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F10Y CFB Player to Watch: Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

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It’s Friday and we have all made it through to another week and we are on the verge of another weekend of college football!

And what does that mean? It means it’s time for another Player to Watch and this week we are focusing on Notre Dame tight end, Michael Mayer.

Keith whetted your appetite for Mayer in his excellent scouting notes review of the Irish’s game against BYU last weekend. Mayer had an excellent game, the best of his season so far – 11 catches for 118 yards, with a couple of touchdowns.

However, I’ll leave the one game scouting notes to Keith and I’ll get on with a deep dive on this talented tight end prospect…

Let’s go back to the start and find out who Michael Mayer is…

6’4, 265lb, Michael Mayer has always been a high flyer when it comes to football, a 5-star prospect out of Covington, Kentucky he attended Covington Catholic High School and he was the MVP on a team that won a Kentucky state championship in 2019.

Mayer was the 2019 Gatorade Kentucky Football Player of the Year and named the Kentucky Coaches Association Mr. Football in the same year. The accolades kept coming in 2020 as he was selected to the US Army All-American Bowl.

The recruiting process yielded an avalanche of offers from big, Power-5 schools; Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, LSU and of course, his home state of Kentucky, amongst many more. However, he chose to enrol at the most prestigious catholic university in the world and head to South Bend, Indiana.

Mayer was the number one player in Kentucky and the number two tight end in the country, so there is no wonder that he was so sought after.

Once on campus, Mayer began to make an impact almost immediately – He played 12 games in his Freshman season, he was starting by game two and scored a touchdown in game three. He really was Playing like a Champion from day one.

Ever since, Mayer has been one of the brightest tight end prospects in college football… Let’s dive into the tape to see why.

In the modern NFL, tight ends are versatile weapons and can be used in diverse ways in the passing game as well as being blockers in the run game too.

The bread and butter is the passing game and being that safety net for quarterbacks, which is the area of the game that I really feel Mayer excels in. I feel this gives him an excellent floor when entering the league, and as always there’s room to grow.

This first clip shows Mayer lining up in a traditional tight end alignment and making a nice catch with soft hands for a big gain. This from the Toledo game is 2021:

25 yards as easy as that. Ok, it is against Toledo and the defenders aren’t of the quality of Notre Dame’s more high-end opponents, but a nice release up the sideline, tracked the ball really nicely and brought it in easily.

We can see that Mayer isn’t a super-quick, jumbo receiver but he’s excellent at traditional tight end things. Which I think still valuable in today’s NFL.

Speaking of traditional tight end things…

As much as being a Travis Kelce or Kyle Pitts-type X-receiver masquerading as a tight end is fun, it is important to be able to run-block and be traditional, especially in an offense such as what the 49ers run with tight ends like George Kittle.

Mayer is certainly willing when it comes to run blocking. He motions across from the opposite side of the formation in this split-zone run, he opens up the lane to spring a big run, which is all very NFL run game, a team like the Rams run this kind of play a great deal, although this wouldn’t be Matthew Stafford running down the sideline.

Again, there is the caveat of Toledo and Mayer could be more aggressive in the block. However, you can see that he knows what he’s doing; he activates his hips and gets his hands underneath the pads of the defender to leverage him out of the way.

Whilst Mayer can do a lot of the traditional tight end things, he can also split out, off the offensive line, a la Kelce or Pitts. He isn’t the athlete of either of these two, he’s not even close, to be honest, but it’s nice to see this in his locker, big slot receiver’s are in vogue right now.

What I like about this clip from last year’s game against Cincinnati, is that he can make a long reception, in traffic with defenders diving and ready to lay a big hit on him. He is also able to run down the seam and show his physicality to shrug away the defender and create some separation.

We can see this kind of physicality on show in last year’s Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State.

The added layer from the previous clip to this one is that we can add in that Mayer is a red zone weapon. Big bodies can be great in the red zone; they can body up smaller defenders and box out players on well-placed throws that only he can bring in. Mix in the fact that he can be used in a variety of ways – Y-tight end, in-line tight end, H-back and Notre Dame do so here.

