Nelson Agholor

Nebraska player offers personal scouting report on new Eagles WR Nelson Agholor

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The Philadelphia Eagles did not end up drafting Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in the first round of the NFL Draft, causing the team to go into some spin control while the fans in the city try to figure out how months of speculation and rumors came up so empty. Although Mariota is not making his way to Philly, Chip Kelly stuck to his Pac-12 roots and drafted wide receiver Nelson Agholor out of USC.

Whether or not drafting Agholor was a good move is up for debate considering some of the needs on the Philadelphia roster, but one Nebraska cornerback has weighed in with his personal scouting report on the now former Trojans receiver. Josh Mitchell, who covered Agholor in last season’s Holiday Bowl between Nebraska and USC, chimed in on Twitter…

Agholor was USC’s leading receiver in 2014 with 1,313 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards only to Washington State’s Vince Mayle and his touchdown total was tied for most in the conference with Colorado’s Nelson Spruce and Washington State’s Isiah Myers. But as Mitchell said on Twitter, Agholor did not have a tremendous amount of success against the Nebraska corner in the Holiday Bowl. Agholor did catch seven passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, but none of that came against Mitchell. USC won the Holiday Bowl, 45-42.

Maybe Mitchell will one day be picked up by one fo the NFC East rivals to go up against him twice a year in the future.

Pac-12, ACC lead way with nine first-round picks

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Many of us watching college football maintained the Pac-12 was college football’s strongest conference in 2014. The NFL agreed – but it also liked the ACC a whole heck of a lot, too.

The Pac-12 and ACC led all conferences with nine selections apiece. The Pac-12’s nine selections was¬†the most it has ever had according to ESPN’s research department. The SEC, normally the far-and-away leader of this category, followed with seven. The Big Ten claimed three picks, followed by the Big 12 and American with two each.

A few notes:

– The Big 12 narrowly avoids its worst first-round ever: Texas defensive tackle¬†Malcom Brown snuck into the first round at No. 32, the Longhorns’ first pick since 2013.

– ACC leads off for the first time in a while: As widely expected, the Tampa Bay Bucs lead off the night by taking Florida State’s¬†Jameis Winston. He became the ACC’s first No. 1 pick since the Texans grabbed N.C. State’s¬†Mario Williams in 2006. Winston also became just the fourth player ever to complete the trio of a Heisman Trophy, a national championship and a No. 1 NFL Draft pick.

– Just because you have good players doesn’t mean you’re good:¬†Al Golden‘s 6-7 Miami team had two first-round picks in offensive tackle¬†Ereck Flowers¬†and wide receiver¬†Philip Dorsett. So did 4-8 Florida with defensive lineman¬†Dante Fowler, Jr.¬†and offensive lineman¬†D.J. Humphries. Washington led all teams with three picks – defensive lineman¬†Danny Shelton, cornerback¬†Marcus Peters and linebacker¬†Shaq Thompson – despite going 8-6 and posting a losing Pac-12 record.

– Other schools with multiple selections: Florida State (Winston, Cameron Erving), Clemson (Vic Beasley/Stephone Anthony), USC (Leonard Williams/Nelson Agholor)¬†and Oregon (Marcus Mariota/Arik Armstead)¬†Speaking of the Oregon…

–¬†Chip Kelly¬†just can’t help himself. Eventually there will come a time when the Pac-12 is no longer stocked with players the former Oregon coach recruited and/or coached against. Until then it’s insider trading in Philadelphia as Kelly nabbed USC’s Agholor.

– Duke is off the clock:¬†Laken Tomlinson‘s selection was the Blue Devils’ first first-rounder in the lifetime of its entire roster.

For those of you living under a rock, here’s how the first round played out:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, Florida State
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, Oregon
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler, Jr., Florida
4. Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper, Alabama
5. Washington Redskins – Brandon Scherff, Iowa
6. New York Jets – Leonard Williams, USC
7. Chicago Bears – Kevin White, West Virginia
8. Atlanta Falcons – Vic Beasley, Clemson
9. New York Giants – Ereck Flowers, Miami
10. St. Louis Rams – Todd Gurley, Georgia
11. Minnesota Vikings – Trae Waynes, Michigan State
12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton, Washington
13. New Orleans Saints – Andrus Peat, Stanford
14. Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker, Louisville
15. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
16. Houston Texans – Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
17. San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead, Oregon
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Marcus Peters, Washington
19. Cleveland Browns – Cameron Erving, Florida State
20. Philadelphia Eagles – Nelson Agholor, USC
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Bud Dupree, Kentucky
23. Denver Broncos – Shane Ray, Missouri
24. Arizona Cardinals – D.J. Humphries, Florida
25. Carolina Panthers – Shaq Thompson, Washington
26. Baltimore Ravens – Breshad Perryman, Central Florida
27. Dallas Cowboys – Byron Jones, Connecticut
28. Detroit Lions – Laken Tomlinson, Duke
29. Indianapolis Colts – Phillip Dorsett, Miami
30. Green Bay Packers – Damarious Randall, Arizona State
31. New Orleans Saints – Stephone Anthony, Clemson
32. New England Patriots – Malcom Brown, Texas

