2011 Bowl Season – New Year’s Eve

Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 11 a.m. CST/ESPN

Reliant Stadium/Houston, Texas


Texas A&M (6-6)

#17 QB Ryan Tannehill, Redshirt Senior – 6-4, 222 pounds, 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash – Physically gifted QB prospect that spent two years playing wide receiver when the door was closed to the starting QB job. Eventually though he returned to QB and that’s where he’s spent the last two seasons, putting together some impressive numbers in that time. He threw for 5,121 yards with 41 TDs and 20 INTs, while completing 62.3 percent of his passes. Against Baylor this season, he threw for six touchdown passes and 415 yards in a 55-28 victory. As a runner, he’s run 112 yards for 359 yards and 5 TDs. As a receiver he caught 112 passes for 1,596 yards and 10 TDs. As long as Tannehill handles the next few months, he’ll be a mid-to-late first-round selection.

#5 CB Coryell Judie, Redshirt Senior – 5-11, 190 pounds, 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash – He had two very productive seasons at A&M after coming out of Fort Scott Community College in the Jayhawk League. He was a 2008 JUCO All-America selection as he had seven interceptions, 82 tackles and a 26.8-yard average on kickoff returns. Judie did not play football until his senior year of high school; he was a track star. He was hampered throughout the 2011 season by a hamstring injury that cost him several games. If healthy – he also had a shoulder surgery two years ago – then Judie has the raw talent to be a second or third-round selection.

Northwestern (6-6)

#9 FB-TE Drake Dunsmore, Redshirt Senior – 6-2, 235 pounds, 4.74 seconds in the 40-yard dash – A first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection as a tight end as he finished the season as his team’s second leading receiver with 43 catches for 509 yards and 6 TDs. His career numbers sit at 141 catches for 1,554 yards and 14 TDs. Dunsmore caught four TD passes against Indiana back in late October. His versatility should have teams looking to select him in the sixth or seventh rounds.

#94 DE Vince Browne, Redshirt Senior – 6-5¼, 265 pounds, 4.92 seconds in the 40-yard dash –A second-team All-Big 10 Conference in 2010, Browne did not put up similar numbers in this season. Overall in 49 career games for the Wildcats, he had 158 total tackles, 34.5 TFLs, 1 interception and 4 forced fumbles. Browne figures to become a draft factor somewhere around the seventh round.


Hyundai Sun Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 1 p.m. CST/CBS

Sun Bowl Stadium/El Paso, Texas


Utah (7-5)

#70 OT Tony Bergstrom, Senior – 6-5, 315 pounds, 5.29 seconds in the 40-yard dash – A first-team All-Pac 12 Conference selection for the 2011 season, his third as the Utes starter at RT. Coaches gave him a grade of 85 percent for his performance this year to date, winning 491 out of 579 assignments. He missed two games last year due to a knee injury. He missed only three games over 4 seasons. That type of availability has him being a late third, early fourth-round choice.

#90 DE Derrick Shelby, Redshirt Senior – 6-2 ¾, 271 pounds, 4.86 seconds in the 40-yard dash – He was selected for the first-team All-Pac 12 Conference defense this season., with 45 total tackles, 9 TFLs, 5 sacks and two touchdowns on an INT return and a fumble recovery. He spent two years playing at DT for Utah. In 46 games, he had 159 total tackles, with 27 TFLs and 11 sacks. He’s a seventh-round prospect.

Georgia Tech (8-4)

#92 DE Jason Peters, Redshirt Senior – 6-2¼, 278 pounds, 4.88 seconds in the 40-yard dash – Coming out of high school in Louisiana, Peters first committed to LSU, but then changed his mind and signed with Tech. He worked in the 3-4 defense set up by Al Groh for head coach Paul Johnson. Peters has played in 47 games, with 50 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 10 TFL and an interception. Peters’ lack of size will force him into the late part of the draft, if he’s selected at all. Consider him a seventh-round prospect.

#20 RB Roddy Jones, Redshirt Senior – 5-8 ½, 202 pounds, 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash – Smart, durable running back, who missed just one game during his college career. In those 51 games for Tech, Jones ran for 1,826 yards on 238 carries and 14 TDs. He added five more touchdowns in 20 passes caught for 296 yards. His status is seventh round/FA.


  Auto Zone Liberty Bowl

  Saturday, December 31, 2:30 p.m. CST/ABC

  Liberty Bowl Stadium/Memphis, Tennessee



Cincinnati (9-3)

#23 RB Isaiah Pead, Senior – 5-10¼, 200 pounds, 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash – He put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Bearcats, including 1,100 yards and 14 TDs in 2011 when he was selected first-team All-Big East. He also won the conference offensive player of the year honors. In 43 games, Pead ran for 3,139 yards on 517 total carries with 26 scores. Good receiver too, catching 84 for 706 yards and 6 TDs. He may be the fastest back in the 2012 class, as few can match him in straight line speed. Good athlete, good hands and that’s the reason he should bea late first or early second-round choice

#95 DT Derek Wolfe, Senior – 6-5, 300 pounds, 5.16 seconds in the 40-yard dash – The Big East Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year for his performance in 2011, when he was also a first-team selection for the All-Big East offense. Wolfe had 19.5 TFLs and 9.5 sacks this season and over 43 games with the Bearcats, he had 156 total tackles, 35 TFLs and 19.5 sacks. NFL scouts think he’s a fifth or sixth-round prospect, with the potential to rise higher with a good spring before April’s NFL Draft.

