The latest scouting news and notes coming from the Pac Ten Conference, the Mountain West Conference as well as the WAC. Who is rising up boards at a quick pace or heading in the other direction? What juniors are likely to leave for the NFL in January? Also and update on former Central Washington quarterback Mike Reilly.
– TCU defender Jerry Hughes is making a big move up draft boards and as of right now has solidified himself as a first round pick. His play in the early part of the season has everyone believing the college defensive end will easily make the transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4. Continued good play this season followed by fast workouts prior to the draft could push Hughes into the draft’s top twenty selections.
– One sleeper developing from the conference is UNLV defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui. The big interior thumper has been applauded by his coaching staff and scouts are starting to take notice of the junior.
– Stanford defensive end Erik Lorig is another front seven player making a move up draft boards. NFL teams love his upside and feel the light has gone on for Lorig this season and he’s finally starting to “get it” on the field. Sources we spoke with really want to see Lorig face off against some top competition. Stanford has a stretch of games starting in late October against Arizona State, Oregon, USC, California and finally Notre Dame to end the season, all teams with NFL caliber offensive tackles. Good showings in those contests could push Lorig into the second round.
– Several scouts have told us they love Tyson Aluala of California and feel he is first round material. Just as many told us they like junior Cameron Jordan as much if not better than Aluala. If Jordan leaves for the draft after this season Cal will have at least two defenders taken in round one. Jordan, who offers potential in both a conventional system as well as a two-gap end, was a player we beamed about weeks ago when we scouted the PAC Ten.
-Another player we spoke highly of in our PAC Ten report who is receiving accolades from NFL scouts is Arizona State offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao. An offensive guard by nature, Lauvao was shifted to left tackle this year and is holding his own. Don’t be surprised if he jumps into the draft’s top 50 selections assuming he works out well in March.
-There’s good and bad news coming out of Fresno State. The good news centers around running Ryan Mathews who is on a self proclaimed mission this season. Mathews is tearing it up and is on pace to triple his production from a year ago. A week three riser in our SI.com column, sources have told us Mathews will enter the draft next April.
– Another Bulldog getting high marks from scouts is receiver Seyi Ajirotutu. The big wide out goes 6’3” and 210 pounds. Sources have told us he’s clocked as fast as 4.4-seconds at Fresno. After a terrific game against Wisconsin his production has slipped a bit yet scouts feel he has the goods to be a riser come January/February.
– The news for A.J. Jefferson is not as good. Jefferson, listed as a slider in this weeks SI.com column, has not lived up to expectations and people close with the Fresno State program told us he has a case of senioritis this year and is playing not to get hurt. The comparison was made to Marcus McCauley, the former Bulldog who was given a first round grade by NFL scouts moving into his senior season yet had such a bad campaign he slipped into the third frame. McCauley was so awful as a senior the coaching staff benched him and many feel the same could happen to Jefferson.
– Scouts feel Fresno State receiver Chastin West could be a real sleeper in the draft. The 6-foot/215-pound wide out is compared to former North Carolina prospect Brooks Foster; a prospect that could turn into a legit player in due time.
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