2012 NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Clemson

Posted by Brad On September – 29 – 2011
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Jayron Hosley will be tested in his matchup with Sammy Watkins

This game has the makings of a very exciting offensive battle between two power ACC teams.  Tajh Boyd is emerging as one of the most dynamic playmakers at the QB position in the country and he has plenty of weapons surrounding him, including freshman dynamo Sammy Watkins.  The Virginia Tech defense will be tested by Clemson’s mix of pass and run.

This game features some quality matchups that are sure to affect the 2012 NFL Draft.  For Virginia Tech, they will feature the do-it-all RB in David Wilson and it will be Brandon Thompson and Andre Branch’s job to contain the dynamic back.  Brandon Thompson is quickly moving up draft boards and some are considering him the top DT in a relatively weak 2012 class.

Guys to keep an eye on:

Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech #20 (Junior)

What Hosley lacks in size (5’10” 175) he makes up for with speed and coverage skills.  Hosley has excellent coverage skills and great change of direction.  He doubles as one of the top punt returners in the country.  He has two INT’s in four games in 2011 after his 8 INT sophomore campaign.  Hosley will be challenged in this game by the freshman standout, Sammy Watkins.

David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech #4 (Junior)

Wilson is making a name for himself as more than just a return specialist and change of pace back.  He’s becoming a legitimate RB prospect.  The junior has posted three 100 yard games and is averaging 5.9 yards/carry.  He has added four rushing TD’s in 4 games.  Clemson’s defense has some firepower and will be Wilson’s toughest test on the young season.

Bruce Taylor, LB, Virginia Tech #51 (Junior)

Bruce Taylor is a name to watch as the season progresses.  He isn’t on many people’s radar but has the skills to declare early for the NFL Draft.  He combines speed and athleticism with a nasty disposition to make a very good LB prospect.  He has 23 tackles and 1.5 sacks in four games in 2011 and this matchup should be a good test for Taylor.  If Taylor decides to come out he could intrigue teams early.  At the very least he would be considered a top LB prospect for 2013 if he stays.

Eddie Whitley, S, Virginia Tech #15

Whitley has been productive at VT as he’s coming off an 80 tackle, 2 INT 2010 season.  He projects as a FS in the NFL and has above-average coverage skills.  He is off to a relatively slow start in 2011 which could drop him to the third day next April if he keeps it up.  Tajh Boyd has been on a tear and has plenty of weapons to challenge Whitley.  The match I’m looking forward to is Whitley on Dwayne Allen down the seam.

Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson #98

Thompson is not a guy that is going to flash or throw up big sack numbers.  He’s a one-gap penetrator that demands double teams because of his strength and ability to push the pocket.  Thompson will need to plug the middle against David Wilson and force VT to pass the ball.  Thompson is projected to be one of the top DT’s in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson #83 (Junior)

Dwayne Allen has emerged in the last two games (FSU and Auburn) as the top TE for the 2012 NFL Draft.  He is a matchup nightmare because of his combination of size and speed.  The 6’4” 255 pound junior TE can keep the best defense honest with his ability to get down the seam and blow by linebackers.  Allen’s has deceptive speed and is reminiscent of Brandon Pettigrew.

Andre Branch, DE, Clemson #40

Branch has nice size at 6’5” and 260 and has shown a relentless motor in 2011.  He impressed in the Auburn game with 5 tackles and a sack.  He was consistently in the backfield as Auburn didn’t have an answer for Branch.  Branch will have to keep contain against VT if they want to keep this game close.  VT has a ton of speed at the skill positions and will challenge the discipline of Branch.

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