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The Voodoo Five Scouting Report: Houston Leanin’ on O’Korn

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Houston has a stellar quarterback, absolute studs at wide receiver and a solid defensive front to boot. Can the Cougars overcome 2013’s late season skid to replicate last season's overall success?

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Skip Holtz did not target and chase John O’Korn out of Ft. Lauderdale powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. Why? Beats me. O’Korn was 6’3, 205 lbs. coming out of high school in 2013, so obviously the Florida native's stature was not the issue. O’Korn was not fast enough to run Holtz’s spread attack you say?

Then ESPN, now 247Sports analyst Corey Long noted this about O’Korn boosting his stock following the 2013 Florida State Finals,

"O’Korn has plenty of offers and is committed to Houston, but he admittedly wants more. In Friday’s 41-25 win over Tallahassee Lincoln, he made his case well with 339 passing yards and two touchdowns. His accuracy is still a question mark (he was 11 of 26 on Friday) but his 95 total rushing yards with a 51-yard rushing touchdown adds an appealing dimension."

The thirty-eighth ranked quarterback in ESPN’s class of 2013 certainly possessed all the ‘tools’ Division I programs tend to seek, and while you’re at it have a quick peek at the quarterback listed one spot above O’Korn. Yes, that is the Bulls’ starting quarterback Mike White. ESPN’s scouting report even noted this,

"O'Korn is a guy that has tools and is only going to get better. Best football is definitely in front of him."

I swear Skip Holtz listened to Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ in succession until he believed he embodied the hook, "Ohhhhh oh, we’re half way there, ohhhhhhh oh, livin’ on a prayer, take my hand we will make it I swear!". Anywho, while Skippy was busy thanking all the players for the ‘great effort’ after another embarrassing loss, O’Korn left for greener pastures and a better opportunity with Houston under head coach Tony Levine. Can’t say I blame him.

O’Korn returns as the Cougars starting quarterback after airing it out for 3,117 yards (58.1%) as a true freshman a season ago, taking the crown as the AAC’s top freshman. O’Korn received the nod after David Piland’s career was cut short following another concussion in UH’s 2013 season opener against Southern. O’Korn’s 28 touchdown mark was only outdone by former Louisville, now Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater. O’Korn, though hot early, hit a rough patch down the stretch against more worthy adversaries in Cincinnati, Louisville and UCF.

2013_houston_quarterback_stats___sb_nation_voodoofive.com_by_matthew_manuri

In the backfield, sophomore Kenneth Farrow is returning as the projected starter at running back after finishing 2013 with 514 rushing yards on 103 attempts (5.0 yds/carry), and breaking the plane six times during the Cougars 8-5 (3-5) campaign. But, Farrow will certainly face some stiff competition for the lead role. Last years #3, sophomore Ryan Jackson, jaunted for 661 yards on 139 touches (4.8 yds/carry) and six touchdowns in 2013. Jackson is a true home run threat with blazing 10.3-second 100-meter dash speed and will be nipping at Farrow’s heals.

The wide receiver unit is by far UH’s strongest offensive group. Deontay Greenberry, the first five-star recruit in school history, finished 2013 with 82 receptions for 1,202 yards (14.7 yds/rec.) and 11 touchdowns. Greenberry finished 2013 ranked 15th nationally in receiving yards and there are no signs of the junior slowing down. Former quarterback Greg Ward has made the transition to wide receiver this spring to solidify Houston’s premier receiving unit. The Cougars receiving core is amongst the best in the country.

UH’s defense will be stout with returning defensive leader linebacker Derrick Mathews. The Cougars also return talented safety Trevon Stewart to sure up Houston’s defensive soft spot in the secondary. Houston does return one the nation’s top ball hawks in Adrian McDonald, who finished 2013 tied for the 8th spot nationally with six interceptions.

Houston will be a tough matchup for the Bulls when the Cougars travel to Tampa November 1st. I think the contest will be decided by the team entering the game with the most momentum. What say you Bulls Nation?