Here is our breakdown of the weekend’s biggest and best games- and the players who you need to be watching in each.
12 Miami (FL) vs 2 Ohio State 3:30pm ET
Miami: Junior quarterback Jacory Harris hasn’t registered much on scout’s radars as of yet, but he is still worth watching. We have been tracking Harris early this year and will continue to do so today. When Miami is on defense, be sure to watch Allen Bailey. This talented defensive lineman has the skill set to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Many are labeling him as the best interior lineman in the nation.
Others to watch: WR Travis Benjamin, RB Graig Cooper, OG Orlando Franklin, TE Richard Gordon, WR Leonard Hankerson, CB Brandon Harris, OLB Colin McCarthy, DE Adewale Ojomo, DE Marcus Robinson, OLB Sean Spence, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke.
Ohio State: In a game featuring two of the best linemen in the country, keep an eye on Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward. Heyward has been atop our top list for the 2011 NFL Draft all summer. Watch out for OT Mike Adams today as well. Adams will be facing two very talented defensive ends, and how he plays today could determine a lot about his status for the ’11 NFL Draft. Perhaps the biggest name on the field today will be quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Scouts and draftniks are divided about Pryor’s prospects- we prefer to call him JaMarcus Junior. Today could tell the story of Pryor’s potential as a pure passer in the NFL.
Others to watch: OG Justin Boren, OC Mike Brewster, CB Chimdi Chekwa, RB Dan Herron, FS Jermale Hines, OLB Ross Homan, WR DeVier Posey, OLB Etienne Sabino, RB Brandon Saine, OT J.B. Shugarts, DE Nathan Williams
17 Florida State vs 10 Oklahoma 3:30 ET
Florida State: Not quite the NFL Draft powerhouse that they once were, FSU is on the upswing. Quarterback Christian Ponder has a chance to be the first player drafted next spring. Showing up big against a defense like the Sooners will go a long way in proving Ponder’s worth to the NFL. On the defensive side of the ball we love what we’ve seen from DE Markus White and MLB Kendall Smith. Both could terrorize the Oklahoma offense today and see their stock increase. While scouting the interior lines is not exciting for most, we absolutely love guard Rodney Hudson. Keep an eye on the big left guard today.
Others to watch: OLB Nigel Bradham, OT Andrew Datko, OC Ryan McMahon, MLB Kendall Smith
Oklahoma: Oklahoma traditionally is a great school for wide receivers, defensive tackles and running backs. Today we will see one of the best in running back DeMarco Murray. Murray’s physical style of running would be very attractive to NFL teams if he could prove his ability to stay healthy. Defensive tackle Adrian Taylor is an athletic, three-tech tackle that will be garnering NFL attention this weekend. Perhaps the best player on the roster is wide receiver Ryan Broyles. Despite his smaller stature, Broyles has first-rounder written all over him.
Others to watch: DE Jeremy Beal, OT Cory Brandon, FS Quinton Carter, OG Stephen Good, OLB Travis Lewis
18 Penn State vs 1 Alabama 7:00pm ET
Penn State: Penn State is oddly young this season, but there are many talented players worth watching. Center Stefen Wisniewski has the NFL pedigree that scouts go crazy for. He’ll be facing a tough test today against the Alabama 3-4 defense. A good game today could move Wisniewski to the top of our Center rankings. We will also be watching running back Evan Royster. Penn State running backs historically do not perform well in the NFL, but we like Royster’s combination of size and vision. Defensive end Eric Lattimore is a nice 3-4 DE prospect to note today as well.
Others to watch: DE Jack Crawford, OLB Bani Gbadyu, RB Stephfon Green, DT Ollie Ogbu, DT Devon Still, OLB Nate Stupar
Alabama: Alabama features tons of talent on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, the Crimson Tides best player will not be available. Defensive end Marcell Dareus is still inactive after accepting improper benefits. With Dareus in street clothes, we will shift our focus to linebacker Dont’a Hightower. An insanely athletic and instinctive linebacker, Hightower needs to show more aggression and physicality in tracking the run. Skill players on Alabama are a scout’s dream this year. Wide receiver Julio Jones is among the best in the country, and quarterback Greg McElroy is making a name for himself with continued smart play. If Mark Ingram plays today, we will be watching to see how he rebounds from an injury.
Others to watch: SS Mark Barron, OT James Carpenter, DE Luther Davis, OLB Jerrell Harris, CB BJ Scott, MLB Courtney Upshaw