Posts Tagged ‘University of Georgia Football’

Freshman of Influence – Week 10

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

We’re heading into week eleven and there’s still some great freshman performances to be mentioned.  One of the nation’s most impressive freshman, Vanderbilt’s Warren Norman, leads the SEC in all-purpose yardage. He has more all-purpose yards than any freshman in all of D1-FBS.  Praise is long overdue.   

Freshman of Influence Week 10:


Warren Norman, RB / KR – Vanderbilt

Norman is having an outstanding season despite his team’s struggles.  As mentioned above he leads the SEC in all-purpose yardage with 1,696 (169.6 avg. game) through 10 games and tops all freshman nationally in all-purpose yardage as well.  He has seven total touchdowns with three by kick return.  The best way to describe Norman is to say he’s ‘dynamic’.  Norman also participated in high school track at Chamblee HS (Georgia) qualifying for the state meet in the 400 meter relay with bests of 11.08 / 100 meters, 22.94 / 200 meters and (42.24) 400 meter relay. 

Montez Robinson, DE – Georgia

Had his breakout game last week against Tennessee Tech, credited with five tackles, 2.5 TFLs and two sacks.  Robinson’s playing time looks to be increased as Georgia’s been hit with some injuries and focuses on developing young players for next year.  Robinson attended Avon HS, in a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana.  While at Avon he participated in track his junior year throwing the shot put 50’01 (indoors) and also throwing the discus and running sprints briefly.   

Rashard Hall, Safety – Clemson

Hall leads all freshman defensive players nationally with five interceptions through ten games, include 39 tackles and two TFLs and that’s a solid season.  Hall attended St. Augustine HS (Florida) and participated in track and field with bests of 41’11 in triple jump and 19’10 in the long  jump as a senior.  Take into account Hall’s size 6’02 /195lbs and there’s a bright future for him at safety. 

Brice Butler, WR – Southern Cal

Butler has managed to see the field for the Trojans at wide receiver and had some production.  Injuries at wide receiver have given the redshirt freshman opportunities and he’s performed with 10 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown in nine games.  At 6’03 / 200lbs he’ll see more time in the future and provide a great target for Barkley.  Butler attended Norcross HS (Georgia) and among other things participated in track and field.  As a sophomore he partcipated at the state meet in the 400 relay, finished seventh.  His bests that year were 22.75 / 200, 50.56 / 400, (42.54) 400 relay and (3:22.86) 4×400 relay at the Region 7-5A Meet. 

Josh Robinson, CB – Central Florida

Robinson is another exciting freshman defensive back.  He’s intercepted four passes (one touchdown), has 51 tackles, one TFL and six PBUs.  That’s what I call production from a freshman player. Robinson was a spectacular track athlete at Plantation HS (Florida) with bests of 10.77 / 100, 21.61 / 200 and 21’00 in the long jump.  His track performances have translated to production on the field this season.   





Freshman of Influence – Week 2

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

We’re two weeks into the college football season and there are more freshman making their impact felt.  This week I found a few defensive lineman and a linebacker that are making major contributions. 

Freshman of Influence Week 2:


Jonathan Bostic, LB – Florida

Bostic graduated high school in January and currently leads the Gators in tackles as true freshman. Pretty impressive.  He also ran some quick times as a high schooler at Palm Beach Central, Florida.  Ran 11.41 /100, 23.15/200 at the District 9-4A Meet in 2008…also ran on regional meet qualifying 4×100 relay (43.11), even threw some shot put 40’07. 

Baker Steinkuhler, DT – Nebraska

Originally recruited as an offensive lineman but made the switch to defense.  Had three tackles against Arkansas State and looks to receive more playing time as season progresses.  Threw shot put in high school 52’06 at A4 District Meet (2007) for Lincoln Southwest HS, Nebraska. 

Devon Kennard, DE – Southern Cal

Kennard, a true freshman, has been quite productive in USC’s first two games with multiple tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.  With Matt Barkley there he’s not getting the attention he probably deserves.  Anyway, he threw shot put and discus as freshman and sophomore at Desert Vista HS in Arizona…suffered a knee injury missing most of senior high school season. 

