Posted on 14 July 2010.
For the elite high school quarterbacks in the country, the opportunity to play quarterback at one of the bigtime college football programs is a dream come true. One major factor in making the final decision on which program gets the signature on the letter of intent is the degree to which that individual player will be prepared for the next level (the NFL).
The high-powered programs like Florida, Oklahoma, Miami and USC are just a few of the major BSC schools that elite high school quarterbacks consider, and why not? These teams are known for their juggernaut offenses, and they are consistently in the hunt for a national championship. College FootBlog takes a deeper look into the progress of the top performing quarterbacks from the NFL and where those QBs played their college ball.
If you are a coach or a parent of an elite QB, the you may want to take a hard look at the numbers because you’ll probably be very surprised. For a number of reasons, which we will cover later, the major programs typically do not groom their top-tier signal callers for the NFL. Let’s take a look at the passer ratings from the last season.
Purdue’s Drew Brees was the Superbowl MVP and the top-rated QB in the NFL last year, with a QB Rating of 109.6. Brett Favre was a close second and is a sure-fire, first ballot Hall of Famer, and he played at Southern Miss.
Phillip Rivers was the 3rd-ranked QB last year and has been a dominant player since his arrival in 2004, but NC State is not exactly known as Quarterback-U. Aaron Rodgers was #4 and played at Cal, which doesn’t have the glamor of USC, but he outperformed his former rivals from LA last season. Matt Schaub was ranked seventh and hails from the University of Virginia.
The other three QBs in the top ten really dispel the idea that you have to go to a bigtime program to prepare for the NFL. Fifth-ranked Ben Roethlisberger went to Miami–no, not that ‘Miami’…Miami of Ohio. Eighth-ranked Tony Romo and 10th-ranked Kurt Warner played Division IAA (or FCS for those who are up on the new abbreviations) at Eastern Illinois and Northern Iowa, respectively.
Now, let’s take a look at the lowest ranked QBs from last year’s NFL season. Five of the worst eight QBs in the NFL last season were from major programs, including #32 (the worst) first-round bust JaMarcus Russell from LSU. Former USC quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Mark Sanchez were numbers 25 and 28.
When digging into the numbers it really should not come as a huge surprise. Afterall, the quarterbacks at the major programs typically have a bigtime advantage with their receiving corps versus the opposing secondaries. For example, in Stafford’s last season at Georgia, he had 6’2″ and 2nd round pick Mohamed Massaquoi and soon to be first rounder AJ Green, who is 6’4″ and could be the best wideout in the country this year.
Even in the SEC, which is widely known for being the best conference in college football, the dominant programs have bigger, faster and stronger WRs, creating bigger windows to throw into and much more room for error.
In the NFL, it is typically the cornerbacks that are the fastest players on the field, and while they may be at a disadvantage in size, the talent pool is much smaller, and those large windows to complete passes are not only smaller, but they also close very quickly. In the NFL, a ball delivered a split-second too early or too late is the difference between a completion and a pick-six for the defense.
The QBs at the lesser-known programs have to deal with a more balanced and level playing field and often do not have this colossal advantage with their receivers, forcing them to make better reads and to thread the needle, instead of throwing to an area.
In the end, there are a few low-ranked QBs that could easily turn things around. After all, Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford were only rookies last season, but the trend is quite staggering when you take away all the glamor and simply look at production on the field. For the time being (and seemingly for the immediate future), it is the underdogs that continue to lead the way.
Posted on 02 March 2010.
NFL Combine Big Winners and Losers–By Jeff Dunbar
Each year, millions of dollars are at stake in Indianapolis, as top college players take part in testing and interviews at the NFL Combine. Depending on their performances over four-day period, these young men can literally make or lose millions of dollars based on what they show NFL scouts in this short amount of time.
This year was no different from years past as a few individuals improved their stock, while others likely took major hits to their wallets. College FootBlog breaks down six of the biggest winners and three of the biggest losers based on their combine performances.
1. Jacoby Ford (WR/Clemson): Ford stole the show on the wideout day, posting a ridiculous forty time of 4.28. At 5’9″ and 186 lbs, many experts had him pegged in the later rounds of the draft. Ford helped his stock even more by running very crisp routes, negating the criticism that he was just a return man. With his performance in the receiver drills and his forty time, Ford is now drawing comparisons to Carolina Panther All-Pro Steve Smith.
2. Taylor Mays (Safety/USC): Mays was already tabbed as a first rounder, but his 4.43 time in the forty may have moved him into the top 10. Mays has made a steady climb since the Senior Bowl, where he intercepted a pass in the game, showing critics that he is only a big hitter that he can also perform in coverage.
3. Jahvid Best ( RB/Cal): Best was right in the thick of the Heisman race before he was forced to miss several games due to a concussion. His speed has been well-documented–Best was the California state champion in the 100-meter dash as a senior with a blistering time of 10.31 seconds. That speed was on display for the pro scouts at the combine as Best posted the top time for all running backs, edging CJ Spiller by 0.02 seconds with a time of 4.35.
4. Eric Berry (Safety/Tennessee): Berry also showed out in the forty-yard dash, posting an official time of 4.47. Like Mays, Berry was already considered a first rounder, but the versatile defensive back showed a lot of confidence and great hips and change of direction in the combine drills. That, in addition to playing for defensive guru Monte Kiffin should result in a nice payday for him next month.
5. Sean Weatherspoon (ILB/Missouri): Weatherspoon continues to see his stock soar as he ran a 4.68 forty, which is very respectable for a middle linebacker. He also did an unbelievable 34 reps of 225 lbs in the bench press. This strong performance combined with his dominance in the Senior Bowl, where Weatherspoon showed cover skills to compliment his ability to close holes and make tackles will only help his stock.
