College football preseason 2017 top 25: 20-16

The anticipation is growing for football. It starts this month and fans are excited to see what happens this season after a thrilling finish to the 2016 season. College football preseason polls have no impact on what happens during the season, but it is fun to speculate as to which teams will be doing well in the upcoming season.

This is the second edition of the preseason rankings. The first installment is here.

20. Texas Longhorns

College Football top 25

Shane Buechele (Photo by hookem.com)

Charlie Strong is out and Tom Herman is in. Herman will try to restore the Longhorns to glory after raising Houston’s program to new heights the last two seasons. Last season Texas won five games and returns 17 starters on offense and defense. With Herman and the players coming back, the Longhorns are supposed to take a step forward this season.

Shane Buechele showed flashes as a freshman of being the next great Texas quarterback, and will also be expected to step his game up this season. Eight of his 10 top receivers from last year return with the 6’6″ Collin Johnson being a dynamic player. He will burst onto the college football scene in 2017.

The offensive line returns a lot of returning experience. Connor Williams is a junior left tackle that has been starting since he was a freshman. He will likely be a first round draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The powerful Chris Warren III will take over full time as running back after averaging 6.3 yards per carry in his first two years as a Longhorn. The offense will be high-powered once again, especially with Herman’s blueprint.

Defensively, Texas has been disappointing in the Charlie Strong era. They do return a lot of talent, especially at the linebacker position, where three starters return. They are led by Malik Jefferson, who is extremely talented and one of the best linebackers in the country. In front of Jefferson, three defensive linemen return, with tackle Poona Ford being the most notable.

The secondary hasn’t been producing the NFL talent that they used to and it will likely be a problem for them again. They have four returning starters, but they allowed 258.5 yards per game, so improvements need to be made.

Texas has a decently tough schedule that features non-conference games against Maryland and USC. Games in conference against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and West Virginia could also give them trouble. They will lose to USC and drop two to three other games in the tough conference stretch. The Longhorns are staring a 8-4 record if they win the games they are capable of.

19. Miami Hurricanes

College football top 25

Mark Walton (Photo by: miamiherald.com)

If Brad Kaaya had come back for one more season, Hurricane fans would be off the wall with excitement. They still have a solid team heading into Mark Richt’s second year. Miami was able to finish 9-4 in 2016 capped off with a win in the Russell Athletic Bowl against West Virginia. They have 14 returning starters that should help them compete for an ACC Coastal Division title.

Malik Rosier will likely take over the offense this season after having limited experience the last two seasons. He is a dual-threat quarterback. If he struggles freshman N’Kosi Perry is the only other viable option to play. If they can find a quarterback, this team can be successful. Ahmmon Richards is the best returning play-maker at wide receiver and should break out this season, as the rest of the receivers are unproven.

At running back Mark Walton ran for 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns last year, but will likely get more touches this season. He will need to take pressure off of the new quarterback. The offensive line returns four starters and should be able to protect the quarterbacks and clear holes for Walton.

The front seven of this team is going to be really good and they are going to need to be for the Hurricanes to be successful. They return all starters on last year’s front seven. Sophomores Joe Jackson and Shaquille Quarterman are players to watch, as Jackson has the most sacks of a returning player, while Quarterman has the most tackles returning.

The secondary is very inexperienced and will need to find guys who can make a difference. Miami had the 18th best scoring defense in 2016, but it will be hard to live up to that with such an inexperienced defensive backfield.

Games in the non-conference schedule aren’t too hard, but they do have a rematch with Notre Dame. Their tougher games in conference are: at Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and at Pittsburgh. Richt should be able to guide this team to at least an 8-4 record with good quarterback play.

18. South Florida Bulls

college football top 25

Quinton Flowers (Photo by orlandosentinel.com)

Charlie Strong goes to a team that will win more games than Texas, but in a worse conference. USF only lost two games last season and ended up beating South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl. With 16 returning starters, the Bulls are looking to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

Quinton Flowers helped lead USF  to the fourth highest scoring offense in the country with his dual-threat abilities. He accounted for over 4,000 yards of offense and is the leading returning passer and rusher. His partner in crime in the backfield, Marlon Mack, has moved on to the NFL, but D’Ernest Johnson brings some experience at running back and is a pass catching threat out of the backfield.

Johnson is the leading returning receiver, but Marquez Valdez-Scantling will be asked to do a lot more this season. He is a big target at 6’5″ and will need to use his height to create separation. The Bulls return three starters on the offensive line and should have a good unit that allows the offense to thrive once again.

The Bulls return their leading tackler from last year, Auggie Sanchez, who has made 37 career starts already. He will man the middle of the defense at the linebacker position. All of the defensive lineman are returning starters and should help free up Sanchez to get to the ball.

Deatrick Nichols leads an experienced secondary and may have a chance to play in the NFL. The problem is that they give up way too many yards through the air and will need Strong to fix it. He couldn’t fix the defense at Texas, but he does have a lot of returning players to work with at USF.

USF is actually favored in all of their games. They will have tough games against Temple and Houston, but should be able to manage wins. The Bulls will at the very least go 10-2 and win the AAC East, but will likely do better than that. Don’t hold your breath for a College Football Playoff Berth if they go undefeated, because their schedule is really bad. They will be able to get the “Group of Five” bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

17. Stanford Cardinal

College football top 25

Harrison Phillips (Photo by scout.com)

Two first round picks are gone in Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey, but the Cardinal will be good once again. In 2016 Stanford went 10-3 and beat North Carolina in the Sun Bowl in dramatic fashion. David Shaw has 14 returning starters who are ready to get back to the top of the Pac-12 North.

The quarterback situation is the first thing that needs to be figured out. Keller Chryst was successful last year, but hurt his knee in the bowl game. If he is healthy he should be the starter. If not the job goes to Ryan Burns, who started the 2016 season as the signal-caller for Stanford, or K.J. Costello, a talented newcomer.

