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25 CFB Stars We Can't Wait to See in the Combine

Alex CallosCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2013

25 CFB Stars We Can't Wait to See in the Combine

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    Now that football season is completely over, the next thing for die-hard fans to look ahead to is the NFL scouting combine.

    In all, there are 333 players invited to the scouting combine coming up at the end of February at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

    As expected, there are plenty of names fans have likely not even heard of, but others who most are very interested in seeing.

    Here are the top 25 players fans are most excited to see as the NFL combine approaches.

Honorable Mentions

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    Here are 10 players who were very close to making the list. While many of them might be first-round selections, they are not quite top 25 worthy.

    Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, offensive tackle

    Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, defensive end

    Keenan Allen, California, wide receiver

    Giovani Bernard, North Carolina, running back

    Eddie Lacy, Alabama, running back

    Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, safety

    Alex Okafor, Texas, defensive end

    Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, tight end

    Eric Reid, LSU, safety

    Alec Ogletree, Georgia, linebacker

No. 25 Walter Stewart, Cincinnati, Defensive End

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    Walter Stewart is a very interesting story because of what he has been through over the past few months.

    The fifth-year defensive end was in the midst of an excellent senior campaign for Cincinnati before suffering a fracture in his spine.

    It was then reported by CBS Sports that he would never play football again because he was born without a posterior C1 arch.

    He sat out the rest of the season and the risk of injury seemed to great to ever play again.

    A second opinion a few months later cleared him to participate in the NFL combine. Now one has to wonder what NFL team will be willing to take a risk on him.

No. 24 Tyler Wilson, Arkansas, Quarterback

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    Tyler Wilson is the first of plenty of SEC players on this list who will hear their name called during the NFL draft.

    He may not be as highly-touted as some of the other SEC stars, but he is still a very talented quarterback.

    His senior season might not have been quite what he was expecting with only 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, but he has plenty of skill to compete at the next level.

    This will be a huge chance for Wilson to raise his draft stock two months before the draft.

No. 23 Terrance Williams, Baylor, Wide Receiver

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    No receiver in the upcoming NFL draft put up bigger numbers in college last season than Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams.

    Williams finished the year with 97 receptions for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns.

    Things will be a little different at the combine, but Williams has already wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl practices and has as much talent as any wideout out there.

    Look for this guy to post some huge numbers at the combine and rise up the draft boards.

No. 22 Dee Milliner, Alabama, Cornerback

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    Dee Milliner is considered to be one of the top cornerbacks in the upcoming draft and that is no surprise considering he is coming from the Nick Saban pipeline.

    Milliner has the potential to be a top 10 selection as he possesses all of the traits to be a superstar at the next level.

    The combine will be a big deal for him as he has the potential to put up some huge numbers and possibly vault even higher up the draft boards.

    His size and athleticism will show at the combine.

No. 21 Jarvis Jones, Georgia, Linebacker

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    It has been reported by Waiting for Next Year that the draft status of Jarvis Jones is dropping since the end of the season.

    The scouting combine will be an excellent chance for Jones to showcase his talents.

    While names like Manti Te'o and Barkevious Mingo may get more publicity at the linebacker position, when it comes to a football player, Jones is second to none at the linebacker position.

    He may not put up those huge numbers, but if he does, he will vault right back up the boards.

No. 20 Mike Glennon, North Carolina State, Quarterback

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    Mike Glennon is a wild card for the NFL draft. He has the physical skills at 6'6", 232 pounds.

    He passed for 4,031 yards with 31 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. So far he has risen up the draft boards, and with a good combine, there is an outside shot that he could be the first quarterback selected come draft day in April.

    Glennon impressed at the Senior Bowl and has a chance to be an immediate starter at the next level.

No. 19 Bjoern Werner, Florida State, Defensive End

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    There are not many players in the upcoming NFL draft who can get to the quarterback quite like former Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner.

    Werner is another early-entry candidate who is a lock to be a first-round selection, and with his skill set, he could vault up the draft board with a solid performance at the scouting combine.

    There are a few teams interested in Werner, but among the favorites are the Detroit Lions and New York Jets.