USC WR Nelson Agholor headed to the NFL

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On a day when a number of players are both leaving and entering the college football universe, USC has found a way to be on both sides of the news cycle. First, Encino, Calif., safety Marvin Tell and Riverside, Calif., athlete Ykili Ross committed to USC during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and then junior wide receiver Nelson Agholor donated his scholarship to one of the newest Trojans by declaring for the NFL Draft.

“These past three years at USC have been a blessing, along with a lot of my life. I am very grateful to have had the coaches and staff members of this prestigious university in my life,” Agholor said in a statement. “Because of these men and women, I feel prepared to follow my dreams into the NFL. Thank you to the Trojan Family for allowing me to become one of your own.”

The only player in USC history to rank among the top eight wide receivers and top seven punt returners, the Tampa native caught 179 passes for 2,571 yards and 20 touchdowns and his four punt return touchdowns are a school record. Agholor’s 104 receptions this season rank third on the school’s all-time list.

Agholor joins teammate¬†Leonard Williams¬†among Trojans declaring early for the NFL Draft. Even without its top pass catcher and defensive lineman,¬†Steve Sarkisian‘s USC team is expected to contend for a Pac-12 South title – and beyond – in 2015.

With Cody Kessler back in 2015, USC thinking about College Football Playoff

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Following a nailbiter of a win in the Holiday Bowl against Nebraska, USC quarterback Cody Kessler intends to return for his final season with the Trojans. Kessler announced his decision to return for the 2015 season when meeting with the media following the victory in San Diego.

Kessler passed for 3,826 yards and 39 touchdowns with just five interceptions during his junior season for USC. Those are typically numbers that throw a quarterback into the Heisman Trophy conversation, but Kessler could have used a couple of more wins on the year to make that a reality. However, if he is going to coming back in 2015 then he odds are very good he will be considered one of the top Heisman Trophy candidates next season with those kinds of numbers at USC.

Kessler also mentioned the chance to compete for a national championship, which USC could be in a position to compete for under Steve Sarkisian, his second season on the job. USC has plenty of first-team talent, and the roster will continue to get deeper now that the sanction phase is behind the program. That appeared to be the case for the Trojans this season; plenty of talent, but not enough depth.

Kessler will have an offensive line protecting him that was young this season. Another year to grow together as a unit could be beneficial. Kessler will also look to have the bulk of his supporting cast back next season as well, including wide receiver Juju Smith. Veteran wide receiver Nelson Agholor is receiving information regarding his NFL Draft stock before making his decision. Running back Javorius Allen is also awaiting NFL feedback before making his decision. If Agholor and Allen decide to come back to USC in 2015, the Trojans could be very dangerous on offense.

CFT Previews: The National University Holiday Bowl

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WHO: No. 24 USC (8-4) vs. Nebraska (9-3)

WHAT: The 37th National University Holiday Bowl

WHERE: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

WHEN: 8:00 p.m. ET Dec. 27 on ESPN

THE SKINNY:¬†Nebraska goes into this postseason match-up with an interim coaching situation following the removal of Bo Pelini as head coach. The Huskers have since hired Mike Riley from Oregon State, although he will not coach this game. He should, however, be familiar with Nebraska’s opponent. The Huskers take on USC, with Nebraska looking for its first victory against the Trojans in the small history of the series.

Steve Sarkisian‘s offense will look to find success through the air. USC quarterback Cody Kessler passed for 3,505 yards and 36 touchdowns with just four interceptions this season.¬†Nebraska’s pass defense ranks 27th in the nation with just 12 touchdown passes allowed and 12 interceptions. But they have not faced a passing offense like USC’s. Nelson Agholor and JuJu Smith are a solid 1-2 punch as targets, and running back Javorious Allen is a 1,300-yard rusher with the ability to catch and run as well.

Of course, Nebraska has a pretty good running back too. When healthy, Ameer Abdullah is one of the best running backs in the country. Injuries have slowed him down a bit this season, but Abdullah has had time to get ready for the game and should be expected to carry the bulk of the load on offense for Nebraska. The Huskers also bring Randy Gregory as a defensive force to be reckoned with.

THE PREDICTION: USC 31, Nebraska 23