Bryce Love will fill the shoes of McCaffrey and be explosive. He is back after averaging a whopping 7.2 yards per rush in his first two seasons. Trenton Irwin and Dalton Schultz are the most experienced pass-catchers returning, but they don’t have the greatest production yet. With four returning starters on the offensive line and a good running back, the Cardinal will look to pound the rock once again in 2017.

Two out of three defensive linemen are returning starters and Harrison Phillips will have to raise his level of productivity from his tackle position. The Cardinal have a lot of experience back at linebacker which should help the scoring defense that ranked 18th last year be very good again.

In the secondary two starters are back. Quenton Meeks is a talented corner and Justin Reid is the leading tackler on the team from his safety position.

The non-conference slate includes games against Rice, San Diego State and Notre Dame, all of which they should be favored in. Their tough games in conference include games with USC, Utath, Oregon, Washington State and Washington. With the amount of talent coming back Stanford bottoms out with an 8-4 record, but could win as many as 10 games.

16. Michigan Wolverines

college football top 25

Mason Cole (Photo by mwolverine.com)

Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting will be put to the test this season as the team returns five starters in total. Their talented team last season finished 10-3 with a loss in the Orange Bowl to Florida State to finish off the season. There might be some growing pains with this Wolverine team, but they do have talent.

Wilton Speight returns at quarterback, but hasn’t played particularly well. Last season he threw for 2,538 yards and 18 touchdowns, but with only four other returning starters he will be expected to do more. His targets won’t have a lot of experience, but Eddie McDoom returns some experience running sweeps. Donovan Peoples-Jones is an extremely talented freshman, who will likely have to play a lot early in his career.

Two starters return on the offensive line, which includes Mason Cole, who uniquely can play either center or left tackle. They ranked 33rd in the country in rushing last season, but De’Veon Smith has graduated and now Chris Evans and Ty Isaac will both get shots to carry the football for Michigan.

The defense is what takes a huge hit, as they return just one starter. Mike McCray plays linebacker and has the only starting experience worth noting. The defensive line has talent, including former number one overall recruit Rashan Gary.

The secondary was great last season, which helped the Wolverines be the best defense against the pass, but now new players will be called upon. David Long is a talented corner and likely the best of the bunch. Defensive coordinator Dom Brown, a.k.a Dr. Blitz, has his work cut out for him.

Michigan has eight games that they should win this season. Their matchups with Florida, Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State will be tough challenges. With a floor of eight wins and the possibility to win one or two of their tougher games, Michigan will be among the top 25 teams in the country again in 2017.

 

Featured image by finebaumfan.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Branden Jackson’s winding journey to the NFL

Branden Jackson may be a defensive end for the Oakland Raiders now, but only because he wanted a free car in high school.

Well, maybe the free car his mom promised him is only part of why he’s now earning a living playing professional football, but it’s funny how things work sometimes.

It’s safe to say teenage Branden Jackson didn’t see himself being an NFL player down the road.

“In high school, it never crossed my mind,” Jackson said in an interview with The Game Haus. “I just wanted to get a free car.”

Jackson was promised a free car if he made it to college and got a free ride while doing it. That was the conception of Jackson’s motivation to being a football player.

In his family, football wasn’t the token sport. His family was known for being more successful on the basketball front.

College Teams Come Calling

When college programs began showing more interest in Jackson for his decorated young football career than his basketball talents, he figured it might be time to shift his time from the hardwood to the gridiron.

When offers from Texas Tech, Michigan State and 14 other Division I offers came in, Jackson knew playing big time college football was within his reach. However, an NFL career didn’t cross the four-star recruit’s mind.

Branden Jackson NFL

Branden Jackson was a standout for Texas Tech. (Photo: Mark Rogers/AJ Media)

Jackson committed to Texas Tech as a defensive hybrid with experience on the defensive line and at linebacker. Jackson also saw time at tight end in high school.

In Jackson’s redshirt-sophomore season, he had a breakout game on one of his biggest stages. Jackson said the game, the Holiday Bowl against Arizona State, was a springboard for the rest of his career.

“I had a good season and it was probably like my breakout game” Jackson said. “It was kinda what turned heads and jumpstarted the rest of my career.”

Jackson didn’t just put his name on the map for NFL scouts in the game. He also made his case to turn into the team’s best deep-threat.

Arizona State called a read option, and the exchange was fumbled. After making an attempt for the ball and missing, Jackson found himself way behind.

“I retrace and end up catching him about 20 or 30 yards down the field,” Jackson said. “I had ran past our starting safety and our starting corner. I tackled him and it kinda just showed how fast I am.”

Jackson didn’t let his impressive acceleration go unnoticed. The defensive hybrid pleaded with his coaches to give him some time on offense after the game.

“I kept telling my coach red zone is my game,” Jackson said. “I did it in high school. Put me in at tight end or receiver and in the red zone I guarantee a jump ball. You can throw it underhand if you want to, and I’ll go get it.”

That game caused Jackson to fall in love with the sport. He said that was when his visions of playing at the highest level first came.

Branden Jackson’s Draft Experience

Jackson’s dreams had to be put on hold after he was left untouched in the 2016 NFL Draft. Jackson was expecting to be taken around the sixth round.

Branden Jackson NFL

Branden Jackson was promoted to the active roster late in the season.(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

“When it didn’t come, I thought everyone doesn’t get drafted, that’s not my goal,” Jackson said. “I thought I would get a guaranteed priority free agent deal.”

Jackson received calls from multiple teams asking him to try out. He turned down five or six teams before reluctantly accepting gigs from Seattle and Oakland.

Although he was cut from the active roster during the preseason, Oakland struck a deal with the former Red Raider to join the practice squad.

Jackson remained on the practice squad for most of the season. Being on the opposite side of the country from his mother became emotionally taxing. The practice squad player continued to plug away with the Raiders and decided to fly his mother out to Oakland late in the year.

During that same week, Jackson got promoted to the 53-man active roster.

Branden Jackson on the Raiders’ Season

Oakland took the NFL by storm last season. A perennially underwhelming franchise since 2002, the Raiders found the NFL Playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons.

The team had an elite quarterback, suitable offensive weapons, a good line and a solid defense across the board. Oakland finished 12-4, but lost Derek Carr for the rest of the season due to a broken leg in week 16.

