08/21/14 - Chad Voytik, rSo/2017, Pittsburgh, 6-1, 210 (DS#39 QB)[Newsfeed] Chad Voytik will be the starting quarterback for Pitt when opens the season on Aug. 30 against Delaware. Coach Paul Chryst officially announced Voytik as the starter on Thursday after watching Voytik separate himself from Trey Anderson during the two-plus weeks of training camp. Voytik took all the snaps with the first string during camp and impressed Chryst with Voytik's preparation. "I think he's proud, and he should be, of the work he's done," Chryst said of Voytik.
The sophomore played in three games for Pitt last fall, including the entire second half in a 30-27 victory over Bowling Green in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl. He appeared to have the job locked down after a solid spring but Chryst wanted to get a fuller picture of Voytik's development before making a final decision. "It feels good," Voytik said. "I have been getting the (first-team) reps, but being named is an honor and I am just so excited to play in nine days." Through his first training camp taking snaps with the first team, Voytik said his timing was the most improved aspect of his game. "That comes with learning the offense," Voytik said. "I think staying in my rhythm and knowing when to escape, those are really things that I have improved on and now I can be a pocket passer and still get out of the pocket when I need to." - AP Sports
08/21/14 - Patton Robinette, rSo/2017, Vanderbilt, 6-4, 214 (DS#41 QB)[Newsfeed] Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason has named Patton Robinette as his starting quarterback a week before the Commodores' season opener against Temple. Mason announced his decision Thursday night. "I'm excited for Patton as we prepare this team for the season opener next Thursday," Mason said in a statement. "Patton has really made strides and consistently improved from the spring to now. I believe he has worked to earn this opportunity." The 6-foot-4 Robinette, the only quarterback with any starting experience at Vanderbilt, beat out Johnny McCrary and Stephen Rivers, the younger brother of Philip who's quarterback for the NFL's San Diego Chargers. The Commodores started fall practice with six quarterbacks competing.
"We have three solid guys at the position now, along with the talented freshmen" Mason said. "Johnny and Stephen are very capable quarterbacks and both worked hard to make a strong case for the starting role. They made this a difficult decision," Mason said. Robinette, who redshirted in 2012, played in 10 games last season. He started in a loss at Texas A&M, Vandy's first win in Gainesville against Florida since 1945 and the bowl win. He also helped beat Georgia and Tennessee in helping the Commodores finish the season 9-4 and ranked in The Associated Press' final Top 25. - AP Sports
08/21/14 - Mitch Morse, rSr/2015, Missouri, 6-5, 305 (DS#16 OT)[Newsfeed] Missouri's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 3. OT Mitch Morse, RS Senior...Morse is expected to take over for Seattle Seahawks' second round pick Justin Britt as the Tigers' left tackle. Switching positions is nothing new for Morse, who initially worked his way into the starting lineup at Mizzou at center in 2012 before injuries pushed him to right tackle, where he's started the last 17 games. Like Britt, Morse is a functional athlete whose strengths are his patience, power and tenacity. He is a bit top-heavy and struggled a bit with speed while at right tackle so the transition to left tackle this year may not perfectly. Morse is best suited back at right tackle or even slotted inside at guard where his lack of foot speed is better protected and he can play the physical brand of football that has helped him emerge as a standout, thus far. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Mitch Morse, rSr/2015, Missouri, 6-5, 305 (DS#16 OT)[Newsfeed] Missouri's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 3. OT Mitch Morse, RS Senior...Morse has above average initial quickness and shows balance while he "chucks" his way back in pass protection. Morse shows good patience, allowing the defender to get near him before showing a quick, powerful punch to latch and control opponents. He plays with his knees bent, helping him to absorb bull rushes and plays on his toes, allowing him to slide laterally to mirror. Morse is attentive and can handle switching off on twists and unexpected blitzes. As a run blocker, Morse is at his best turning and sealing defenders with his initial quickness or simply driving them off the ball with power. He is quicker and more balanced dropping back into pass protection than he is pulling or sprinting out to block defenders at the second level. His slightly top-heavy frame and average core flexibility causes him to struggle when needing to adjust to moving targets and too often he misses these blocks. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Shane Ray, rJr/2016, Missouri, 6-3, 245 (DS#10 DE)[Newsfeed] Missouri's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 2. DE/OLB Shane Ray, RS Junior...Ray isn't as big as his predecessors at Mizzou but, given his athleticism and the creative ways NFL teams are using pass rushers now, he could wind up earning a higher draft-day grade than many of them. Like Golden, Ray's production last season (39 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) is staggering considering that he served as a backup to Sam and Ealy. Ray wasn't just productive, he was timely. His sack and forced fumble of Georgia's Aaron Murray led to a recovery for a touchdown from Sam to help beat the then-No. 7 Bulldogs.
