Head 2 Head Preview: Week 9
LB Rey Maualuga (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty)
LB Rey Maualuga (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty)
NFL Draft Analyst, Scout.com
Posted Oct 26, 2007

NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber gives you a preview of this weekend's top individual matchups between players who are being scouted by NFL teams for the 2008 NFL Draft. Take a look at who you should be watching during this weekend's college football action.

#12 USC (6-1) at #5 Oregon (6 -1)

Game Details: Saturday, October 27th at 3:00 p.m.

The Prospects: 

Dennis Dixon (6-foot-4, 205-pounds), QB - Oregon
Rey Maualuga (6-foot-3, 250-pounds), MLB - USC

Scouting Report: Dixon is a great athlete with a lot of potential. He has a quick release and makes great decisions on intermediate and vertical routes. He's an accurate passer that displays great touch on the ball. He's able to elude defenders and make plays on the run. He has great vision, speed, and strength and can gain positive yards with his feet. He's the ultimate improviser and possesses excellent awareness in the pocket. Junior middle linebacker Rey Maualuga is a tall, physical linebacker that possesses great athleticism and explosion. He has a quick burst and has great lateral, sideline-to-sideline, and angular speed. He's a sure tackler that positions himself well against the run. He's an instinctive player that's aware of his surroundings and penetrates through a gap to make plays in the backfield. He's a devastating hitter that looks to make the knockout blow. He shows great discipline in the middle and recognizes opposing schemes very well.

Head 2 Head: USC has a tough challenge facing Oregon and the elusive Dixon this weekend. Not only can Dixon beat you with his strong arm, he's just as dangerous running the ball. Dixon averages 60 yards on the ground a game, while the Trojans defense allows just 64. Maualuga will keep an eye on Dixon's every move and will try to contain him from making plays with his legs. However, if Maualuga devotes all of his attention on Dixon, it will allow Ducks star running back Jonathan Stewart to have a big game. Maualuga has his work cut out for him on Saturday, but if he takes Dixon out of the run game, he will have done his job.

2007 Statistics:

No Name GP Cmp Att Yds TD/Int Rating
10 Dennis Dixon 7 138 199 1,728 16-3 165.80

      Tackles Pass D Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds No-Yds
58 Rey Maualuga 7 23 20 43 5.5-19 0-0 3.0-14


#9 Kansas (7-0) at Texas A&M (6-2)

Game Details: Saturday, October 27th at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2

The Prospects: 

Cody Wallace (6-foot-4, 296-pounds), C - Texas A&M
James McClinton (6-foot-1, 285-pounds), DT - Kansas

Scouting Report:  Wallace is a tough, durable blocker that controls the line of scrimmage. He's a smart, heady leader that understands his assignments. He has excellent hand placement and controls the flow up front. He's a hard worker and plays the game with a lot of passion. He has good lateral movement and positions himself well in front of a bigger opposition. He shows a great burst off the line and jolts defenders with a solid punch. He has great balance and awareness up front and rarely gets knocked off his feet. McClinton is an explosive interior lineman limited only by a lack of height. He has a quick first step, great balance, and great instincts. He has excellent lateral quickness and is able to change direction. He plays with a high motor and is always around the ball. He's a great tackler who possesses outstanding closing speed. He sheds blocks well, but tends to struggle against a bigger opposition. He has good technique and hand placement that gives him leverage.

Head 2 Head: Texas A&M has one of the best rushing offenses in the country, averaging 260 yards on the ground a game. Kansas has been solid against the run all season long, allowing just 74 rushing yards a game. Wallace is a consistent blocker and has been a major reason why the Aggies have been so successful running the ball. McClinton is undersized and will struggle against the stout Wallace, but his job will be to get penetration up the middle and alter the running lanes of quarterback Stephen McGee and running backs Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson.

2007 Statistics:

No statistical information available for Cody Wallace.

      Tackles Pass D Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds No-Yds
93 James McClinton 7 13 17 30 8.5-37 1-9 2.5-14

#21 California (5-2) at #4 Arizona State (7-0)

Game Details: Saturday, October 27th at 10:00 p.m.

The Prospects:  

Lavelle Hawkins (5-foot-11, 185-pounds), WR - California
Josh Barrett (6-foot-3, 231-pounds), FS - Arizona State

Scouting Report: Hawkins is an explosive receiver that continues to show progress in his overall game. He's quick off the line, runs great routes, and gets instant separation from defenders. He has reliable hands and is a sure pass catcher. He's a tough receiver that will make catches over the middle and displays his blazing speed by getting vertical and adjusting to throws on the run. He's deceptively strong and gains positive yards after the catch, breaking tackles and fighting for yards. Barrett is a big, physical safety that can play either safety spot at the next level. He has tremendous size, speed, and athleticism and is a ball hawk in the secondary. He can impact a game in multiple fashions, whether it's in pass defense or making plays in the backfield -- and he's a beast in the secondary. He's an instinctive player that reads plays instantly and attacks the opposition. He's a sure tackler who delivers vicious hits. However, he plays with a lot of aggression and gets caught out of position occasionally.