Carr had dislocated his thumb earlier in the year, giving all of Raider Nation a scare. Carr sprinted into the locker room, got his thumb back to “normal” and entered the game quickly. Jackson and his teammates expected Carr’s leg injury to be small like that.

Jackson said he expected an inspiring speech in the locker room after the game from Carr. Instead, the team learned Carr’s fate.

Oakland entered the playoffs with a backup quarterback who was far from Carr’s caliber.

The Raiders lost an underwhelming game to the Houston Texans, a team that was known by many as the worst team in the playoffs.

Even so, Jackson considered the season to be a success, saying they won more games than most teams in the NFL.

The Move to Las Vegas

Branden Jackson

The Raiders’ proposed new stadium should bring many faces to Vegas.(Photo: Manica Architecture)

The Oakland Raiders franchise announced it would move to Las Vegas on March 27. Although Raiders fans in and around Oakland were baffled and enraged, Jackson doesn’t think the move is a big deal.

“I really didn’t put too much thought into it because Raider Nation is Raider Nation,” Jackson said. “When we go to Vegas, the fans will still be crazy.”

Jackson pointed to the true loyalty of Raider fans multiple times during the interview. Even though he’s been with the club for one year, he’s already felt the love Raider Nation has for its people. That said, he expects fans to continue to be tenacious with their support.

“It would be un-Raider like for our fans to not be the way they’ve always been,” Jackson said.

So, what’s with jackson’s car situation?

Because Jackson earned a free ride to Texas Tech, his mother followed through on her promise. Jackson received a Caprice Classic for about $1,500. He loved the car until death did them part.

“I drove it literally until it blew up,” Jackson said.

When Jackson became a starter at Texas Tech, his father gifted him a 1972 Lincoln Continental. Jackson continues to drive that car to this day.

Of course, Jackson’s love for the game has replaced his desire for material gifts to continue playing football. However, The Game Haus will keep you updated on any changes with his car driving status.

Oh, and we’ll update you on his football playing days as well.

Branden Jackson Scouting Report

Branden Jackson has good size at 6-foot-4, 268 pounds. He played as a 3-4 defensive end at Texas Tech, but now plays as a 4-3 defensive end for the Oakland Raiders. His versatility is a major asset.

He has good strength that he uses to shed blockers and get to ball carriers. For a defensive end, which is a position mostly reserved for good pass rushers, he is good against the run. His good gap discipline helps him be effective against the run and he can even take on double teams from opposing blockers.

His strength is his main asset when rushing the passer too, as he fends off blockers. Against scrambling quarterbacks, he is good at containing them in the pocket.

 

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tim and Joe!

Cleveland Browns 2017 NFL Draft Profile

Welcome to the first day and piece of this years TGH Draftmas! A merry time where we will be breaking down the draft profiles for every team for the next 32 days until draft day! So buckle up because we are starting with a fun one in the Cleveland Browns!

Summary

In case you were living under a rock, let me shock you by saying the Browns went 1-15 last year. Hue Jackson is a good coach that has been given a team that needs a lot of work. One can only hope that he will be able to stick around long enough to see his project all the way through to the end. The Browns have trade away many players and traded for (Brock Osweiler) draft picks in order to stock pile them to try and get the best values they can from young players. They are doing what teams like the 76ers and Cubs have done most recently in the NBA and MLB respectively.

For the first time in many years the Browns have been very active in trying to grab Free Agents that they value. This includes Kenny Britt, Kevin Zietler, JC Tretter and more. These are major improvements for a team that has struggled for a long time, but they are starting in the right spots. Grabbing a deep threat in Britt was much needed with the departure of last years biggest surprise in Terrelle Pryor. Also building in the trenches at guard and center with Zietler and Tretter are the start to what should be a solid line for the Browns.

Alas, their biggest problem is they have no one to captain the ship at Quarterback. While Cody Kessler showed flashes many do not believe he is a franchise Quarterback. They also trade for Brock Osweiler. The rumor has been that they are trying to flip him, I honestly do not know if he has even flown up to Cleveland yet or ever plans to.

The defense also has seen improvements in their recent draft picks. Danny Shelton, Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib were all nice pieces added in recent years. Also do not forget about Jamie Collins. Joe Hayden is slowing down but is still solid.

Picks and Needs

Next we will look into the 11 draft picks the Browns have stock piled.

First round: (2) No. 1, No. 12

Second round: (2) No. 33, No. 52

Third round: (1) No. 65

Fourth round: (1) No. 108.

Fifth round: (3) No. 145, No. 175 No. 181

Sixth round: (2) No. 185, No. 188

Seventh round: No picks.

As one can see, they have a lot of picks in the first 5 rounds, 8 to be exact. This is generally a good sign for rebuilding teams, IF, they are able to hit on their picks.

In my opinion there are many needs for the team overall but, definitely less than last year. I will start with the Offense.

I see the major needs in no particular order as:

Quarterback

Wide Receiver (Preferably one with great hands)

Tackle

Tight End

Now on to the Defense:

Edge Rusher at Defensive End or Linebacker

Linebackers in General (Specifically Outside)

Cornerback

Both Safety Positions 

Targets and Thoughts

I will pick who I believe the Browns will be targeting in their first three rounds. This will be without trades since they are so unpredictable although, I will say that I think the Browns trade the first overall pick.

First Round:

Pick #1: Myles Garrett DE, Texas A&M

Myles Garrett (Photo courtesy: 12thman.com)

If they do make this pick I believe it will be Garrett along with basically everyone else. Do you really need me to go into why? Everyone else has so I will spare you.

Pick #12: Marshon Lattimore CB, Ohio State

While I do think they will end up picking a Quarterback in the real draft, I personally would pick Lattimore if he’s still available. He is an explosive athlete and in a passing league I believe the Browns need to target DB’s early and often in this draft. I also am not a huge fan of this Quarterback class and believe that the Browns are much more than a Quarterback away from contending.