Sam returned the favor in the Cotton Bowl, forcing a fumble that Ray scooped and raced 73 yards for the game-clinching score. Ray's 2013 season was a significant jump from a redshirt freshman campaign in which he recorded 16 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and no sacks but he's such an extraordinary athlete it is easy to see why the Tigers' coaching staff expects the big plays to grow in 2014. Ray reportedly has been clocked at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has a 40+ vertical, 10' broad jump and bench presses over 400 pounds. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Shane Ray, rJr/2016, Missouri, 6-3, 245 (DS#10 DE)[Newsfeed] Missouri's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 2. DE/OLB Shane Ray, RS Junior...Ray has an explosive first step to beat tackles off the snap and can fly by and around them, showing the flexibility and balance to scrape the corner and close. He complements the speed rush with a quick jab-step back to the inside and a swim over the top to counter when opponents start leaning outside. Ray locates the football quickly and changes directions fluidly to pursue. Ray is overly reliant on his athleticism to wreak havoc at this time and could improve his functional strength and awareness of cut blocks. He struggles to disengage once blockers latch on, showing only average power in his hands. Ray, who has two more years of potentially eligibility to bulk up, has good bloodlines. His father, Wendell Ray, was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round of the 1981 draft after starring for Missouri, himself. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Markus Golden, rSr/2015, Missouri, 6-3, 260 (DS#6 DE)[Newsfeed] Missouri's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 1. DE Markus Golden, Redshirt Senior...The impressive legacy at Missouri of producing standout NFL defensive linemen is in capable hands with Golden, who quietly finished with more tackles and similar big plays a season ago as a reserve as Sam, the co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Ealy, a second round pick. Despite playing an estimated 40% of the snaps last season, Golden recorded 55 tackles, including 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Golden also broke up eight passes, including one against Toledo in which he tipped to himself for the interception and raced 70 yards for a touchdown. Golden exploded onto the SEC scene last year after serving as a backup and on special teams in his first season on campus. Golden transferred to Missouri a year earlier after recording an eye-popping 90 tackles, including 26 tackles for loss and 10 sacks (along with five forced fumbles and two interceptions) while at Hutchison Community College. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Markus Golden, rSr/2015, Missouri, 6-3, 260 (DS#6 DE)[Newsfeed] Missouri's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 1. DE Markus Golden, Redshirt Senior...Like Michael Sam, Golden sports a powerful, relatively compact frame rather than the lengthy athletic build scouts prefer at defensive end. He has an explosive initial burst to challenge tackles and flashes speed off the edge. More often, his big plays come with a counter back to the inside, where he can out-quick and over-power blockers due to good agility, balance and core strength. Golden uses his hands well to deflect' blockers' attempts to latch on, showing good power to shock opponents back onto their heels with his punch. One of Golden's most impressive qualities - especially given his relative lack of playing time - is his awareness in the passing game. When unable to get pressure on the quarterback, Golden times his leaps well and shows good hand-eye coordination to deflect passes at the line of scrimmage. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Marcus Murphy, rSr/2015, Missouri, 5-09, 195 (DS#9 RB)[Newsfeed] Other Missouri prospects worth watching: RB Marcus Murphy, RS Senior...The NFL is always on the lookout for versatile skill-position players and they don't come much more versatile or productive than Murphy, who enters his senior campaign with 3,191 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns, scored via running (12), receiving (1), kick returning (3) and punt returning (1). Murphy scored nine of his rushing touchdowns last season as he gained more time at running back and earned All-American honors in 2012 with all four of his special teams' scores. Murphy has seen a lot of time at slot receiver in camp and appears well suited to the change. He lacks prototypical size, of course, but uses his naturally low center of gravity to remain balanced and has terrific agility and burst to go along with vision and soft hands. With a big senior season, the jack of all trades could push for a draft selection. