'09 NFL Prospects Head 2 Head Preview: Week 8

Chase Daniel (Jamie Squire/Getty)

On Saturday No. 11 Missouri travels to Texas to take on the No. 1 Longhorns. Texas DT Roy Miller has been a tremendous asset on the D-Line this year and he will play a huge role in defending Missouri's star QB Chase Daniel (pictured left). Scout.com's Chris Steuber profiles that matchup along with three others in this week's Head 2 Head.

#11 Missouri (5-1) at #1 Texas (6-0)
Saturday, October 18th at 8:00 p.m. on ABC

Chase Daniel (6-foot, 228 pounds), QB, Missouri
VS.
Roy Miller (6-foot-1, 300 pounds), DT, Texas


Miller and the Texas defensive line will try to force Daniel into mistakes.
Brian Bahr/Getty

Scouting Report: Chase Daniel is a smart field general who possesses a great feel for the game. He's a terrific athlete who's able to escape the pocket and make plays on the run. He displays great touch and accuracy on his throws and delivers the ball with a quick release. He shows patience in the pocket, buys time with his legs and waits for receivers to get open. He has a nice sense of timing, leads receivers in the short field and can air the ball out vertically for big gains. He has good speed and picks up positive yards on the ground.

Roy Miller is an experienced, explosive interior lineman who plays with great balance and leverage. He has a quick first step, initiates contact and gets penetration up the middle, which benefits his linemates by getting to the quarterback. He plays with a high motor and possesses great strength.

Head 2 Head: After defeating the No. 1 team in the land, Oklahoma, last week, Texas has to deal with another top-ranked conference foe in Missouri. Missouri is coming off of a tough defeat at the hands of Oklahoma State, where Chase Daniel threw a season high three interceptions. Even though he threw three interceptions and just one touchdown, Daniel displayed his usual accuracy completing 75-percent of his passes. For the season, Daniel, who was a finalist for the Heisman last year, has posted outstanding numbers completing 76-percent of his passes for 2,055 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Out to try and disrupt Daniel's flow for a second consecutive game will be Roy Miller and the Longhorns defensive line. Miller is a strong interior lineman who gets instant penetration up the middle that causes the quarterback to get out of his comfort zone and move outside, which will create opportunities for a Longhorns defense that's generated 22 sacks thus far. Although Miller hasn't notched a sack on his statistical record this season, he fills a gap nicely, and that's equated into 14 quarterback hurries. Daniel has only been sacked three times this season, and a lot of that has to do with his ability to get outside the pocket and make positive plays happen. With sack master Brian Orakpo coming off the edge and Miller's ability to dominate inside, Daniel may be forced into the same situations he faced last week.


#22 Vanderbilt (5-1) at #10 Georgia (5-1)

Saturday, October 18th at 12:30 p.m.

*D.J. Moore (5-foot-10, 184 pounds), CB, Vanderbilt
VS.
Mohamed Massaquoi (6-foot-2, 200 pounds), WR, Georgia


A matchup that should be dominated by Moore, Massaquoi is looking for his second straight 100-yard game.
Travis Lindquist/Getty

Scouting Report: D.J. Moore is an athletic cover corner who can contribute in a multitude of ways. He plays physically at the line, transitions well on deep and intermediate routes and challenges receivers on every down. He possesses excellent footwork, fluid hips and outstanding ball skills. He diagnoses the action well and displays a burst of closing speed that allows him to undercut routes. He doesn't shy away from contact and is a willing defender against the run. He's also a dynamic return specialist that can impact a game any time he has the ball in his hands.

Mohamed Massaquoi is a competitive receiver with good size and skill. He gets a good release off the line, runs solid routes and shows great awareness coming back to the ball. He doesn't possess elite speed, but he's able to get vertical and adjust well to deep balls. He has soft hands and doesn't allow many balls to get in on him. He makes defenders miss in the open field and picks up extra yards with his shifty running style.

Head 2 Head: Prior to the season, I don't think anyone would be surprised that Georgia had a 5 – 1 record through six games. But to think that Vanderbilt, after losing a few key starters (Jonathan Goff, Chris Williams and Earl Bennett) to the NFL and finishing 5 – 7 last season, would be ranked 22nd in the country this year and have the same record Georgia has at this point, you would have been called crazy. A big reason for the Commodores success has been because of their defense; a defense that's ranked 22nd in the country in points allowed (16.3) and is ranked third in interceptions with 12. Junior cornerback D.J. Moore is a highly touted defender who is off to a good start, but not as good as his 2007 numbers were when he had 83 tackles, two for a loss, a sack and six interceptions. So far this season, he has 17 tackles, two for a loss, a sack and two interceptions. Moore will go Head 2 Head with Mohamed Massaquoi, a talented, four-year contributor at Georgia, who's raised his profile over the last two seasons and has developed into a quality prospect. Massaquoi is coming off of his second career 100-yard performance against Tennessee last week; the first was during his freshman year against Auburn. When the two teams got together last year, Moore played exceptionally well and recorded eight tackles, while Massaquoi was shut down catching just one pass for five yards in Georgia's 20 – 17 victory over Vanderbilt. If Knowshon Moreno is able to have success on the ground and open up the passing game, Massaquoi could redeem himself and capture a second consecutive 100-yard game. But Moore's ability to shut down receivers will cause Massaquoi problems on the outside.