    A solid combine and he could find himself a top five selection.

No. 18 Barkevious Mingo, LSU, Linebacker

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    Barkevious Mingo is a pass-rusher who can play up front from the defensive end position, but might be better suited as a linebacker at the next level.

    He did not have quite as good of a season as he was expecting, but is one of 10 early entries on the LSU roster.

    Mingo finished the year with 4.5 sacks, but at 6'5", 240 pounds, he has the size to succeed in the NFL.

    Do not look for this guy to drop out of the first round and his stock should improve after his showing at the combine.

No. 17 Ryan Nassib, Syracuse, Quarterback

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    Before the middle of the 2012 season, there was a chance that a lot of people had never heard of Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib.

    That is no longer the case as he appears to be one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

    There is interest from the Buffalo Bills as new Bills head coach Doug Marrone coached Nassib in college at Syracuse.

    The combine will be huge for Nassib. A solid showing and he could be a top 10 selection, possibly by the Buffalo Bills.

No. 16 Robert Woods, USC, Wide Receiver

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    Robert Woods has plenty of talent. There is no question about that. The combine will be a chance for him to prove that he is worthy of being a first-round selection.

    Woods formed half of the best wide receiving tandem in the country last year alongside Marqise Lee.

    He is one of the top receivers in the draft, and he still might be on the outside looking in when it comes to the first round.

    The combine is his chance to vault back up into that first round.

No. 15 Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech, Wide Receiver

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    Quinton is another player that most have not heard a lot about. He was the best wide receiver on the highest scoring offense in the country a year ago.

    Patton caught 104 passes for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those numbers came a year after going over 1,200 yards as a junior.

    The numbers might have been inflated because of the type of offense the Bulldogs had, but he has the combination of size and athleticism to sneak into the first round.

    This is a guy who could surprise some people in the coming weeks.

No. 14 Dion Jordan, Oregon, Defensive End

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    Dion Jordan is another player who is on the fringe of being a first-round selection. A solid showing at the combine will vault him into the first day.

    He is lanky at 6'6", 243 pounds and had five sacks last season.

    Jordan was a stud along the defensive line for the Ducks and can do a lot of things besides getting to the quarterback.

    He will be one of the players many NFL coaches are keeping an eye on.

No. 13 Tyler Bray, Tennessee, Quarterback

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    A lot was expected of former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray a few years ago, but he has not lived up to the hype, at least in terms of team success.

    The combine will be a chance for him to prove just how much talent he possesses.

    He certainly has all the tools, but many are projecting him to drop down the draft boards and not be as successful at the next level as many were expecting before the season began.

    The combine will be a big few days for the future of Bray.

No. 12 DeAndre Hokpins, Clemson, Wide Receiver

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    DeAndre Hopkins is another very talented wide receiver that might be just outside of the first round as it stands right now.

    Hopkins succeeded in a very talented Clemson offense in 2012, putting up huge numbers, catching 82 passes for 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns.

    He does not possess the size of a lot of other receivers, but he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.

    Hopkins will need to have a huge day at the combine to vault into the first round.

No. 11 Geno Smith, West Virginia, Quarterback

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    Right now Geno Smith is the front-runner to be the first player taken in the draft.

    He will have to prove himself at the combine to hold that top spot. There is no question that the quarterback class is not quite as talented as the 2012 group, but Smith appears to be the best of the bunch.

    Smith has unbelievable arm strength and can hit any receiver. He is also not afraid to thread the needle no matter what the situation.

10. Star Lotulelei, Utah, Defensive Tackle

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    The first name to crack the top 10 is former Utah defensive end Star Lotulelei. He is without question the best defensive tackle in the draft, and could be the second player taken overall.

    His name may not be as well known as a lot of other players in the draft, so the combine will be an excellent chance for fans to get to know a little bit about him.

    At 320 pounds, he is a space-eater in the middle who can stuff the run, but also get to the quarterback, as he posted five sacks on the season.

    His name will be heard a lot at the scouting combine.

No. 9 Landry Jones, Oklahoma, Quarterback

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    Landry Jones seemed like he spent the better part of a decade in college, but he has finally moved on to the NFL scouting combine, and his draft status might be lower than it has ever been.

