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Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve is a syndicated football column by Frank Coyle that covers NFL and College football year round. It appears in different national publications and on web sites throughout the season and postseason each year.

Yankees Win, Yankees Win

Yankees Win 27th World Title

Photo – Yankee Hideki Matsui

The New York Yankees won their 27th world championship with a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in game six of the 2009 World Series. Veteran Hideki Matsui tied a World Series record with six RBIs, Andy Pettitte won on short rest and the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 seizing that elusive title — the most in all of sports. It marked a title in their first season at the new Yankee Stadium just as they did in their inaugural campaign in the original Yankee Stadium in 1923. It was the Yankees first world title since 2000 and their first WS appearance since 2003.
Hideki Matsui’s 6 RBI’s on his first three at-bats pushed New York to 7-1 lead, they never surrendered. With a 2-run HR, a 2-run single and a 2-run double, slugger Matsui gave the Yankees all they needed to insure their 27th championship.
Matsui won the Series MVP award for his heroics that began when he powered a quick rout of old foe Pedro Martinez. When Yankee longtime bullpen stopper Mariano Rivera got the final outs, it was celebration time in the Bronx for sports greatest team of all-time.
One season, one World Series crown — the team’s first since winning three straight titles from 1998-2000.

NFL Draft 2010 Prospects - Week 8 Performances

DraftInsiders.com and ProFootballDraftNetwork.com
will be collaborating on a weekly article posted mid week during the college football regular season to review the prior weeks most notable performances from a NFL Draft 2010 perspective.

NFL Draft 2010 Prospects - Week 8
Frank Coyle - www.draftinsiders.com
Draft Insiders’ Digest –19th Season

Jimmy Clausen - Fast Rising Prospect
Photo - QB Jimmy Clausen - Notre Dame

QB Jimmy Clausen - Notre Dame
Talented junior passer has played brilliantly often this season, showing coolness and playmaking ability in weekly pressure situations. Clausen shows fast developing skills for this demanding position. He displays the talent to make all the throws with fine accuracy and timing, in addition to going through his progressions quickly. This prospect has the package NFL head coaches look for in a top flight starting QB, though there are certainly questions related to his readiness for the pro game. He has improved his accuracy in the intermediate game and the ability to pick up secondary receivers well with few mistakes for a young prospect. Though he is having a breakout season, he needs further development in all areas of lay. He will be tempted to consider entering the NFL Draft 2010, though his overall level of development would benefit from working with HC Charlie Weis for another season.

DE Jerry Hughes – Senior - Texas Christian
Explosive edge rusher has displayed impact ability over his MWC career and had another strong effort vs BYU in a key matchup. Hughes had only 4 tackles, but it did include 1 TFL with 1 sack and 1 FF. He commanded double team blocking throughout the huge TCU win. Over this season, he has 10.5 TFL with 9 sacks and 35 tackles and has been a major difference maker for this undefeated club. He relies on a very quick first step and good hand technique to separate from blockers with the upfield speed to sack the QB. He has the frame to fill out further to be an every down pro defender at end, though he also has the mobility to also play up in the 3-4 scheme. His ability to apply pressure off the edge will earn him invites to both the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine All-star classics this postseason.

RB C.J. Spiller – Senior - Clemson
Clemson running back/kick returner set a school record for all-purpose yards with 310 yards as the Tigers defeated ACC-rival and 10th -ranked Miami, 40-37, in overtime. For the game, Spiller had 81 yards rushing (14 carries), 104 yards receiving (6 catches) and 125 kickoff return yards. He scored two TDs – a 56-yard reception and a 90-yard kickoff return. He is a versatile major playmaker with the power to run inside and the speed and quickness to be very dangerous on the perimeter or return game. His versatility to fill so many roles will earn him a high grade in this running back class. He is a difference maker as a kickoff returner.

WR Terrance Toliver – Junior - LSU
Smooth junior receiver has been instrumental in the Tigers passing offense this season. He is a fast rising highly rated prospect who flashes impact ability at times despite some erratic QB play. He combines very good size, speed, agility and hands along with a fine level of development that will make him highly valuable for the pro game. He displays a well developed skill set for the position that has allowed him to make an impact at times over this season. He could be one of the top junior playmakers in this draft class with a consistent strong finish and he decides to turn pro.