6. Dekoda Watson (Linebacker/Florida St.): Watson ran a 4.52 forty and is now up to 240 lbs. FSU’s defensive captain from 2009 battled minor injuries throughout his career, but his speed off the edge and his improved muscle mass should help the OLB move higher in the third round or potentially crack the late second round.
1. Joe Haden (CB/Florida): Haden was widely considered the to DB in the draft this year, but his stock took a major hit at the combine, as he posted a very unimpressive 4.57 and followed that time up with a 4.60. Despite all the great film of Haden from his dominant days at Florida, this slow time will have a major impact on his stock.
2. LeGarrette Blount (RB/Oregon): Blount was already fighting an uphill battle due to his actions in the 2009 opener against Boise State when he KO’d Byron Hout and then had to be held back by coaches and teammates from going into the crowd to fight fans. After a solid performance at the Senior Bowl, Blount showed up at the combine looking like he was carrying some extra, unnecessary weight.
That proved to be the case when he clocked in at 4.62 and 4.69 in the forty. His 241-pound frame should help his cause, but even for a big back, 4.62 is not a solid time. Blount could have offset the less than stellar forty time with the bench press, but he managed 19 reps of 225 lbs, which is okay, but not spectacular.
3. Tony Pike (QB/Cincinnati): Pike was on a lot of scouts’ radar going into this season, but after a rather unimpressive performance at the Senior Bowl, he had a lot to gain going into the combine. After the combine, he likely dropped even lower. Pike took part in throwing drills and many scouts were unimpressed with his arm strength. Pike, who is not a physical specimen, will have to hope for a third round selection.
Posted on 19 January 2010.
With the 2009 college football season now officially in the books, College FootBlog will tackle the ongoing debate of which conference is the best in the FBS. In this three-part breakdown, we will rank the six major conferences from the BCS in 2009, and we will also provide an outlook for each conference for the 2010 season.
In our first of three articles, we will take a look at teams five and six in the power rankings of the major BCS conferences, although it should be noted that Boise State and TCU could make us rank eight conferences at the conclusion of next season.
6. Pac 10
2009 Recap: For the last several years, USC has brought respect to the conference, but last year’s fall from grace left put the pressure on the other teams in the conference to step up. No one else did–at least not consistently. The Pac 10 was a dismal 2-5 in bowls last season and one of those wins was USC’s victory over a very mediocre Boston College team in the Emerald Bowl. Losing three linebackers and quarterback Mark Sanchez in the first day of the NFL Draft last season proved to be too much for Pete Carroll to overcome.
After a promising start, Cal fell far below expectations, and Oregon started and finished with huge losses on national television. Toby Gerhart led the Stanford Cardinal onto the college football map, but overall, the Pac 10′s 2-5 bowl record was very underwhelming.
2010 Outlook: All signs point to the Pac 10 having a big turnaround next season. Conference Champ Oregon returns quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and running back LaMichael James. Oregon State will have the Rodgers brothers returning key running backs coming back next year, Arizona is emerging after an 8-5 record, and Jim Harbaugh and Steve Sarkisian have Stanford and Washington out of the cellar of college football.
The ACC barely made the cut for the fifth worst conference in college football last season. For the second year in a row, the Atlantic Coast Conference was consistently inconsistent. Paul Johnson once again proved to critics that the triple option can (and does) work in major college football, but they could not get things going against Iowa’s defense in the Orange Bowl.
Virginia Tech racked up ten wins, but once again, Frank Beamer was unable to get his team over the hump as one of college football’s elite teams. For what seems like the fifth straight year, Clemson failed to live up to all of the hype as well, losing five games, including one against a very average South Carolina team. Overall, ACC teams finished with a 3-4 bowl record in ’09.
2010 Outlook: Like the Pac 10, the ACC should make significant strides in 2010. Georgia Tech may take a step back with Jonathan Dwyer departing to the NFL, but several teams should be much improved. Virginia Tech returns running back Ryan Williams and QB Tyrod Taylor, and we may actually see Miami and Florida State get back on the map. Each of the traditional power houses from Florida showed signs that they may be on the cusp of regaining greatness, but they were up and down for much of the season. Look for Miami and FSU to make a serious run at Va Tech next season.
Note: Look for Parts 2 & 3 of College FootBlog’s 2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings later this week.
Posted on 23 December 2009.
Peter Marhoefer- Mr. Touchdown USA
3-0! I expect some wise guy to grab me on the way to the airport and tell me I am costing Vegas too much money.
Tonight I get to watch another Pac-10 vs. Mountain West match up. The Mountain West which has the best Bowl Winning percentage of any conference the last five years is 2-0 this year. Tonight would make a real statement should Utah (9-3) beat Cal (8-4) in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
I think the unfortunate loser in this game tonight will be the fan. The forecast I see are two teams that are more concerned with being home for Christmas, than playing a football game. I expect a lot of sloppiness, blocks not being finished and penalties due to lack of concentration.
As much as I believe that coach Kyle Whittingham will have he Utes ready to play this game, something just keeps telling me to pick Cal. Both teams feature great running backs with Utes Eddie Wide (1032 yards) and the Golden Bears tandem of Jahvid Best (867 yards, who is out for this game) and Shane Vereen (830 yards). I think the team that wins is who can effectively run the ball to overcome the projected mistakes.
I think Cal coach Jeff Tedford is going to be more demanding of his team after an embarrassing season ending loss to Washington 42-10.
MTDUSA prediction- Cal 24 Utah 16