NCF Nation: Manase Tonga
There are no non-AQs players listed on Kiper’s first mock draft, which was released on ESPN.com on Thursday. Not even TCU defensive end (who could be considered an outside linebacker in the pros) Jerry Hughes, who was considered a late first-round pick on his NFL evaluation after his junior year, was able to crack the top 32. Hughes didn’t make Todd McShay’s first round either.
Kiper does list his top five players per position, which is a little kinder to players from teams outside the Big Six.
Idaho offensive guard Mike Iupati is the best guard available in the draft and TCU linebacker Daryl Washington is the second-best inside linebacker behind Alabama’s Rolando McClain and before Florida’s Brandon Spikes.
Kent State fullback Jameson Konz and BYU fullback Manase Tonga are the No. 3 and No. 4 fullbacks, respectively, available.
Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour is considered the fifth-best quarterback in the draft and Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews is considered the fifth-best running back.
Toledo kicker Alex Steigerwald is the fourth-best place-kicker and East Carolina punter Matt Dodge is the third-best punter available this year.
It is important to note that these rankings are before the senior bowls and the NFL combine, and those two events have been known to alter the first three rounds quite a bit.
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
BYU freshman offensive lineman Houston Reynolds suffered an ACL tear in his right knee during practice Friday morning.
Reynolds was given an MRI after practice, which revealed the injury.
Reynolds is beginning his first year with the Cougars after returning from a two-year mission. He had been working with the second team at guard and center.
The severity of his injury and his timetable for return are unknown.Meanwhile, BYU fullback Manase Tonga returned to the Cougars on Friday for the first time since the end of the 2007 season.
Tonga sat out the entire 2008 season after becoming academically ineligible. He was re-admitted to school Friday morning and practiced lightly with the team.
Per NCAA rules, Tonga won't be able to wear full pads until Wednesday.
I was speaking with sports information director Brett Pyne from BYU on Monday and wanted to share some of the notes from the first couple days of the Cougars practice.
• Fullback Manase Tonga has not yet practiced and might not join the team until next week. Tonga, who was academically ineligible last season, had to finish some classes and his grades will not be posted until Friday. The team is hopeful for his return.
• Defensive lineman Russell Tialavea was supposed to miss this season for his mission, but Tialavea didn't get the paperwork completed in time and has postponed his departure to Dec. 30. With Tialavea's return, the Cougars have three starters back on the defensive line.
• Defensive lineman Rick Wolfley reported to camp on Friday, but decided to quit the team over the weekend for personal reasons. Wolfley was second string behind Tialavea. Now, there's hot competition to fill that backup roll.
• Wide receiver McKay Jacobson, who joined the team in the spring after returning from his mission, was the first up the mountain to the Y during conditioning on Saturday. Jacobson struggled to get his legs back in the spring and even spent some time nursing injuries. But being first in annual run to the Y is something that should inspire confidence that he can return to old form.