One cannot help but be impressed with Justin Harrell, the defensive tackle from Tennessee. After tearing a biceps tendon against Air Force Harrell's season was publicly announced as over last week. Yet with a big contest against Florida just day's away Harrell postponed scheduled surgery in order to participate in this important SEC game. Though the Volunteers lost Harrell turned in a gritty performance, impacting the game up front.
Another who performed brilliantly during his team's loss was Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson. Running roughshod over the Oregon Ducks, Peterson posted 211 yards on the ground, accounting for 55% of the Sooners offensive production. Peterson also threw a key block on the important kick return in the game's final minute, which helped put the Sooners in field goal position.
Drew Stanton performed well against a tough Pittsburgh Panther defensive back seven. The Michigan State quarterback threw for 191-yards and added another 104-yards on the ground. More impressively he helped the offense convert 11-out-of-15 third down conversions.
USC left tackle Sam Baker stood out in the Trojans win over Nebraska. Baker shut down the Cornhusker pass rush, allowing John David Booty to sit in the pocket almost untouched through four quarters Saturday night.
Hats off to Trojan receiver Dwayne Jarrett. A week after being accused by USC receiver coach Lane Kiffin of "living in the past", Jarrett responded with a dominant performance totaling 11-receptions for 136 receiving yards and two scores against Nebraska.
Linebacker Prescott Burgess was impressive during Michigan's shocking upset over Notre Dame. Burgess totaled five tackles while also intercepting a pair of passes, one which he brought back into the end zone for a touchdown 51-seconds into the game. Cornerback Leon Hall and defensive end/linebacker LaMar Woodely also turned in impressive performances as the Wolverines shut-down the Irish.
Again, Clemson guard Nathan Bennett looked good against a quality opponent. Bennett opened large holes for running back James Davis during the Tigers last second victory over Florida State. A good fit for a power running offense, Bennett could move into the middle rounds with solid pre-draft testing.
Clemson's other guard, Roman Frye, also had an outstanding outing. Originally considered free agent material, Fyre has positioned himself as a potential late round choice.
A pair of underrated corners on the rise are Clemson's Duane Coleman and Dejaun Tribble of Boston College. Both have played well on defense and contributed on special teams. Coleman, a former running back, has played the position for less than a year.
South Carolina multi-purpose threat Syvelle Newton had been on a tear at receiver after the Gamecocks initial two contests. NFL-scouts were hoping Newton, a prospect who possesses first day size/speed numbers, would become a bigger part of the offense. Newton may get more than he bargained for. He is now the team's starting quarterback after Blake Mitchell was suspended indefinitely.
There is a feeling in scouting circles that Florida running back DeShawn Wynn may finally be turning the corner. The very talented but inconsistent back totaled 106-yards on 22-carries during the Gators hard fought victory over Tennessee on Saturday.
While the run blocking for Florida State has not been good, much more was expected from Lorenzo Booker this season. A bit player in the Seminole offense thus far, Booker has a combined 60-yards rushing during the teams first three games.
Three highly-rated players from the Miami Hurricanes roster are watching their draft grades drop.
A knee injury ended the season of Tyrone Moss last year. Then a suspension kept him on the bench against Florida State two weeks ago. Now Moss is fighting for his share of carries and playing time. Moss sits third on the Hurricane depth-chart and is watching his draft stock slip.
Whispers around Coral Gables say talented wide out Ryan Moore may not see the field this season. Moore followed up a sensational sophomore campaign in '04 with an awful junior season last year. Originally suspended for the first two games of '06, Moore's suspension was later labeled "indefinite" by coach Larry Coker.Set to enter last April's draft, Moore retracted his professional thoughts after UM coaches told him they would not give NFL-scouts positive endorsements about his character.
Two offensive linemen from Notre Dame have watched their draft stock drop. Guard Dan Santucci was given a first day grade by one NFL scouting concern coming into the season but his play has been well below expectations. Against Michigan Santucci had difficulty all afternoon.
Same goes for tackle Ryan Harris, who was torched all day trying to protect Brady Quinn's blind side. Harris, another potential first day pick, has fallen into the late rounds as few feel he has the ability to stay at tackle in the NFL.