Hawaii senior quarterback Colt Brennan rolled out the first of what could be many unbelievable statistical performances last weekend against Northern Colorado.
He passed for 416 yards and six touchdowns, while completing 34 of 40 passes, including two or three drops, in the first half of a 63-6 win. Coach June Jones might have tried to call off the dogs, but at this pace Brennan will surpass 60 touchdown passes on the season to go along with roughly 5,000 yards.
He has a quick release, excellent arm strength and puts most of his balls right on the mark. Negatives are that he is somewhat slim-framed and isn’t playing in a pro-style attack. NFL teams will wonder what type of footwork he will have under center and if he can be an effective deep-ball passer at the next level.
Brennan is using his final year of eligibility to work on his leadership and intangibles. Fellow players say he is now a more vocal leader and has very good command of the huddle. He might still be seen by NFL evaluators as a product of the Hawaii system, but Jones considers him the best QB he has ever coached. There is a chance that some NFL team will try to draft Brennan and bring Jones with him as offensive coordinator.
TAKE ON BLAKE
TCU senior defensive end Tommy Blake could make his return to the team in time for this week's matchup with Texas. The spotlight might have prompted Blake, who missed the opener against Baylor, to return home or shy away from the attention prompted by his status as a possible first-round choice in next year's NFL Draft. Blake is a great kid who thinks family first. He returned to school play with his senior class and earn his degree. He has had a few rough moments over the past few months, shouldering the load of future promise, possible scenarios and being the "man" when he just wants to be one of the guys.
Remember that Blake is not just a feared pass rusher who led his team in sacks and tackles for loss. He's also a 22-year-old college senior with plenty on his plate and the desire to just exhale once in awhile without everyone wanting to catch his breath for him.
HOKIES TO BE TESTED
Virginia Tech senior linebackers Vince Hall, who led his team with 13 tackles in a 17-7 win over East Carolina, and Xavier Adibi are two key components the Hokies need to upset LSU on the road this weekend. Hall has very good instincts and plays faster than he times in workouts. He might be a step behind some of the Tigers' offensive weapons. Up front, the play of LSU senior defensive end Chris Ellis will be important as the Tigers showed some vulnerability to big plays from pass rushers off the edge in a 45-0 win over Mississippi State.
The University of Miami defensive line was as dominant as ever in a 31-3 victory over Marshall. Junior defensive end Calais Campbell made an eye-opening interception that only a handful of NFL defensive linemen could have made. His one-handed grab came after shedding a blocker at the line of scrimmage. That big play complemented strong performances by junior defensive end Eric Moncur and senior Vegas Franklin, who combined for 3.5 sacks and many more hurries from the outside. Moncur is the under-rated guy of this group. He might be as quick off the ball as any front-seven defender in the country. At 6-foot-2, 255 pounds he has a compact frame and is very hard for opposing blockers to get leverage on off the snap. Then he flashes explosive closing speed to the quarterback usually reserved for NFL Pro Bowl players. This group, along with senior linebacker Tavares Gooden and junior safety Kenny Phillips, could lead the Hurricanes to a big victory over Oklahoma this weekend.
Vanderbilt junior wide receiver Earl Bennett and senior linebacker Jonathan Goff could be the best two players on the field Saturday when the Commodores host Alabama. Vandy has more talent than usual, starting with Bennett, who will complete his SEC tenure as the holder of all or most receiving records. Goff leads a stout defense that is capable of stopping the run without crowding the box and has the speed and playmakers to create turnovers. Vanderbilt has a very friendly early schedule, and could run out to a 4-0 start if they can get past the Crimson Tide.
N.C. State senior tight end Marcus Stone, once a much-heralded quarterback recruit, was one of few bright spots in the Wolfpack's 25-23 loss to Central Florida. Stone caught three passes for 67 yards. NFL teams might view him as more of a motion tight end or H-Back since he is 6-2 and between 240-245 pounds. But he runs the 40 in the 4.6 range and has shown very good hands.
SMALL SCHOOL PATROL
Appalachian State senior offensive guard Kerry Brown might have gone unnoticed during the Mountaineers' stunning 34-32 upset victory at Michigan. But pro scouts took notice as the 6-6, 312-pound left guard recorded 21 knockdown blocks while facing off against junior defensive tackle Will Johnson and junior defensive end Tim Jamison. Brown successfully read stunts and twists all day and was never beaten by the Wolverines’ talent. He also played well against LSU a year ago. Brown has very good size, flashes a nasty streak to finish his blocks and can move well downfield. He still plays high at times on passing downs and does not show the same on-field strength as his size would suggest. Continued development in those areas could allow him to be a fifth- to seventh-round choice by next year's NFL Draft.
Delaware senior running back Omar Cuff rushed 30 times for 244 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-31 win over William & Mary. He added a seventh touchdown, tying an NCAA record for TDs and points in a game at his level, on one of his four receptions. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior is trying to regain the form that led him to gaining over 1,200 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns as a sophomore. He has averaged 4.7 yards per carry and three catches per game over his career. That could increase his value as a possible third-down back at the next level.
Grambling State senior wide receiver/return man Reginald Jackson might have earned the title of being the SWAC's Mr. September. He caught six passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-10 win over Alcorn State. His 198-yard effort in Week 1 was more yards than he gained his entire junior campaign. According to the staff, the smallish vertical threat could be in for many big afternoons since most opponents are paying extra attention to preseason All-SWAC senior wide receiver Clyde Edwards, who caught two touchdowns on three receptions.