Posts Tagged ‘Mark Ingram’

Freshman of Influence – Week 7

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

Week seven now in the books and the path to determining the number one team in college football seems cloudier than ever.  From the looks of things Alabama appears to be the public favorite even though Florida is ranked one in the BCS poll.  But I’m not here to debate team rankings…I’m here to highlight a few more freshman of influence.  This week there were a few freshman that burst on the scene and others that have been making contributions all along.  Here goes…


Freshman of Influence Week 7: 


Marquise Goodwin, WR – Texas

I did a blog on this player yesterday so I’ll save you the track stuff.  But this true freshman came to Texas as a track scholarship athlete…the football staff was admittedly skeptical of Goodwin’s ability and desire to contribute as a football player.  Goodwin proved he can play against a top notch opponent catching four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown against Oklahoma on Saturday.  Prior to the Oklahoma game he had 10 catches for 91 yards and limited kick return duty.  

Demontre Hurst, CB – Oklahoma

Another true freshman that had a standout game versus Texas on Saturday.  Hurst had a sack and tfl against Texas and he’s listed at 5’10 170.  That’s impressive.  On the year Hurst has 9 tackles, one sack, one tfl and one pass breakup.  And he’s quite the accomplished track sprinter!  He ran for Lancaster HS (Texas) and was twice a member of a state champion 4×400 relay (3:12.45 best time) and bests around (49.0) 400 meters, (22.0) 200 meters, qualified for state meet in 4×100 (41.85) and ran leg on 4×200 (1:26.88 best time).  Needless to say his speed “translates” pretty well to the field. 

Dan Spitz, DT – Washington State

We all know this redshirt freshman plays on a poor team, all the more reason to give him some props. Listed at 6’07 260, this player is credited with 8 tackles, one tfl and 2 forced fumbles through 5 games.  Not great stats but with his size and athleticism we might hear more about him in the future.  Spitz was a thrower at Mead HS (Washington) with a best of 148’04 in the discus, not bad for being a tad over 6’06 in height. 

Olivier Vernon, DT / DE – Miami

Sticking with the D-line this January enrollee and true freshman is helping with the resurgence of the U.  Vernon is a bit undersized but very active for a freshman, credited with 12 tackles, 4 tfls and a half sack in 4 games.  He’s battled injuries so far this season and missed most of his senior year of high school due to an injury but like Spitz we’ll hear more from him in the future.  Olivier attended American HS (Miami, Florida) and graduated early he did throw the shot put and discus as a junior with bests of (46’08) in the shot and (124’11) in the discus.

Lavar Edwards, DT – Louisiana State

On a roll with the D-line and Edwards has been a surprise addition to a deep and talented LSU line.  Edwards is a redshirt freshman but has produced with 10 tackles, one tfl, one sack, and one forced fumble in 5 games.  He came out of small Desire Street Academy (Louisiana) and was a state champion Class A shot putter (50’03) and state qualifier in the discus (141’07, Region II-1A Meet). 

Ed Wesley, RB – Texas Christian (TCU)

Wesley a redshirt freshman is second on the 11th ranked TCU squad with 273 yards on 50 attempts and one touchdown.  He’s also managed 5 receptions for 115 yards and a score over 6 games.  Wesley ran was a sprinter at Irving MacArthur HS (Texas) with best of (10.71, probably hand-held) 100 meter dash at the District 7-5A Meet and member of a regional-qualifying 4×100 team (42.95).  Still has more than enough speed and skill to be one of TCU’s better backs in recent memory. 

Brandon Wegher, RB – Iowa

He isn’t even the best true freshman back on the team, at least statistically, that goes to Adam Robinson.  Wegher has however proven to be a fairly well rounded player with 81 rushing attempts for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns, 10 receptions for 67 yards and 5 kick returns for 139 yards.  Wegher has speed Iowa has exploited well indicated by his (6.99) 60 meter dash, (10.92) 100 meter dash at the 2008 Drake Relays.  He ran track at Bishop Heelan HS (Iowa) for four years and participated in several Iowa state track meets. 

Stable of Running Backs…Fast Running Backs Part II

We highlighted Alabama’s stable of running backs a while back, including new Heisman “favorite” Mark Ingram.  But looking at the success of Georgia Tech and Idaho it is clear that they have a ton of talent and speed at the running back position.  There’s a lot more to winning football games than having a couple of fast running backs BUT…Alabama, Georgia Tech and Idaho have a combined record of 19-2!

Georgia Tech has running backs Jonathan DwyerAnthony AllenEmbry Pebbles, Marcus Wright, and Josh Nesbitt (we’ll secretly count Nesbitt as a back).   All these players have high school track and field backgrounds and all but Allen were state track meet qualifiers in Georgia, Florida and Texas. 

Idaho’s top three rushers Princeton McCarty, Deonte Jackson, and DeMaundray Woolridge (a Washington State transfer) have helped lead the squad to a surprising 6-1 record.  Each of these players were track sprinters in high school with Jackson sprinting (6.70) 55 meters, McCarty qualifying for the state meet in California 100 meter dash (10.70) and Woolridge running as fast as (10.74) 100 meter dash in Texas.  Keep in mind Woolridge is now listed at 241 pounds!     


