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cvillebucfan

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: November 28, 2006, 12:40:47 PM

This is a good read on Smith and some other notable players...


Ohio State-Michigan lived up to the hype, as did many of the marquee players on both teams. Most notable was the performance of Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith, who continues to be at his best in the biggest games.

Smith's numbers are off the charts in his last two games against Michigan, the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame, and at Texas in September. In those four games combined, Smith has completed 69.7 percent of his passes for 1,227 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception. On Saturday, I thought Smith's biggest drive was immediately after Michigan took a 7-0 lead. He kept plays alive with his feet and completed nine of 11 passes to six different receivers to tie the score at 7-7.

Going forward as it pertains to next April's NFL draft, Smith's height could become a question as to whether he goes in the first or second round. He has not officially been measured by the NFL -- that will happen at the NFL combine or during an all-star game if he plays in one. Listed at 6-foot-1, is Smith more in the mold of Drew Brees or Shaun King? (Both were second-round picks and are about the same height as Smith.) Right now, I would project Smith to go between the 25th and 45th pick.

Three of Smith's nine completions on the opening drive went to senior wide receiver Roy Hall, including a 1-yard TD pass. Hall has been playing in the shadows of Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez at Ohio State, but his size (6-2½, 238) could make him a late-round prospect if he runs well in pre-draft workouts.

On defense for the Buckeyes, I was impressed with defensive end Vernon Gholston (four tackles), who showed good pass-rushing moves and closing speed. He even gave Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long trouble at times.

For Michigan, junior running back Mike Hart showed just how strong and tough he is despite his size (5-8½, 199). Ohio State's defense did a good job of initially reading Michigan's running game, but it was Hart who made the first defender miss just about every time. When an average running back would have been stopped for a loss or no gain, Hart was always getting positive yardage. He finished the game with 142 yards and three touchdowns; for the season, Hart has 1,515 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.

The Iron Bowl was won by Auburn, thanks in large part to junior defensive end Quentin Groves (6-2½, 251). He had seven tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Both fumbles were recovered by Auburn and led to touchdowns. He and Georgia's Charles Johnson are the top junior defensive ends; Groves will have a decision to make in the next two months because he has great pass-rushing skills and can run forever when the quarterback leaves the pocket.

The one bright spot for Ole Miss has been senior linebacker Patrick Willis. He's been on my Top 25 Big Board all year, but I haven't spent much time talking about him. Against LSU he had an impressive stat line: 12 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. It's hard to find a linebacker who has been more productive over the last two seasons than Willis.

Syracuse's Tanard Jackson is one of the top five senior cornerbacks in the country. He's big and physical for a corner (6-0, 196) and has started 22 straight games for the Orange. Against Connecticut on Saturday, Jackson had four tackles, one sack and tipped a pass that led to an interception. With his NFL contacts, Syracuse coach Greg Robinson (a former NFL assistant) could be very influential around the draft process and help Jackson go in the first two rounds of the draft.

Two young players for Oklahoma had huge games on Saturday at Baylor. Sophomore strong safety Reggie Smith intercepted two passes, returning one 42 yards for a touchdown. He's great in coverage and is going to need to have another strong performance on Saturday against Oklahoma State's high-powered offense. On offense, Oklahoma is down to its third-string running back, freshman Chris Brown. When Adrian Peterson went down, junior Allen Patrick filled in and rushed for 100 yards in three straight games. Patrick then got hurt which led to Brown's promotion. He rushed for 84 yards against Texas Tech two weeks ago and had 169 yards against Baylor on Saturday. He did have one fumble against the Bears, but Brown has been outstanding the last two weeks.






Baghead #2
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