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Evan Boehm, Jr/2016, Missouri, 6-3, 315 (DS#10 C)[Newsfeed] Other Missouri prospects worth watching: OC Evan Boehm, Junior...Graded by some recruiting experts among the elite offensive linemen in the country, Boehm immediately proved worthy of his hype, starting all 12 games at left guard as a true freshman and seamlessly making the transition to center a year ago. Boehm has a short and stocky frame. Frankly, he looks like a Coke machine with arms, legs and a helmet. He is surprisingly light on his feet and shows impressive power, leverage and technique - traits he's carried over from a state championship wrestling career in high school. Only a true junior, Boehm looks well on his way to competing for all-conference or even All-American accolades at center and could eventually earn early round NFL consideration. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Kentrell Brothers, rJr/2016, Missouri, 6-1, 240 (DS#11 ILB)[Newsfeed] Other Missouri prospects worth watching: ILB Kentrell Brothers, RS Junior...With all of the attention paid to Missouri's defensive line, few recognized Brothers' breakout campaign in 2013. Starting at weakside linebacker all year long, Brothers recorded 70 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and finished second on the team with three interceptions. Brothers' square-ish frame appears better suited to the 'Mike role, which is where he's being moved this year. Brothers is instinctive and doesn't shirk from contact, often aggressively taking on blockers in the hole. He has good lateral agility to slip them, as well and is smooth and attentive in coverage. Brothers frequently was in position a year ago to make big plays only to have runners slip through his fingers. With greater wrap-up strength and determination, he could be in store for a monster season. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Braylon Webb, rSr/2015, Missouri, 6-0, 205 (DS#51 SS)[Newsfeed] Other Missouri prospects worth watching: S Braylon Webb, RS Senior...With a team-high 30 career starts already on his resume, Webb is expected to take on the leadership role for the Tigers. Webb primarily lines up at strong safety but has enough agility and speed to handle dropping down and covering slot receivers, as well as playing a deep single-high position. He is at his best facing the quarterback, showing good awareness and steady acceleration to track the ball. Webb is a physical (albeit not explosive) tackler who wraps his arms securely. Given his experience, however, Webb doesn't break free of receiver blocks as quickly as he should. Webb had shoulder surgery after spring practice but is expected to ready for the start of the 2014 season. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Jameon Lewis, rSr/2015, Mississippi State, 5-08, 183 (DS#27 WR)[Newsfeed] Mississippi State's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 4. WR Jameon Lewis, RS Senior...Like Malcolm Johnson, size limitations is going to limit Lewis' upside in the NFL but scouts love versatility and playmaking ability and there is no question that this Bulldog possesses both. Lewis enters his senior campaign with 2,819 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns and is the only Bulldog with scores as a receiver (six), rusher (four), passer (three) and kick returner (one). Lewis' blend of burst, vision and surprising power has earned him a variety of roles at Mississippi State throughout his career but 2013 was his unofficial breakout campaign as he recorded the third-most all-purpose yards (1,537) in school history.
This was in large part due to his time at receiver, where Lewis started 12 of 13 games and finished with 64 passes (second in school history) for 923 yards and five touchdowns, including a school and Liberty Bowl-record 220 receiving yards against Rice in MSU's 44-7 victory. Lewis can extend and pluck the ball out of the air, showing very good hand-eye coordination. He's quicker than he is fast but shows impressive vision to take advantage of cutback lanes, making him faster on the field than he'll likely run for the stopwatch. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Malcolm Johnson, rSr/2015, Mississippi State, 6-1, 231 (DS#13 FB)[Newsfeed] Mississippi State's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 3. FB/TE/H-Back Malcolm Johnson, RS Senior...Given the expansion of passing attacks in the NFL, scouts are increasingly on the lookout for versatile pass-catchers who present tough matchups for defenders. Johnson, who has split time at receiver and tight end throughout his career and possesses good hands and a knack for the big play, is an intriguing option. After redshirting in 2010, Johnson earned a spot on the SEC's All-Freshman team in 2011, leading all first-year players in the conference with 11 receptions for 206 yards and three scores. He missed the first five games of the 2012 season with a pectoral injury but returned in spectacular fashion, making a one-handed grab on 4th down with just nine seconds remaining to help beat Tennessee. Johnson enjoyed his most productive year last season, hauling in 30 passes for 391 yards and a pair of scores.
