Cincinnati at South Florida, 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday
This contest between Big East foes is generating a strong buzz in scouting circles due to the emergence of Bearcats quarterback Tony Pike, who has shot up draft boards after enjoying a stellar senior season. Pike has completed more than 66 percent of his passes while tossing 13 touchdowns against only three interceptions. Although his numbers are outstanding, some scouts still have reservations about his game and they will use this contest against South Florida as a barometer of his pro potential. South Florida has a secondary with two highly regarded prospects (FS
), and they will test Pike's ability to throw the ball in tight windows. Additionally, George Selvie's persistent pressure off the edge will give scouts an opportunity to see Pike's poise under duress. With the field littered with pro prospects, this intriguing battle ranks as must-see TV in the scouting community.
Oklahoma vs. Texas, 12 p.m. ET Saturday
The NFL is littered with alums from the Red River Shootout, and this year's version will serve as a showcase for more than a dozen pro hopefuls. Although the duel between
could settle the debate about which quarterback ranks as the top prospect at the position next spring, scouts will also focus on the host of other matchups between top prospects. One battle sure to draw a lot of attention is the battle in the trenches between the Sooners'
and Texas' Sergio Kindle. Williams has earned high marks for his skills as run blocker, but scouts will use his performance against the ultra-athletic Kindle to see if he has the footwork and lateral quickness to function as a franchise-caliber offensive tackle. While Kindle will garner some spotlight due to his prowess as a pass rusher, scouts will also closely study his teammate, Roderick Muckelroy, to assess his potential as an impact linebacker. On the flip side, scouts will closely scrutinize the play of the Longhorns OT Adam Ulatoski against a Sooners' front line that features two studs in
. Additionally, scouts will keep an eye on the Longhorns'
to see if the dynamic playmaker can continue to torment opponents as a receiver/returner.
Southern Cal at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday
The scouting community will pay close attention to several intriguing matchups set to take place in South Bend. The rapid development of Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen (2011) has led to speculation regarding his early entry into next spring's draft, and scouts will pay close attention to how well he performs against the Trojans' pro-style defense. Astute evaluators will check out how he well he reads coverages and how he manipulates the safeties with his eyes. With the Trojans'
roaming the middle of the field, this chess match is undoubtedly the one to watch. Another player scouts will focus on while Notre Dame has the ball is
. The highly regarded offensive tackle prospect faces a Trojans' front line that is loaded with speed, and his play against their talented defensive end rotation will help scouts assess his skills as a potential left tackle on the next level. When Southern California has the ball, the spotlight will shine directly on the Trojans'
. The former tight end turned tackle is soaring up draft boards due to his outstanding athleticism, but scouts want to see if the standout has the toughness to dominate at the point of attack as a run blocker. If he can convince the scouting community that he has a stellar overall game, he may continue to ascend into first-round consideration.
Iowa at Wisconsin, 12 p.m. ET Saturday
Scouts will pay close attention to the battle between the Badgers' Garrett Graham and the Hawkeyes' terrific linebacker tandem of
and A.J. Edds. Graham is one of the better pass-catching tight ends in the game, and his ability to effectively work over the middle of the field has scouts projecting him as an early-round selection in the draft. Given his outstanding hands and superb route-running ability, it is not surprising that many are comparing Graham to former Badgers standout
. However, Graham faces one of the better cover linebackers in Edds, and their intense battle will give evaluators a chance to get a sneak peek at a potential Sunday matchup.
Central Michigan at Western Michigan, 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday
This matchup will garner little attention on the national scene, but scouts are anxiously awaiting this MAC battle between a pair of underrated signal callers. The Chippewas' Dan LeFevour ranks as the conference's all-time leader in total offense, and is the prototypical pocket passer that scouts covet. As a strong-armed thrower with deadly accuracy, he efficiently operates out of the spread and has put up gaudy numbers throughout his career. Though scouts are still assessing whether his game translates to the pros, LeFevour can solidify his status as an early-round selection with another strong performance against Western Michigan. Tim Hiller has also generated a strong buzz in scouting circles after putting together an impressive four-year run as the
' starting quarterback. Like his counterpart, Hiller is another classic pocket passer with requisite size and ability to shine on the next level. Although his three-interception performance against Northern Illinois a few weeks ago has raised concerns about his accuracy and decision-making, Hiller can alleviate scouts' fears by performing well in this offensive shootout.