Every Tuesday I take a look through my notebook from the games I’ve sat and watched over the previous weekend and highlight a few things I wrote down. There may be some things you missed, some players who stood out for good or bad reasons, or even just some things I’m going to keep my eye on more closely when I get into detailed scouting on certain prospects.
What I can tell you is there’ll be very little rhyme or reason as to the games I’ve chosen to watch, or indeed as to what I choose to comment on.
So let’s get into it shall we?
Coastal Carolina v Kansas
Let’s start with the Kansas Jayhawks on this one shall we, as frankly there really isn’t much to write home about on what still looks to be a talent-depleted team. They ran the ball reasonably well and fought for 60 minutes but I’m not convinced there’s any NFL talent on this roster.
I liked the speed shown by QB Jason Bean but he’s nowhere near a good enough passer to be considered as a quarterback by NFL teams. He might be a candidate to move to running back or even be used as a return specialist – if he wanted to.
On defense, Kyron Johnson was the only one who really stood out. He’s been named on the Senior Bowl watchlist and his quickness off the line of scrimmage as well as his ability to read plays – making a great tackle on an option route being one moment that stood out in the 3rd quarter – showed me why.
A lot of the hype around Coastal Carolina starts with quarterback Grayson McCall. I love the personality and leadership, and he runs this option-heavy offense very well in consistently making good decisions as to where the ball needs to go. I also saw some evidence of him working through his progressions as a passer on a couple of occasions.
But all this is against an overmatched opponent and while working in an offense that features a heavy dose of the run game given the strengths of its offensive line. Coastal Carolina have clearly got something good going but given the teams they came up against last year and will again this, I’m not necessarily going to be impressed by a 70% completion percentage and a high TD-INT ratio.
In this game, and let’s just stress that for a second – I’m talking about this one game here – I didn’t see any difficult, deep, or highlight reel throws. You know, the sort you see NFL quarterbacks making every week. On the basis of this performance, I’m not drinking the McCall Kool-Aid just yet.
The other player I really focussed in on from a scouting perspective in this game was WR Jaivon Heiligh. Heiligh catches every ball thrown his way and runs some very precise and neat routes too. He finished up with 122 yards and a TD in this game and while he wasn’t asked to make any Khalil Shakir-esque catches (check out 5 things I wish I’d watched below if you’ve not seen these already) he just looked polished and sharp, able to create the separation he needed off the line of scrimmage to be in good positions to make all his grabs.
There were a few others names on this Coastal Carolina squad that jumped out to me through the game that I need to take a deeper look at. TE Isaiah Likely made some good catches and was very active as a blocker too; LB Teddy Gallagher made a number of impact plays and key tackles – appearing to diagnose the game very well; and DB Enock Makonzo also stood out with some key tackles and good coverage throughout the game.
Let’s hope this team makes it to a decent bowl game!
Michigan v Washington
Let’s start with the standout player from this game, and likely top 15 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson. He finished with 2.5 sacks and proved difficult for Washington to block on pretty much every play, that’s how disruptive he was.
I’ll be fair to the Washington offensive line here – 1.5 of those sacks were on plays where the QB held onto the ball longer than he should have done, but the athletic motor on Hutchinson meant he kept going and found his way to the quarterback.
The other sack was such a great play, and was up against Washington’s highly-rated LT Jaxson Kirkland too (more on Kirkland shortly). He ran a bull rush to start with, pushing Kirkland back towards his QB, and then used an exceptional swim move to swat Kirkland out of his way as he rushed to the QB.
Hutchinson has all the tools to succeed in the NFL as a pass rusher, and showed in this game that he can play the run too.
On to Washington OT Jaxson Kirkland then. I’ve seen a number of people on Twitter sharing the clip of Kirkland being beaten by Hutchinson on the play I described above and suggesting that the offensive tackle had a poor game.
I’m not about to tell you that Kirkland was perfect in this game – he also got beaten easily late in the 4th quarter by David Ojabo in an obvious passing situation, but he played almost as well as could be expected against a very good defense and a very good player in Hutchinson.
I spotted another blown assignment that let Hutchinson make a tackle in the backfield on a run play, but I can’t be sure whether that was Kirkland or the LG. But he also negated Hutchinson at times, and aside from the one Ojabo play, I didn’t see anyone else get the better of him at any point.
A few others stood out in this game. The two Michigan running backs had career games that are worthy of a mention – so my congratulations go out to Haskins and Corum aka. Thunder and Lightning.
Edefuan Ulofoshio was in on a lot of tackles – at least in part due to the fact that he’s a good reader of the game, but also due to the fact that the defensive line in front of him appeared not to know how to tackle a running back.
Trent McDuffie was barely tested in coverage, but showed he can tackle too. I’ll be interested to see how he fares against an opponent that actually throws the ball – though with Washington’s defensive line being so porous vs the run, I’m not sure why any team would try to take on McDuffie or Kyler Gordon by throwing the ball too often.
Also a quick word on Daxton Hill, the Michigan safety – I didn’t focus on him too much in this game but I liked what I saw when I did pick him out. Definitely one for me to watch more of.
5 THINGS I WISH I WATCHED…BUT DIDN’T
- My Friday Five at 5 prediction coming true as Arkansas routed #15 ranked Texas at Razorback Stadium. Looks as though the Longhorns defense couldn’t stop the run all day – Arkansas amassed 333 yards on the ground – and couldn’t get going offensively themselves.
- Speaking of teams who ran well – how about the Oregon Ducks and CJ Verdell? 161 yards and 2 TDs for Verdell, plus 3 catches including another TD as well, against #3 Ohio State. This has got to hurt the Buckeyes.
- Sticking with the running back theme, Chris Rodriguez Jr. of Kentucky had quite a career day against Missouri – 206 yards and 3 TDs on the ground, almost singlehandedly carrying the Wildcats past the Tigers.
- Tennessee losing at home to Pittsburgh…#5 Texas A&M sneaking past Colorado 10-7…Miami (remember 10 days ago when we all thought they could maybe beat Alabama!) squeaking past Appalachian State 25-23. And yes I know that’s 3 games in one bullet point – but I had to save the best for last…
- And finally…did you see the couple of catches by Boise State receiver Khalil Shakir? I’m not even sure this one below was his best of the game!