Second Round:

Pick #33: JuJu Smith-Schuster WR, USC

While Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman are great options they can be a little inconsistent. Terrelle Pryor was a major contributor to the team last year due to his size and play-making ability. JuJu is a similar player. He will body up smaller DBs and make them work to make a play on the ball. He may not be the flashiest pick but, at 33 I think hes the best WR still available.

Pick #52: Josh Jones SS, NC State

Safety was another position the Browns got little production out of last season. They need an upgrade and Jones should be a solid answer for that. He is a tough kid with great closing speed and can tackle well in the open field.

Third Round:

Pick #65: Brad Kaaya QB, Miami (FL)

Yes, I am finally addressing the elephant in the room. Again I am not a huge fan of any of the Quarterbacks in this class mostly due to their draft value. I do not believe any of them can start day one. I believe this is true of Kaaya but, Kessler will need a back up and at this point I think Kaaya might be worth it. He has the arm and is the all-time passing leader at a storied program like Miami. He has things to work on but, if given time (which the Browns have) I believe he could develop into something special.

Conclusion

The Browns have an opportunity to really have an incredible draft. This is one that they can pass on the Quarterbacks and get great value in their first two rounds of picks. I believe that this team is on the up and drafting for the best talent at positions they desperately need it at is the smartest decision.

Thank you for joining us on our first day of Draftmas! Please make sure to check back tomorrow for our look at the San Francisco 49ers!

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2017 NFL Draft Profile: Terrish Webb

Terrish Webb is one of the most experienced players that look to hear their name called in this year’s NFL Draft. The free safety from Pitt played in 45 games in his college career, including all 13 games the Panthers played in his freshman season.

Four years ago, many expected Webb to have success in college on the other side of the ball. Webb played both wide receiver and defensive back in high school, and was listed as a three-star wide receiver in the class of 2013 in 247 Sports’ recruiting database.

One of Webb’s coaches at Pitt suggested the switch to safety, and it’s paid off for Webb.

“It was kind of a switch up, being an offensive type of guy,” Webb said. “Once I got down to the basics I just ran with it.”

Terrish Webb

Photo: CardiacHill.com

While talking about Webb in high school, it’s impossible not to mention his team’s unprecedented success.

Webb was instrumental in helping Clairton High School win 63 straight games, and Webb’s season never ended with a loss. That’s right, Clairton High School won a state championship in all four of Webb’s seasons.

Webb also played in a state championship game with his basketball team in his senior year.

As an all-state athlete, it seems as though his high school career foreshadowed what was to come. All that winning didn’t end when Webb arrived on Pitt’s campus.

Webb and the Panthers handed national champion Clemson its only loss of the season. Pitt upset Clemson, 43-42, and Webb had nine tackles.

As Webb makes his next step, hoping to land on an NFL roster, he knows there’s still work to be done as he prepares for his Pro Day.

“Becoming a little stronger because I’m moving to the next level, so guys are bigger, faster, stronger,” Webb said. “Working on my technique and trying to take less steps as I’m breaking.”

Webb’s strongest suit is his ability to help a team in multiple ways. Webb was asked to do a lot at Pitt, and he answered the bell with vigor.

If an NFL scout walked through Webb’s door tomorrow, Webb is confident that he’d be able to sell himself.

“I would tell him that you’re getting a very smart football player,” Webb said. “I would be able to play special teams and I’m versatile as a defensive back. I can play pretty much anywhere as a defensive back.”

Webb may not be the Malik Hooker of the 2017 NFL Draft class, but he brings a winning charisma and the talent and smarts to contribute in many different facets.

Terrish Webb Scouting Report

Terrish Webb (Photo courtesy: twitter.com)

Webb’s size is adequate (5-foot-11-inches, 195 pounds) for the NFL level and shouldn’t hold him back whatsoever. NFL teams will love the fact that he was in on a lot of snaps for Pitt.

Webb diagnoses plays and route concepts very well. He also trusts his eyes. When he sees something he recognizes, he goes to make a play. Webb has good discipline and isn’t fooled by trick plays or play action passes.

The best trait for Webb is that he doesn’t give up any big plays on deep throws down the middle of his field or on running plays. He won’t let receivers behind him down the middle of the field. On running plays, he gets in good position and makes the play.

He isn’t the hardest hitter, but Webb is a sure tackler who can also break up passing plays by hitting the receivers as soon as they touch the football.

In order for Webb to be successful in the NFL, he will have to cover well one on one and provide good run support. He will likely need to be able to do well on special teams in order to get playing time at the NFL level.

 

You can listen to Tim Miller interview Terrish Webb in its entirety below.

 

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tim and Joe!

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Jordan Bowman

The College Gridiron Showcase shows off the top college football players from across the NCAA in a five-day camp. The camp is selective and prestigious, and gives under the radar prospects a chance to shine for over 100 professional scouts to see. Former California of Pennsylvania University star Jordan Bowman was one of the players invited to the showcase, and Bowman had a chance to talk with NFL scouts about his game.

The feedback he got was both positive and constructive.

“I need to work on my hip mobility,” Bowman said. “Some people think I have tight hips and I can’t flip them as fluently as I should be able to. I also got feedback that I’m a smart football player with pretty good instincts and ball skills.”

Bowman was an All-American for one of Division II’s finest football programs. Bowman piled multiple awards over his four years with the team, including multiple all-region and all-conference awards.

The strong safety is one of the best all-around players that you’ve probably never heard of. Bowman has size, speed, intangibles and a great personality, all of which can makeup a future NFL performer.

Jordan Bowman

Photo: Mon Valley Independent

The fact that Bowman comes from what could be called the Ohio State of Division II in terms of NFL production helps his cause. With several former Cal players in the NFL right now, Bowman thinks scouts need to give high consideration to players coming out of the program.

“I definitely think they should because we have six guys in the league right now,” Bowman said. “We were also very good this year and have a lot of big names in our class. I feel as though a lot of scouts are definitely gonna be on the lookout for us and Cal teams to come.”

Cal has bred Bowman into a solid football player, and the strong safety puts in plenty of work off the field to become the player he is.