Johnson earned Second Team All-SEC honors a year ago by the league coaches but doesn't play the traditional tight end role, seeing most of his action on the wing or in the slot. He possesses a strong, well-built frame and sticky hands to make tough grabs. He does not, however, possess the explosive start off the snap or straight-line speed to generate consistent separation and therefore will have to make an NFL team based on his jack-of-all-trades game. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Justin Cox, Sr/2015, Mississippi State, 6-2, 190 (DS#6 FS)[Newsfeed] Mississippi State's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 2. FS Justin Cox, Senior...Cox signed with Mississippi State out of high school but didn't qualify and therefore spent two years at East Mississippi Community College prior to latching back on with the Bulldogs last year. Cox intercepted 11 passes and broke up a total of 19 passes during his two years with the Lions and was a highly regarded JUCO prospect, who played in all 13 games (starting one) last season at right cornerback. He's being asked to make the move to free safety as a senior.
Cox looks more like a traditional cornerback than a safety, possessing a lean, athletic frame. He possesses good flexibility and acceleration to handle coverage duties, though his straight-line speed is a question. His JUCO tape shows good hand-eye coordination and timing on his leaps to high-point passes - traits that could lead to him becoming a feared ball-hawk at safety this year. He flashes physicality as a hitter but often resorts to lunging at the legs of ball-carriers, rather than fully wrapping them up. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Benardrick McKinney, rJr/2016, Mississippi State, 6-4, 245 (DS#3 OLB)[Newsfeed] Mississippi State's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 1. OLB Benardrick McKinney, Redshirt Junior...After redshirting his first season on campus while making the transition from high school quarterback to linebacker, McKinney exploded onto the SEC scene in 2012, leading all first-year players in the conference (and finishing second nationally among freshmen) with 102 tackles, despite not emerging as a full-time starter until the fourth game of the year. McKinney's numbers dropped last season but his importance to the team did not. He led the Bulldogs in tackles (71), tackles for loss (seven) and sacks (3.5).
McKinney's value lies with his versatility and raw athleticism. He lines up all over the field for the Bulldogs, taking snaps at middle linebacker, as well as rushing off either edge. He is a well-built and fluid athlete for his size, showing good lateral agility and very impressive acceleration to track down ball-carriers from behind. He has long arms and good hand-eye coordination to trip up ball-carriers that appear out of his reach and breaks down well in the open field to deliver strong, wrap-up tackles. His athleticism has been well documented with McKinney reportedly clocking in the 4.5s and posting a 34" vertical jump at 245 pounds. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Benardrick McKinney, rJr/2016, Mississippi State, 6-4, 245 (DS#3 OLB)[Newsfeed] Mississippi State's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 1. OLB Benardrick McKinney, Redshirt Junior...While there is reason to be excited about McKinney's upside, he does come with risks. He is overly reliant on his speed when rushing the quarterback, showing limited hand technique to defeat blocks once engaged. This issue comes into play not only when rushing the passer but also against the run, where McKinney looks to slip past blockers, rather than showing the aggression and strength to truly stack and shed. Further, McKinney doesn't possess ideal instincts in coverage, frequently drifting into No Man's Land to keep an eye on the quarterback and losing his assignment.
Too often McKinney is forced to turn away from the quarterback and sprint to his coverage responsibility. With his back turned to the action, McKinney isn't in position to help should the quarterback scramble or dump off to another target. McKinney boasts first round tools and has already alluded to his intention to enter the draft early. He's a better athlete than football player, at this time, however and without significant refining of his technique will rank among the bigger boom or bust prospects of the 2015 draft. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Jamerson Love, rSr/2015, Mississippi State, 5-09, 175 (DS#81 CB)[Newsfeed] Other Mississippi State prospects worth watching: CB Jamerson Love, RS Senior...Playing behind stars Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay for much of his career, Love enters his senior campaign with just 12 starts but appearances in 36 games. He emerged as a full-time starter for the Bulldogs last year, starting the first seven games of the year until an ankle injury knocked him out of the lineup and yet still led the team with seven pass breakups and finished second with three interceptions (including two versus Manziel) and the other a pick against Troy that he returned 70 yards for a score. Love's height is an obvious detriment but the former high school running back boasts the athleticism and toughness to handle playing nickel. He possesses impressive agility and speed and is highly competitive. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Dak Prescott, rJr/2016, Mississippi State, 6-1, 235 (DS#11 QB)[Newsfeed] Other Mississippi State prospects worth watching: QB Dak Prescott, RS Junior...Prescott served as running complement to pocket passer Tyler Russell the past two seasons and is expected to emerge as one of the SEC's most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in 2014 now that he has the starting position all to himself. He's started seven games over the past two seasons but has 23 career appearances and has accumulated 33 scores during that time, 14 via the air, 17 rushing and two as a receiver. Prescott is a work in progress as a passer but has a live arm and good field vision. His footwork is inconsistent and he loses accuracy when his feet are not set. When he does step into his throws, however, Prescott can deliver strikes. He's a very dangerous runner, combining aggression, agility and the power to break arm tackles. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
08/21/14 - Keshaudas Spence, Sr/2015, Sacred Heart, 5-10, 232 (DS#61 RB)[Newsfeed] The 2014 Preseason All-NEC Football Team has a noticeable red streak running through it. It's a streak of "Sacred Heart" red to be exact as the defending NEC champion Pioneers occupy more than 25 percent of the spots on the 27-member preseason all-league list. Sacred Heart, which is the NEC head coaches' unanimous selection to capture the 2014 conference crown, is home to a league-high seven preseason all-NEC selections. Included in that group are Walter Payton Award candidate Keshaudas Spence and Buck Buchanan Award hopeful Troy Moore.
