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2005 NFL RB Draft Class
Stock Watch through Week 6
10/8/04

Rising

Cedric Benson, Texas (4SR) - has been outstanding and the model of consistency through the first four games, rushing for over 180 yards in each game to lead D-IA with a 186.5 average per game at an incredible 7.6 ypc. He also passed Longhorn Legend Earl Campbell for second on UT's career rushing list. However, this week against Oklahoma is a crucial test. He's never had a big game against them or beaten them. His performance this week will be disproportionately weighed in his draft value. A good day against not only a team of Oklahoma's caliber, but their arch-rival that has owned Texas the last few years, is worth more than several big days versus outmatched opponents.

Ronnie Brown, Auburn (4SR) - after sitting out the game against The Citadel and missing a chance to pad his stats, he rushed for 57 yards and a TD and caught 6 receptions for 79 yards in a huge win at Tennessee. A nice complimentary performance like that, while keeping his ypc in the impressive 7.4 ypc range it is now, and demonstrating ability in the passing game give his value a boost, as scouts do not expect huge total number days from him working behind Carnell Williams.

Walter Reyes, Syracuse (5SR) - after a slow start the first two games, Reyes is returning to form. He had his first 100-yard day posting 24/117/1 in a win against Cincinnati. A tough test at Virginia followed, where he managed 84 yards in a mismatch. Then the old Reyes was back against Rutgers 10/2, where he exploded for 237 yards and 2 TDs. Back on track, he should begin regaining draft stature quickly, as some other highly-regarded seniors have fallen.

Anthony Davis, Wisconsin (5SR) - returned from an eye injury in the season-opener that cost him three games with his fifth career 200-yard day, scoring all three of Wisconsin's TDs in a win against Illinois. Granted it was against an outmatched Illini squad, but it's a good start to salvaging his season and puts him back on the radar with a tough Big Ten schedule yet to play.

Holding

Carnell Williams, Auburn (4SR) - hasn't had a 100-yard game the last three weeks, the presence of Ronnie Brown was expected to limit his ability to post huge days. Regardless, his solid efforts in huge victorys over LSU and at Tennessee that propel his team into National Championship contention add intangible value that keep him among the elite prospects.

J.J. Arrington, California (4SR) - came off a bye week with a solid 22/108/1 day in a win at Oregon State. Not the incredible performances he had the first two weeks, but good enough to maintain his status of one of the breakout seniors this year.

Falling Slightly

Kay-Jay Harris, WVU (4SR) - inconsistency and being a bit injury-prone have knocked some of the luster off his big start to the season. His huge opening day has been put in perspective a bit as all of East Carolina's opponents have also exploited the second-worst rushing defense in D-IA since. However, he bounced back from a pulled hamstring to post 32/142/1 in a big win against Maryland. A mediocre performance followed against James Madison. At VaTech on 10/2, he managed only 22 yards on 7 carries before spraining his knee on a 4th down fumble in the 1st quarter. Depending on the severity of the knee injury, his value is down a bit until he can demonstate some consistent success, stringing together a few good games.

Cedric Houston, Tennessee (4SR) - a full blown RBBC with 3JR Gerald Riggs is underway, as they have split carries nearly evenly, and alternating better outings, through four games. Recovering from a sprained ankle, Houston was more effective on less carries than Riggs in their big win over Florida, posting 9/53/0, but less effective when given more carries in their upset loss to Auburn, finishing with 15/55/0. Once again it won't be the breakout statistical season he should be able to provide, but his measurables and pedigree will spare him from falling too far, as long as he stays healthy.

Darren Sproles, Kansas State (4SR) - so far he's dominated in wins against lesser competition (513 rushing yards against Western Kentucky and UL-Lafayette) and struggled in losses against stronger competition (98 rushing yards against Fresno State and at Texas A&M). This was not his modus operandi his past two record-breaking years, where he rose to the occasion against top competition. Unless he can produce at a high level against better teams, his draft value will take a hit.

Bobby Purify, Colorado (5SR) - with over 200 yards and 4 TDs in his last two game against North Texas and at Missouri, Purify has been productive. However, injury problems returned, as he struggled to finish in the Missouri game after suffering a partially separated shoulder. It will be difficult to heal if he tries to play through it to keep a surprisingly solid start by Colorado going in his last year of eligibility. It also brings questions of his durability back into focus for scouts to be concerned about.

Lionel Gates, Louisville (4SR) - missed the win at North Carolina with a hamstring injury, opening the door for 4JR Eric Shelton to heat up. He was still limited in the East Carolina game where Shelton blew up. Now he's stuggling to get healthy to earn the touches to keep up with this stacked backfield.

Brandon Jacobs, Southern Illinois (4SR) - there's a lot of football left to play, and Jacobs' physical potential is enormous, but 2SO Arkee Whitlock remains the primary RB. Jacobs hasn't rushed for over 100 yards since the opening game, and his touches have dropped alarmingly, to only 8 in the last two games, as his role decreases. At Delaware State, he scored a TD, but was limited to only 5 carries for 16 yards in the game due to muscle tightness. In a close win over Northern Iowa, he was limited to 3 carries, playing mostly on special teams.

