Pigskin Paul Guillemette, GBN Associate Editor, previews the players he will be watching in college football this weekend ….
What Caught My Eye Week 6, 2021
Some rather “interesting” developments amongst some of the best football programs in the country were pretty hard to miss last weekend. First of all was the end to the longest Win streak in college football when Texas A&M Head Coach JIMBO FISHER did indeed pick off his old boss, NICK SABAN, in Aggieland. What made it so impressive for me was the fact that JIMBO FISHER and his crew got it done with a Redshirt Freshman QB who had looked pretty bad the preceding two games. But ZACH CALZADA had his best game yet, and did enough to lead his team to a 41-38 victory. Meanwhile, earlier in the day the Red River Rivalry was played in the venerable old, though refurbished, Cotton Bowl. TEXAS came out like a twister on the prairie and looked like they were about to bury the Sooners after 1 Quarter. However, LINCOLN RILEY had the stones and smarts to pull a rattled RATTLER and go with super frosh CALEB WILLIAMS. The pieces all fell into place and the Sooners prevailed 55-48 in an exciting stunner. RATTLER had looked less than superior in most of the Sooners early season games, despite leading the team to a 5-0 record heading into this one. Going forward, the question is going to be which QB starts against TCU this coming weekend? Looks like WILLIAMS is the man, and if it is WILLIAMS, how soon might we see RATTLER’s name in the infamous Transfer Portal.
As a quick aside, I find it clever and humorous that the folks at DR. PEPPER have the folks in Fansville facing issues with the Transfer Portal themselves. Timely humor, I will call it.
#6 BRYAN COOK S Cincinnati 6’1/208 I have previously stated that I felt the Bearcats CB duo of GARDNER/BRYANT was the best in college football this season. After watching the latest Cincinnati Win, I also want to mention that COOK is having a really solid year at a Safety spot for them, and should have a fair chance at being drafted, albeit late, in 2022. He excels in-the-box, but has decent cover skills. COOK displays a preference for man-cover, versus zone. He showed once again that he has a nose for the ball, and is a fundamentally strong and willing tackler. He spent a lot of time sitting behind FORREST & WIGGINS (both now in the NFL) in 2020, but has been a full-time starter, and a good one, this season. Against Temple, he was credited with 6 tackles, 4 solo, 1 sack & 1 TFL. He came to Cincinnati as a transfer, up from the ranks of Howard. He has the style of play that should also lend itself to valuable time of various Special Teams units.
#5 JAHAN DOTSON WR/RS Penn State 5’11/182 For me, this versatile weapon, screams out as a potential slot receiver in the NFL. He has shown the speed to go deep, and the quickness to get separation on shorter patterns as well. DOTSON may be even more of a deep threat than we realize right now in Penn State’s pop-gun Offense. He is also a legit threat as a return man. Once QB CLIFFORD went down to injury, the State Offense was doomed for the rest of the game at IOWA. But DOTSON hung in there, finishing the game with 8 catches for 48 yards. Without CLIFFORD, the vanilla Penn State Offense was doomed, and so was DOTSON as a weapon. The talented, experienced IOWA secondary pretty much shut him down in the second half. However, DOTSON is the real deal and should show out even more prominently in most NFL Offenses. With his all-around athleticism in a more wide open offensive scheme than he currently operates in I see his game easily adapting to the pro game, and he will go on Day Two of the 2022 Draft with a productive pro future ahead of him.
#17 ARNOLD EBIKETIE ER/OB Penn State 6’3/256 Just when it looked like the Edge-player cupboard might be bare for the Nittany Lions after losing OWEH & TONEY in the 2021 Draft, EBIKETIE transferred in from Temple, and presto, they have a new sack artist in their defensive arsenal. ARNOLD often lines up like a DE, but can also play back in a stand-up stance. He has added some weight, to get over 250, but I still fail to see him as a down-DE moving forward. What the added weight does do is add a little more strength and power to his game. He uses that, along with his quickness off the snap, to really pressure the outside on some solid LT’s currently suiting up in the Big Ten. Watching him against Iowa, I feel safe saying that if QB CLIFFORD had not gotten hurt and forced out of the game before half-time, I think Penn State would have scored another 7-10 points and won that contest. EBIKETIE had a very active and productive game against the Hawkeyes, tallying 9 tackles, 5 of them solo, including 3.5 TFL, and 1 Sack. He is playing well for the NITTANY LIONS and I feel he will end up being taken on Day Two of the 2022 Draft.
