Underclassmen to keep your eye on

Arthur and Bryce Brown, ILB/RB, Kansas State
Both Brown
brothers were among the top prospects in the country in their
recruiting class out of Wichita East High School -- Arthur as a
linebacker in 2008 and Bryce at running back in 2009. After
originally signing with Miami (Fla.) and Tennessee, respectively,
they find themselves together again in Manhattan, much closer to
home. Scouts took note of their performances in the Wildcats'
spring game, as redshirt junior Arthur posted 14 stops (nearly
matching the 17 stops he had for Miami in 2008-2009) and redshirt
sophomore Brown gained 73 yards and scored twice. Though Arthur is
undersized at 6-feet-1, 225 pounds, his speed and explosive
tackling could earn him a high grade with a strong junior year.
Bryce will be compared to former KSU back and Miami Dolphins
second-round pick Daniel Thomas, but his size (6-0, 220), speed and
running style might be closer to Oklahoma Sooners star and future
Dallas Cowboy DeMarco Murray.

Kwame Geathers, DT, Georgia
A
redshirt sophomore, Geathers has NFL lineage to go with his 6-6,
326-pound frame. His brothers Robert and Clifton followed their
uncle "Jumpy" to the NFL. Geathers made the coaches All-SEC
Freshman team despite only seven tackles in eight games last
season, but really excelled in the spring, winning the team's
Defensive MVP award. His height, strength and ability to clog running
lanes and push the pocket from the middle might remind scouts of
former SEC underclass first-rounders like John Henderson and
Albert Haynesworth.



Gerald Hodges, OLB, Penn State
The Nittany Lions
will be "Linebacker U" again if Hodges can blossom into the
playmaker the team needs next to steady performers Michael Mauti
and Nathan Stupar. The former safety had 31 tackles, 2˝ for loss,
in eight games last year but now has a chance to star as the
weak-side starter. His tape in the team's Outback Bowl loss to
Florida offered glimpses of the force he could become as a chase
'backer attacking run plays behind the line. He can quickly cover
his third of the field with sub-4.6 speed. Coaches say he has made
progress in understanding his role on defense during the
offseason.



Jonathan Massaquoi, DE/OLB, Troy
The
next Troy pass rusher went Fairley's route, attending Butler
County Community College out of high school and racking up 11˝
sacks in his only season there. After redshirting in 2009, he
busted out with an All-Sun Belt season (20˝ tackles for loss, 13˝
sacks) by using a strong first step and low center of gravity to
turn the corner as a pass rusher. Before the Liberia native joins
cousins Visanthe Shiancoe (Minnesota Vikings tight end) and
Mohamed Massaquoi (Cleveland Browns wide receiver) in the NFL, he'll
need to use his hands to disengage from blockers more consistently.
But like last year, when defensive tackle Mohammed Wilkerson
really made his name as Temple took on Penn State early in the
season, Massaquoi has two chances to impress scouts in September
road games at Clemson and Arkansas. Big performances in one or
both contests against ACC and SEC competition will get him on the
top-50 radar.



Brandon McGee, CB, Miami (Fla.)
McGee
couldn't get on the field regularly with junior All-ACC pick
Brandon Harris and seniors Demarcus Van Dyke and Ryan Hill in
front of him on the depth chart last season. He has only 17 career
tackles and two pass breakups, which is miniscule production
considering McGee played in 21 games his first two years on campus
and has the size/speed combination (6-0/190/4.32) scouts expect
to find when they arrive in Coral Gables each fall. With junior
safeties Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque playing behind him and
defensive-minded head coach Al Golden now in the fold, McGee has
the license to play aggressively on the outside.



Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Somewhat
hidden inside in Texas' hybrid defensive scheme, Okafor moves
outside to take over for Sam Acho. In this spot, Okafor should
unleash his power and quickness off the edge to harass opposing
quarterbacks. He actually started his assault early, racking up
four sacks in the team's spring game. Okafor won't be the only
breakout performer on the Longhorns' defense, but he'll be the one
monitored closely by NFL observers. True sophomores Jackson Jeffcoat
(defensive end) and Ashton Dorsey (defensive tackle) must wait until
after at least the 2012 season before they can declare for the
draft.

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Last season was supposed to be
Sanu's breakout campaign, a follow-up to the great potential he showed
as a rushing/receiving/Wildcat quarterback as a freshman.
Hamstring and leg injuries limited him, however, in the second
half of 2010 so he managed only 418 yards and two touchdowns on 44
receptions. Even with the transfer of Tom Savage, Sanu should
still be a main target for Chas Dodd and the Scarlet Knights
offense. A productive, healthy 2011 displaying his strong hands
and tough running after the catch will put him in the conversation
for a late first- or early second-round draft slot.

Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State
While all of the talk in
the Evergreen State surrounded Huskies quarterback Jake Locker in
recent seasons, Tuel quietly had a pretty good sophomore season in
2010. He completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 2,780 yards and
18 touchdowns -- better marks than his hyped in-state rival.
Tuel's mobility and touch on fades and deep passes are impressive,
as is his competitive nature on the field; like Locker, he'll
need to take better care of his body when scrambling. He has
gotten stronger this offseason, so more consistency driving the
ball downfield and eliminating the interceptions (12 in 2010) as
he matures will earn him top grades from NFL scouts in the 2012 or
2013 draft.

David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
Despite
Wilson being stuck in a rotation with Darren Evans and Ryan
Williams, and thus getting less than nine carries a game, he
flashed a burst indicative of his 4.3 speed and some toughness to
bounce off tackles and even carry a defender over the first-down
marker. His two kickoff returns for touchdowns also showed scouts
how difficult it is to get the angle on him in the open field.
Head coach Frank Beamer will split carries between Wilson and
senior Josh Oglesby this year, but an increased workload and steady
improvement in his cut decisiveness could boost him into the top 40
(where Williams was drafted by Arizona in April).