Tyron Smith, OL – Southern Cal

Alright, I’m cheating a bit with this one because he’s a true sophomore but Smith is starting on an offensive line that many consider to be extremely good.  Guess that means Ohio State’s defensive line is extremely good too?  He also was quite a good thrower at Rancho Verde HS in California…throwing the discus 152’10 ranked one of top throwers in Riverside County for 2006.  Also threw shot put 46’07.  

Ryan Williams, RB – Virginia Tech

A redshirt freshman, had an exciting spring game, was put into action after the ACL injury to Darren Evans.  Williams has responded well with good performances in the first two games.  He also qualified for Virginia’s state track meet as a freshman high schooler at Stonewall Jackson HS.  Williams ran 11.04/100 and 22.90/200 at the Northwest Region Meet and placed fourth at the state meet in the 4×100 relay (43.05). 

Branden Smith, RB / KR / WR? – Georgia

Okay how do we categorize this true freshman?  He’s listed on the roster as a defensive back but he carries the ball, return kicks, catches passes he can do it all.  Through two games he carried the ball five times for 76 yards and a 61 yard touchdown run, caught a reception for three yards and returned four kickoffs for 84 yards. 

We can certainly categorize Smith as fast!  Smith attended Booker T. Washington HS in Georgia…ran personal bests of 21.27 / 200 and 4×100 relay (41.21) at the Region 5-3A Meet this past spring.  His 4×100 relay went on to win the 2009 3A state championship.  He also ran as fast as 10.53 /100 and long jumped over 22 feet.     

Smith’s Georgia teammate and fellow kick return, Brandon Boykin, is every bit as exciting but Boykin is a true sophomore.  And yes…Boykin was an outstanding high school track athlete. 






More Possible Combine Surprises (Offensive Side)

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad                                                                                                                               Football Talent Advisors, Ltd. 

A few days ago I posted a few underclassmen players that are “flying under-the-radar” types and I believe might surprise with their performances at the combine.  Here’s a few more players categorized by position that I think might make some noise and put up some solid combine numbers.  This obviously doesn’t mean that they’ll take the NFL by storm (based on a 40 yard dash) but maybe there’s some future Pro-Bowl type talent that will be uncovered.

See what Todd McShay is saying over at, while my approach is totally different he’s highlighted some guys that I believe will do well also.

QuarterbackStephen McGee / Texas A&M – He was a good hurdler, discus thrower, and 4X100 relay (43.53) regional meet qualifier in high school.  He had a tough time in the latter portions of his collegiate career but he has the mobility to be a potential back-up in the NFL .  If he runs at the combine I’d believe he might run a fast 40 for a quarterback. 

Tight EndBear Pascoe / Fresno State – I really like this guy…great name!  He was a (158-10) discus thrower and (54-08) shot putter in high school…indicates natural power.  He is a very good blocking tight end and serviceable receiver. 

Davon Drew / East Carolina – A real darkhorse here, but East Carolina has made a point to recruit high school track athletes and bring up some very athletic players through the program.  Davon threw discus during high school…finished third in the state (151-07) in North Carolina. 

Offensive Tackle Troy Kropog / Tulane – Here’s another darkhorse but he’s a 6’06” 300 guy that threw the shot put in high school, Louisiana, and finished fourth in the state (51-00) in 2004. 

Lydon Murtha & Matt Slauson / Nebraska – Neither one of these guys lived up to expectations in college but both had injuries throughout…what I like is the fact both were state champion shot putters, each throwing over (59-00).  Historically Nebraska O-lineman, with track backgrounds, tend to make it in the NFL.  Why not these two?  Slauson apparently is seen as a better fit at guard but can play tackle too.   

Joel Bell / Furman – Who???  Yup this might be the biggest darkhorse.  But he’s 6’07” 300 and received a combine invite…somebody knows something.  I know that he was a high school discus thrower, qualified for state in South Carolina and threw over (150-00).  This guy fits the profile of a player that sticks in the NFL. 

Fenuki Tuopu / Oregon – He is known to NFL brass and out on the west coast.  I know him because he is 6’05” 330 and during high school threw the shot put (52-10) and discus over (135-00).  Don’t think he’ll light the 40 on fire…but I think he’ll put on a show in other areas. 

Offensive Guard:  Kraig Urbik / Wisconsin – Guy from high profile program but I really like his background…threw shot put in high school and finished 5th in state (55-00), Wisconsin. 