#21 Wake Forest (4-1) at Maryland (4-2)
Saturday, October 18th at 12:00 p.m.

Alphonso Smith (5-foot-9, 190 pounds), CB, Wake Forest
VS.
*Darrius Heyward-Bey (6-foot-2, 206 pounds), WR, Maryland


Off to a slow start, Heyward-Bey has a tough battle with Smith on Saturday.
AP Photo/Nick Wass

Scouting Report: Alphonso Smith is an undersized but productive cornerback who is an outstanding playmaker. He displays good route recognition and is a determined defender. He's effective facing the action, locates the ball quickly and possesses excellent closing speed and ball skills that allow him to turn defense into offense. He is a very instinctive defender who has a great sense of timing and is an effective blitzer who makes plays in the backfield.

Darrius Heyward-Bey is an explosive playmaker who can change the momentum of a game on any play. He gets a quick release off the line, runs solid routes, flashes reliable hands and is elusive in the open field. He sets up defenders nicely on the outside, gets separation going vertical and tracks down deep throws with ease. He's doesn't shy away from going over the middle and making tough receptions in traffic. He demonstrates his versatility on an end around and displays excellent vision in the clear.

Head 2 Head: This is a great conference matchup that features two explosive NFL prospects, Alphonso Smith going Head 2 Head with Darrius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey, who had a breakout sophomore campaign last season (51 catches for 786 yards and three touchdowns), has struggled this season and hasn't caught a pass in the last two games (Clemson and Virginia). This season, he's only amassed 12 receptions for 275 yards and three touchdowns through six games. But he's been a contributor in running situations, and every time he gets the ball on a reverse, good things happen. On just six carries this season, Heyward-Bey has rushed for 186 yards and a touchdown. Trying to shutout Heyward-Bey once again this week will be Smith. Smith is a quality cover corner that causes the opposition fits with his pest like qualities and route recognition ability. Those qualities have led Smith, who recorded 44 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, three sacks and eight interceptions last season, to three interceptions in five games. In a hard fought 31 – 24 overtime classic between the two teams last year, Smith limited Heyward-Bey to just one catch for 12 yards, which was his worst performance of the season. In that game, Smith had six tackles and a momentum changing interception, in which he returned for a 100-yard touchdown. That interception occurred when Wake Forest was down 24 – 3 late in the third quarter and the touchdown cut the lead to 24 – 10, ultimately leading to 28 unanswered points to capture the victory.


Purdue (2-4) at Northwestern (5-1)

Saturday, October 18th at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN2

Anthony Heygood (6-foot-1, 230 pounds), OLB, Purdue
VS.
Tyrell Sutton (5-foot-8, 205 pounds), RB, Northwestern


Sutton leads the Northwestern offensive attack and for Purdue to contain him, Heygood will need to be a factor.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

Scouting Report: Anthony Heygood is a tough, active linebacker who's always around the ball. He's instinctive, diagnoses the action well and takes good angles in pursuit. He excels in coverage, gets depth on his drops and showcases good ball skills. He's an explosive tackler that works well in space.

Tyrell Sutton is an elusive, shifty ballcarrier, who possesses a quick first step. He runs low to the ground with great balance and hides behind the trees waiting for a crease to open. He sets up defenders well, jukes them out of their shoes and has the speed to pick up positive yards. He's deceptively strong and doesn't go down on initial contact. He flashes elite hands and is a factor in the passing game.

Head 2 Head: The success that Northwestern has had this season is amazing, and their 5 – 1 record is better than anyone expected, especially after they finished 6 – 6 last season. Although, the competition they've defeated this season isn't amongst the best in the nation and their first loss happened last week against 20th ranked Michigan State. Having running back Tyrell Sutton back and healthy (Sutton missed six games last season with an ankle injury) is a huge boost for Northwestern as he's totaled 603 yards on 110 carries and five touchdowns, as well as catching 24 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown. The versatility that Sutton brings to the field makes the opposition game plan around him, and the elusiveness that he possesses will be of concern to Purdue. Linebacker Anthony Heygood, who is a former running back and currently the Boilermakers leading tackler (56), does an outstanding job defending the perimeter, dropping back in coverage and he plays aggressively at the line. For Purdue to contain Sutton, Heygood will have to be forceful on the outside and make Sutton cut back towards the middle where the defense can collapse on him and limit his gains. In their matchup last season, it was Sutton's first game back from his ankle injury, and he only had 12 carries, but rushed for 72 yards. Heygood wasn't much of a factor in the game, as he contributed just two tackles, but Purdue got the 35 – 17 win in the end.



*Denotes underclassmen



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. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com.

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