Today’s edition of underclassmen news and draft notes offers breaking information on Jimmy Clausen, Toby Gerhart and Navorro Bowman as well as a few updates and corrections from past offerings. News on Jahvid Best, several Wisconsin Badger underclassmen and a number of prospects from the west coast are covered. Updates on the Senior Bowl, small school seniors as well as late risers is also part of today’s update.
– Sources have told us linebacker Navorro Bowman will enter the draft and is in the final stages of selecting an agent. Expect Bowman to start training for the combine immediately after Penn State’s bowl game.
– Sources have told us Indiana-Pennsylvania cornerback Akwa Owusa-Ansah has been walking around with his arm in a sling, literally. He has a shoulder injury which some have described to us as serious. Allegedly it could be a labrum injury, though that is as yet to be confirmed. Sources have told us Owusa-Ansah was nearly benched at the end of the season because of poor play. Ironically those close to the program told us he was playing not to get hurt before the injury occurred. Owusa-Ansah has been invited to play at the East-West Shrine Game, and his availability for the week will be closely monitored.
– We previously erred in stating that Hawaii center John Estes was joining Matt Tennant of Boston College, JD Walton of Baylor and Ted Larsen as centers on the Senior Bowl roster. Estes has in fact not been invited to the Senior Bowl. The fourth center on the roster as of now is Eric Olsen of Notre Dame. UMass offensive tackle Vladimir Ducasse has also received an invitation to play in Mobile next month.
– Reports out of Madison says its’ looking more and more as though junior running back John Clay and offensive tackle Gabe Carimi will stay with the Badgers for their senior seasons. Wisconsin center John Moffitt will apply to the advisory committee for a draft grade.
– On Monday we reported Central Michigan receiver Antonio Brown seemed disinterested when the topic of his entering the NFL Draft arose. Sources have told us that has quickly changed. Brown is speaking with people about where he’ll land if he enters the draft. He will request a grade from the advisory committee. Brown has said the loss of his quarterback at Central Michigan and the potential loss of his head coach is weighing heavily on his decision. Right now there’s a better than 50% chance Brown enters the draft.
– The situation surrounding Jimmy Clausen is likely to get a bit dicey. We’ve maintained all along that Clausen could do a Brady Quinn type slide into the first round next April and most scouts we’ve spoken with agree. Many feel Clausen has maxed out physically as well as on the football field. There’s talk the signal caller pushes it to the limit throwing the deep ball and has limited upside. Then there are other issues. Clausen has been described to us as a “me” guy to the point of being a bit arrogant. There’s also family interference from his father, whose dedicated to promoting his son. He been characterized as overbearing to those who’ve had a hand recruiting, coaching or representing Jimmy Clausen. Sources have told us Mr. Clausen Sr. is hell-bent on making sure that at least one of his sons has a career in the NFL. It will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds over the next six months.
– Coming into the season, NFL scouting services gave Stanford running back Toby Gerhart an early round grade in their pre-season evaluations of the nation’s senior prospects. Gerhart is now telling people he is likely to enter April’s draft- so what gives? The big running back has been on Stanford’s active roster the past four seasons. As a sophomore in 2007 he played just two games before being sidelined with a season ending knee injury. The school never officially applied for a redshirt season on behalf of Gerhart, but the running back would receive one should they go that route. Sources have told us Gerhart’s decision on his next move is based on his future in football versus his future in baseball. Gerhart is a legitimate centerfield prospect for the MLB and has one more season of eligibility on the college diamond this spring. He’s trying to determine his value at the next level for both sports. If the feedback returned states Gerhart is likely to receive a big contract offer should he enter the MLB draft, he is likely to stay at Stanford one more season, playing baseball in the spring then football in 2010. Should the evaluations claim his value is higher on the gridiron expect Gerhart to start training for the combine following Stanford’s bowl game.
– Despite a second concussion which resulted in Jahvid Best missing the rest of the season, sources have told us he will enter the draft if he receives a first round grade from the advisory committee. Should Best receive a second or third round grade he is likely to return to Cal for his senior season.
– To update a report from October 26th, Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski is still strongly considering a jump to the NFL despite missing the ’09 campaign with a back injury. Sources have told us Gronkowski should be able to run at least 4.65-seconds in the forty during pre-draft workouts.
– In that same October report we alerted readers that Jake Locker is headed to the draft. And though that is still the case today, it is no longer the slam dunk we first thought. Sources have told us Washington Husky coach Steve Sarkisian has been doing yeoman’s work trying to recruit Locker to return for another season. This sort of re-recruiting by coaches has worked in the recent past. Running back C.J. Spiller of Clemson was originally committed to the 2009 draft before reversing course and staying for another season after a hard push by head coach Dabo Swinney.
– Everson Griffin of USC is entertaining his draft options but as of right now it looks as though the defensive lineman will return for his senior season. Sources have told us Griffin has some character issues which has turned scouts off and will raise red flags.
– Titus Young of Boise State is coming off a career season and has been exploring his draft options. Young caught 71 passes for 969 yards and ten scores this season. He’s also averaging just under 28-yards on 28 kick returns, bringing a pair back for touchdowns. Young played three games in 2008 before receiving a suspension for the rest of the season. There’s a better than 50% chance he enters the draft.
– Prior to the season Utah cornerback R.J. Stanford was not even rated by NFL scouting services. Now western scouts feel the speedy coverman could land in the late rounds. Scouts expect Stanford to blow up pre-draft workouts much the way Brice McCain did a year ago. His Ute teammate safety Robert Johnson, another prospect who received a pre-season snub from scouts though a player we’ve always liked, has been invited to the Senior Bowl.
– From the same conference sources have told us BYU running back Harvey Unga is likely to enter the draft.
– At Colorado State offensive tackle Cole Pemberton is catching the eye of NFL scouts. The Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns each sent their directors of college scouting to Colorado State to personally break down Pemberton.
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