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Brunner's Blog: Catching the Eye




College area scout Todd Brunner checks in for his latest Brunner's Blog, updating you on some of the college players who are capturing his eye.

I was about to head to West Point when I last left off with everyone in my blog, which was two weeks ago today. I spent some time there visiting with Adam and Tucker Waugh, brothers of my esteemed colleague and fellow scouting blogger Ethan Waugh. Tucker is the running backs coach and their pro liaison and Adam is the defensive backs coach. That worked out well because of their three prospects, one is a running back and one is a safety. Between the two of them, they really had a lot of information about their two players and also the third.

Their father is a long time coach so they understand the game and they realize that even though you can fall in love with your players, you are realistic about their chances at the next level, so I valued their opinions.

I liked all of their prospects, and all three should be in a camp and/or maybe drafted next year for sure.

This was my second visit into West Point this fall, and as always it's a campus I look forward to visiting. Their indoor facility was recently completed and since there was some inclement weather, they ended up indoors for half of their practice. I think it's one of the best indoor facilities on the east coast.

I headed home after that visit and then made my second visit to the University of Delaware to get another look at their quarterback Joe Flacco. I wanted to get some later on tape of him because when I went through there the first time I really liked him, and he's only continued to have a phenomenal year since.

I ended that week over at Princeton as I wanted to look at tape on some of their Ivy League opponents. Fortunately, I've known some of the Princeton coaches for several years now, so they are great about letting me come in there to watch tape even though I was primarily looking at their opponents. There are some players from Harvard and Columbia who are being mentioned in scouting circles, so I just wanted to take a peek at some of those guys to see if it would warrant a trip into their schools.

That Saturday I went to the West Virginia/Rutgers game. It poured consistently throughout the entire game, but that did not stop West Virginia from showing off their speed. They put the throttle down and dominated Rutgers 31-3. The thing that really stood out is how much West Virginia's defense has improved from a year ago, and the amazing speed of their skill players on offense.

Last Monday I drove down to Baltimore and covered Morgan State and Towson University. The big thing I got out of that visit was at Morgan State, because they've got a transfer running back from South Florida, Chad Simpson. The kid is really dominating at that level. He's got tremendous speed, has the same height and weight as Frank Gore, and he's built like Frank. I won't be surprised if he's on somebody's roster next year.

Tuesday morning I headed back into Maryland to revisit a couple of players. Their defensive tackle Dre Moore is really starting to play like he should, and is living up to his billing. In talking to people there, they say athletically he's as gifted as Vernon Davis, and he's really stepped up his game. He's making more plays, and he's standing out on tape.

Last Wednesday took me into Rutgers. I know I have talked a lot about Rutgers, but after going to four of their games, it was actually my first official trip into the school. I watched tape on three offensive linemen and three defensive players. The stand out offensively was Jeremy Zuttah. He's their right tackle and is a big kid with strength, and he has the ability to dominate at the line of scrimmage. On defense, the kid I liked was Eric Foster, their nose tackle who is a high motor, high energy play to the whistle type player.

I spent Halloween with my kids, took them trick or treating and then got up first thing Thursday and drove to Bloomsburg, PA for my second school visit. I wanted to follow up on their running back Jamar Brittingham who is dominating at the Division II level. It was worth going back in there and getting a better feel for him because he'll definitely be in someone's camp next year.

I drove over to Pitt and caught their afternoon practice. This was also my second visit at Pitt, and I was mostly interested in seeing more of their left tackle Jeff Otah. I watched additional film on Friday and also talked to some coaches, and Otah is developing into one of the top left tackles in college football this year and he'll come off the board relatively early this April.

I hung around Pittsburgh for their game on Saturday against Syracuse. It was a competitive game that Pitt pulled out, and Otah played exactly as I thought he would and as he should.

Another player who stood out in the game for Pitt was defensive end Joe Clermond. He was very productive in the game, got a couple of quarterback sacks and pressures and he showed quickness, speed and was very instinctive in finding the football.

This past Sunday was my usual drive day, and I listened to our game against Atlanta. I was disappointed in the outcome because I definitely thought after seeing the team in training camp that we'd be playing better than we have.

A big game this week in the Big East that I'm interested in is Connecticut at Cincinnati. UCONN is undefeated in the Big East, and West Virginia has one loss, so I'm sure West Virginia will be pulling for Cincinnati in this one. Cincinnati has only two losses and if they can knock off UCONN that could make the stakes much higher for the UCONN/West Virginia game that will be played in late November.

I'm visiting a couple of schools this week in West Virginia – Marshall, West Virginia and then I'll make my trek over to State College in PA for my final visit at Penn State. I'll give an update for those visits in my next blog.

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