Duquesne, which earned a share of last year's title and is the runner-up in this year's preseason poll, placed five representatives on the Preseason All-NEC team, which honored at least one student-athlete from all seven of the league's football members. Sacred Heart returns a total of 18 starters from last year's 10-win team, including preseason all-NEC talent at key offensive positions. On the other side of the ball, SHU earned one preseason all-league selection at each level of the defense. - NEC football
08/21/14 - Rob Hollomon, rSr/2015, Central Connecticut St, 5-08, 170 (DS#55 RB)[Newsfeed] 2014 PRESEASON ALL-NEC FOOTBALL TEAM (COACHES): Running Back, Rob Hollomon, CCSU (Sr., 5-8, 170) – Preseason All-American...A Preseason All-American selection as an all-purpose runner, Hollomon is one of 20 official candidates for the Walter Payton Award. His 2,270 all-purpose yards in 2013 are the second most in the conference's single-season history. The 5-foot-8 Philadelphia product led the NEC in rushing touchdowns (18) and averaged 29.5 yards per kickoff return. - Northeast Conference football
08/21/14 - Jeff Covitz, Sr/2015, Bryant, 6-2, 255 (DS#54 DE)[Newsfeed] 2014 PRESEASON ALL-NEC FOOTBALL TEAM (COACHES): Defensive Line, Jeff Covitz, BRY (Sr., 6-2, 255)...Covitz has a knack for getting to the quarterback. The defensive end set Bryant's single-season record with 10.0 sacks last season while leading the NEC with 20.5 tackles for loss. - Northeast Conference football
08/21/14 - Tyrell Holmes, Sr/2015, Central Connecticut St, 6-1, 190 (DS#999 WR)[Newsfeed] 2014 PRESEASON ALL-NEC FOOTBALL TEAM (COACHES): Wide Receiver, Tyrell Holmes, CCSU (Sr., 6-2, 185)...Holmes pulled in seven of CCSU's 24 touchdown passes last fall and routinely put his big-play potential on display. His 18.4 yards per catch average was tops in the NEC. - Northeast Conference football
08/21/14 - Tyler Hurd, Jr/2016, Central Connecticut St, 6-4, 290 (DS#999 OG)[Newsfeed] 2014 PRESEASON ALL-NEC FOOTBALL TEAM (COACHES): Offensive Line, Tyler Hurd, CCSU (Jr., 6-4, 290)...Hurd slid into a full-time starter's role at left tackle as a sophomore. He started all 12 games, protecting his quarterback's blindside. He also made nine appearances, including five starts, as a rookie in 2012. - Northeast Conference football
08/21/14 - Josh Alaeze, Sr/2015, Central Connecticut St, 6-1, 242 (DS#999 OLB)[Newsfeed] 2014 PRESEASON ALL-NEC FOOTBALL TEAM (COACHES): Linebacker, Josh Alaeze, CCSU (Sr., 6-1, 242)...Alaeze earned All-NEC Second Team honors at defensive end last year, but is expected to play in more of an outside linebacker's role this season. He logged 7.0 tackles for loss, including 2.0 sacks, as a junior. - Northeast Conference football