It would appear that someone at ESPN headquarters let him out of his cryostasis chamber - how do you think he keeps his hair like that? - long enough to compile both his first list of the top 25 seniors for next year’s Big Board and his first list of the top 5 seniors and juniors by position.
Not surprisingly, no one from our Bears makes his initial Big Board, which is composed solely of seniors because at this point no one knows for certain which juniors will make themselves eligible for the draft. That’ll happen when your most notable returning seniors are Justin Forsett, Lavelle Hawkins, Robert Jordan, a bunch of offensive linemen, and Craig Stevens. Not that these are bad players by any means; most of them will get drafted. They’re just not really first-round material.
Kiper’s list of the top 5 seniors by position includes Andrew Larson at fourth among senior punters.
1. Durant Brooks, Georgia Tech
2. Geoff Price, Notre Dame
3. Ken DeBauche, Wisconsin
4. Andrew Larson, California
5. Jared Armstrong, Purdue
I’m not sure how big a deal this is, since I’ve never heard of the three players ahead of him, and only a few punters manage to stick in the NFL upon graduating anyway. Also, it’s been a continuing source of puzzlement for me at the number of special teamers that Cal manages to put in the NFL; our Bears have put one long-snapper (L.P. Ladouceur), one kicker (Ryan Longwell), and two punters (Nick Harris and David Lonie, though he’s not a regular right now) into the NFL already. I’m not sure if these numbers are terribly out of the norm, but it certainly feels that way. Maybe there’s something special in the air at California. Oh, I kill me. Then again, if there were, our kickoff coverage units should have been decent back in 2004.
Anyway, Kiper’s list of the top 5 juniors by position is where our Bears really shine.
In addition to the expected ranking of THA1 as the best junior wide receiver in the country,
our fearless leader Nate Longshore checks in as the third best junior quarterback in the country,
behind Hunter Cantwell of Louisville, and Stephen McGee of Texas A&M. Wait, the same McGee he thoroughly outplayed in the Holiday Bowl?!?
2006 CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA TD INT RATING
McGee 194 313 2295 62.0 7.33 12 2 134.94
Longshore 227 377 3021 60.2 8.01 24 13 141.63
Okay, that’s not so bad. And he does have big-time wheels (146 attempts for 666 yards) when compared to Longshore (28 for -39, although in college football, sacks count as a rushing attempt by the quarterback). And if we apply the two metrics that are regarded as most important as decribed here, completion percentage and games started, the two once again come out relatively even.
McGee 59.6% 14
Longshore 60.6% 14
So after all that, yeah, I’m ok with giving the edge to McGee based on his running ability. Well done, Kiper. And I’d like to knock Cantwell for not even being a starter, but it’s hard to do that when he’s behind Brian Brohm, the consensus top quarterback in the country.
And last but not least, Alex Mack ranks as the fourth best junior offensive lineman in the country.
1. Ryan Clady, Boise St. (OT)
2. Jared Gaither, Maryland (OT)
3. Michael Oher, Mississippi (OT)
4. Alex Mack, California (C)
5. Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma St. (OG)
I’ve never heard of any of them besides Michael Oher, and that’s only because Oher has a whole book about him. But more power to them, since it’s really quite hard to distinguish good offensive line play from mediocre offensive line play unless you’re looking for it.