NFL Prospects Week in Review: 10/11

The past weekend saw a number of great performances by several top players in college football. Several players originally considered free agents or late-round selections have improved their draft rankings. Unfortunately, it was also a Saturday in which a number of highly rated NFL prospects suffered major injuries.

Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway had what many thought was his best game of the season against Purdue. Posting 10 tackles, Greenway was constantly around the ball making positive plays all day.  The senior has done nothing to make NFL scouts believe he is anything other than a first-round choice next April.

Another Hawkeye who put up his best numbers of the season was receiver Clinton Solomon.  After lackluster performances during Iowa's initial five games, Solomon caught five passes for 166 receiving yards, adding two scores.  Solomon almost doubled his receiving yardage total for the year.  Coming off a marvelous junior campaign, much more had been expected of Solomon this season, a fringe first-day pick.  Considered the potential third wide out in the NFL, he needs to keep this pace up.

The magic is back in Happy Valley as Penn State stayed unbeaten after a victory over  Big Ten opponent Ohio State.  The Nittany Lions defense has been stifling all season.  Much of the credit goes to a trio of seniors.  

Defensive end Tamba Hali has been a consistent performer throughout 2005.  Hali's totals read 28 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five sacks.  Most importantly to Penn State fans, Hali forced a fumble late in the game against the Buckeyes, which sealed victory.  Undersized at 6-2", Hali fits into the draft's first day as an edge rusher in a conventional defense.

Safeties Chris Harrell and Calvin Lowry have also been big for the Lions during their undefeated stretch.  

Harrell, who sat on the sidelines with a neck injury last year, has been a forceful run defender all season.  Returning with a vengeance, Harrell has jumped up draft boards and is making his way towards the draft's first day.

Lowry is a complete defensive back with solid skills against the run or pass.  Constantly around the play, he leads the team with two interceptions and has also improved his draft stock.

UCLA running back Maurice Drew was instrumental in the Bruins' comeback victory over conference rival Cal.  Drew led the team with 299 all-purpose yards, which garnered him Pac Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.  Drew posted 65 yards on the ground, another 52 as a receiver and added a whopping 162 yards returning punts.  On the day he totaled five touchdowns.

A runner with a compact build, Drew is quickly turning into a top third-down back for the next level.  Even in a seemingly rich running back class, versatility will push Drew into the draft's initial 75 choices should he leave for the NFL.

Northwestern inside linebacker Tim McGarigle was outstanding on Saturday.  Posting 25 tackles during NU's wild 51-48 victory over Wisconsin, McGarigle also added 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.  Perfectly suited to play in a 3-4 defense, McGarigle's stock is on the rise.

The highly anticipated match-up between Mathias Kiwanuka and D'Brickashaw Ferguson never came to fruition. Ferguson sat on the sidelines for a second straight week with a knee injury.

Kiwanuka, for his part, had a solid yet unspectacular game.  While he was not a pass-rushing force, "Kiwi" did make positive and smart plays all day, helping Boston College to victory.  More then anything else, he earned big points from NFL scouts for playing with an injury.

Virginia's Brad Butler swung over from his right tackle spot to the left side, filling in for Ferguson.  His performance was solid against the nation's highest rated defensive end, but unfortunately it will be remembered for a dirty play.

Kiwanuka was injured early in the contest after a Cavalier player rolled up his leg,  yet stayed in the game. Midway through the third quarter while the score was close, Butler purposely dove at Kiwanuka's injured knee several seconds after a play had been whistled dead.  There is no questioning it was a cheap shot by Butler, who's already been suspended by the university.  Butler will sit out next week's game against Florida State and stiffer penalties could be handed down shortly.

While the injury to Kiwanuka was not serious, others were not as lucky on Saturday.

Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen, considered a first-round pick, will likely miss the remainder of the season after suffering an apparent dislocated hip.  Allen injured the joint after tackling Georgia tight end Leonard Pope.  Allen seriously considered entering last April's draft and will now watch his stock slip.

Iowa all-purpose player Ed Hinkle left Saturday's contest after a 43-yard pass reception.  Initial reports had Hinkle breaking his wrist which, if true, would end his season.

Virginia Tech running back Cedric Humes, considered by many a sleeper at the position next April, broke a bone in his arm during the Hokies victory over Marshall.  Humes was attempting to block a defensive lineman when the injury occurred.  To that point he had rushed for 58 yards and a score on 10 carries.

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