Local Shout

Gotta send a shout to the Bulldogs of Butler University (Indianapolis).  They’re 6-0 on the season and play in the Pioneer League (non-scholarship Division 1-AA…errr I mean D1 FCS).  I haven’t seen them have this kind of success since the days of record breaking running back Arnold Mickens.  Glad my alma mater isn’t just a basketball school anymore.   












Freshman of Influence – Week 4

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

Injuries are beginning to take their toll on several Top 10 and Top 25 teams.  This is making way for freshman to make their presence known on the field.  We’re seeing more and more freshman making impacts.  Here’s a few that caught my eye or I heard about this past week. 


Freshman of Influence Week 4:


Uzoma Nwachuku, WR – Texas A&M

Texas A&M has added some young explosive talent on offense and Uzoma is another example.  His impact has been seen in several ways on the field with 8 receptions for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns, 1 run for 39 yards and a score.  Clearly he’s making a name for himself.  He also was an outstanding sprinter for Allen HS in Texas running as fast as 21.19 / 200 and high jumping 6’08 @ (Coppell Relays – 2009).  Ran a leg on 4×100 relay (41.53) at Region 1-5A Meet in 2009, qualifying for state meet. 

Darius Willis, RB – Indiana University

Redshirt freshman, Willis ran for 152 yards on 16 carries and two scores against Michigan…including an 85 yard sprint for touchdown.  During the run Willis essentially outran Michigan’s Donovan Warren and Troy Woolfork both big-time high school sprinters. 

Even more impressive Willis weighs around 220 pounds.  I laughed when I heard the television annoucer say “I didn’t know Willis had that kind of speed!”  Willis ran track for three years at Franklin Central HS in Indianapolis and ran 22.00 / 200 at a regional meet in 2007 along with running anchor for state qualifying 4×100 (42.32) and 4×400 (3:18.70).  He did that weighing about 210 pounds.  He ran under 49 seconds for the 400 meter dash as a freshman at Howe HS in Indianapolis. 

B.J. Daniels, QB – University of South Florida

Perhaps the most impressive offensive performance by a freshman last week came from this guy against Florida State.  Wow!  So far this season Daniels has throw 20/36 for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns…run 38 times for 259 yards and 3 scores.  On top of that USF is 4-0.  Daniels played guard last year for USF’s basketball team and even played baseball and some track in high school.  Daniels high jumped 6’04 as a senior at Tallahassee Lincoln HS in Florida and qualified for regional meet as a sophomore. 

Leon McFadden, DB – San Diego State

This true freshman currently leads the nation with two blocked kicks after four games.  McFadden also ran track in high school at St. John Bosco HS, California.  He ran 10.95 /100 at the 2009 Mt. SAC Relays, long jumped 20’09 and leg on 4×100 relay (43.12) at Southern Section Division 3 Meet in 2009. 

Trent Richardson, RB – Alabama 

Richardson was just named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against Florida International.  He also came up big against Arkansas last week.  For the season he has 38 rushes for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns…throw in five receptions for 48 yards too.  This guy has all the talent and the speed to match.  What do I mean?  Richardson ran track for Escambia HS in Florida…running as fast as 10.81/100 and 4×100 (43.49) at the Region 1-5A Meet.  He qualified several times for the state meet in the 100. 

Stable of Running Backs – Fast Running Backs…

Alabama is loaded at running back with Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Terry Grant, and Roy Upchurch.  All these guys ran south of 11.00 / 100 in high school. 

You know Texas A&M (they’ve had a few freshman already plugged here) has a stable of fast running backs too.  Christine Michael (mentioned last week), Cyrus Gray, and Bradley Stephens were all outstanding sprinters in high school.  Gray ran 10.76 / 100 and Stephens a 22.10 /200 even in Texas that’s pretty fast. 

Kick Return University?! 

Stanford is quickly becoming “Kick Return U”!  Chris Owusu is going crazy with his kick returns and was named Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week. He has 6 returns for 355 yards (59.17 avg) and 3 touchdowns, plus 13 receptions for 210 yards and two scores.  It should be noted Owusu was a 10.59 / 100 and 21.30 /200 sprinter at Oaks Christian HS in California. 

Additionally, Richard Sherman has been on a tear with his punt returns with seven for 140 yards and a score.  Sherman is Stanford’s active leading receiver though he no longer plays the position after switching to the defensive backfield.  He was a state champion triple jumper (50’08) at Dominguez HS in California and finished fourth at the state meet in the 110 hurdles (14.37), throw in a 22’10 long jump and that’s an explosive athlete.     

Local Shout – Ball State RB

Ball State true freshman, Eric Williams of Warren Central HS (IN), ran 11 times for 59 yards against Auburn last week.  Williams has returned 13 kicks for 296 yards for the season.  Not bad for a local Indy player in for a tough year up in Muncie.  Williams was a solid high school track athlete running the 100, 200, 110 hurdles, long jump and 4×100.  Sectional champion in long jump (22’04) and finished 4th at 2009 state meet in 4×100 (42.02).