“I take pride in my football IQ and my preparation,” Bowman said. “Watching film, hours of it each week, looking at QB tendencies, favorite route concepts, receiver giveaways and being all over the field.”

Bowman’s talent isn’t just in his head. Bowman scored a touchdown in all four seasons at Cal and totaled 170 career tackles.

“I bring consistency, I bring leadership, I bring all traits of a safety,” Bowman said. “I can tackle, I can run, I can cover, and I stay out of trouble.”

Bowman, although gifted, will see a huge talent disparity as he transitions from playing Division II college football to playing with the greatest football players on the planet in the NFL. Bowman is solid in the box, playing man and dropping back in coverage, but doing those things in the NFL is no easy task.

The NFL prospect understands how different the NFL is. Athletes that play in the league are physically gifted like no one else.

“I think the biggest thing is gonna be the size and speed,” Bowman said. “Playing against Julio Jones who is 6-4, 220 and runs a sub 4-40, those guys are freaks that you don’t normally see.”

Even with a bright future playing football, any athlete’s playing days are numbered. Luckily for Bowman, he’s smart in areas that aren’t just football.

Bowman majored in business administration at Cal. The major is broad and many aren’t sure what to do with a business degree.

Bowman isn’t one of those people. Just like Bowman stands out on the football field, he wants to stand out in business.

“I want to be an entrepreneur and create my own path,” Bowman said. “I don’t wanna just be a guy in a company, come to work 9-5 every day. I’d rather open my own shop or franchise.”

Jordan Bowman was one of the best players in one of the best programs in college football during his time at Cal. Bowman has the potential and tools to bring that success to the NFL.

His playing days are numbered, just like anyone else’s. However, luckily for Bowman, he has a plan, whether he’s on the field or off.

Jordan Bowman Scouting Report

His height and weight (6 feet, 208 pounds) are good enough for the NFL level and he has great football IQ, demonstrating his attention to detail in the film room. He is able to be positioned near the line of scrimmage like Troy Polamalu, or cover deep.

Jordan Bowman (Photo courtesy: nfldraftonline.com)

Once the ball is snapped, Bowman starts reading the quarterback’s eyes and diagnosing the play, both of which he does well. When the ball is thrown he jumps the route and makes plays. He is solid at both man to man and zone coverage. Bowman displays the ability to be in the right place at the right time, something that is key for safeties.

He is capable in run support and demonstrates his tackling ability. Bowman isn’t used as a blitzer often, but when he is, he takes down the ball carrier or quarterback often.

Some concerns with Bowman will be his speed and his ability to cover NFL-level talent.

Teams will love Bowman’s ability to play special teams and that is how he will be able to make an immediate impact on an NFL team. He will be fighting to make an NFL roster so excelling at special teams needs to be his competitive advantage over other players vying to make the team.

You can view Jordan Bowman’s highlights here.

You can listen to Tim Miller interview Jordan Bowman in its entirety below.

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tim and Joe!

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Aaron Terry

Football players are just dumb jocks, or so they say. However, that’s not the case for two-time All-American Aaron Terry.

Terry played for Division II powerhouse California University of Pennsylvania and garnered multiple impressive national and regional awards. All the while, Terry found his way onto the dean’s list multiple times and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May.

If that’s not remarkable enough, Terry intends to pursue a master’s in business as he pursues an NFL career. Later on, Terry sees himself working for Homeland Security.

Terry was an electric punt returner and ball-hawking defensive back, and he expects to bring those traits with him to the NFL.

The 5-foot-11-inch standout can play anywhere in the defensive backfield, and his versatility gives him a shot at making an NFL roster.

“I’m able to play more than one position on the field,” Terry said. “I’m very good at special teams as well. You’re able to do more things with me.”

Aaron Terry

Photo: California University of Pennsylvania Athletics

His encounters at Cal are some that he values emphatically.

“My experience has just been one of a kind,” Terry said. “It’s definitely not something that I would trade in for any other school.”

“In high school, I never won a championship and then I get to Cal and I win a championship and I’m on the winning team. It was a great atmosphere. I love the team and I would never trade it in.”

Terry may want to thank his parents for his athletic ability. His mother was an all-state pitcher in high school and his father was a “very well-known” basketball player in Virginia.

While on the field, Terry amassed 13 interceptions and 175 total tackles. The three-time all-conference player also added one punt return for a touchdown in his career.

Terry averaged 13.2 yards per return as a punt returner and he credits his high football IQ to his success.

“The most important thing about punt return is being smart back there and not being scared,” Terry said. “I’m very smart and I understand what decisions to make and what not to make.”

Terry is working on every little thing to gain an edge. He is training in Pittsburgh while finishing his degree at Cal. Terry does weight training and combine drills and is never content with his talent level.

“You’re never as good as you want to be and I’m never satisfied,” Terry said. “I’m just making sure I perfect my craft. There’s always more room for improvement and I’m really a strong believer in that.”

Terry credits his eyes and instincts to his incredible play in zone coverage. Those smarts are helping him become a darkhorse candidate to become a great player at the next level.

Those same smarts will propel Terry to a successful career. Whether it be in football or criminal justice, Aaron Terry has the work ethic and intelligence to make a splash in whatever he does.

Aaron Terry Scouting Report

Terry has adequate size for an NFL defensive back at a touch under 6 feet and 200 pounds. He is usually in good position pre-snap, but sometimes gives a lot of cushion to receivers. That is something that can be fixed easily for the next level.

Aaron Terry

Aaron Terry (Photo courtesy: lockerroomupdate.com)

He is above average in man-to-man coverage, but is a great zone defender. The main quality that makes his zone coverage great is his ability to recognize where the receivers are and where they will be. He gets himself in the right position to make the play.

On broken plays, Terry shows good discipline by staying with his man or shutting down his zone. This gives the pass rushers more time to make a play.

As with many players at the Division II level, Terry will be questioned on whether he can cover NFL-level talent if asked to play man-to-man.

Like his teammate, Jordan Bowman, Terry offers the ability to play special teams and is a good punt returner. He has good hands and uses his excellent vision to find holes in the return game and breaks big plays. He has a career punt return average of 13.2 yards per return.