#25 B.J. FOSTER S Texas 6’2/205 FOSTER has been an all-around defender that has made some big contributions to the Longhorns Defense during his 4 year career in Austin. Every time I have watched the Longhorns in the past 3 years, this guy has been flying around the field making tackles and breaking up pass attempts. His size does indeed translate into some bone jarring tackles for his team. I think it would fair to say he displays a tough, aggressive playing style. Despite losing a game in which the Longhorns were outscored 55-48, I can honestly say that I felt the Texas defense put some major hurt on some of the Sooners receiving corps. OVERSHOWN & FOSTER were the two leading defensive performers to my eyes. FOSTER recorded 8 tackles, 6 solo, 1 TFL and 1 INT. He also had a fumble recovery in the 3rd Quarter to temporarily hold off the Sooners rally. This guy looks athletic to me, and I think any workout numbers he posts at the Combine or his Pro Day will go a long way to determining his Draft section slot. I think he is underrated right now as a prospect by too many personnel people. He’s clearly a Day Three prospect, but I say early, in my scouting notebook.
#0 DEVIN LLOYD IB Utah 6’3/235 LLOYD is being. widely recognized as one of the best all-around LB’s in the 2022 Draft crop. The one-time WR has grown into a strong, athletic defender who plays the run and pass with equal effectiveness. LLOYD leads their Defense both physically and emotionally. He showed his all-around skills against USC with 8 Tackles, 6 of them solo, 1 TFL & 1 PD. He’s also considered to be quite a cerebral player with a very high FBI. I was quite taken with his smooth drops as he floated around in coverage situations. Then on the next running play, he was sticking his nose right in the middle of the action. This guy is an all-purpose LB and could start as a pro for a good long time. LLOYD has a serious chance to be the first “total LB ” to be drafted in 2022, but chances are, the desire to find Edge-Rushers will dominate Round One. Look for LLOYD to get an early Day 2 call, in Round 2.
#15 DRAKE LONDON WR Southern Cal 6’5/215 As I expected, despite a bumper crop of wideouts in the 2021 NFL Draft, the new group of standout wideouts is forging to the forefront in Draft Prospect land. LONDON led the SoCal 2020 receiving corps with just over 500 yards on his 33 receptions. Against a solid Utah Defense last Saturday, LONDON pulled in 16 receptions for 162 yards and 1 TD. The long, tall LONDON is a superior athlete who can do it all, and with style. He is sure handed and can stretch the field if he gets into space. He’ll be draft eligible in 2022, and given perhaps another coaching staff shakeup, it wouldn’t be hard to understand why he might be ready to move up to play-for-pay next year. He is a human highlight reel most games, and is a dependable player with soft hands and speed to outrun just about everyone once he gets his long legs into high gear. After telling you wonderful things about BURKS/Arkansas recently, I have to admit that I might place LONDON ahead of BURKS into the No. 1 WR spot. So let’s clearly, and unequivocally, project the MEGATRON-like LONDON, as the top dog receiver in the next Draft. Everything he does is just, plain SMOOTH!
#0 DeMARVION OVERSHOWN LB Texas 6’4/217 This long, lanky athlete had one of the most dominant first-halfs I have ever seen by a defender. Roaming the field from his ILB spot, he had a Sack on the Oklahoma first-possession, followed by a blocked punt, and a 2nd Quarter Fumble Recovery. He also looked quite mobile dropping into shallow pass coverage. By the end of the game, he had recorded 8 tackles, 5 of them solo, 2 TFL, 1 Sack, 2 QBH’s, and 1 blocked punt. He can do it all, and with a high FBI on his resume’ as well. Adding some meat to his frame might be needed for the pro game, but then again, if he tests fast enough, he might just be well suited for that hybrid-SS/LB spot. He reminds me a lot of, though a longer version of, JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH at Notre Dame last season. For an NFL team with a truly creative Defensive Coordinator, OVERSHOWN should be a solid Day Two Draftee. He’s awful long and lean, but he plays hard and has the energy to put in a full day’s work on game days. He should hear his name called on Day Two of the 2022 Draft.
#12 ALEC PIERCE WR Cincinnati 6’2/213 Let me begin here by saying LUKE FICKELL is NOT leading a 5-0 team, with Wins over Indiana & Notre Dame, with smoke and mirrors. And tho DEFENSE is his forte’, the Offense is developing nicely and has a solid pro prospect QB in RIDDER. However, some guys like PIERCE have also developed and gotten better every year. PIERCE is a solid athlete, and has improved in his route running, catching fundamentals, and FBI. He also looks faster to me, after the catch, this season. He had 17 receptions last season. This season thru 5 Games, he has 21. Against Temple, he had 6 receptions for 93 yards and 1 TD. I really like his look this season. He’s a serious weapon in their balanced Offense. I don’t see him being drafted until Day 3, but at this pace of play, I don’t see him going undrafted, which I might have projected going into the 2021 season. Nice work upping your game Mr. Pierce. He surely has the size and athleticism to contribute on Special Teams units, while serving as a versatile weapon as a No. 4 receiver at the next level.
