A new year brings fresh faces into the spotlight as top prospects. Some of these players made a name for themselves last season and look to continue their impressive play in 2007.
Here is a preview of the five Head 2 Head matchups I will cover this weekend:
#15 Tennessee at #12 California
Game Details: Saturday, September 1st at 8:00 p.m. on ABC
The Matchup: Jonathan Hefney is one of the top defensive backs in the country and is going up against one of the best playmakers in college football, Cal's DeSean Jackson. Jackson, a junior for the Golden Bears, is still developing his game as a receiver, but is very explosive on offense and possesses a tough matchup for the Tennessee defense. Hefney, a senior, is as talented as they come in any collegiate secondary. He's a sure tackler and he's excellent in coverage. Hefney and Jackson are two of the more dynamic players on special teams as well, and any time they touch the ball there's a chance for a quick six. This promises to be an interesting matchup between two of college football's elite prospects and teams.
#33 Jonathan Hefney: 13 games, 96 tackles (68 solo), 3.0 TFL (-6 yds), 5 INT (75 yds)
Game Details: Monday, September 3rd at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN
The Matchup: Andre Fluellen is an elite defensive tackle in college football. He displays great penetration skills and is able to get into the backfield and disrupt an offense. Fluellen isn't much of a pass rusher, but he's solid against the run. Last season, Fluellen posted 28 total tackles, eight for a loss. Clemson's James Davis is a touchdown machine. Davis has accumulated 26 touchdowns in two years. Last season, Davis split time with freshman phenom C.J. Spiller and still recorded 1,187 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Fluellen has a tough task of keeping the explosive Davis in check.
Game Details: Saturday, September 1st at 3:30 p.m. on NBC
The Matchup: Philip Wheeler is one of the best linebackers in the country. He's an instinctive playmaker who possesses outstanding athleticism and coverage skills. He has good size and great speed and can cover sideline-to-sideline. Wheeler had four interceptions in 2005, but didn't record one in 2006. However, his sack and tackle totals went up in 2006 from his numbers in 2005, and he's ready for another standout season. John Carlson is a fifth year senior and one of the best tight ends in the country. An outstanding blocker, Carlson emerged as a playmaker last season for the Irish. He displayed good hands and excellent awareness after the catch. Carlson will have his hands full against Georgia Tech as Wheeler will keep a close eye on him over the middle.
#41 Philip Wheeler: 14 games, 89 tackles (52 solo), 14.5 TFL
(-80 yds.), 9 sacks (-68 yds)
#89 John Carlson: 13 games, 47-634 receiving (62 Lng), 13.5 yds/catch, 4 TDs
Oklahoma State at #13 Georgia
Game Details: Saturday, September 1st at 6:45 p.m. on ESPN2
The Matchup: One of the most exciting players in college football is wide receiver Adarius Bowman. At 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, Bowman presents a tough matchup for any defensive secondary. He combines speed, strength, athleticism, and great hands into one package. Georgia's top defensive back, safety Kelin Johnson, will be asked to keep an eye on Bowman and in many situations, will double team Bowman in coverage. Johnson is a physical safety and playing against Bowman should be an interesting matchup to watch.
#30 Kelin Johnson: 13 games, 60 tackles (48 solo), 5.5 sacks
(-32 yds), 2.5 sacks (-23 yards), 2 INT (75 yds.)
#12 Adarius Bowman: 13 games, 60-1181 receiving (75 Lng), 19.7 avg/catch, 12 TDs
Missouri at Illinois
Game Details: Saturday, September 1st at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2
The Matchup: Coffman is the best tight end in the country and he is only a junior still learning the game. Coffman combines size, speed, strength, and soft hands that make him a vital part of the Missouri offensive attack. He's a threat to make a big play on any given down and puts a lot of pressure on the opposing linebackers. However, Illinois star linebacker J Leman matches up well against Coffman. Leman is a physical linebacker who is good in coverage and is an excellent tackler. This may be the best top prospect matchup of the weekend.
# 47 J Leman: 12 games, 152 tackles (75 solo), 19.0 TFL (-65 yds.),
4 sacks (-27 yds.)
# 45 Chase Coffman: 13 games, 58-638 receiving (37 Lng), 11.0 yds/catch, 9 TDs