Huff, other seniors highlighted in Mobile
(The Register-Guard) There will be plenty of time for scouts to dissect the record 98 underclassmen who declared for the NFL draft this year.
Today belongs to players like Oregon's Josh Huff, who used all four years of their college eligibility to mature and develop into worthy pro prospects.
The Ducks' star receiver will represent the program in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., which kicks off at 1 p.m. today on the NFL Network.
Huff -- an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection after setting Oregon single-season records for receiving yards (1,140 yards) and touchdowns (12) -- has been receiving some positive reviews during practices leading up to the annual North vs. South showcase.
After Oregon's victory over Texas at the Alamo Bowl, offensive coordinator Scott Frost said Huff would have had a more consistent and productive career for the Ducks if not for a crack in his tibia during his sophomore season and some missed time due to a hyper-extended knee as a junior.
"I honestly think you would have seen same thing he did this year," Frost said. "If he would have stayed healthy, you would have saw this for three years."
CBS Sports Rob Rang, who was been covering the Senior Bowl workouts, spotlighted Huff during one of his practice reports.
"Huff can make the spectacular play, demonstrating the ability to track the ball over his shoulder on vertical routes as well as twirling to make acrobatic catches against tight coverage," Rang wrote. "He also dropped a beautiful deep ball down late in practice down the right sideline and too often was knocked off his feet by aggressive cornerbacks."
Huff has been catching passes from North team quarterbacks Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Stephen Morris (Miami) and Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech).
The cornerbacks on the South team Huff has been competing against are not considered to be in the class of Ifo Ekpre-Olomu or Terrance Mitchell, who Huff battled against in practice the past three years at Oregon.
"Steady improvement, greatness doesn't happen overnight," Huff
The Houston native will forever be a part of Civil War lore after catching three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 29 seconds left, during the Ducks' 36-35 victory over Oregon State.
Wide receiver is considered to be a deep position this year, but Huff is still projected to be drafted between the third and fifth rounds.
"I'm just so happy for him. He's a son to me. I'm not just saying that, I care about that kid so much," Frost said. "What he has gone through early in his life and at Oregon battling injuries, I'm just so happy for him."
Oregon defensive tackle Taylor Hart was also invited to the Senior Bowl but is unable to participate due to a foot injury. He is expected to be ready for the NFL Combine next month.
Mariota a Heisman favorite in Vegas
The wise guys believe Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is a wise choice to win the 2014 Heisman Trophy. Bovada Las Vegas has already released odds on who will be named the most outstanding player in college football next season.
Not surprisingly, Florida State's Jameis Winston -- the reigning Heisman winner who led the Seminoles to the BCS national championship -- is the favorite at 2-to-1.
Mariota, a strong contender for the Heisman last season until suffering a knee injury before the Ducks' loss to Stanford, has the second-best odds at 7/2.
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (4/1), Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (5/1) and Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (6/1) round out the top five.
The other Pac-12 candidates listed include UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (12/1). The Ducks play the Bruins at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 11.
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