#9 KEDON SLOVIS QB Southern Cal 6’3/215 As several top QB’s have already fallen in the estimation of many pro scouts, I do NOT think SLOVIS will suffer that fate for multiple teams still looking for their Franchise QB. He is a long, lean guy with an above average arm and the grit to get up, dust himself off, and return to the huddle after taking poundings all too often. As a true Freshman, he stepped into the starter’s role and completed 72% of his throws. He completed 67% of his throws last year, and was selected 1st Team All-Pac 12. He was not the reason the Trojans fell, at home, to the Utes last Saturday. He was 33/53- 62%- 401 yds with 2 TD’s and 1 INT. And he did that with a ton of pocket pressure applied by the Utah Defense. He stands in against the rush, but also shows the athleticism to move around and extend plays. I am still a big fan of Slovis! His numbers should be quite good by the end of this season. Given the pending hire of another new Head Coach for the Trojans next year, and the physical beating he is taking behind a barely adequate OL, I would think it quite likely that he’ll throw his name in the QB pool for the 2022 Draft.
#1 JAMESON WILLIAMS WR Alabama 6’2/190 It’s not a common occurrence when a player from a perennial football power transfers to another power program, but WILLIAMS made the jump from Ohio State to ‘Bama. And given the departure of WADDLE/SMITH from the Crimson Tide to the NFL this year, coaches in Tuscaloosa are delighted to have WILLIAMS on board. He’s their new number one target and deep threat. In fact, I see this guy creeping into Round One consideration as he posts some impressive numbers this Fall. WILLIAMS certainly did his best to keep ‘Bama unbeaten Saturday night in Aggieland. In this game, he posted 10 receptions for 146 yards and a TD. For a guy that was just a backup part of a very athletic Buckeyes wideout group, WILLIAMS has been an immediate star in the SEC. It should be fun watching to see how high his Draft stock rises in the remainder of the season. Certainly, already a Top 100, 2nd Day draftee. But can he elevate to Round One? I think he has a shot if he keeps up his current pace.
#8 PERRION WINFREY DT Oklahoma 6’3/290 It feels like most of the scouting community luvs this young man’s athleticism, but isn’t exactly awed by what he shows from a productivity standpoint. He’s up to 290 lbs.+ but is far from being a “big body”. He doesn’t shove blockers aside, but I think a really good NFL DL coach could help there with better hand use to shed blockers, rather than dance with them. Right now, I consider him a serious “flash” player of whom you could put together quite the highlight reel. But then he just disappears, getting caught up in the pile of blockers in the Interior of the OL. His versatility, and potential, are summed up quite efficiently by his stats against Texas: 3 Tackles, all solo, 2 TFL, 1 Sack, and 1 QBH. I think he might stay inside as a pro, but with a large Nose Tackle type playing beside him in Zero technique. His body and athleticism are geared to today’s pro game, but to stand out at the next level, he has got to produce a bit more. I suppose he could play DE in a base 3-4 scheme, but feel like that would somewhat diminish his potential impact in the opponent’s backfield. Not quite a first round performer right now, but with some first round attributes. If he goes pro, I see him in Round 2, after some exciting work at the Combine.
#26 KENNEDY BROOKS RB Oklahoma 5’11/215 BROOKS was a bell-cow in the win over Texas. He only lacks initial explosion to be superior. But he saved the Sooners bacon with 217 yards and 2 TD’s, at 8.7 ypc. Day 3 guy.
#2 MICHEAL CLEMONS DE/ER Texas A&M 6’5/270 Another one of many guys that seem to me to have been with their college programs forever. He has shown some solid skills, including the all important pass-rush ability, but has never been considered a star at A&M. Could be valuable enough to get drafted late.
#8 MARCUS JONES WR/RS/CB Houston 5’8/185 He may be short, but he’s long on talent and explosiveness. His versatility will make him very attractive by Round 5. Multi-purpose standouts have roster spots in the pro game.
#8 XAVIER WORTHY WR/RS Texas 6’1/160 *TRUE FROSH* How can I even mention mention a true freshman? How can I not when, in the big showdown with the Sooners, he has 9 receptions for 261-yards and 2 TD’s. No one could cover him, nor keep up with his blazing speed.
I was taken aback by late breaking news Sunday night that JON GRUDEN was stepping down as head Coach of the Raiders. Social Media has clearly exposed another bitter, hateful person that stands for anything but inclusion. I will be watching this story as it will no doubt carry on for a while in the news. Good luck to the Raiders, who beyond their stunning new home in Vegas, just can’t seem to catch a break. MIKE MAYOCK will clearly carry an even bigger load going forward. But will he continue on, or leave after this season.
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