Falling Significantly

Lydell Ross, Ohio State (4SR) - after shredding Cincinnati for 17/141/1 in the season-opener, his performances have taken a step down each game, bottoming out with a 11/31/1 performance in an upset loss at Northwestern. Promising true freshman Antonio Pittman, who saw more work as Ross struggled, was no more impressive, finishing with 11/32/0. So, while Ross's job may be safe for now, his draft value is in a downward spiral.

David Underwood, Michigan (4SR) - missed the 9/18 San Diego State and 9/25 Iowa games due to a concussion suffered on his first carry at Notre Dame 9/11. In that time, true freshman Mike Hart has taken over the starting role, as the team has gotten back on track with three straight wins. Underwood returned at Indiana 10/2, but saw only 3 carries for 17 yards. Unless Hart gets hurt or struggles for a few games, he'll have a hard time regaining the starting job and his draft value will disappear.

Ryan Grant, Notre Dame (4SR) - missed opening loss at BYU with hamstring injury and was limited to 4 carries for 9 yards in upset over Michigan. Returned at Michigan State with 11/66/1 in victory, but was outperformed by emerging 1FR Darius Walker. Then his hamstring problems returned, causing him to miss the last two games. The only hope for him this season, if he can get healthy, is Darius Walker has returned to earth a bit the last two games, including a big fumble in their drubbing by Purdue 10/2.

Jermelle Lewis, Iowa (5SR) - after returning from a one-game suspension, he back as the starter and impressive in a win against Iowa State. A dreadful 10/14/0 day in a blowout loss at Arizona State followed, and then he did little the next week in a loss at Michigan. Against Michigan State on 10/2, he appeared to be getting back on track, when he suffered a knee injury and it's feared he again tore an ACL.

Patrick Cobbs, North Texas (4SR) - the leading ypg rusher in D-IA last year is done for the season. After struggling through a broken hand just before the season began, he left the second game early with a knee injury. Unable to return, his season is over and he will seek a medical redshirt to return for a fifth season.

Jabari Davis, Tennessee (4SR) - completely out of the picture for touches, having just two in the last two games. Other than an injury to Houston or Riggs, his best hope now is for a breakout All-Star game performance and tremendous workout, which propelled last year's Vol FB Troy Fleming back into the draft.

Marcus Houston, Colorado State (5SR) - career continues to spiral downward. Once again, he's been replaced as the starting RB. With 5SR Jimmy Green battling ankle injuries, this time it's 4JR Uldis Januarjas. He was a healthy scratch against Minnesota, not seeing any touches.

Top Underclassmen Eligible for Draft

Vernand Morency, Oklahoma State (3JR) - continues to follow in the footsteps of Tatum Bell, rolling along with at least 100-yards and a TD in each game.

Marion Barber, Minnesota (4JR) - 2SO Laurence Maroney is beginning to pull away from him just a bit, with a few more carries and better performances the last two games to start the Big Ten season, but Barber is still seventh in the nation (D-IA) with 602 rushing yards.

DeAngelo Williams, Memphis (3JR) - just missed fourth consecutive 100-yard game this year with 92 yards in a loss at UAB 9/25. Made up for it the next week with a school-record 262 yards and 4 TDs in trouncing Houston. Tied for D-IA lead with 10 rushing TDs.

Eric Shelton, Louisville (4JR) - after stuggling to find touches behind 4SR Lionel Gates and 2SO Michael Bush for the first two games, Hurricane Eric hit the Carolinas. He posted 13/86/3 in a pasting of the Tarheels at North Carolina, then had a career day the following week tying a school-record with 5 TDs, to go with 129 yards, in a demolition of East Carolina.

Ryan Moats, Louisiana Tech (3JR) - after rushing for 257 yards in each of the first two games, Moats came back to earth against some elite competition. However, his 14/81/0 effort in a shutout at Miami and 21/97/1 day in a blowout loss at Tennessee are still very respectable efforts, considering his supporting cast and the quality of the opponents. The magic returned back at home, when another ranked team, Fresno State, suffered a big upset at LaTech, led by Moats' 236 yards and 4 TDs. His stock keeps rising as he leads D-IA in total rushing yards with 928 and has three 200-yard games this season.

T.A. McClendon, North Carolina State (3JR) - returned strong after missing the season-opener, rushing for 94 yards at a 6.3 per clip in a close loss to Ohio State. Powered over 90 yards and a TD again in an upset at VaTech. Then had his best day with 30/139/2 in putting away Wake Forest.

Wali Lundy, Virginia (3JR) - leading the Cavaliers' 4-0 start, he has had a tremendous nose for the endzone, scoring rushing 3 TDs in each of his first 3 games and tied for the D-IA lead with 10.

Ciatrick Fason, Florida (3JR) - quickly eliminated RBBC with 3SO DeShawn Wynn after tremendous start, 458 yards and 5 TDs in 4 games. He brings ideal measurables and already talked about making the jump to the NFL with a big season - he's having it.

DonTrell Moore, New Mexico (4JR) - struggled at Oregon State and missed loss at Utah with a knee injury, but should be back this week at Air Force. 358 yards at 5.3 ypc, but a disappointing 1 TD on the season.

 



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