COLORADO RETURN OF THE NOID
Colorado senior quarterback SAM NOYER [6032/220] has finally made his way back under center in his fifth year. Through two weeks, he has rewarded the Buffaloes with a 2-0 start, while throwing for over 500 yards and rushing for 100. A heralded high school signal caller out of Oregon, Noyer was nearly a forgotten man, playing special teams and even getting into games as a safety. At one point, he contemplated a transfer but when Coach Mel Tucker left for Michigan State, he was re-engaged by the new coaches and now finds himself being one of the team leaders. Noyer is the first Colorado player in over 50 years to letter as a quarterback and defensive player. He’s progressing with his new on-the-job training after not seeing action for over two years at the position but there are some good physical tools here, not to mention natural toughness and perseverance. Noyer is one player to keep an eye on for the remainder of the Pac-12 season.
UTES PLAY WAIT AND SEE WITH QB
Utah is slated to kick off their season this upcoming Saturday versus USC, after Covid created cancellations of their first two opponents. One player we’ll be keeping a curious eye on is transfer quarterback JAKE BENTLEY [6036/220], who was recently elected a Utes team captain. Despite the accolade, head coach Kyle Whittingham has refused to name a starter, stating that the team will announce their starting quarterback when they march onto the field against the Trojans. A three-time team captain during his tenure at South Carolina, Bentley was a heralded recruit with a slingshot arm coming out of high school. He appeared in 34 games for the Gamecocks, demonstrating great smarts, instincts and leadership before succumbing to a season-ending Lisfranc injury during the first game of last season. Being anointed the starter this weekend would be a good jump-start for the one-time NFL prospect, in order to help reboot his draft stock.
SAN DIEGO STATE RUNNER RINGS UP HAWAII
As the bell tolls for the undefeated Aztecs, running back GREG BELL [5112/200] enjoyed the best performance of his tumultuous collegiate career with 160 rushing yards against Hawaii. The senior has been a staple of consistency for San Diego State, becoming the first player in school history to surpass the 100-yard rushing barrier in each of his first four games—a remarkable feat considering that Bell went 25 months between carries coming into the season. It’s been a winding road for the Cali native who originally committed to San Diego State out of high school but failed to qualify academically, which re-routed him to Arizona Western for two seasons, where he rushed for over 2,000 yards. From there, Bell would opt to transfer to Nebraska and left the team after two games to help deal with some family issues. Upon his return, Bell was doing an exercise that involved a band strapped to the top of a bar, which accidentally snapped, striking him in the eye and causing him to have surgery. That injury nearly cost him the vision in his right eye and prevented him from playing the 2019 season. The twisted irony is that on the field, it is his vision and patience that has led to his great success, while gaining the attention of NFL scouts. Remember the name, as he owns NFL-caliber game and will be one of the more feel-good stories of the 2021 NFL Draft Class.
NEVADA DOUBLE DOWNS WITH DOUBS
Nevada junior wide receiver ROMEO DOUBS [6020/200] is the best vertical threat receiver you may have yet to see or hear of to date. He has accumulated 645 yards receiving in just four games, including five catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns during the Wolfpack comeback win over New Mexico. An extremely smooth athlete, Doubs runs effortlessly to the point where it is almost deceptive how fast he is, can create space while the ball is in the air and has keen hand-eye coordination. His first two seasons showed flashes but this blazing start has drawn the attention of not only area scouts but personnel departments throughout the NFL. This program has produced several NFL receivers dating back to Alphonso Williams (1st round, Detroit), Alex Van Dyke (2nd round, NY Jets) and most notably Nate Burleson (3rd round, Minnesota), all of which were taken within the Top-75 picks of the draft. Doubs is blazing a path towards being a high Day Two selection, if he were to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR FRYFOGLE
Hard work pays off, that has been the mantra for Indiana senior wide receiver TY FRYFOGLE [6015/214], who has reaped the rewards of his dedication and hard work with a ravishing start to the 2020 campaign. He has emerged as the Hoosiers top playmaker, which he demonstrated this past Saturday, hauling in 11 catches for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while completing a clean sweep of Michigan State and Michigan (142 receiving yards) in back-to-back weeks. It was a one-handed catch that caught our attention last week. This week, he used his athleticism and balance to make his way down the sideline for a touchdown. Fryfogle has now scored in each of his past three contents, while already surpassing his touchdown total of a year ago (three). The Mississippi native was not highly thought of entering his final season but much like the rest of team, they’ll line up with an opportunity to have the biggest win possibly in the history of the program when they face Ohio State. Keep an eye on Fryfogle when he matches up against Buckeyes standout Shaun Wade this weekend. His prototype size, along with physicality and toughness are rare attributes at the wide out position and could help him earn priority free agent status come April.