The Irish are in heavy personnel, with 3 tight ends in 13 personnel which forces the Cowboys into base defense and expecting a run. There are only two men out on routes but two crossing routes put the defensive backs in a bind and Mayer has leverage and uses his physicality to get separation and it’s an easy catch and score.

Mayer also scored a second touchdown against Oklahoma State too, another red zone score which again demonstrates what his value will likely be in the NFL.

Big bodies over the middle in the red zone will never not be an option for quarterbacks. Mayer shows his hands again here with an excellent diving catch. He also shows a little bit of wiggle with a drop of a shoulder, and mix that with a nice play design and a high quality tight end means it’s going to be a touchdown as long as the QB makes the throw.

As is tradition for this article, there’s always got to be a but, the area of improvement.

It’s tough to show in one clip but I feel like you could see it in every clip I’ve got here but it centres around his athleticism. As much as Mayer can clearly threaten down the seam and he can make plays in the deep portion of the field, I feel like his lack of juice could limit his ceiling and perhaps the separation that he could attain in the NFL.

Can this get better? Maybe marginally but he is what he is at this point and he has the ready-made body of an NFL tight end which isn’t going to drastically change.

However, at the end of the day, I still feel he has a bright future in the pros. 

So what can we expect this weekend against Stanford in one of college football’s most traditional rivalry games?

Well, Stanford isn’t having a great season so far, with a record of 1-4 in a fun Pac-12 conference, their only win coming against Colgate in their opening game. On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame has had a little bit of a resurgence after a somewhat sticky start to the season.

Stanford doesn’t really have any great safety or linebacker who will be tasked with guarding Mayer and attempting to take him out of the game. So perhaps the best comparison and battle could be offense vs. offense, and perhaps tight end vs. tight end.

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Stanford has their own exciting tight end in Benjamin Yurosek. Yurosek isn’t of the same calibre of Mayer, albeit he was a 4-star prospect out of high school. Last season Yurosek had 658 yards and 3 touchdowns to Mayer’s 840 and 7. Not a million miles away, especially when considering Notre Dame was 11-2 and was ranked #8 in the country, whereas Stanford, well, was not.

I expect Notre Dame to win but Stanford’s offense can put up some points with Tanner McKee under center, who, by the way, is the best QB in this game on Saturday.

After this season, what can we expect some draft weekend?

Carrying on from earlier in the article, I fully expect the trend of Mayer being a high-flyer to continue come the spring.

As shown above, he is a plus-pass catcher and he will be ready to contribute on an NFL offense immediately. He has an NFL body and he passes the tight end eye-test, both on the field and also in the mugshot too. Just check out his Notre Dame bio, just look at that square jaw and thick neck, those are NFL traits as much as the height, weight and on-field play. 

In terms of tight end, the college football landscape and in particular the media coverage is dominated by Georgia guys like Darnell Washington and most of all, Brock Bowers. However, Bowers isn’t draft eligible until next year and Mayer should be talked about just as much, I feel he just doesn’t bring the monster, highlight plays that you see from Bowers on social media.

This shouldn’t be thought of as a negative though, Mayer does a lot of things well and he’s one of the best out there. Mayer is likely to be the first tight end off the board in April and that should mean he’s a first round player.

So to conclude…

Mayer is a traditional tight end prospect who has the skill set to fit into a lot of offenses around the NFL. He can improve in run blocking and maybe get a little faster and stronger in a professional weight programme but I do think we will hear the phrase NFL ready when the calendar turns to 2023 and we are in the thick of the pre-draft cycle.

Mayer reminds me of a player like Hunter Henry; a big body who can be a safe pair of hands over the middle and down the seams, he can be a serviceable blocker and a red zone weapon. One for your fantasy teams and for a long career in the NFL, another great prospect out of Notre Dame and one I am looking forward to watching this weekend.

Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90

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2022 CFB: Week 6 Winners & Losers

Week 6 of the college football season is in the books and it feels like we are really into the thick of the season now, with storylines developing, draft stocks rising and falling and some huge performances being put in by players and teams around the country.

Let’s get straight into some of those big performances with the Winners section first…

Winners – Lee Wakefield (@Wakefield90)

Jalen Mayden, San Diego State

This is quite a story and the reason why this is the first name in the winners’ column today!

So Mayden transferred to San Diego State in 2021 as a backup QB from Mississippi State but after not cracking the starting lineup and the arrival of Braxton Burmeister, he switched to safety and appeared on the defensive side of the ball for the Aztecs in five games this year.

However, with Burmeister out with a concussion Mayden was required to switch back to quarterback for this weekend’s game against Hawaii… but could he make the migration back to signal caller?

How does 24/36, 322 passing yards and a touchdown sound?

It wasn’t a resounding scoreline by any means but 16-14 and a fairytale story for a young man. 


As an admitted Texas hater, I am not willing to say they’re back, far from it… I mean, they’re 4-2, but I am willing to give them their dues here for a 49-0 win over their biggest rivals. Although, does it say a lot that the other guys are in the other side of this article?

Texas was great though; they were in control, their stars played well and the crowd in burnt orange at the Cotton Bowl were well and truly revelling in it.

Quinn Ewers is a potential star at QB for the Longhorns and as he goes through this season and next, perhaps Texas will get closer and closer to being back, because that’s surely the aim, not least because they will need to get better if they are planning to have any kind of success in the SEC.

On the other side of the QB battle, it was plain to see that they were in trouble when it was announced that Dillon Gabriel wasn’t going to play and my own pre-match prophecy came true… And Oklahoma had five guys throw a pass in the game, which says an awful lot about their play on the day.

A broken clock etc.

The other main star for Texas who needs a quick shout out is running back, Bijan Robinson; 22 touches for 145 yards and two scores on the day to put the Sooners to the sword. He showed his prowess as a runner and as a receiver, especially with this catch below.

Could he be a first round running back to send Draft Twitter into meltdown?

Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh

Israel Abanikanda. Take a bow, Son.

320 yards rushing, on 36 carries and six, yes, six touchdowns against Virginia Tech. What a performance from the Junior runner, doubling his season total for touchdowns in one afternoon and becoming the first Power 5/BCS player to rush for over 300 yards in a game since Ricky Williams in 1998. He also became only the third player in 25 years to score six rushing touchdowns in a game, alongside Williams and TCU and Chargers great, LaDainian Tomlinson. The last player to do so from the University of Pittsburgh was in 1910.

In rushing for 320 yards, he also broke Tony Dorsett’s single game rushing record for Pittsburgh, which had stood at 303 yards since 1975.

So quite the day for the young man. Can he capitalise on his once in a lifetime day and make it to the NFL?

Losers – Will Lane (@TheWillieLane)


There was absolutely no way that head coach Brent Venables and his Oklahoma squad were escaping this one. It was an absolutely miserable performance from the Sooners in the 119th Red River Rivalry, one they will want to forget. The offense was non-existent, five different players threw a pass and they still did not acquire 50 passing yards. They saw some-what more success in their run game, but between the two they didn’t see the end zone once. The Sooners now fall to 3-3 on the year and are last place in the Big XII. 

This was a Saturday to forget for fans and the team alike, being shut out for the first time since  November 7th 1998. Ending a 311 game streak for the Sooners. This was also the first time that the Sooners were held without a touchdown for the first time in 167 straight games. A historic day for Oklahoma, but not in a good way.

Without quarterback Dillon Gabriel, this offense just looked lost. Pitt transfer Davis Beville got the start, and struggled mightily. The quarterback only completed six passes on 12 attempts and had an interception, while also finding nothing on the ground. To see an offense so lifeless is just so shocking from Oklahoma, who have had two Heisman winners in the past six years. Was there anything fans can take away from this game? Not particularly. Just look to regain next weekend Kansas who just fell 38-31 to TCU.