You can view Aaron Terry’s Highlights here.

You can listen to Tim Miller interview Aaron Terry in its entirety below.

 

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tim and Joe!

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tyler Peerson

Tyler Peerson never missed a game in his time with California University of Pennsylvania. Tyler Peerson also started every single game with Cal, which is one of Division II football’s most accomplished programs.

That’s 44 games started, in 44 possible games. Tyler Peerson is durable. Tyler Peerson also was a first team All-American his senior season.

It’s safe to say Peerson is as consistent as they come. But playing a bunch of games played won’t impress NFL scouts. Scouts want to see talent. Luckily for Peerson has the talent.

“My hand placement is always on point,” Peerson said. “That’s something I’ve been able to acquire through wrestling in high school.”

Hand placement is one of the most important aspects of an offensive lineman’s repertoire. You’ve got to be able to move large men around and displace their movements.

“Not only the hand placement, but finishing blocks, blocking to the whistle,” Peerson said. “Just really opening up those holes for the backs or giving the quarterback the most time.”

Cal has sent multiple players to the NFL, which is already impressive for a Division II program. What’s more, C.J. Goodwin, who played in Super Bowl LI for the Atlanta Falcons, graduated from Cal.

Tyler Peerson (Photo courtesy: nfldraftdiamonds.com)

Peerson’s teammates, Jordan Bowman and Aaron Terry, are also in line to make an NFL squad.

It’s safe to say Peerson has a pedigree of talent and winning flowing through his veins after four years at Cal.

“Cal of PA has been great for me,” Peerson said. “This past season has been awesome because for the most part we were just blowing teams out which was a lot of fun.”

Other than Cal’s three-point win over IUP, the closest regular season game was a 35-14 beatdown of Gannon (PA). Cal scored 48 points or more in seven of its ten regular season games, thanks in no small part to Peerson.

The team averaged 49.6 points per game, good for first in the entire NCAA Division II.

Although there weren’t too many close calls in Peerson’s career, he relished the opportunity to play in tight games.

“The ones I always enjoy are the ones that are nail biters and they just come down to the wire,” Peerson said. “Those are the ones I enjoy the most, win or lose.”

As Peerson trains for his Pro Day, he’s working to becoming a more well-rounded, versatile player. He said he wants to be able to serve a team anywhere on the line and improve any team he’s on.

With solid size and mobility, Peerson has a great shot to help serve an NFL team. His durability is unmatched, and he’s been a one-of-a-kind player during his time at Cal.

Tyler Peerson Scouting Report

Peerson has good size for a guard at 6’4″ and 305 pounds. He has the versatility to play a lot of positions on the offensive line which will be his main selling point to NFL teams.

Run blocking is what Peerson is best at. He can block his man one on one and get downfield. After blocking his man he can get to the second level to pick up more blocks. He uses his mobility to pull effectively and picks up his block on the outside. Peerson is also good at getting downfield to block on screens.

His pass blocking isn’t as good as his run blocking, but he recognizes blitzes and picks them up. He has the necessary mobility to slide over and block pass rushers who are about to sack the quarterback.

Scouts will need to see that he can block players that have elite strength and speed, but Peerson has the fundamentals down.

You can view Tyler Peerson’s Highlights here.

You can listen to Tim Miller interview Tyler Peerson in its entirety below.

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tim and Joe!

Cleveland Can't Pass on Watson

Cleveland Can’t Pass on Watson

Cleveland can’t pass on Deshaun Watson. It is that simple. We all know the sad story that is the current Cleveland Browns. Their history is littered with unfortunate events and bad decisions. Their biggest success came in 1964 when they won the NFL Championship. Since then, there has been little to cheer about in Cleveland.

Cleveland Can't Pass on Watson

(Photo Credit: http://www.ramweb.org)

Cleveland came close to glory twice in the 1980s. The first unfortunate event was later called “The Drive” that took place in the 1986 AFC Championship game. With just a little over five minutes left in the game, the Browns led the Denver Broncos 20-13.

The Broncos had the ball at their own two-yard line. John Elway proceeded to lead the Broncos on a 15-play 98-yard drive to tie the game at 20 with only 37 seconds remaining. The wind had been sucked out of Cleveland and the Broncos won in overtime 23-20.

The second unfortunate event is labeled “The Fumble” and took place the following year in a rematch with the Broncos in the AFC Championship game again. The Broncos jumped out on the Browns early with a 21-3 halftime lead.

Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar threw four second-half touchdowns, but the game was tied 31-31 in the third quarter. With six minutes remaining in the game, John Elway threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Broncos a 38-31 lead.

Cleveland Can't Pass on Watson

(Photo Credit: http://www.elacommoncorelessonplans.com)

With only 1:12 remaining in the game, the Browns had driven down to the eight-yard line. Earnest Byner took a handoff and looked like he was about to tie the game when he was stripped at the 1-yard line and the Broncos took an intentional safety and won the game 38-33. For the second season in a row, the Browns were devastated in the game prior to the Super Bowl.

One of the last major unfortunate events for the Browns franchise was “The Move.” Browns owner Art Modell announced in 1995 that he was moving the franchise to Baltimore and thus, the Baltimore Ravens were born.

The history of the franchise would remain in Cleveland, but what hurt the most for the city is that the Ravens would go on to win the Super Bowl just five seasons later. Cleveland fans have always felt that that championship should have been theirs.

The Browns returned to Cleveland in 1999 and have had 28 different starting quarterbacks. 28 is a ridiculous amount of quarterbacks in just an 18-year span. There has been zero stability at the position and they need a franchise quarterback badly.

The Franchise Savior

It is laughable that Deshaun Watson is getting such little respect in the draft. So-called experts say he lacks accuracy and good decision making for a quarterback. What tape or games are they watching of Watson?

Cleveland Can't Pass on Watson

(Photo Credit: http://www.bleedinggreennation.com)

Watson had a legendary college career. He was the first player in college football history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. He went 32-3 as a starter and led Clemson to two straight national championship games. Both were against Alabama and the legendary Nick Saban.

