So now that we have a grip on the playmakers to watch during the upcoming college football season (Offense | Defense), we should probably come up with a gameplan on tracking said talent. Scouting reports will only get you so far, and if you want to speak intelligently about a prospect, it always adds to the validity when you have actually watched a player on the field.
First, let's look at how the players broke down, per team. The numbers represent how many 'Top 15 at their respective position' type talents the school will trot out for 2011.
|School (Offense)||Top15||School (Defense)||Top 15|
|Virginia Tech||3||South Carolina||4|
|Michigan State||3||Ohio State||3|
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Alabama tops the chart with an outstanding 10 players that are projected as top prospects for next year's draft. Ohio State and Oklahoma both have nine top prospects. Stanford clocks in with eight, followed by North Carolina with seven. USC, Georgia, Miami and South Carolina have six each.
In an effort to help those of us that are new to the amateur scouting ranks, I wanted to use this exercise to help get you primed on the top talent. The two previous posts have listed over 200 of the top names expected to be eligible for the draft. Even though the rankings will change dramatically over the season, you can expect a large majority of the names called next April to have come from these lists. This post should serve as a cheat sheet for the top games you will want to follow. (Hint, search 'Pet Cat' once the season rolls around). Set your DVR's; here are the top 5 early season matchups for the upcoming football season, for prospect tracking purposes.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10
South Carolina @ Georgia (12 prospects)
Georgia sports 3 prospects on each side of the ball, to the other SC's four defensive prospects. Early SEC action should be good. Georgia's offensive protection is stout with OG Cordy Glenn, OT Trinton Sturdivant and TE Orson Charles. SC has top tier secondary talent in safeties DJ Swearinder and DeVonte Holloman as well as CB Stephon Gilmore. If the protection is good but the secondary still makes plays, you might have yourself something.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 1
Alabama @ Florida (15 prospects)
Alabama's defensive back 7 is simply loaded with top tier talent. Linebackers Don'ta Hightower, Nico Johnson and Courtney Upshaw all project, as do safeties Mark Barron and Robert Lester. DT Kerry Murphy could be a round 1 selection. Florida's offensive middle of QB Brantley and RB Demps, along with C Sam Robey will be tested like never before, and early in the year.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 8
Ohio State @ Nebraska (14 prospects)
The first game back for QB Terrelle Pryor and three more of the five top rated offensive Ohio State prospects. This might be the best 'trenches' matchup on the schedule this season. Ohio State's (OT)Mike Adams and (C)Michael Brewster take on Nebraska's formidable collection of d-line talent led by DT Jared Crick, DT Baker Steinkuhler and DE Cameron Meredith. Don't forget about CB Alfonzo Dennard matched up against OSU wideout Devier Posey and TE Jake Stoneburner.
Oklahoma @ Texas (13 prospects)
Another good line matchup makes October 8th Trench Day. Texas' DT Kheeston Randall and DE Alex Okafor will have their hands full trying to get through G Stephen Good, OT Jarvbis Jones and C Ben Habern to get to Oklahoma stud QB Landry Jones. Oklahoma also has defensive prospects in the defensive front seven: LB's Travis and Ronnell Lewis, and linemen Alexander and McFarland.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 15
Miami @ North Carolina (12 prospects)
Top guard prospects Brandon Washington (Miami) and Jonathan Copper (UNC) will be tested like never before. Copper will face a rush from DT Marcus Forston and LB Sean Spence while Telemaque and Ray Ray Armstrong patrol the deep middle. Washington will have to stop linebackers Kevin Reddick and Zach Brown, DT Tydreke Powell and then these random two defensive ends Quinton Coples and Donte Paige-Moss. Good luck.
Here are another five great matchups, for later in the season. We'll see if the top preseason prospects are still as highly sought later in the campaign.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 29
Stanford @ USC (14 prospects)
SATURDAY NOV 5
LSU @ Alabama (15 prospects)
SATURDAY NOV 12
Oregon @ Stanford (12 prospects)
SATURDAY NOV 26
Ohio State @ Michgan (13 prospects)
SATURDAY DEC 3
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (14 prospects)