Vanderbilt (6-6)

#19 CB Casey Hayward, Senior – 5-11, 188 pounds, 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash – A second-team All-SEC defense selection for his performance in 2011 when he had 54 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 5 interceptions. In 49 games at Vandy, he’s had 190 total tackles, 17 TFLs, 13 interceptions and 30 passes defended. An athletic corner, the NFL thinks there’s a nice upside to Hayward’s future in the league. Figure him a third or fourth-round possibility come NFL Draft time.

#21 SS Sean Richardson, Senior – 6-2¼, 220 pounds, 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash – Richardson gave serious thought to coming out last year and entering his name in the 2011 NFL Draft. But ultimately he decided to return to Vanderbilt, largely to finish his degree, proving he’s a smart young man. He’s played both strong and free safety. In 48 games for Vandy, Richardson had 252 total tackles, with 17 TFLs, 3.5 sacks and just one interception. He’s a seventh-round prospect.


Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 2:30 p.m. CST/ESPN

AT&T Park/San Francisco


Illinois (6-6)

#85 DE Whitney Mercilus, Redshirt Junior – 6-3¼, 265 pounds, 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard
dash – The 2011 season has sent Mercilus rocketing up underclassmen draft boards this falls, including winning the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year award. He had 52 total tackles, 19.5 TFLs, 14.5 sacks, 9 forced fumbles and 6 quarterback hurries. He already broke the school and conference record for forced fumbles in a season and is one shy of tying the NCAA record. The Ohio native was selected to the first-team All-Big Ten Conference defense. If he decides to enter the NFL Draft, he will be a late first, early second-round selection.

#8 WR A.J. Jenkins, Senior – 6-0¼, 190 pounds, 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash – He posted a conference best 84 catches for 1,196 yards and 7 TDs in the 2011 season. That earned a spot on the first-team All-Big Ten Conference offense. His season included a 12-catch, 268-yard game against Northwestern. He also had back-to-back TD catches of 67 and 77 yards against Indiana. Over his 45-game career, Jenkins caught 161 passes for 2,352 yards and 18 TDs. Jenkins should be a third or fourth-round pick this spring.


UCLA (6-7)

#33 FB Derrick Coleman, Senior – 6-0, 240 pounds, 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash – He earned second-team and honorable mention over the last several seasons in the Pac-10, now Pac-12. Started the season against San Jose State with 135 rushing yards, all of those yards came in the second half. In 47 games for the Bruins, he totaled 1,741 yards on 332 carries and 19 TDs. He’s a seventh-round/FA prospect.

#51 C Kai Maiava, Redshirt Senior, 6-0 ¼, 318 pounds, 5.12 seconds in the 40-yard dash – The Hawaii native came out of high school as the top-rated center in the entire country. He ended up at Colorado, but then transferred to UCLA. He sat out the 2008 season under transfer rules, started in the 2009 season, then missed the 2010 season when he fractured his left ankle in a fall scrimmage. Maiava came back as the starter in 2011. Considered a seventh-round/FA player, he may have a chance to climb the charts in off-season work.


Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 6:30 p.m. CST/ESPN

Georgia Dome/Atlanta


Virginia (8-4)

#13 CB Chase Minnifield, Redshirt Senior – 6-0, 185 pounds, 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash – Virginia has sent quite a few cornerbacks to the NFL in early rounds of the Draft in recent seasons, players like Chris Cook and Ras-I Dowling. Minnifield is just the next in line. The son of former NFL cornerback Frank Minnifield, is a very talented athlete who in high school played wide receiver, running back, cornerback, quarterback, kick returner, kicker and punter. But for the Cavaliers he’s been a stud on the corner, earning first-team All-ACC designation over two seasons. In 48 games, he had 13 interceptions, with one TD scored. He returned 35 punts and 43 kickoffs, while contributing 151 total tackles. He should be a late first, early second-round selection.

#56 DE Cam Johnson, Senior – 6-3 ¼, 270 pounds, 4.76 seconds in the 40-yard dash – Played both defensive end and outside linebacker for the Cavaliers. In 41 games, he’s had 127 total tackles, with 32.5 TFLs and 12.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles. In the last three seasons he’s missed just one game for the Cavaliers. An athletic linebacker type who would be best suited as an outside LB in the 3-4. Scouts peg him as a third or fourth-round talent right now.

Auburn (7-5)

#75 OT Brandon Mosley, Senior – 6-5¼, 305 pounds, 5.22 seconds in 40-yard dash – He came out of Coffeyville Community College as a defensive end and then tight end, his primary position coming out of high school. When he signed with Auburn he was a tight end, but he added weight when asked and moved to the offensive line. In the run to the national championship last year, he eventually became the starting right tackle. This season, he earned second-team All-SEC honors. Scouts think Mosley has a big upside, and he’s considered a third or fourth-round possible for this spring.

#15 FS Neiko Thorpe, Senior – 6-1, 191 pounds, 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash – A 50-game veteran for Auburn, he played the first half of his career on the corner, before moving to safety before he 2010s season. He was there through the national championship seasons in 2010. He has 271 total tackles with 7 interceptions and 27 passes defensed. Thorpe is seen as a seventh-round/FA type.

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