LB Jesse Smith – Senior - Iowa St
Savvy senior linebacker recorded a game-high 12 tackles (7 solo), including two TFLs, as the Cyclones upset Big 12-rival Nebraska, 9-7. Smith also forced a fumble, broke up a pass, and made one interception as Iowa St earned its 1st win in Lincoln since 1977. He is a smart undersized Mike backer who flows nicely to the ball and finishes with sure tackling. Though not considered a highly regarded prospect he has been productive in many areas that should earn him a niche in the NFL game.

Denis Krusos - Editor
Pro Football Draft Network
www.profootballdraftnetwork.com

TE Andrew Quarless, Senior, Penn State
Quarless only caught 2 passes in Penn State’s 35-10 win at Michigan, but they were for 91 yards. He displayed excellent speed on his 60-yard touchdown catch and run shortly before the 1st half. Quarless is not the typical Penn State blocking tight end that does not run particularly well. He can run and get down the field and catch the ball. Quarless is a good-sized target (6’5” and 254 lbs) and continues to work on improving his blocking. He has 23 receptions for 315 yards (13.7 per) and a touchdown in 8 games this season.

RB Noel Devine, Junior, West Virginia
The West Virginia junior running back exploded against Connecticut for 178 yards on 23 carries (7.7 per). His 56-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter helped clinch the 28-24 win over an emotional Huskies team. Devine went outside and used his terrific speed to make big plays. He possesses great balance and is tough to knock off his feet with his low center of gravity. Devine added a 13-yard reception against Connecticut and can catch the ball. He is one of college football’s most exciting players and will garner significant interest in the 2010 NFL Draft should he choose to declare early.

LB Daryl Washington, Senior, TCU
TCU remained undefeated with a resounding 38-7 victory at BYU. The Horned Frogs’ defense was too quick and fast for QB Max Hall and the BYU offense. Washington had 9 tackles and snagged an interception (his 2nd of the season). Washington’s speed fits well in TCU’s 4-2-5 defense and he has the range to cover backs and tight ends in pass coverage. He is undersized for an NFL linebacker, but packs a wallop for his size. BYU gained only 110 yards on the ground (3.0 per carry) and Hall finished 18-28 for 162 yards (5.8 per attempt) with 1 touchdown pass. Washington’s athleticism and versatility should make him an attractive special teams contributor at the next level.

LB Navorro Bowman, Junior, Penn State
Penn State’s defense dismantled Michigan in a 35-10 rout. Bowman has rounded into form after returning recently from a groin injury. He led Penn State with 11 tackles (1 tackle for loss) and also had an interception, a fumble recovery and a sack. The Wolverines were held to a season-low in yards gained (250) and points scored. Bowman plays with tremendous speed, instincts and aggressiveness. It is extremely difficult to run outside on Bowman and he does not shy away from taking on blocks. He is a do-everything linebacker with a very bright future. PFDN considers Bowman to be the Nittany Lions’ best player the past two years. Bowman is a junior, but he is expected to graduate in December. He should be a 1st round draft choice should he decide to enter the 2010 NFL Draft.

QB Tony Pike, Senior, Cincinnati
Pike did not play in the Bearcats’ 41-10 rout of Louisville. Pike had surgery (2nd straight year) on his left (non-throwing) forearm. He had a plate inserted in the same forearm last year and it was dislodged on a sack against South Florida. Zach Collaros, a sophomore, stepped right in and completed 15 passes in 17 attempts for 253 yards (14.9 yards per attempt), 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Pike is tall, but skinny and NFL teams have to be concerned about how much punishment he could take in the pocket. Cincinnati’s head coach, Brian Kelly, has done a masterful job since taking over the program in December of 2006. His offense did not miss a beat with Pike on the sideline. This will cause many to wonder how much of Pike’s success stems from Brian Kelly’s imaginative offense.

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