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Pro Football Weekly looks at notable Pro Prospects


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Posted Oct. 08, 2009 @ 11:09 a.m.

By Nolan Nawrocki

• South Florida FS Nate Allen, who spearheads the Bulls' 12th-ranked pass defense, snagged two interceptions last week against Syracuse and delivered a helmet-corking hit on a receiver crossing the middle the week before in a 17-7 upset win over Florida State. His range and playmaking ability have served a key role in USF's 5-0 start. The Bulls and undefeated Cincinnati each have two weeks to prepare for their Big East showdown on Thursday, Oct. 15 in Tampa. The Bearcats, headed by efficient senior QB Tony Pike, will challenge USF as much as any team to date, with Cincy coach Brian Kelly understanding matchups and having done a masterful job of coaching since he arrived at the program. If Allen continues to play the way he has through the first five weeks, he could warrant legitimate first-round interest in a safety class that could be very strong at the top, likely featuring USC's Taylor Mays and Tennessee junior Eric Berry.

• Florida QB Tim Tebow has been cleared to practice after having rested the past week following a concussion suffered against Kentucky. Given what a competitor Tebow is and his itch to get back on the field, Tebow is expected to return, but head coach Urban Meyer might have to careful with how much time he plays and be prepared to let backup John Brantley play half of the game. The physical style of play that has made Tebow so difficult to defend needs to be tamed to protect the Gators' star quarterback. Major questions still exist in the NFL scouting community about how well he will be able to transition to under center in the NFL, but given his overall makeup, there are few evaluators who doubt that Tebow will find a way to be a successful pro in some capacity. The game is too important to him to fail.

• LSU senior OT Ciron Black will face his greatest test of the season when he tries to contain Florida DEs Jermaine Cunningham, who has the speed to run circles around the heavy-footed Black, and junior DE Carlos Dunlap, who is capable of overpowering the monster-sized tackle.

• Illinois insiders have long believed that junior backup QB Eddie McGee gave the Illini the best chance to win, believing Juice Williams was kept in the starting lineup to preserve the pipeline of talent coming from the Chicago Public League, and that McGee showed much more poise and decision making when he has been given opportunities to share time in the past. After Williams opened the season with four disappointing outings marked by marginal accuracy and decision making, and following a week in which he set the school record for total offense for a career, he was benched in favor of McGee, as Ron Zook looks for a way to spark a stagnant offense. Physically, evaluators passing through the program have said the Illini are the most impressive-looking team in the Big Ten, with the talent present to return to the Rose Bowl. However, dating back to Florida, where Urban Meyer was quickly able to win two national championships with talent Zook recruited, Zook has struggled to maximize the immense talent he regularly attracts.

• Illinois senior TE Michael Hoomanawanui left the Penn State game in the first quarter with a sprained ankle and has been slowed by the Illini's offensive struggles this season. Penn State senior LB Sean Lee also missed his second consecutive game with a knee injury.

• Miami (Fla.) senior RB Jarvarris James, after not even being slated to start in fall camp, has been a productive runner for the 3-1 Hurricanes and came through in the clutch in the second half against Oklahoma last week, rushing for a career-high 150 yards and running very hard against a stingy Sooners defense.

• Oklahoma sophomore WR Ryan Broyles left the Sooners' 21-20 loss to Miami (Fla.) with a fractured left shoulder blade. Having the team's leading receiver sidelined for 2-4 weeks further depletes an already banged-up offense.

• Some scouts believed the punishment given to Oregon senior RB LeGarrette Blount following a postgame fight with a Boise State player in the season opener was too severe, believing he should not have been forced to sit out the entire season after responding poorly to being taunted and coldcocking a Boise State player. It's possible now, with his season-long suspension being ruled an indefinite suspension through at least the end of October, that Blount could return against Stanford on Nov. 7. Blount must meet unspecified "academic and behavioral" requirements to return, as described in a letter signed by Blount and head coach Chip Kelly with input from university counsel. Kelly said he consulted with former Colts head coach Tony Dungy and noted California sports sociologist Harry Edwards. Even if Blount is cleared to play, he still will have to earn his way back into the lineup and could be parked on the bench.

• Maryland junior OLT Bruce Campbell, who is expected to depart early for the NFL draft, suffered a MCL injury against Clemson and has not practiced this week, although he has yet to be ruled out for the Wake Forest game. He is a big, athletic mover but durability issues have been a question throughout his career.

pro football weekly

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Great read metal, thanks for posting this.

I am very much anticipating the USF-Cincy game. I really want to see how Pike responds against a good defense and Allen may very well come away with another INT in that game.

And I think Black is probably going to get manhandled this weekend. Florida has the advantage with both matchups regardless of whether Cunningham or Dunlap is playing there.

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Great read metal, thanks for posting this.

I am very much anticipating the USF-Cincy game. I really want to see how Pike responds against a good defense and Allen may very well come away with another INT in that game.

And I think Black is probably going to get manhandled this weekend. Florida has the advantage with both matchups regardless of whether Cunningham or Dunlap is playing there.

Allen is playing lights out right now. I'm not sure where he's currently projected to go in the draft but I will keep an eye out for him in the Cincy vs S. Florida game.

I've watched a couple of Florida games this year and I came away unimpressed with Dunlap's performances. He's got great size, but lacks that elite first step and he's motor seems to run hot and cold. Also I would like to seem him play more physical for his size.

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Allen is playing lights out right now. I'm not sure where he's currently projected to go in the draft but I will keep an eye out for him in the Cincy vs S. Florida game.

I've watched a couple of Florida games this year and I came away unimpressed with Dunlap's performances. He's got great size, but lacks that elite first step and he's motor seems to run hot and cold. Also I would like to seem him play more physical for his size.

I have only watched him live but I would tend to agree. He is a physical freak but he isn't as dominant as he could be by any stretch of the imagination. The motor comment also bothers me because I love guys with good motors but really have a hard time liking guys that don't put in a good effort on every play. Dunlap doesn't seem to do that as you said.

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