Three intriguing pro prospects from the FCS ranks had big days Saturday. Here's a closer look at the three seniors.
Sam Houston State TB Tim Flanders: Flanders (5-foot-9, 210 pounds) began his career at Kansas State but left following the 2009 season, in which he redshirted as a true freshman. After rushing for 948 yards and 13 TDs in 2010, he put up back-to-back 1,600-yard seasons in 2011 and '12, with 39 combined touchdowns. Flanders, who is from Midwest City, Okla., also is a capable receiver. He doesn't have elite speed (mid 4.5s in the 40-yard dash), but he is elusive and makes excellent use of the jump cut. He can turn the corner and is comfortable running between the tackles. Flanders had a monster game Saturday in a showdown with Eastern Washington, torching the Eagles for 280 yards and two TDs on 32 carries. He passed the 5,000-yard plateau with his performance.
Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo: Garoppolo (6-3, 222), who is from the Chicago area, had another big day in leading the Panthers past Ohio Valley opponent Eastern Kentucky; he threw for 322 yards and three TDs, with one pick. He is averaging 410.6 passing yards per game, with 23 TDs and four interceptions in five games. He has a strong arm and an incredibly quick release.
Cornell QB Jeff Mathews: If Garoppolo isn't considered the most pro-ready quarterback in the FCS ranks, it would be this guy instead. Mathews (6-4, 229), from the Los Angeles area, is a prototype dropback passer; he has a big arm, can make all the throws and would fit nicely into a vertical passing attack. His mobility is a question and his footwork isn't always consistent. He averaged 355.1 passing yards per game last season, with three 400-yard games and one 500-yard outing. In Saturday's Ivy League loss to Yale, Mathews was 25-of-43 for 336 yards and three TDs, but he also threw two interceptions. His propensity to throw interceptions is a concern; he entered this season with 50 career TD passes but also 29 interceptions.