One matchup featuring two teams with top 25 caliber this weekend is taking place as Arizona State is set to play host to the Wisconsin Badgers.
ASU has a potential first round defensive tackle in big Will Sutton, who had a huge breakout year as a junior in 2012. Wisconsin has a couple of players that NFL scouts are keeping their eyes on, including running backs James White and Melvin Gordon. White has been a thousand yard back previously in his Badgers career, prior to Montee Ball taking over as one of the most legendary backs we’ve seen in college football.
Another very intriguing prospect in this game is ASU linebacker Carl Bradford, who plays the “devilbacker” position. He had a huge year last season, racking up 21.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. He is certainly a darkhorse player to watch, and a freak of an athlete.
Here are the top prospects right now for both schools, and we’ll be adding to the lists as the weeks progress:
Here is a sample of a scouting report for each team:
20 RB James White (5’10″ 198 pounds, SENIOR)
Since James White stepped on campus for the Wisconsin Badgers, he’s been a playmaker. The 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and first-team Freshman All-American has regressed statistically the last two seasons after rushing for 1,052 yards as a rookie, but is ready for a much bigger role in his senior season with the Badgers.
White is an explosive back who isn’t the biggest, but he certainly knows how to run around guys. He has excellent burst and vision, and like Montee Ball before him is an ideal fit as a one-cut back in a zone scheme. White also has great potential as a receiver that has yet to be unleashed because of the insane depth at RB Â the Badgers have had the last few seasons.
This is a big play threat who ran for 806 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, and he could be in line for a huge increase in carries in 2013. White has a career average of 6.1 yards per carry through the first three years of his career, and I can’t wait to see what he does as Wisconsin’s featured back.
52 LB Carl Bradford (6’1″ 233 pounds, JUNIOR)
Will Sutton deservedly got most of the publicity last year and this offseason, but there’s nothing wrong with his partner in crime on the defensive side of the ball, “Devilbacker” Carl Bradford.
Bradford busted out in the team’s 2011 bowl game against Boise State with 12 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and a sack, and then came out in 2012 and just blew everyone away. He racked up 80 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, an interception, and three forced fumbles. I am not going to compere Bradford to one Von Miller, but his role on the Arizona State defense isn’t too far off what Miller did in his time at Texas A&M.
Von Miller is an elite level prospect, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but Bradford is a very nice looking player in his own right. He came into his own as one of the top playmakers on the ASU defense last year, and it didn’t come without any hard work. Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports ranked Bradford the #16 player on his annual “Freaks List” which is dedicated to the best workout warriors in college football:
“One of the Pac-12′s top playmakers is also one of its biggest Freaks. On the field, the 6-1, 241-pounder stood out by piling up 11.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for a loss last season. Off the field, Bradford is a beast in the weight room, squatting 641 pounds and power cleaning 385 to go with a team-best 10-2 broad jump. He also vertical jumps 35.5 inches.”
This guy looks like the real deal. The sky is the limit for him.