In his entire career at Clemson, Watson threw for 10,168 yards, 90 touchdowns and only 32 interceptions. Where people go wrong in analyzing Watson is saying he runs too much, or that he is a run-first quarterback. That is absolutely false. Yes, he did rush for 1,934 yards and 26 touchdowns in his career, but Watson only runs when he needs to. He keeps his eyes down field while extending plays.

One thing Watson must work on is his down field accuracy. At his young age, he has time to develop that aspect of his game. Where Watson excels most is when the game is on the line. If there are less than four minutes in the game and you need a touchdown, Deshaun Watson delivers.

Cleveland Can't Pass on Watson

(Photo Credit: https://me.me/t/deshaun-watson)

He is the most clutch quarterback in college football history. He has proven it time and time again and his latest example was against one of the greatest defenses in college football history on the biggest stage. This is one of the greatest traits a quarterback can have, and it can’t be taught.

For so long, the Browns have been stuck at the bottom of the barrel. Their franchise has made so many head-scratching moves. They have overthought decisions and jumped at quarterbacks that had no business leading a franchise. Cleveland has had a lot of bad luck in the process as well. They can end all that by getting a franchise quarterback.

This one is right in front of their face. Do not make the mistake that the Houston Rockets and Portland Trailblazers made. Dabo Sweeny is absolutely correct, any team that passes on Deshaun Watson is passing on Michael Jordan.

 

 

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We Just Witnessed the Greatest Sports Year Ever

Sports are cool, and they’re even cooler when a season ends with fireworks. Thankfully, in the last cycle of season championships, we were able to witness the greatest sports year ever.

From the 2016 college basketball National Championship, to the latest Super Bowl, none of the championships have disappointed. Each of them saw incredible comebacks or last-second scores. As fans, we are blessed to be able to watch all of these games unfold.

That said, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and reminisce in the previous year’s amazing culminations.

*Of the four major sports in the United States, and the two major college sports, only one doesn’t make the list. Sorry, NHL fans, the 2016 Stanley Cup was good, but not great enough to be mentioned on the list.*

Super Bowl LI

It seemed as though the states to the most northeast in the U.S. were rooting for New England, and the rest of the population became Falcons fans for one day.

Maybe it’s because Atlanta was foreign to the big stage. It seemed so weird seeing a team like Atlanta playing in the Super Bowl since we had become accustomed to seeing either Seattle, Green Bay, or New York represent the NFC for more than half of the Super Bowls played since 2006.

Greatest Sports Year

In Super Bowl LI, Tom Brady did what Tom Brady does- win Super Bowls. (Photo: Getty Images)

Maybe Atlanta became America’s team for one day simply because of the hatred spewed towards New England. The Patriots have made seven Super Bowls since 2001, and won five. New England has also been to the AFC Conference Championship game 11 times since 2001. Picking New England to make it to the Super Bowl has become routine for many NFL pundits because that’s just what they do.

Nevertheless, this Super Bowl just felt different. New England was the heavyweight that everyone had seen win before. Atlanta was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and the popular vote was in favor of the newbies.

No one saw Atlanta jumping out to a 21-3 lead at the half and a 28-3 lead as the third quarter waned. At this point, many fans just wanted to see a close game.

We should be careful what we wish for.

The Patriots scored a touchdown late in the third, and continued to mount a comeback in the fourth.

The final quarter was the equivalent to slowly watching a bottle of soda being shaken. The game continued to feel closer and closer, and before long, New England put so much pressure back into the game that the contest exploded to help make the greatest sports year we’ve seen.

In overtime, it was inevitable. Not only did the Patriots have momentum, but they also had history. It felt impossible for New England to lose the game. Coming back from a 25-point deficit and pushing the game into the Super Bowl’s first ever overtime? That’s just not a game New England loses.

Because of the incredible comeback by those darn Patriots, Super Bowl LI capped what was the greatest sports year of all time.

2017 College Football National Championship

In a narrative much the same as the Super Bowl, Alabama took on Clemson to be called college football’s undisputed champion. In this game’s case, there was no insurmountable lead that ended up being toppled. The game was tight the whole way, and was never separated by more than two possessions.

Clemson found itself down by two possessions twice, and each time it seemed like Bama was gonna keep Bama-ing. At one point, ESPN’s Football Power Index gave Alabama over a 90 percent chance to win the game.

But this is the greatest sports year we’ve ever seen, so hopefully you’re sensing a theme.

Clemson came back, led by crisp drives from Deshaun Watson. Watson may not have won the Heisman, but at least he got himself a ring. Watson completed a two-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left in the game to clinch a victory for the Tigers.

2016 World Series

Where do we start in this event? So many storylines developed by the time the series was all finished. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Finals after being down 3-1. Once the Cleveland Indians went up 3-1 on the Cubs, there was no way that would be blown, right?

Maybe Cleveland fans got what they deserved for making fun of the Warriors. #WellActually when a city has to root for the Browns, it deserves no other bad omens. The Indians didn’t catch that vibe.

Greatest Sports Year

Rajai Davis hit the most memorable home run in recent years. (Photo: FX Tribune)

Sure, our very own Matt Hagan knew the Cubs would win it all. However, since no one else did, the 3-1 series lead all but wrapped up the World Series.

The Cubs almost lost it. They had a 6-3 lead with less than two innings left to play. With the lead cut to two, Rajai Davis sent the world into hysteria with the craziest turn of events the World Series had ever seen.

Chicago had it all but won, yet in two seconds Cleveland was right back in it. A ball traveled faster than offseason Rob Gronkowski on the way to the club into the left field seats, while it seemed like it was in slow motion, even as slow as Tom Brady running the 40-yard dash in fashionable yet exotic khaki shorts.

Every baseball kid dreams of coming to bat in the tenth inning of the World Series game seven, and the Cubs had that chance. Chicago scored two, and took an 8-6 lead to end the top half of the inning.

Rajai Davis came back up in the tenth, and even delivered an RBI. The Indians didn’t have enough in them, as they fell short, 8-7. However, it still was one of the greatest World Series of all time.

