by Greg Doyle
Welcome back to another week of College Scout. The slate of games this week I find a bit lacking, but there is one really nice tilt on the schedule and that is the Florida-Miami game. Let’s preview that game first.
Miami(FL) at Florida (8:00 PM EST ESPN)
Can Miami hold down their in-state rivals, the powerhouse Florida? It won’t be easy. Miami looks to be improved from their 5-7 squad last year, but they still aren’t the juggernaut of old.
The way Florida uses running backs nobody is featured. Moore is somewhat down the depth chart, but does get carries. Last year he actualyl led all running backs in yards with 580 and 6 Tds. He has over 1,100 yards for his career. A decent-sized back at 212 lbs, he runs with more power than shiftiness. A smart player, he does well academically. Moore has NFL ability but probably not as a starter. He has been used a bit in the passing game, but needs to improve in that area. He has never been a feature back. He could be drafted late and if he can play special teams, the Patriots may be interested in a hard running back up such as this.
Casey has always been a back up tight end at Florida, albeit one who got playing time. He had 24 career catches coming into this season. He has intriguing skills and size in that he is 6’6″ 251, isn’t slow for a tight end and has good hands. He has been stuck behind talented guys at Florida and never had a real chance to shine. This year, he was again projected as a back up until fellow senior tight end and NFL prospect Cornelius Ingram suffered a season-ending knee injury in preseason. So, Casey will start and could shine enough to turn himself into an NFL prospect. He is also on the Florida baseball team. Has run as fast as a 4.7/40. He is someone to definitely watch this year as he is getting his chance due to the Ingram injury. A real sleeper, but with talent. The Patriots should watch him as he fits perfectly as their type of tight end.
A huge nose tackle who has only started 6 games in 3 years at Miami. He checks in big. Like real big. As in 6’3″ 328. More of a run stuffer, he doesn’t generate much pass rush. Probably a 2-down player in the NFL. He has talent but hasn’t been super productive so far in his career. Needs a big senior year to become one of the best available defensive tackles in the draft. Has the strength and size to two-gap, so the Patriots could be interested and he would fit as a 3-4 nose tackle.
An athletic but slender corner with good cover skills. He will need to bulk up for the NFL. Good in coverage, but watch his run defense. It needs to improve. Has good speed and has returned kicks. Johnson is very talented, but hasn’t put it together yet. He’ll no doubt be drafted, but hasn’t showed he’ll be a good NFL player yet. He gets his shot as a full-time starter this year, if he has a good year it should make a major difference for him in terms of his pro prospects.
South Florida at Central Florida (7:00 PM EST ESPN2)
Another all-Florida matchup. Two pretty good teams and fairly evenly matched. It should be entertaining.
A big 6’1″ 204 receiver who will be one of the top targets at USF this fall. Good speed to go along with his size, he has been clocked at 4.43/40. Has returned kicks. He hasn’t put up really big numbers in a Bulls offense that focuses on spreading it around and the running game. But he has speed and size. He probably won’t be “the guy” this year either as USF doesn’t play that way, but some NFL team may get a steal late in next year’s draft given his size/speed combination and his steady all-around game. Here is a video of Taurus making a beautiful catch.
A short, compact runner who splits time for the Bulls with other backs. Doesn’t do anything outstanding, but he is a solid college player who has shown some skills in the passing game. Additionally USF coaches rave about his blocking and consider him one of the best blocking backs in the nation. That could be his ticket to at least consideration by the NFL. He rushed for 70 yards in the opener on only 6 carries. Should have a decent year and his pass catching and blocking skills could make him a third down back the Patriots may want to consider next year as a very late draft pick or undrafted free agent worth bringing in. Originally a walk-on at USF. Just a solid, but not spectacular, all-around back.
An All-Conference USA cornerback last year, he may get some consideration for All-American honors this year. He is a solid run and pass defender. A bit small, but big enough for the NFL. Good ball skills, he managed to pick off six passes last year. Burnett right now is a good NFL prospect who is likely in the middle of the draft. He can play zone and is also a play-maker, so the Patriots will have definite interest. His size and makeup seem to fit their requirements perfectly. He’s worth checking out as a year from now he will be playing in the NFL. Can return kicks and you can see that in this video.
Other Players to Watch
If you get a chance to tune into ESPN2 at Noon you’ll see Miami (Ohio) taking on Michigan in The Big House. Pay close attention to #51 for Miami (Ohio), Joe Coniglio. He is a defensive end who projects to outside linebacker in the NFL. He has speed, starting out as a running back in college, and the size to fit into the Patriots scheme. How he matches up against good talent, such as in this game, should be of interest to the Patriots.