Cornelius Lewis / Tennessee State –  He might be a tackle in the NFL but we’ll pretend he’s a guard.  Anyway this guy was once a Florida State Seminole and got into some trouble.  He’s got some talent…and he’s got a background in high school throws, the shot put, was ninth in the state of Florida and threw over (49-00).

Center:  Johnathan Luigs / Arkansas – He’s taken a hit since the “bowl circuit” and apparently dropped down draft boards…but he was a state champion shot putter in high school, Arkansas, threw (50-00).  NFL centers often have throwing and wrestling backgrounds and I like to see this in a prospect, regardless of what the “experts” say. 

Charles “Brett” Helms / Louisiana State – Yes he played for a high profile college program and won a national title, but he’s a tad under 6’02 and about 280 (small for NFL standards).  But his high school profile is similar to Luigs in that Helms threw discus in high school, Arkansas, and made the state meet. 

Fullback:  Brannan Southerland / Georgia – Another guy from a high profile program but slotted for a position that almost doesn’t exist in the NFL anymore.  Besides that, he was a state champion discus thrower (176-06) in the state of Georgia.  He’s tremendously powerful and if he can lead block then he’ll probably get an NFL job. 

Running back:  Okay this is probably the easiest position to predict a solid combine performance etc…but here’s a couple perhaps lesser-knowns. 

Javarris Williams / Tennessee State – Another TSU guy, but he’s power packed 5’09” 220 and was a solid high school track athlete…long jumping (21-10) and participating in 4×100 relay. 

Cedric Peerman / Virginia – Really came on at end of senior collegiate season…had some injuries and fumbling issues at Senior Bowl.  Great high school track sprinter, was state champion in 100 meter dash (10.67) and 200 meter dash (22.03) and state qualifier in long jump (22-07) in Virginia.

Jeremiah Johnson / Oregon –  A bit small for NFL full-time back 5’08” 198 and has probably been written off by some as a result.  However I expect him to run one of the fastest 40’s at the combine.  He was a member of Dorsey High’s state champion 4×100 relay (40.92) and 4×400 relay (3:12.12) in California.  He has  tremendous straight-line speed.  He played well at the Senior Bowl too. 

Wide ReceiverQuinten Lawrence / McNeese State – Yup another major darkhorse…6’04 180…he’s tall but must put on weight.  He was a solid collegiate track athlete ran 10.5 – 100 meters and was member of 4×100 meter (41.23) state champion relay in Louisiana and also high jumped over 6’08 in high school. 

Mike Thomas / Arizona – Very productive in college, most receptions in school history but a bit small only 5’08” and 188.  Great high school track sprinter however…finished fifth in state 100 meter dash (10.61) and 3rd place 4×100 relay (41.20) in Texas. 

Jaison Williams / Oregon – Huge is the only way to describe at 6’04” 240.  He might be a tight end in the NFL..but if he’s maintained his high school sprinting skills, ran 11.13 – 100 meters / 21.96 – 200 meters / and (42.20) 4×100 relay in California.  Lots of injuries in college…might not be healthy.

Tiquan Underwood / Rutgers – Todd McShay of ESPN is all over this guy and other draft gurus have him rated very low, but I know this…he was a high school state champion long jumper (23-10), triple jumper (47-06), and 400 hurdler (53.87) and was runner-up in the high hurdles (14.46).  That’s an athlete…I think he could show well at the combine. 

Jarrett Dillard / Rice – He is hardly an unknown but I think he’s a better athlete than given credit.  Jarrett was a (43-00) triple jumper, (21-00) long jumper, (39.7) intermediate hurdler and (42.9) 4×100 relay in high school…he’s a very capable athlete but is short at 5’10” 185. 

Gotta throw Sammie Stroughter / Oregon State in here…he’s only 5’10” but was very productive in college and good kick returner.  And yes he was a (24-00) long jumper in high school qualifying twice for the state meet in California and qualified once in the 4×100 relay (41.86), not easy to do.   

Defensive Players tomorrow…there’s a few darkhorses there too. 

I should have done this a while back. 

Got any college football players or high school football players with great track and field backgrounds?  Let me know about it…hit me up on the Contact Page.