and seems to be making progress under former Kentucky head coach Hal Mumme. Let’s take a look at a few of the players in this game, as some of them could end up in the NFL some day.
Idaho LB David Vobora (#40): The best player on the Vandals shaky defense, Vobora is a sure tackler with NFL size and the quickness and speed to get to the edge. Displays leadership ability and plays hard. Can make plays both in coverage and in the backfield. Team captain. Voted first team All-WAC Conference last year.
Idaho CB Stanley Franks (#6): Was All-WAC Conference as a Junior and had an impressive 9 interceptions, tying for most in the NCAA. Came over last year as a JUCO player. Has only 1 interception so far this year, but teams are avoiding him. A bit too small at around 170 lbs, but he has ball skills and some potential. Can return kicks.
New Mexico State DT Maurice Murray (#45): Very big defensive tackle who came over from a Junior College to start last year. Starting again this year and has racked up 13 tackles so far with 1.5 sacks. Big and strong and weighs as much as 323 lbs with good height, yet plays on the end. This could indicate he has potential to play 3-4 end for the Patriots. Very raw and took a year off from football in 2005. Late round or free agent type, but with size and strength, could fit with the Patriots.
Michigan at Illinois (8:00 PM ABC): Check out the September 8th College Scout for a look at some of the Michigan players to watch and the October 6th College Scout for a look at Illinois. This is a big game for both these teams. Michigan remains undefeated in the Big 10 and still has Rose Bowl aspirations while Illinois suffered their first loss of the season in the Big 10 last week to Iowa, but can get themselves back into the race with a win here.
Michigan LB Shawn Crable (#2): Somewhat unheralded coming into this season, he is moving up the charts by leading Michigan in tackles so far this season. At 6’5″ 245 he has definite NFL 3-4 linebacker potential. Can rush the passer and a solid tackler. Gets out into coverage as well. Seems to be a perfect fit with a 3-4 team like the Patriots. Has 5.5 sacks thru 7 games this year. Runs a good 40 time and with a good Combine, he may start soaring up the charts. Has gotten some consideration as a Butkus Award candidate as the nation’s top linebacker.
Michigan S Jamar Adams (#22): A good sized safety who has been productive and a multi-year starter for Michigan. Has 35 tackles with 2 interceptions and 7 pass break ups thru 7 games this season. Has played special teams and been productive there. Very fast and good coverage ability, but also can hit. Should be one of the better safeties in the draft.
Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall (#5): A junior, he is having such a good year he may consider coming out. Only 210 lbs, but never seems to go down on first contact. Has some good vision and cutting ability as well. Good around the end zone, he has had one of the better years of any running back in the country. Can catch the ball as well with 21 catches thru 7 games.
Illinois FB Russ Weil (#41): A big-bruising throwback fullback type. Probably won’t be drafted, but a good blocker and can catch a pass here and there. May stick with a team looking for a traditional fullback type and this brusing blocker would fit the bill.