Pac-12 Football Winners and Losers for the Month of February
While we all collectively hold our breath for the return of college football via spring practice, the sport itself hasn't completely taken a hiatus in February.
Numerous players and coaches have managed to stay in the news and grab our attention while NASCAR has started up, the NBA has started to separate the contenders from the pretenders and the NHL is in full swing.
February had its share of losers, but don't take that to mean a player is a loser—he just had a bad month.
We think everyone in college football is a winner.
Winner: Robert Woods
USC receiver Robert Woods declared early for the draft after a 2012 season that didn't produce nearly the number of receptions he should of had—it wasn't his fault, it just happened that way.
Woods was very impressive at the NFL scouting combine. It wasn't his speed (4.51 in the 40) that was impressive, it was his crisp route running and his blocking abilities that garnered so many accolades.
From Reign of Troy:
NFL Network commentators Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock raved about the showing of Woods. "He’s very impressive, Robert Woods," said Eisen as the former Trojan sprinted down the field on a seam-route drill. "Very impressive."
Winner: Datone Jones
UCLA defensive end Datone Jones already impressed onlookers with his physique at the Senior Bowl weigh-ins, but now Jones has probably locked up a first round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft as well.
From the National Football Post's Russ Lande:
[Jones] stood out athletically from nearly all the other defensive ends. His performance today proved that he has the tools, size, strength and athleticism, to be effective as both a 43 defensive end, a 34 defensive end and also as an “under-tackle” in a 43 scheme. Few players his size move with the ease he showed today, which should lock up a spot in the first round for Jones.
Loser: Stepfan Taylor
There are worse things than being way "off" in reporting a senior player's height and weight, but Stanford still got caught enhancing Stepfan Taylor's height.
On his official Stanford profile page, Taylor is listed as 5-11, 215 pounds, but at the combine he measured 5-9 1/8 and 214 pounds. Yes, stats are usually exaggerated anyway, but those numbers should have probably been more accurate in his senior year.
More bad news: Taylor ran a 4.72 and 4.78 at the combine and for a 5-9 back, that's not very impressive. More from Rotoworld:
A poor man's Vick Ballard, Taylor is short on athleticism and these times at 5-foot-9, 214 are going to hurt him. He's probably a late-round prospect.
Winner: Dion Jordan
Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan will have surgery on his shoulder in March but he still performed beautifully at the combine. From National Football Post's Russ Lande:
Despite needing surgery to repair a torn labrum, Jordan had the best workout of any linebacker today. With great length, Jordan’s flexibility and agility was remarkable. Few players so tall can change directions with such ease and are able to move and adjust so easily out in space. As many teams try to project which players can make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker, there is no doubt after today that Jordan will excel playing off the ball in the NFL. He showed the movement skills out in space to be very productive in pass coverage. As long as his surgery goes well, I am confident that Jordan will end being a top ten pick.
Loser: Levine Toilolo
Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo declared early for the draft and had the unenviable task of trying to increase his draft stock while competing against tight ends Zach Ertz, his former teammate, and Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert.
Unfortunately, things did not go well for Toilolo—he ran a 4.86 in the 40 and only did 17 reps in the bench press. Beside having to worry about Eifert and Ertz, Colorado's Nick Kasa, who ran a 4.71 and lifted 22 times, is also in the mix.
Kasa also got a lot of publicity when he was a guest of the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday. Kasa may have increased his draft stock but Toilolo probably slid down.
The month of February was a mixed bag for Trojan football. Yes, USC had an incredibly talented class of blue chippers, but let's be honest here—USC, a team restricted to 15 scholarships, couldn't even reach the magic number 15.
The class of 2013 has 12 members and that's frightening, despite the star quality in the class.
Quality is always more desirable than quantity but when you are reduced to 15 scholarships, you have to hit that number to keep your competitive edge and avoid being short-handed at certain positions.
More fodder: USC's cross town rival UCLA had a higher-ranked class (No. 9) than USC's No. 15.
Winner: Brian Schwenke
Cal center Brian Schwenke doesn't have a lot of followers on twitter but that may change soon.
I guess now that I'm Verified, I'll have to have a larger presence in the twitter world. Gotta get those followers up!— Brian Schwenke (@BrianSchwenke) February 5, 2013
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah says that Schwenke's stock is looking better after a great combine. More:
I really liked Schwenke on tape and he continued to impress with an excellent week at the Senior Bowl. On Saturday, his draft stock received another boost. Schwenke posted a great 40 time (4.99) and enjoyed a fine field workout. I could see his name being called in the early portion of the third round.
Even when Chip Kelly left for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ducks didn't take the big hit expected when signing day was over—Oregon turned in a Top 20 Class of 2013.
Duck fans can count on Oregon being one of of the teams, if not the team to beat, in the Pac-12 this fall.
UCLA Recruiting Staff
Winner: Matt Scott
Arizona quarterback Matt Scott helped his quarterback stock rise after a very impressive combine. Scott ran a 4.69 in the 40 and impressed scouts with his workout drills.
Scott looked especially comfortably in the short and intermediate passes which would work well in a West Coast offense. More from National Football Post's Russell Lande:
Scott was the most consistent QB out of the 2nd group today. While he didn’t stand out physically in terms of stature or arm strength, he threw every route with tight zip and very good accuracy. With several “big name” QBs in his group struggling with mechanics and accuracy, Scott acquitted himself well in a very tough environment.