NEPD Staff Writer: Matthew Jones
In a rematch of their season openers, 6-6 Iowa State will attempt to defeat 10-3 Tulsa for the second time the season. Although both teams are ranked among the top 40 defensively in terms of points per game allowed, the last contest was a 38-23 affair. Although the possibility of another high-scoring matchup exists, the top four prospects in the Liberty Bowl this year are all defensive players. Read on for more information regarding this game’s most notable players.
DT Jake McDonough, Iowa St. (6’4″, 290)
McDonough’s frame makes him a potential 3-4 defensive end at the next level. Weight has fluctuated between 280 and 300 pounds. Typically plays the one-technique for the Cyclones; impressed earlier in the season when he got the better of Iowa center James Ferentz. Not very productive.
IB A.J. Klein, Iowa St. (6’1″, 245)
Tackling machine who recorded over 100 tackles in each of the past two seasons; stands at 98 tackles prior to tonight’s game. Was named to the 2012 All-Big 12 First Team this season and last. Slightly undersized but makes up for it in range; Klein should draw interest late, especially for his value in coverage (four career interceptions returned for TDs.)
DE Cory Dorris, Tulsa (6’3″, 260)
Started 50 games at Tulsa. Earned a spot on the 2012 All-C-USA First Team this season after recording 49 tackles, ten tackles for loss, and six sacks. Also presents special-teams value (blocked two kicks this year.) Lack of explosion/athleticism may prevent him from being drafted or interesting 3-4 defenses.
FS Dexter McCoil, Tulsa (6’3″, 220)
Four-year starter. Massive safety prospect who gained 45 pounds since arriving at Tulsa and may have to convert to strong safety or a “rover” spot at the next level. Named to the All-C-USA First Team this season after making four interceptions and adding 85 tackles on the season. Intercepted six passes in each of the previous two seasons.