Early New Year’s Day Bowl Prospects- Part 1

There’s plenty of action on New Year’s Day with six bowl games around the country, from Dallas, to Florida, to Arizona and California. That’s four early games and two in the evening.

That’s how we are going to break up these games to cover the best prospects coming into the 2011 NFL Draft. First we’ll bring you the best prospects among the seniors and then the underclassmen that are expected to join the ’11 draft class. Finally, we’ll throw in a few players that look like they might generate some interest from the Chiefs.  Later we’ll break down the two evening games.

Enjoy the day of football, and do some scouting as well.


GATOR BOWL/12:30 p.m. on ESPN2

Mississippi State – #79 OT Derek Sherrod, 6-5, 305 pounds, 5.22 seconds, Senior – A second-team AP All-America in ’10 and a first-team All-SEC selection in ’09-’10, Sherrod has started 34 consecutive games at left tackle. A team captain in ’10 for the Bulldogs, he played in 46 games over his career. Scouts rave about his quick feet, balance and upper body strength. He’s an outstanding blocker for the pass, very good run blocker. Barring injury, Sherrod is one of those LTs that starts as a rookie and plays for 10 to 12 years.


Penn State#61 C Stefen Wisniewski, 6-3, 306 pounds, 5.16 seconds, Senior – A second-team AP All-America in ’10 and first-team All-Big 10 on a vote of the coaches. Played as a freshman and got his first start that year, a rarity for Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions, he ended up starting for three years at both guard and center. He’s highly skilled at the art of blocking, is strong, athletic and smart, compiling a 4.0 GPA during two of his college semesters. His cumulative GPA is somewhere north of 3.8 and he was a three-time Academic All-America. He’s got the bloodlines too, as his father (Leo) and uncle (Steve) played in the NFL.

Florida – #55 G Mike Pouncey, 6-4¼, 310 pounds, 5.29 seconds, Senior – His twin brother Maurkice became a 16-game starter for the Steelers after being Pittsburgh’s first-round draft choice last year. Brother Mike hasn’t quite risen to the level of his brother and it was a tough year all-around for the Gators and their offensive line in ’10. He’s played for four seasons, starting two years at guard and then this year at center, replacing his brother.


Michigan State – #53 ILB Greg Jones, 6-0 ¾, 240 pounds, 4.64 seconds, Senior – A first-team AP All-America in ’10, as well as the AFCA Coaches All-America team and the Walter Camp All-America team. He’s been selected first-team All-Big 10 defense for three straight seasons. Jones led the Spartans in tackles with 98, with eight tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, three passes broken up and six quarterback hurries. He’s only the second player in school history to lead the team in tacklers over four straight seasons. Small in size he makes up for it in his athletic ability and football smarts. He’s also been a co-captain for State the past two seasons.



Alabama – #57 DT Marcell Dareus, 6-2¾, 309 pounds, 4.95 seconds, Junior – A third-team AP All-America, Dareus earned first-team honors on the All-SEC defense. He has played both end and tackle during his time with the Crimson Tide and at both spots he’s a very good pass rusher. This season, he has 31 tackles, 3.5 sacks, seven quarterback hurries and four pass breakups in 10 games. He missed two games under NCAA suspension for his dealings with an agent. Over 32 games with ‘Bama, he’s totaled 32 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 17 quarterback hurries and six passes broken up. He also returned an interception for a TD. Very athletic and explosive player.

Alabama – #30 ILB Don’ta Hightower, 6-3¼, 258 pounds, 4.74 seconds, Redshirt-Sophomore – He bounced back from a knee injury that allowed him to play only four games in ’09. This season he earned second-team All-SEC status with 67 total tackles in 12 games with eight quarterback hurries. Over his 30-game career, he’s totaled 147 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, one sack and 15 quarterback hurries.

Alabama – #8 WR Julio Jones, 6-4, 220 pounds, 4.49 seconds, Junior – A second-team AP All-America and first-team All-SEC offense, Jones has the size, speed and athletic ability. The SEC has been talking about Jones since his freshman season in ’08. They have talked even more this season because he ended up playing the second half of the season with a broken hand; not easy for a wide receiver. This season he caught 75 passes for 1,084 yards and seven TDs. Over his 39 games with the Tide, he’s caught 176 passes for 2,604 yards and 15 TDs. He also added a TD rushing, while handling punt and kickoff returns.


Texas Tech – #78 G Lonnie Edwards, 6-3¾, 322 pounds, 5.23 seconds, Redshirt-Junior – A second-team All-Big 12 selection for Tech in the ’10 season. Solid blocker for both the run and the pass, Edwards has the skills to play tackle as well as guard.

Comments are closed.

Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Other News