Thursday night college primer

In week five of our Thursday night primer, the National Football Post highlights some of the keys to tonight’s West Virginia-Colorado game, including top players and matchups that NFL scouts will be watching.

Prospects to keep an eye on:

West Virginia

Jarrett Brown: No. 16, QB, 6-4, 233

An overrated quarterback prospect who has all the tools but isn’t real decisive in the pocket. He really struggled last week vs. a fast Auburn defense (four interceptions) and has a ways to go before he can be considered anything more than a developmental guy.

Noel Devine: No. 7, RB, 5-8, 176

Is absolutely lighting in a bottle. Has the ability to create a big play any time he touches the ball, and although he’s undersized, he’s too talented to not make plays at the next level.

Alric Arnett: No. 82, WR, 6-2, 189

An intriguing size/speed receiver who showcases the ability to get down the field and make plays on the ball.

Selvish Capers: No. 66, OT, 6-5, 298

Displays the coordination and footwork to mirror in space off the edge. However, he lacks girth and doesn’t possess ideal power on contact. Looks like a zone-blocking scheme lineman only at the next level.

Scooter Berry: No. 93, DT, 6-1, 294

Displays the “get-off burst” to penetrate through gaps inside but struggles to disengage once an opposing lineman gets his hands on him. He’s questionable with a shoulder injury.

Others worth noting:

Eric Jobe: No. 61, C, 6-2, 290
Reed Williams: No. 47, LB, 6-1, 232
Jock Sanders: No. 9, WR/RB, 5-7, 178
Wes Lyons: No. 4, WR/TE, 6-8, 231


Nate Solder: No. 79, OT, 6-9, 305

A former tight end who exhibits a tremendous combination of size and athletic ability for the position. He’s still raw but looks like a potential left tackle at the next level.

Riar Geer: No. 87, TE/FB, 6-3, 250

Isn’t much of a threat catching the football down the field, but he displays a good feel in the underneath pass game and has the ability to win battles at the point of attack as a blocker.

Scotty McKnight: No. 21, WR, 5-11, 185

Showcases good body control as a route runner and knows how to set up corners and create separation out of his breaks. Looks like a guy who could make a living in the slot at the next level.

Others worth noting:

Jeff Smart: No. 45, ILB, 6-0, 225
Jimmy Smith: No. 3, CB, 6-2, 205

What to look for tonight:

Brown’s decision making in the face of pressure

How does West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown respond after his four-interception performance against Auburn last week? Sure, Brown is a gifted athlete who possesses a rare blend of athleticism and overall arm strength for the position, but he isn’t real decisive in the pocket and struggles to decipher information quickly. I expect him to perform well vs. Colorado simply because the Mountaineers have better athletes playing on the outside who will be able to consistently separate in coverage. However, what I’ll be watching specifically from Brown tonight is how well he handles the Colorado blitz packages when his initial read isn’t on, because he has yet to prove he’s capable of routinely finding his second and third reads when under pressure.

Is Capers a legit LT prospect?

Does West Virginia’s Selvish Capers have the ability to play left tackle in the NFL? He’s a smooth, coordinated athlete who looks natural in space and has the footwork to mirror in pass protection, but I worry about his lack of bulk and strength on contact. Colorado doesn’t have a real talented group of defensive linemen who can pressure off the edge, so if Capers doesn’t show well in this one, a move to guard could be imminent at the next level.

The development of Colorado LT Nate Solder

Also, be sure to watch Colorado left tackle Nate Solder. I ranked him as the 30th-best prospect in the NFP’s Super 30 last week because I love his combination or size, length and athleticism and think he has the ability to mature into a bona fide left tackle in the NFL. It will be interesting to see how much his game has improved from last year and if he’s ready to make the jump to the NFL as a junior.

West Virginia’s other big talent comes in a small package

West Virginia has a really talented group of receivers that come in all shapes and sizes. Seniors Wes Lyons (6-8, 231) and Alric Arnett (6-2, 189) look like guys who could potentially be on an NFL roster/practice squad at this time next year. However, it’s been the play of wideout Jock Sanders that has really stood out to me on the West Virginia offense. Sanders is a former running back who does a great job making defenders miss after the catch, but it’s his balance and coordination as a route runner that make him so effective in the pass game. He’s listed only at 5-7, 178, but he does a nice job getting out of his breaks cleanly and separating over the middle of the field. He’s one guy I’m really excited about watching.

Hope on the horizon

Besides junior left tackle Solder, the Colorado Buffaloes have a strong group of young, talented prospects who have shown promise early in their careers and are worth taking a look at tonight and keeping in the back of your mind for the future.

RB Darrell Scott: No. 2 (6-1, 215)
RB Rodney Stewart: No. 5 (5-6, 175)
RT Ryan Miller: No. 73 (6-8, 320)
ILB Jon Major: No. 31, (6-1, 225)
FS Ray Polk: No. 26 (6-1, 210)

Devine he is

Listed at 5-8, 176, West Virginia RB Noel Devine might not have the frame to carry the load in the NFL, but this undersized back is simply a big play waiting to happen every time he touches the ball. Devine reaches top-end speed as quickly as any player in the nation and is a blur in the open field. He broke a big 71-yard touchdown run last week vs. a fast Auburn defense and showcases the ability to make plays both in the run and pass game. If the Colorado defense doesn’t consistently get numbers around Devine in space, expect a monster night for the electrifying scatback.

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