    There is no doubt that he has the size and the arm to be an NFL quarterback, but he struggled in the Senior Bowl and did not have quite the final season he was expecting in Oklahoma.

    A good showing at the combine will greatly enhance his draft stock, but that is easier said than done for Jones.

No. 8 Tavon Austin, West Virginia, Wide Receiver

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    Tavon Austin seems to be the guy it is hard to root against. He is severely undersized at the wide receiver position.

    At 5'9" and 174 pounds, he might not be as durable as a lot of scouts would like, but he has showed just how talented he is at every level he played.

    Last year he caught 114 passes for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has the versatility to also be a running back at the next level, and without question is the best special teams player in the draft.

    Watch out for this guy when his number is called at the combine.

No. 7 Montee Ball, Wisconsin, Running Back

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    Montee Ball may not be a first-round selection, but who doesn't want to see what one of the greatest running backs in the history of college football can do at the combine?

    He runs as hard as anybody in the draft, and while he is a little undersized, there is no substitute for his ability to see holes and hit them quicker than most other running backs.

    Some mock drafts do have him going in the first round. If he can prove himself once again at the combine, that will likely be the case.

No. 6 EJ Manuel, Florida State, Quarterback

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    Even though former Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel wants to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, that may not be the case as the NFL draft approaches.

    Manuel will have to show what he can do at the scouting combine and has already proven himself more so than a lot of other quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl.

    Transitioning into Chip Kelly's offense is something Manuel really thinks he could do.

    While it remains to be seen whether the Eagles will take him, Manuel can showcase his talents once again at the scouting combine.

No. 5 Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee, Wide Receiver

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    Cordarrelle Patterson is a very intriguing player. He burst onto the  scene for the Tennessee Volunteers this past season, catching 46 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns.

    While those are not dynamic numbers, for a kid from junior college, they are pretty impressive as far as the SEC is concerned.

    Patterson is certainly considered a first-round talent, and he is without question one of the top five receivers in the draft.

    He may be one of those guys who vaults up the draft board with a solid combine.

No. 4 Ezekiel Ansah, BYU, Defensive End

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    Ezekiel Ansah is another player who is not as well known as some at the combine. That will all change come draft day.

    He is a raw talent who is new to the game, having started playing only three years ago. He is a freak of nature at 6'5", 270 pounds and very few players in the draft can get to the quarterback quite like him.

    Ansah is a native of Ghana, and while he still has a lot to learn, the potential is unlimited.

    There might not be a player in the draft with more room to grow and more of an upside than Ansah.

    He may post some outstanding numbers during the combine as well.

No. 3 Matt Barkley, USC, Quarterback

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    Matt Barkley would have almost certainly been a top 10 pick had he come out after his junior year in 2012, but now it looks like he might be fighting for his life just to get into the first round.

    He was the preseason favorite to take home the Heisman trophy, and while he did not have a bad year, he did not come anywhere close to expectations.

    Barkley still has a big arm and a ton of talent. He has a shot with a good combine to jump into the top 10, but a bad showing could have him somewhere down in the second round.

    The entire football world will be watching to see what Barkley can do.

No. 2 Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, Cornerback

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    At this point, it is really hard to tell where Tyrann Mathieu will go in the NFL draft. There is no question that he is very talented, but throw in his limited size and the off-the-field troubles he has had over the past year and he is a very risk pick.

    Some NFL teams love to take risks like that and would take a flyer on Mathieu later on.

    We all know how explosive he is with the ball in his hands, so he could likely help immediately on special teams.

    The talent is there, and with a good combine, who knows just how high Mathieu would climb.

No. 1 Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, Linebacker

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    Without question the man who will have all eyes on him is former Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman trophy runner-up Manti Te'o,

    With what has happened over the past month to Te'o, it is hard to imagine that will not be a topic of conversation throughout the combine.

    He is a very talented player, but with what happened off the field, his draft stock is certainly going to drop a little bit.

    Te'o once looked like a top 10 talent, but now needs a solid combine to remain in the first round.

     

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