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College Dark Phoenix

Another great week of college football, and more players breaking out, rising from the ashes, and becoming a College Dark Phoenix! This week we take a look at two quarterbacks with legitimate shots at the NFL and a playmaker that up until this season played only college basketball. Let's get right to it.


Drew Stanton - QB - Michigan State Spartans
6'3" 228 lbs. - Junior - 16th ranked high school QB when entering college

Pass / Rush Stats
Att
Comp
Yards
TDs
INTs
Att
Yards
TDs
Versus Illinois
20
26
259
5
0
5
12
0

Drew Stanton is a tough, hard-nosed QB that can take a beating and still stand in the pocket and throw with great accuracy. At Harrison High School Stanton was an All-State QB as well as playing safety. He threw for 58 TDs in his final 2 seasons while leading Harrison to 2 consecutive state titles. He also showed an ability to make plays with his feet, rushing for over 300 yards and 9 TDs in his senior season.

Stanton's measurables are those that make NFL scouts drool with anticipation. His is a big, strong-armed QB with a good frame. He could add a little weight, but still has the ideal size for a NFL QB. He can stand in the face of the rush, deliver the ball on time, take a hit, and lead his team to the victory. His teammates really follow his leadership and he can fire up his team whenever necessary.

Drew is having a fine season in 2005. In four games, he has compiled a 73.1 completion percentage, while throwing for over 1,000 yards with 13 TDs and only 2 interceptions. It looks as though he's showing no ill effects from his 2003 knee injury that kept him out of the bowl game. Drew's athletic ability (he's played on special teams early in his career) gives him a big advantage over other mid-late round QBs I expect to see Stanton on a NFL roster soon.


Troy Smith - QB - Ohio State Buckeyes
6'1" 215 lbs. - Junior - 31st ranked high school QB when entering college

Pass / Rush Stats
Att
Comp
Yards
TDs
INTs
Att
Yards
TDs
Versus Iowa
13
19
191
2
0
18
127
2

Troy Smith is a dangerous runner and a developing passer for the Buckeyes. He played his first two years of high school football at Lakewood St. Edward, but transferred to Glenville for his last two seasons. During his senior year he passed for 969 yards and 12 TDs, leading Glenville to the state playoffs. Along with playing football, Smith also played basketball and ran track.

Smith is a confident leader that has amazing athletic ability. His running ability makes him a truly special playmaker. He can turn an almost disastrous situation into a positive, game-changing play within the blink of an eye. His arm strength is unquestioned, but his throws are sometimes erratic as evidenced by his 57.1% completion rating. His decision making is improving and he has only thrown one interception in three games so far in 2005.

As a freshmen, Smith saw the field as a return man for the Buckeyes, appearing in 10 games. During his sophomore season Smith was in and out of the starting lineup, and suspended for the Alamo Bowl versus Oklahoma State. He was able to flash his incredible ability versus Michigan in the final game of the 2004 season. In that game Smith combined for 386 yards of total offense. He passed for 791 yards and 6 TDs, and ran for 325 yards and 2 TDs in his first five starts of the '04 season. Smith has started 2005 off with a bang, playing well in big games versus Texas and Iowa. Troy Smith is one helluva athlete, and his skill set projects well to the next level. He is somewhat raw as a QB, but is well worth a look in the NFL.


Amarri Jackson - WR - South Florida Bulls
6'5" 195 lbs. - Sophomore - unranked high school WR when entering college

Rush / Receiving Stats
Att
Yards
TDs
Rec
Yards
TDs
Versus Louisville
2
63
2
2
75
0

Amarri Jackson has burst onto the national scene, and hopes to continue to make an impact. Jackson was a 3-sport lettermen in high school at Sarasota Riverview. Amarri has spent the last 2 seasons playing junior college basketball at Hillsborough Community College, but that didn't stop him from becoming a force on the field as the South Florida Bulls defeated the ranked (#24) Louisville Cardinals.

Jackson is a phenomenal athlete and his skill set crosses over to football as well as basketball. First up, his size makes him a tough matchup for smaller defensive backs. He also has long arms and tremendous leaping ability. He has been known to throw down a "jumpman" dunk from the free throw line from time to time. But he's not just an athlete that happens to play football. Jackson is a dangerous playmaker every time he touches the ball. He is also learning to become a better route runner as he focuses full-time on football.

The Bulls moved from Conference USA to the Big East along with the Louisville Cardinals after the 2004 season. Southern Florida ended Division I-A's 3rd longest winning streak (9) with their victory on Saturday. Amarri was a big part of this surprising rout, and also threw for an 11-yard TD. With his first carry he went 51 yards for a TD on a reverse. He added another reverse for 12 yards and a touchdown as well. Amarri Jackson is most certainly a project. He has limitless potential and he will need to continue to develop to have any sort of shot at the NFL. But as they say, even a long shot is still a shot.


Well, that'll do it for another College Dark Phoenix. Be sure to check out The Ones 2 Watch, where we break down the top 15 college prospects that should be on your fantasy team soon!

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