Scouts will have plenty of top seniors to watch when Alabama plays Texas for the national title. There are standouts at practically every position, from quarterback (Colt McCoy) to offensive tackle (Adam Ulatoski), from linebacker (Sergio Kindle) to cornerback (Javier Arenas).
Scout.com draft insider Chris Steuber is breaking down the top prospects in each of the bowl games. Thursday's championship game includes two players ranked among Steuber's top 50 senior prospects: Texas quarterback Colt McCoy
(No. 18), Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle
BCS National Championship Game
TV: ABC, 8 p.m. (Eastern).
Senior prospects to watch:
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Alabama — Javier Arenas
(5-9, 193; Scout.com's No. 7 senior cornerback); Terrence Cody
(6-5, 365; No. 5 defensive tackle); Mike Johnson
(6-6, 298; No. 4 guard); Justin Woodall
(6-1, 213; No. 7 safety); Leigh Tiffin
(6-1, 198; No. 2 kicker); Colin Peek
(6-6, 250; No. 17 tight end). Texas — Colt McCoy (6-3, 210; No. 3 quarterback); Sergio Kindle (6-4, 239; No. 3 outside linebacker); Chris Hall
(6-4, 300; No. 6 center); Adam Ulatoski
(6-8, 310; No. 10 offensive tackle); Roddrick Muckelroy
(6-3, 230; No. 12 outside linebacker); Jordan Shipley
(6-0, 195; No. 13 receiver); Lamarr Houston
Jr. (6-2, 275; No. 18 defensive tackle).
Noteworthy: Both teams are 13-0, with Texas winning a national title five years ago at the Rose Bowl, the site of this game, and Alabama seeking its first crown since 1992. Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, the Alabama sophomore who rushed for 1,542 yards and 15 touchdowns, takes center stage against Heisman finalist Colt McCoy, who completed 70.5 percent of his passes, is the team's second-leading rusher and contributed 30 total touchdowns. Speaking of awards, Alabama junior Rolando McClain won the Butkus as the nation's top linebacker. He had four sacks, 12 tackles for losses and two interceptions to lead the nation's top scoring defense (11.0 per game). Ingram will be challenged by the nation's No. 1 rush defense (62.9 yards per game). The key to the game will be the Longhorns' ability to protect McCoy, who was sacked nine times in a near-upset against Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. If he has time, he'll look to Shipley, who caught 106 passes for 1,363 yards and 11 touchdowns (not to mention a 13.0-yard average and two touchdowns on punt returns). The do-it-all Arenas isn't big but he makes big plays with three interceptions, an incredible five sacks and gaudy averages of 29.0 yards on kickoff returns and 16.3 yards (one touchdown) on punt returns.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Colt McCoy, I still think he's going to be a first-round pick — probably more of a late first-rounder — but there's a chance he drops out of the first round altogether. I think a lot of teams are worried with his mechanics. He doesn't find the passing windows as much as you'd like for a quarterback. But he's mobile, he makes plays happen on the run. I like him a lot. You can't deny the leadership ability. Ulatoski has the ability to play left tackle in the NFL but there's some teams that like him as a right tackle. It shows his versatility. He's kind of been an underachiever. At one point, a lot of people thought that he could be a top-10 pick when he first got to Texas and even during his sophomore season. He's kind of a raw guy still, kind of a slow learner. He just hasn't progressed like a lot of people thought he'd progress. He's still going to be a second-, third-round pick. He's a very good player. Kindle (three sacks, 18 tackles for losses) reminds me of Brian Orakpo
, believe it or not. Fast off the edge, makes plays in the backfield, good tackler. Kind of rising up the boards after an incident early in the season when he got in a crash outside one of the administration buildings. He's got that status back on track and is probably a late first-round/early second-round consideration. Jordan Shipley is McCoy's favorite target. He's back for his fifth year and had a great season. I wouldn't be surprised if he's more of a third-round pick but he's a quality receiver. He has good hands, he's fast, he makes a lot of plays all over the field. Houston (seven sacks, 20 tackles for losses) is another guy to keep an eye on. Hall is one of the top centers in the country.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
We all know the running back, Ingram, is the top guy in the game but he's only a sophomore. Javier Arenas is a guy that teams that need a cornerback will be interested in. He's only 5-9, and that's a knock against him. He's compact and he's physical. He has a good vertical but I don't know if that's going to help him enough against the big receivers. Probably more of a nickel guy in the league. Kind of compares to Alphonso Smith
of last year (second round by Denver out of Wake Forest). I would say Alphonso is more of a dynamic corner where Javier makes a lot of plays but isn't the big-time playmaker that Alphonso Smith was. I like him a lot and is a guy that could help as a corner and kick returner. Justin Woodall the safety, I like his range. He's more of a free safety but he can play both. He's got good size, is a big hitter, good ball skills (seven interceptions in two years as starter). Probably a third-round pick. Cody (six tackles for losses) is outstanding. He's interesting. He could go in the first round, he could go in the second round. It all depends on what 3-4 team takes him because he can't play in the 4-3. He's more of a nose and more of a rotation guy because I don't think he can play every down. His conditioning is a big concern. He's such a big man and he can do a lot of things. You saw the Florida game where he played fullback. He's kind of that Refrigerator Perry kind of a tackle. He's a game changer in the middle and can create a lot of havoc all over the line and he makes his teammates better. Mike Johnson is a talented guard. He could probably move to tackle. He's a big, tall guy with the ability to play outside, which would create higher value in the draft.
To see Chris Steuber's draft rankings, click here.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.