2016 NBA Finals

The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead, and that remains a joke on social media to this day. When you think of Steph Curry, you think of triples galore, an outspoken wife and the fact that he was the MVP on a team that for the first time ever blew a 3-1 lead.

LeBron James put on the greatest performance of all time in a Finals series in the most historically-charged Finals series of all time. Kyrie Irving hit the most clutch shot of his life to clinch the win for Cleveland- in Golden State.

The 2016 NBA Finals will be a landmark for the NBA’s modern era. With super teams becoming more and more evident, this series will forever be known as the time the NBA’s Goliath was taken out.

2016 College Basketball National Championship

Marcus Paige was supposed to be the hero. He hit one of the greatest three-pointers you will ever see. Double-clutch layups are hard enough, but a double-clutch three is just stupid good.

With Paige’s shot, North Carolina tied Villanova, 74-74, with 4.7 seconds left. At that point, viewers of the game had to pick their jaws up from the floor. The shot was incredible.

But what Kris Jenkins did carried more water. A deep triple as time expired sent Villanova into absolute elation.

The Greatest Sports Year

Who knew that game would turn into the precursor to what was to come? With all the great games that happened in the past year, college basketball’s National Championship was my favorite. Everyone has their own favorite, and the games are probably split pretty evenly across the board.

This was a year that we will tell our children and grandchildren about. It was a year that probably will never be topped. We should all feel fortunate that we were alive to take it all in.

If anyone can make a DVD of all these games in it’s entirety, I will throw my money at you. So someone please do that.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

It’s on the Haus: January 8

It’s on the Haus is a daily installment of sports and esports news from the past day. Rather than waiting an entire hour to see the big news on a television program, or come to multiple stories on multiple websites to get your sports fix, It’s on the Haus gives you the biggest sports and esports happenings, all in one place. You may feel guilty for reading this concise article that gives you everything you need to know, but don’t worry, It’s on the Haus.

 

Get Dumped Then, Oakland and Detroit

The Houston Texans took down the depleted Oakland Raiders 27-14 in the first game of the 2017 NFL Playoffs. I was rooting for the Raiders to pull this one out, hoping Connor Cook would avenge Derek Carr’s broken leg. Of course, whichever team I root for loses in the first round (#WhoDey), so I guess I should’ve rooted for the Fighting Brockweilers, so as to not curse the beautiful and classy Raider fans. Whatever Houston. Have fun getting whipped by whomever you play in the divisional round.

In the second wild-card game of the day, the Seattle Seahawks euthanized the Detroit Lions, 26-6. I don’t recall watching a team die as slowly and miserably as the Lions did. I feel for Lions fans because as much as you want your team to win, sometimes it’s not meant to be.

However, Twitter dot com has shown me how annoying Lions fans are by calling for Matthew Stafford to be named MVP, elite, and savoir of all things good. I retract my previous statement. Just sit there and sulk, Lions fans. Blaming the refs for 20 years of terrible football really fills the void, doesn’t it?

High Schoolers Play Football on National Televisions

January 8 sports news

Jeffrey Okudah could make an immediate impact next year for Ohio State. (Photo: Eleven Warriors)

The 17th edition of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl was played yesterday afternoon. The East defeated the West, 27-17 and the majority of people who watched the game are older than those that played in it.

Seven All-Americans announced where they intend to attend school this fall, including the number two ranked player in the nation. You can find where each of the seven teenagers decided to attend school and which schools were closest to landing the coveted prospects in this neat table below.

OT Foster Sarell, No. 2 overall, No. 1 T Stanford University, over Washington and others
CB Jeffrey Okudah, No. 7 overall, No. 1 CB Ohio State, over others
CB Darnay Holmes, No. 12 overall, No. 2 CB UCLA, over Ohio State and others
S Bubba Bolden, No. 55 overall, No. 6 S USC, over Ohio State, Arizona State, and others
OT Chuck Filiaga, No. 98 overall, No. 14 OT Michigan, over USC, Oklahoma, and others
RB Eno Benjamin, No. 143 overall, No. 8 RB Arizona State, over Texas, Iowa, Michigan, and others
WR Jamire Calvin, No. 254 overall, No. 36 WR Oregon State, over Nebraska and others

East quarterback Hunter Johnson was named the game’s MVP. He threw for 91 yards and one touchdown. Johnson will take his talents to Clemson next season, and sources tell me there’s a job opening at quarterback next season for Clemson.

It is Finished

After two days of speculation, Kyle Korver is officially a Cleveland Cavalier. Cleveland shipped a protected first-round pick to Atlanta and gave away Mo Williams and Mike Dunleavy in the deal. The Cavs also gave away this year’s first-round pick to Portland for their 2018 first round pick in order to make the deal work.

This seems like a good deal for Cleveland, but LeBron James is still not impressed. King James demands a backup point guard, so it looks like Cavs general manager David Griffin still has some work to do. Either way, with all the weapons already in Cleveland, “Kyle Korver” and “splashes a wide open three” should be paired together a lot as Korver becomes accustomed to his new offense.

I’m supremely convinced that this move was made to replace the GOAT of all GOATS, Joe Harris. Harris averaged a modest yet respectable 2.7 points per game last season for the Cavs, before suffering a broken foot that ended his season. Harris is now averaging 8.9 points per game with the Nets, showing he’s clearly a spectacular player.

I could easily drop 40 points with a 66 overall Joe Harris on any scumbag who tries to front me on NBA 2K, so don’t test me. His range is legit, and his heart just won’t quit.

He Indefinitely Tripped Him

Grayson Allen (maybe) tripped another player in his first game back from his one-game suspension, which came about for tripping players. Take a look at this footage (ha, get it?), and decide for yourself.

Grayson Allen is doing a great job of reinforcing Duke basketball stereotypes. Rather than slapping the floor on defense and diving for loose balls like any white basketball player should, Allen cries like a preppy white-collar teen. I’m convinced Grayson Allen will not rest until he kills a man via tripping, so yeah, he tripped the poor soul.

Hey, Grayson Allen, just stop that.

 

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