Head 2 Head: California possesses a tough passing attack that features two of the nation's best receivers, DeSean Jackson and Hawkins. Hawkins benefits from having Jackson on the opposite side and vice versa, and will cause ASU a lot of problems. The Sun Devils allow a respectable 214 yards through the air, and Barrett -- who's been battling injuries all season -- will have to play well in coverage. Cal's starting quarterback Nate Longshore can take advantage of Barrett's aggressive play and get him caught out of position occasionally and attack the Sun Devils secondary in hopes of Hawkins being one-on-one on the outside.

2007 Statistics:

No Name GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
7 Lavelle Hawkins 7 39 559 14.3 64 4

      Tackles Pass D Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds No-Yds
19 Josh Barrett 7 15 5 20 2-10 0-0 1-9

#1 Ohio State (8-0) at #25 Penn State (6-2)

Game Details: Sunday, October 27th at 8:00 p.m. on ABC

The Prospects: 

Brian Robiskie (6-foot-3, 196-pounds), WR - Ohio State
Justin King (6-foot-0, 186-pounds), CB - Penn State

Scouting Report: Robiskie, a junior who is a major offensive weapon, is still developing his game. He has a quick release off the line and is able to get separation from the opposition. He's a tremendous athlete with great speed, hands, and athleticism. He has outstanding leaping ability and body control and is able to make tough, acrobatic receptions. He runs good routes and is effective out of breaks, but he has to get stronger and play more physically against the opposition. King, who is also a junior, is an athletic cornerback with shutdown ability. He has good size and speed and has the ability to blanket a receiver all game long. He positions himself well in coverage and has great closing speed. He anticipates the action well and displays great timing defending the pass. He has great leaping ability and causes turnovers with his athleticism. He's not a physical corner and doesn't challenge receivers very often --- he tends to play off the line and try to entice the quarterback to challenge his quickness.

Head 2 Head: This is a game where King is looking for redemption. He struggled last week against Indiana's James Hardy and will look to make an impact against Robiskie. Robiskie is a tremendous deep threat, just like Hardy, and averages 19.7 yards a game. King has to show more aggression in coverage and press Robiskie at the line. King isn't a physical corner, but he has to change his play this week and not allow Robiskie to get deep without a fight.

2007 Statistics:

No Name GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
80 Brian Robiskie 8 37 728 19.7 68 7


      Tackles Pass D Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds No-Yds
1 Justin King 8 23 3 26 0-0 2-6 0-0

Houston (4-3) at UTEP (4-3)

Game Details: Saturday, October 27th at 9:05 p.m.

The Prospects: 

Donnie Avery (5-foot-11, 190-pounds), WR - Houston
Quintin Demps (6-foot-1, 205-pounds), FS - UTEP

Scouting Report: Avery is an explosive receiver and return specialist that possesses elite speed and athleticism. He gets a fluid release off the line and runs smooth routes. He's quick in and out of his breaks. He's an intelligent receiver that finds openings in the defense and exploits a secondary with his quickness. He's a true deep threat that can be a game changer and make highlight-reel receptions. Demps is an aggressive, steady defender that makes plays all over the field. He defends the run very well and is excellent in coverage. He's a disciplined reliable leader that plays with a lot of intensity. He's quick to the point of attack and has a knack for making the big play.

Head 2 Head: Houston has a highly potent offense, and Avery is a major reason why the passing attack is so deadly. The Cougars average 518 yards a game (295 passing yards a game) and can score points with the best in college football. Demps, who defends the run really well, will be asked to stay in coverage against a passing team like Houston and roll over to Avery's side to provide support. Avery's speed is a concern, and the Miners have to double-team him to have a chance against the Cougars.

2007 Statistics:

No Name GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
2 Donnie Avery 7 51 993 18.3 77 5


      Tackles Pass D Sacks
No Name GP Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds Int-Yds No-Yds
9 Quintin Demps 7 37 13 50 2.5-7 3-117 0-0

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.


Related Stories
Head 2 Head Analysis: Week 9
 -by ScoutNFLNetwork.com  Oct 29, 2007
Barrett, ASU Look to Repeat Success at Autzen
 -by DevilsDigest.com  Nov 1, 2007
Keys to the Game Revisited–USC vs. Notre Dame
 -by SCPlaybook.com  Oct 20, 2007

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WR Donnie Avery (profile)
S Josh Barrett (profile)
DB Quintin Demps (profile)
QB Dennis Dixon (profile)
WR Lavelle Hawkins (profile)
CB Justin King (profile)
LB Rey Maualuga (profile)
DL James McClinton (profile)
WR Brian Robiskie (profile)
OL Chris Yoder (profile)
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