JagNation has confirmed Jaguars scouts' presence at Saturday's "Battle of Los Angeles" between USC and UCLA.
Whenever USC is playing, there's always plenty of talent to scout, and this week is certainly no exception as the Trojans have a few players on the offensive side of the ball that are sure to catch Jaguars scout's collective eyes. Wide receivers Patrick Turner and Vidal Hazelton, quarterback Mark Sanchez, running back Stafon Johnson, and offensive tackle Charles Brown are all players that are on NFL watch lists and would potentially add depth to the Jacksonville roster.
Patrick Turner - WR, USC (Senior)- 6'5", 220 lbs., 4.57 40-yard dash. 2008 stats- 40 rec., 586 yds., 9 TD, long- 42 yds. Strong, physical wide receiver in the mold of Terrell Owens. Honorable mention all-Pac 10 pick who didn't have huge numbers because of tons of offensive talent around him. Should be a solid possession guy at the next level. Currently a late-round pick.
Vidal Hazelton - WR, USC (Junior)- 6'2", 210 lbs., 4.47 40-yard dash. 2008 stats- 6 rec., 38 yds. Been fighting a sprained ankle that has caused him to miss games. Plays faster than his timed speed, very good with the ball in the air. Currently an early second-day pick.
Mark Sanchez - QB, USC (Redshirt Jr.)- 6'3", 225 lbs., 4.70 40-yard dash. 2008 stats- 195-298, 2525 yds., 65.4% comp., 28 TD/9 INT's, 161.58 QB rating. First year as a full-time starter, very good arm, somewhat mobile but battling knee injuries, tough, questions about future success because of all the talent he has around him. Possible first-round pick.
Stafon Johnson - RB, USC (Junior)- 5'11", 215 lbs., 4.40 40-yard dash. 2008 stats- 107 att., 595 yds., 8 TD's. Part of a tailback rotation at USC, there are questions whether he can be an every-downs back. Punt return ability, solid speed and power, can break tackles. Currently an early second-day pick.
Charles Brown - OT, USC (Redshirt Jr.)- 6'6", 298 lbs., 4.89 40-yard dash. This is his first season as a starter. Has great athleticism, good footwork, former tight end. Currently an early second-day pick.
As great as the USC offensive prospects are, there are even more prospects on what many consider to be the very best defense in the nation.
Rey Maualuga appears to be the Rolls Royce of middle linebackers as the 6'2", 260 lb. Trojan can do it all. Maualuga is one of the best playmakers in the history of the USC defense, and that is a program that routinely produces top ten NFL draft picks. He is explosive, has great initial quickness, takes on blockers, and is even good in coverage. Although Maualuga is nursing a sprained knee, he is still one of the most dangerous defenders in the country. The Trojan middle linebacker has 68 tackles, 2.5 TFL, and two interceptions, one of which he returned 48 yards for a touchdown against Ohio State.
Outside linebacker Brian Cushing is often overlooked because of his teammates, but Cushing is a fine player in his own right. The 6'4", 255 lb. senior has excellent size and athleticism, and he is a big hitter on the outside. Cushing runs in the 4.6's, and is the second-rated outside linebacker in the draft (currently). He has 63 tackles, nine TFL, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, an interception, and five pass breakups already this season.
As we move across the Trojans starting linebacking corps, we come to Clay Matthews. If the name sounds familiar, it is because Matthews dad, Clay Sr. had a long NFL career with the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons. The younger Clay wasn't heavily recruited and earned a spot on the USC roster as a freshman walk-on. Since, the 6'4", 260 lb. backer has been a key contributor and runs in the 4.6's. On the season, Matthews has 48 tackles, nine TFL, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.
If the Jaguars scouts look to the opposite sideline, a player that will certainly catch their eyes is UCLA junior cornerback Alterraun Verner. The explosive 5'11", 180 lb. corner runs in the low 4.4's, and is a solid man to man defender. Verner has great instincts and ball skills, and currently projects as a late first-day pick.
Two other defensive players from UCLA to keep an eye on are linebackers Reggie Carter and Korey Bosworth. Carter, a redshirt junior is the fifth-ranked inside linebacker in the nation and projects as a late first-day pick. Bosworth is a tough, productive outside linebacker who can probably use one more year of school.
Some of the top offensive prospects from UCLA are junior fullback Chane Moline and senior halfback Kahlil Bell. Both are considered late-round picks, but both may be steals.
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