Opening Weekend Notes: A Scouts’ Take on College Footballs’ Opening Kickoff

Opening Weekend: Beginning of a Prospects’ Journey: Game Notes from week 1.

Week 1 recap: Your one stop shop for college football results and notes. You’ll notice since there are many more games Saturday that my notes are less thorough. I’ve simply shortened them. I was pretty hyped for Thursday night so I went crazy with notes but hopefully you enjoy.

 

Thursday, August 29th

North Carolina at (6) South Carolina

For most of the Tar Heels’ prospects, the opening night went as poorly as it could have from an NFL projection standpoint. Luckily, this is week one and ultimately one game should not make or break a prospect. Playing against higher competition, however, showed the limitations of some of this highly-regarded Tar Heels bunch.

QB Brynn Renner pretty much affirmed what most had thought about him: he projects as a late NFL draft pick due to a lack of NFL arm talent. With an average of 4.5 yards per completion and most of his throws coming <10 yards, Renner limits the offensive potential significantly. In the ACC and vs. most non-conference teams, Renner can manage the game enough and let the plus athletes around him do the heavy lifting. Unfortunately for the senior, he hasn’t progressed at all. He’s the exact same player from last year, showing poor velocity and similar lower body mechanics to last season.

LT James Hurst contained star DE Jadeveon Clowney from making the huge play, but the offense tried to completely avoid Clowney the entire game: They ran bootlegs away from him; 5 step drops featured a chip block on Hurst’s side. Hurst showed that he’s certainly an NFL prospect, but probably a RT at the next level. He’s a solid run blocker but doesn’t have the strength or quickness for LT.

TE Eric Ebron had the lone positive showing by making some tough catches down the seam of the defense. He’s a terrific athlete that also blocked Clowney on chips and 1-on-1 situations. His blocking ability and consistency of being a tough, over the middle receiver will firmly dictate how high he’s drafted. Right now I have him as a 2nd round prospect.

The Tar Heels defense really struggled. Star safety Tre Boston, CB Tim Scott and DE Kareem Martin had little effect on the game. Scott and Martin continued to show their issues, with Scott being unable to handle bigger receivers and Martin struggling with his first step and disengaging blockers. Boston may have had the most damaging night, however, as South Carolina RB Mike Davis sprinted by him easily for a 75 yard TD. There are now concerns over Boston’s top end speed and coverage ability.

South Carolina had a good but not great night. DE Jadeveon Clowney played well but had a lot of conditioning issues (he was one of many this weekend). DE Chaz Sutton was disruptive but his impact wasn’t huge. Connor Shaw played very well, and delivered a very good strike to start the game- a 65 yard td to Shaq Roland.

Ole Miss at Vandy

This was a fantastic game that was decided at the very end, but it wasn’t just good for fans, scouts should’ve noticed some solid performances as well.

Starting with Vandy, WR Jordan Matthews had a huge night, totaling 10 catches and 178 yards with a TD. Not only was he smooth and showed off his solid speed and long stride, he has dependable all night, catching with his hands in a diamond shape and extending his body when he needed to. There are still some questions of explosion, physicality and his concentration drops but if he continues to show this level of ability, those concerns won’t be nearly as loud.

The other star WR of the night was Ole Miss freshman Laquan Treadwell, who benefitted greatly from one of my personal favorite WRs, Donte Moncrief, who is a phenomenal blocker and forced the coverage to keep stud CB Andre Hal (who had a great game as well) on Moncrief AND a safety over the top. This freed Treadwell to catch a plethora of bubble screens and gain an easy 7 + yards every time.

Ole Miss defensive lineman CJ Johnson didn’t have a big impact in the stat book, but he was adequate at limiting the inside rushing of Vandy, as well as applying occasional pressure on Carta-Samuels.

 

Rutgers at Fresno St

A crazy score-fest, the two most visible prospects were Fresno QB Derek Carr and Rutgers WR Brandon Coleman. Derek Carr had another great statistical night, and he even broke his brothers’ career mark for passing yards, but a majority of his throws were <10 yards. On film, Carr shows poor footwork and often just throws the ball up to star WR Devante Adams. Carr didn’t show much progress because he didn’t need to. Rutgers gave him the underneath throws, and to his credit, Carr did well. My biggest concern for Carr is he rarely makes a read, and when he throws downfield, his lower body is often falling backwards, instead of firmly following through his motion.

WR Brandon Coleman was a star once again, but his numbers were better than his performance. He rounded off some routes and wasn’t completely dominant, but he was very good and continues to show his first round talent.

 

Friday, August 30th & Saturday, August 31st

Prospects that shined:

Buffalo OLB Kalil Mack

Florida DL Dominique Easley

Oregon TE Colt Lyerla

Virginia Tech CB Kyler Fuller, DE James Gayle, ILB Jack Taylor

Alabama ILB CJ Mosley

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd

LSU QB Zach Mettenberger, WRs Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr, S Craig Loston

TTU WR Ed Ward

 

Prospects that didn’t show improvement or struggled:

Georgia QB Aaron Murray

Alabama QB AJ McCarron, LT Cyrus Kouandijo

Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas

Ohio St LT Jack Mewhort

 

Players of the week:

Offense

Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater

Florida State QB Jameis Winston

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd

Georgia RB Todd Gurley

Ole Miss RB Jeff Scott

Fresno St WR Devante Adams

Rutgers WR Brandon Coleman

Vandy WR Jordan Matthews

Oregon TE Colt Lyerla

Defense

Clemson DE Vic Beasley

Oregon DE Taylor Hart

Minnesota DT Re’Shede Hageman

Florida DT Dominique Easley

Virginia Tech ILB Jack Taylor

Buffalo OLB Kalil Mack

Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller

Vandy CB Andre Hal

Oklahoma St CB Justin Gilbert

Fresno St S Derron Smith

 

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