Prospect Watch: Saturday's NCAA Games

The Browns are off this weekend, but there's still plenty of football to watch on Saturday and Sunday. Draft expert Greg Mastin looks at the TV games in the Mid-West this weekend, and tell Browns fans which draft prospects to zoom in on, including a big tackle from Auburn (photo)...<BR><BR>

NC State at Clemson (Noon, ESPN 2)

NC State has several players who will hear their names called throughout the draft. The top guys are safety Andre Maddox, linebacker Pat Thomas and back TA McClendon. Offensive tackle Chris Colmer could have been one of those guys, but injuries have bothered him this year and will hurt him in the spring. Other players who have a chance to get drafted include linebacker Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay, and secondary personnel Dovonte Edwards, Troy Graham and Lamont Reid.

The player to watch on the Clemson side is junior quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. He has flown under the radar for most people, but he could be a fairly high pick if he comes out. Defensively, junior corner Justin Miller is another player who could be on the early entry list if he feels like he will be a first rounder. Linebacker Leroy Hill is a quality player who may also go on the first day.

Penn State at Ohio State (Noon, ABC)

Penn State's program has really taken a nose dive over the past few seasons. The only potential first day prospect is underclassman
Alan Zematis, a cornerback. Linebacker Derek Wake has some talent and will get drafted, but it isn't exactly back to the old Linebacker U. days.

In fact, it's Ohio State that looks more like Linebacker U. Two linebackers who could leave school early with the right grade are AJ Hawk and Anthony Schlegel. Kicker Mike Nugent could be a first day pick if he continues to kick well. Let's not forget Maurice Clarett, he will be in the draft, but you won't see him on Saturday obviously.

Michigan State at #11 Michigan (3:30, ABC)

Michigan State doesn't have any top prospects to watch in this game. They are all on the other side of the ball. Defensive end Clifford Dukes could go at the end of the first day if he tests well. Safety Jason Harmon and linebacker Ron Staley are second day guys right now. On offense tight end Eric Knott could be drafted, he has good size and potential.

Michigan should have its name called early on draft day. Receivers Braylon Edwards and underclassman Jason Avant or both quality prospects. Guard David Baas should be the first true guard off the board and in the first round. Defensively Marlin Jackson has the potential to go in the first round, and underclassman safety Ernest Shazor has first day potential if he decides to test the waters.

#3 Miami, Fla. at North Carolina (7:00, ESPN 2)

Injuries have taken a bit of a toll on some of the top Hurricane prospects. Left tackle Eric Winston's knee injury could mean he returns for his senior season. Defensive tackle Santonio Thomas has been banged up, both he and his partner underclassman Orien Harris carry high grades. Frank Gore still has talent, but can't seem to stay on the field all the time. The only sure thing right now is cornerback Antrell Rolle whose stock remains high and a good bet to be a top five pick.

There are no Julius Peppers or Ryan Sims type prospects on this year's version of the Tarheels. Center Jason Brown may be the best bet to get drafted on the second day. Cornerback Lionell Green, safety Gerald Sensabaugh and offensive tackle Willie McNeill are fair prospects who could get drafted.

#4 Auburn at Mississippi (7:45, ESPN)

Finally a chance to see Auburn on prime time. They have some excellent prospects led by the running back duo of Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. It is rare for a team to have two potential first round running backs, but this is the case here. Tackle Marcus McNeill is an underclassman who could go in the top rounds if he chooses to come out, and cornerback Carlos Rogers is a first day player in the secondary with great physical ability.

Mississippi has two underclassmen that, should they decide to leave school, could go on the first day. Offensive tackle Tre Stallings is a solid player who could go very high if he can resist the temptation of coming out early. Cornerback Travis Johnson has good physical talent, and at 6-1 will get a long look whenever he decides to go pro. Of the seniors, guard Doug Buckles has a chance to go late on the first day, although he may be a little undersized to go that high. Safety Eric Oliver is a solid prospect to watch on defense. Kicker Jonathan Nichols has enough leg to potentially be drafted or get into a camp.

#21 Arizona State at #8 California (TBS, 10:00)

If you can stay up, this is a game worth watching for the quarterbacks. Arizona State quarterback Andrew Walter has been outstanding this year and is playing his way into the first round. His top receiving option, Derek Hagan could also be a first day pick if he elects to leave school. On defense there aren't too many prospects to watch. The best may be linebacker Justin Burks and defensive end/tackle Jimmy Verdon.

If the way these teams played USC is any indication, Cal should be the favorite. Their junior quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been outstanding. If Kyle Boller can be a first round pick out of this system as inaccurate as he was, then the very accurate Rodgers should go very high if he comes out. His top receiver, senior Geoff McArthur has been the beneficiary and he may also be a first day pick. These two teams are similar in that defensively, there are no great prospects for next spring. Linebacker Wendell Hunter could get drafted along with defensive end Tosh Lupoi.

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