Image: LB Eric Norwood, South Carolina
Thursday night’s matchup (September 24th) should be fun. Ole Miss plays South Carolina and all eyes will be on QB Jevan Snead, but the NFL scouts will also be closely watching a few other players. Most notable is Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy. The supremely talented Hardy (6’ 4” 265 lbs) has had difficulty staying healthy and it’s time for him to put up or shut up. If he doesn’t start performing soon his stock will drop for this 2010 NFL Draft. Tonight he should dominate as he will going up against mediocre offensive tackle Quintin Richardson (6’ 3” 283 lbs).
DE Greg Hardy has potential, but the defensive player that is playing the best hails from South Carolina in the form of linebacker Eric Norwood (6’ 1” 252 lbs). Norwood stands out on film with big play after big play. So far this year he has recorded 17 tackles, 4 tackles for loss (TFL), 4 sacks, and last week against Georgia he returned an interception for a touchdown. When he rushes, Norwood might be going up against massive Ole Miss offensive tackle John Jerry (6’ 5” 350 lbs). Jerry is a mauler and will likely be playing guard in the NFL next year.
This weekend (26 September 2009) there will be some excellent individual matchups when Georgia Tech plays North Carolina (NC). Keep an eye on the super talented North Carolina linebackers MLB Quan Sturdivant (6’ 3 230 lbs) and OLB Bruce Carter (6’ 3” 228 lbs). They will have their hands full stopping Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer, but Dwyer isn’t having a great year because he came into the season a little heavy and doesn’t look as quick as he did last year. NC junior defensive tackle Marvin Austin is a beast, with 6’ 3” 305 pounds of size he will be playing on Sunday very soon. Austin should dominate red shirt sophomore offensive guard Joseph Gilbert (6’ 4” 288 lbs).
Georgia Tech also has a supreme defensive player in junior safety Morgan Burnett (6’ 1” 210 lbs), If he (Burnett) covers North Carolina’s junior WR Greg Little it could get interesting. Little has outstanding size at 6’ 3” 220 lbs and has recorded 15 catches for 135 yards and 1 TD so far this year.
Florida should destroy Kentucky, but we will get to see some interesting individual matchups. Florida’s rushing QB Tim Tebow against powerful run stuffing Kentucky linebacker Micah Johnson (6’ 4” 252 lbs). If Florida’s massive, talented OG Mike Pouncey (6’ 5” 320 lbs) gets out on MLB Micah Johnson, Florida could have a big night rushing the ball.
Also two of the best cornerbacks in the nation will be on the field, Kentucky’s CB Trevard Lindley and Florida’s CB Joe Hayden. Lindley will likely be matched up with Florida’s leading receiver Riley Cooper (6’ 3” 215 lbs). He (Cooper) has 13 catches for 212 yards and 1 TD, but he has an impressive 16 yards per catch average. Florida’s impressive CB Joe Hayden will likely be matched up with Kentucky’s leading receiver, young Randall Cobb (5' 11" 191 lbs), who already has 13 catches for 167 yards and 2 TDs.
The other matchup I want to see is how well one of the top fullbacks in the nation, Kentucky’s Fullback Joe Conner (5’ 11” 238 lbs) does against one of the best linebackers in Florida’s Brandon Spikes. Conner is an excellent blocker, but gives up some size to the powerful Spikes (6’ 3” 246 lbs).
Illinois vs. Ohio State could be a good game and we might see Illinois talented WR Arrelious Benn finally have a break out game. Benn is tall, fast and silky Smooth, but he will likely be covered by one of the better corners in the nation in Ohio State’s Chimdi Chekwa (6’ 0” 189 lbs), but Benn is 6’ 2” 220 lbs and will be a tough match up for the smaller Chekwa. If you like offensive line play take a look at one of the best guards in the nation in Jon Asamoah (6’ 5” 315 lbs). Asamoah is currently Mel Kiper’s top rated senior offensive guard. He will likely be going against Ohio State defensive tackle Dexter Larimore (6’ 2” 300 lbs).
The Iowa Hawkeys are pretty beat up right now and will have trouble upsetting the Nittany Lions two years in a row. The Hawkeys will likely not have the best offensive tackle in the Big 10 in Bryan Bulaga and will miss him in both the running and passing game. Often injured, starting TE Tony Moeaki will also likely not play. One of the key matchups when Iowa has the ball will be Iowa guard Dace Richardson (6’ 6” 305 lbs) against all world defensive tackle Jared Odrick (6’ 5” 306 lbs). Odrick is a beast and If the Hawkeys can’t get Odrick blocked they will be in for a long day. Dace Richardson is an interesting NFL Draft Prospect; he came to Iowa as a highly prized recruit and started out as a tackle. He suffered from numerous injuries and missed his entire junior season. He is trying to resurrect his career at guard and so far this year he has looked very good.