Head 2 Head Preview: Week 6

Florida WR Percy Harvin (AP/John Raoux)

NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber points out this weekend's top "Head 2 Head" individual matchups between draft-eligible players. Find out who you should keep an eye on during this weekend's college football action.

This week, in addition to the five Head 2 Head matchups between 2008 draft-eligible players, I'm including a special sneak peek preview of a top matchup between a pair of sophomore prospects who will be eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft. You'll be able to see them square-off when the No. 1 LSU Tigers host the ninth-ranked Florida Gators this weekend.

#10 Oklahoma at #19 Texas

Game Details: Saturday, October 6th at 3:30 p.m. on ABC

The Prospects: Oklahoma, FS - Reggie Smith (Jr.) vs. Texas, WR - Limas Sweed (Sr.)

The Matchup: Limas Sweed is a huge target who's deadly in the red zone. He's been hampered by injuries this season, but when he's on the field, he's a game-changer. Sweed gets separation against the press and creates mismatches because of his big frame and knowing how to use it to his advantage. He doesn't possess initial quickness off the line of scrimmage, but he's difficult to jam.  Inconsistent at times, you'll see Sweed make tough acrobatic catches -- but then occasionally lose focus on easy passes. Oklahoma's Reggie Smith will try to take advantage of Sweed's difficult season. Smith, a junior, is an outstanding athlete who covers a lot of ground in the Sooners secondary. He's an instinctive player who's versatile enough to defend the run and be disciplined in coverage. Smith will provide coverage over the top and will try to contain Sweed's ability to make plays in the red zone. Covering Sweed can be an obstacle, but rolling your defense towards him will detour plays coming his way.

2007 Statistics:

    Tackles Pass D
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds
3 Reggie Smith 5 27 6 33 3-16 0-0

      Receiving
No Name GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
4 Limas Sweed 5 17 281 16.5 52 3


Arizona at Oregon State

Game Details: Saturday, October 6th at 4:05 p.m.

The Prospects: Arizona, CB - Antoine Cason (Sr.) vs. Oregon State, WR - Sammie Stroughter (Jr.)

The Matchup: Sammie Stroughter is an exciting receiver who plays with a lot of confidence and energy. He's explosive out of cuts and is able to get defenders off balance in his routes. He's a smooth receiver with good vision, balance and who excels in the open field. Stroughter is simply a threat to score at any time. Arizona's top defensive back and one of the premier cover corners in the nation, Antoine Cason, will have to bring his "A" game to contain the explosive Stroughter. Cason has excellent range and has great open-field tackling ability. He's a playmaker in the secondary and can turn defense into offense on any play. He plays a physical game against the opposition and defends the run well. Stroughter's ability to be a game-breaker will test Cason's cover skills.

2007 Statistics:

      Tackles Pass D
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds
5 Antoine Cason 5 23 11 34 2-7 1-6

      Receiving
No Name GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
19 Sammie Stroughter 3 15 262 17.5 48 2


Kansas at #24 Kansas State

Game Details: Saturday, October 6th at 12:00 p.m.

The Prospects: Kansas, CB - Aqib Talib (Jr.) vs. Kansas State, WR - Jordy Nelson (Sr.)

The Matchup: Jordy Nelson is a gifted and underrated receiver in college football. He's a true threat any time he touches the ball. He's got excellent size, speed, and strength. Nelson gets a quick burst off the line of scrimmage and doesn't hesitate making plays over the middle. He's got great hands and displays game-changing skills. Jayhawks talented junior cornerback, Aqib Talib, is an excellent cover corner who displays great awareness and playmaking ability in the secondary. He gets a good break on the ball and possesses outstanding closing speed. This is a matchup between two rivals that play their best football against each another, and the matchup between Nelson and Talib gives this game a little something extra.

2007 Statistics:

      Tackles Pass D
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds
3 Aqib Talib 4 10 8 18 0.5-0 2-118

      Receiving
No Name GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
27 Jordy Nelson 4 42 497 113.8 61 2


#4 Ohio State at #23 Purdue

Game Details: Saturday, October 6th at 8:00 p.m. on ABC

The Prospects: Ohio State, CB - Malcolm Jenkins (Jr.) vs. Purdue, WR - Dorien Bryant (Sr.)

The Matchup:  Dorien Bryant is a quick, reliable receiver who's been productive throughout his career. He doesn't possess ideal size at the receiver position, but his ability to make plays is what makes him special. He has great hands, runs smooth routes and has a unique ability to find holes in a defense. He's quick off the line -- instantly reaching his second gear -- and is able to get into the open field. Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins has his hands full with Bryant. Jenkins has outstanding size and cover skills. He has quick feet and great closing speed that matches up well against many receivers. Although Jenkins is an excellent athlete that uses his size to his advantage, he's not a physical corner and tends to play back on receivers. Bryant has an opportunity to take advantage of Jenkins' laid-back style and to really make an impact.

2007 Statistics:

      Tackles Pass D
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds
2 Malcolm Jenkins 6 6 10 16 1-3 2-6

      Receiving
No Name GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
9 Dorien Bryant 5 40 450 11.3 53 4


#15 Virginia Tech at #22 Clemson

Game Details: Saturday, October 6th at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN

The Prospects: Virginia Tech, RB - Branden Ore (Jr.) vs. Clemson, FS - Chris Clemons (Jr.)

The Matchup: Branden Ore has a unique blend of size and speed that makes him an exciting player. He's been inconsistent so far, but he's still a premier player on a top-rated team in the country. He has great vision and excellent cut back ability, finding open lanes while allowing blockers to set up in front of him. He's a very good receiver out of the backfield and adds another element to an offense that keeps defenses guessing. That's where Clemons comes in for Clemson. A physical safety who defends the run well and is excellent in coverage, Clemons has great instincts and a nose for the ball. I expect to see Virginia Tech get Ore involved often. Clemson has to be aware of screens and Ore's ability to stretch out a defense.

2007 Statistics:

      Rushing
No Name GP Att Yds Avg Lng TD
28 Branden Ore 5 84 298 3.5 24 3

      Tackles Pass D
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds
22 Chris Clemons 5 24 12 36 1-1 2-49



2009 DRAFT ELIGIBLE SNEAK PEEK

#9 Florida at #1 LSU

Game Details: Saturday, October 6th at 8:00 p.m. on CBS

The Prospects: Florida, WR - Percy Harvin (So.) vs. LSU, FS - Danny McCray (So.)

The Matchup: Percy Harvin is a dynamic game-breaker who's only going to improve as his collegiate career progresses. He's a versatile playmaker who's primarily used as a wide receiver, but he can line up as a running back or quarterback and can also return punts. He has a quick first step and gets good separation from a defender. A receiver who runs solid routes and comes back to the ball, Harvin possesses excellent hands and speed that make him a true threat in the open field. He adjusts well to erratic throws and is able to make spectacular catches. Harvin tracks down deep throws, gets vertical and positions himself against defenders to come away with the ball. LSU's sensational sophomore safety Danny McCray will keep a close eye on Harvin during this game. McCray is a special defensive back. He defends the run and pass very well, and he's a playmaker in the secondary. McCray's an instinctive player who positions himself well in coverage, is quick to the point of attack and takes excellent angles. LSU has an excellent secondary with a lot of leadership, but containing Harvin takes team effort. McCray's ability to make plays and back up his teammates will cause Florida to rethink their game plan.

2007 Statistics:

    Receiving
No Name GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
1 Percy Harvin 5 28 455 16.3 52 3

      Tackles Pass D Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds No-Yds
44 Danny McCray 5 20 6 26 3-32 2-0 3-32


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.

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