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GREEN WAVE RUSHER HIGH TIDES QUARTERBACKS
Tulane senior edge rusher PATRICK JOHNSON [6021/255] has now taken over the FBS lead in sacks with ten, including four in the past two weeks, raising his career total to 24.5. Johnson shows a relentless motor and should make an attractive mid-round prospect with the type of leadership and character he demonstrates when communicating and motivating younger teammates. Expect teams who implement a 3-4 defensive scheme to keep close tabs on his post-season and NFL Combine results, as he could make the switch from defensive end to outside linebacker.
ZZ STOP STRUMS UP ANOTHER TOP PERFORMANCE
Drum up a clutch performance for Virginia thumping linebacker ZANE ZANDIER [6016/230], who delivered a big game for the Cavaliers this past weekend, registering eight tackles, one sack and sealing the deal on a victory over Louisville with a forced fumble late in the game. The hard-hitting senior drew our attention last year playing through a broken hand, while leading the team with 108 tackles. This season, he is back to laying the lumber and making plays behind the line of scrimmage by the bushel. Zandier brings plenty of experience, manning one of the 3-4 inside backer spots for his entire college career. While he does own some physical limitations, his toughness, leadership and ball skills could land ‘ZZ Stop’ a home as a two-down backer at the next level.
HODGE PROVIDES HAMMER FOR HERD
Marshall redshirt junior pass-rusher DARIUS HODGE [6020/245] has consistently been racking up sacks and pressures, while guiding the Thundering Herd to a 7-0 start. Hodge has six sacks, eight and a half tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on the season. He brings really good energy and plays with tremendous passion and power. His sack against Middle Tennessee State brought his three-year career total to 15. In addition, Hodge has also been very valuable on special teams with two career blocked kicks. He projects as a pure edge rusher that would have be used in the right scheme or possibly converted to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. While his size will raise some questions about sustainability at the next level, pure edge rushers are tough to find and he’s a legit playmaker, even if it were as a rotational defender in the NFL.
MALONE POSTS RECORD NUMBERS
It was an encore performance for C-USA Defensive Player of The Week, DEANGELO MALONE [6026/230], who is starting to heat up, recording a pair of sacks for the second consecutive week (he also has 16 tackles during the two-game span). The Hilltoppers senior edge rusher is now the program’s FBS-era leader in sacks, moving one ahead of Quanterus Smith’s mark of 24. Malone possesses a lightning quick first step, with the body frame to bulk up and remain at his current defensive end position at the next level or could possibly convert to outside linebacker due to his athleticism. A long limbed undersized pass rusher, Malone may be used more in an off ball role at the next level. With his combination of explosiveness, flexibility and versatility, he is the type of moving chess piece that will have teams excited. Keep an eye out for Malone’s name somewhere on Day Two of the 2021 NFL Draft.
FROM UNKNOWN TO KNOWN COMMODITY
It was another huge day for Tulsa redshirt junior linebacker ZAVEN COLLINS [6032/256] during the Golden Hurricanes 28-24 come from behind victory over ranked SMU and sparking the team’s first top 25 ranking since 2010. Collins ended the day with six total tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and the game clinching interception. An ultra-athletic off ball backer who can do a little bit of everything for the Tulsa defense, the Oklahoma native was practically an unknown heading into the season. Since then, Collins has firmly grabbed the attention of NFL evaluators and could be trending towards a Day Two draft grade.
MOUNTAINEER UNDER THE RADAR
Appalachian State senior cornerback SHEMAR JEAN-CHARLES [5105/190] is making the most of his final season in the Sun Belt. Opponents looking to avoid teammate SHAUN JOLLY [5090/170], haven’t found much success targeting Jean-Charles, who now has 13 pass breakups, one interception and is fifth on the team with 27 total tackles. His ball skills will certainly get him recognized more once NFL position coaches start watching the film. As a junior, he played his best in some of the Mountaineers’ biggest games (see Louisiana-Lafayette and South Carolina). Team officials say he has bulked up nearly ten pounds to his frame. If he can finish off strong and time in the 4.5-range, it’s very possible for him to earn a late-round grade.
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