NCF Nation: David Reed

Non-AQs to watch as NFL combine nears

February, 19, 2010
2/19/10
5:45
PM ET
Players from nonautomatic qualifying schools are steadily moving up ESPN Scouts Inc.’s draft board.

With a week before the NFL scouting combine, Idaho offensive guard Mike Iupati leads all non-AQ players as the top prospect. He’s the No. 1 guard in the draft and he and Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson have consistently been projected as first round picks.

But in Todd McShay’s blog Friday, Fresno Sate running back Ryan Mathews appeared as the No. 32 player in the upcoming draft. Mathews is a junior, so the first time scouts will really get to see his speed and agility is during the combine next week. Mathews is on the bubble between the first and second rounds and the combine could definitively move him one way or the other.

McShay also noted that after watching film, he found some players to watch as we head into the combine, and Utah receiver David Reed and Fresno State receiver Seyi Ajirotutu have cracked that list.

According to McShay, Reed “… should develop into a very good No. 3 receiver at the next level and is worth the investment late in Round 3.” McShay also writes that Reed should be taken over, “players such as Danario Alexander (Missouri), Jacoby Ford (Clemson) and Freddie Barnes (Bowling Green).”

For Ajirotutu, McShay writes that he needs some polishing, but could be a steal on Day 3 if some teams aren’t able to get a big-bodied receiver in the first three rounds.

Obviously, both Reed and Ajirotutu will have to impress scouts at the combine, but what they’ve shown on film already has piqued interest.
Breaking down the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl between California (8-4) and No. 23 Utah (9-3).

WHO TO WATCH: Cal quarterback Kevin Riley. Riley stood on the sidelines last year and watched Nate Longshore play terribly in the Bears' Emerald Bowl win over Miami. He was on the bench because of inconsistency, and that's still his biggest problem. Cal averaged 29 points per game this year but only 10 points per game in its four losses. Not all of that, of course, falls on Riley -- heck, the Bears lost those four by an average of nearly 29 points; it wasn't just one guy. But it's hard to imagine that if Riley comes out sharp, the Bears' chances won't be greatly enhanced.

WHAT TO WATCH: The consensus thinking entering the season was that Cal owned one of the nation's best secondaries. The crew didn't live up to the hype, ranking seventh in the Pac-10 in pass efficiency defense, with opponents completing 63 percent of their throws. Utah, however, isn't a great passing team. It decided to make a quarterback switch eight games into the season to true freshman Jordan Wynn, who's done some good things but has completed only 50 percent of his passes over the last three games. It's likely that cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson will see a lot of action opposite the Utes' best receiver, David Reed. It's unlikely the Utes will be able to run all over the Bears' solid rushing defense. They will have to throw, and that's a battle the Bears need to win.

WHY TO WATCH: First off, aren't you curious which Cal team shows up? You might get the one that was once ranked sixth in the country and whipped Arizona and Stanford. Or you might get the one that lost by 32 points at Washington. Second, it's a good matchup. The winner will end up nationally ranked and will feel fairly good about its season. The loser will not.

PREDICTION: California, 28-24. As we've said before: Golden Bears, why can't we quit you? The simple fact is Cal has better players. If they show up with a sound plan and play hard, they should win. The Bears have shown some resilience this year when folks are counting them out, winning five of six after getting bludgeoned on consecutive weekends by Oregon and USC. The humbling debacle at Washington should serve as motivation. Bears, do you really want to go out as losers in 2009?

Non-AQ helmet stickers: Week 1

September, 6, 2009
9/06/09
1:49
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson


Max Hall, QB, BYU: BYU’s embattled quarterback completed 9 of 10 passes on the final series and led his team 78 yards on the game-winning drive in the Cougars' 14-13 upset of No. 3 Oklahoma.

Joe Webb, QB, UAB: Completed 12 of 15 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 20 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-24 win over conference foe Rice.

Charles Sims, WR, Houston: In his first collegiate game, Sims caught six passes for 128 yards and a touchdown in a 55-7 win over Northwestern State.

Ricky Dobbs, QB, Navy: Completed 9-of-13 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns against No. 6 Ohio State.

Riley Dodge, QB, North Texas: Completed 23-of-33 passes for 216 yards and rushed for 73 yards to give North Texas a 20-10 win in his first collegiate start at quarterback.

Rock Dennis, S, SMU: Had two interceptions, a fumble recovery and eight tackles in SMU’s season opening win against Stephen F. Austin. It was SMU’s first win in a season opener since 2000.

Because I have so many players to cover, I added an others receiving votes category:

David Reed, WR, Utah: Had 10 catches for 172 yards and a touchdown in a 35-17 win over Utah State.

Cody Slate, TE, Marshall: Caught nine passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns to surpass former Marshall tight end Sean Doctor for the most receiving yards by a tight end in Marshall Football history.

Boise State’s defense: Held No. 16 Oregon to 152 yards of total offense, including no first downs in the first half, and forced two turnovers en route to a 19-8 Boise State win.

Robert Turbin, QB, Utah State: His 96-yard TD rush set a school-record for longest rushing play and tied the longest offensive play in school history.

Stephen Williams, WR, Toledo: Had 15 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns, but the Rockets fell 52-31 to Purdue.

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