Offensive tackle Chris Colmer returns to the field after sitting out last season with a viral infection of the shoulder. A big, strong tackle, Colmer is a solid run blocker with adequate skills in pass protection. Highly ranked 12 months ago, his shoulder is seemingly less than 100% and he remains a medical question mark until he proves otherwise. Another prospect with durability concerns but with abundant talent is junior running back T.A. McLendon. A big ball carrier, McLendon combines power, playing speed and running back instincts as he runs over opponents. Outstanding on the inside, he also displays solid footwork and the ability to make defenders miss at the point of attack. Continual knee injuries have hampered his college career and keeps McLendon on the sidelines. His combination of physical skills and football abilities make him a big-time prospect yet redflags are already being raised in scouting circles because of health issues.
State offers a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball and players that could make big moves up draft boards over the next few years. After his sophomore season linebacker Pat Thomas looked like a solid prospect to us. Yet as a junior Thomas seemed to level off and not show much improvement. Though undersized Thomas is a solid athlete that has displays a knack for making plays. If he gets more involved in the action as a senior Thomas could move himself into the first day of next April's draft. Senior corner Lamont Reid is an athletic cover man with solid size. Displaying good man-to-man cover skills, Reid is fluid in his hips and has the ability to get vertical, adjust and defend the pass. Also a tough defensive back, he is a willing volunteer defending the run. His playing speed and closing burst are only average yet Reid could flourish in the proper system and is a solid middle round choice. Defensive end Manny Lawson, a junior who projects to linebacker, is a top athlete to keep on the radar screen as is cornerback Marcus Hudson. True sophomore Mario Williams is a defensive end with star potential.