Losing to Notre Dame in 2022 will always get you in the losers column.

Notre Dame was able to accumulate over 500 yards of offense against BYU. The Cougars had a very lackluster first half, the pace was set when on the first play of the game Hall threw an interception. A slow start and a couple of questionable coaching decisions is what led to the loss against the Fighting Irish, who now lead the series 7-2 against BYU.

Jaren Hall was just 9 for 17 with 120 yards on the day, a performance that was all but impressive. The quarterback was definitely not feeling 100% entering Saturday’s game after being dinged up against Utah State. Yet it wasn’t that the offense wasn’t finding success, more like the defense could not get off the field. The BYU offense only attempted 46 plays while Notre Dame attempted 73.

Questionable decisions definitely played an impact in BYU’s upset loss against Notre Dame. Notably towards the very end of the game when on 4th and 1, when BYU strayed away from their power back Christopher Brooks and handed it off to scat back Lopini Katoa. The play got stuffed leaving less than four minutes on the clock and sending the Cougars home disappointed. Blowing it in prime time against fans in the Las Vegas Raiders Allegiant Stadium.

Michigan State

Michigan State is just terrible. No other way to put it.

Both sides of the ball are just abysmal. At half time, Ohio State had already accumulated 429 yards worth of offense while also scoring 35 points. In the second half, the Spartans were held to just seven points. Not something you want to see when you were already trailing big at the half.

Michigan State couldn’t stop anything yesterday, allowing over 370 passing yards and 200 rushing yards. Not something that you want to see from a defense, even if it is Ohio State. For obvious reasons the Spartans could not get their run game going, quite like last year they were down too much too early. Leaving it up to the passing game to try and keep this as a respectable loss. Which one could say they did, the passing attack looked impressive for one half, until bottoming out in the second half and letting the Buckeyes run away with this one.

I guess this is a problem then?

By Lee Wakefield & Will Lane

Check out the rest of our CFB Content HERE.

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F10Y CFB Player to Watch; AT Perry, Wake Forest

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Welcome back to our weekly Player to Watch space here at Full 10 Yards, this week I am digging into one of the more exciting wide receivers in college football, AT Perry of Wake Forest.

However, before moving on to discuss Perry, I would like to address that with Blake Corum’s 133 yards and a touchdown against Iowa last week, it’s a win for this particular writer as we take one back from the kiss of death that we seem to be putting on the players covered. 

Enough of my small victories, I have a Biletnikoff semi-finalist wide receiver to dig into! 

Let’s kick off in the usual manner; let’s talk about who Perry is…

Atorian “AT” Perry is a 6’5, 205lb receiver out of Lake Worth Florida, coming out of high school he was a three star recruit. Perry was a tri-sport high school athlete, turning out of the school’s basketball and track teams, even winning the county long jump championship, alongside his ventures for the football programme.

On the football field, Perry was a captain for the Lake Worth Cobras, as a wide receiver and defensive back. He caught touchdowns, he led his team to a 10-0 record in his Junior season and he also has athletic bloodlines from a Mother who ran track at Arizona State. However, the offers from Power-5 schools were not forthcoming.

Lost in the sea of footballing talent that in the state of Florida, Perry wasn’t blessed with offers from big schools. Prior to enrolling at Wake Forest, the only Power-5 offer he had on the table from Iowa State, a world away from Florida and the South as a whole. Perry was originally slated to attend the University of Alabama-Birmingham and be a Blazer, before de-committing and signing on with the Demon Deacons and heading for Winston-Salem.

Now the only thing that is blazing, are his routes and catches.

And with that, let’s head to the film…

In this initial clip, I want to show you a whole host of positives that I see often throughout Perry’s tape.

Let’s go to the Florida State game from 2021, what I want to show you here is that Perry can be a deep threat with good straight line speed, I want to show you great ball tracking ability and also a little bit of a nuanced release off the line of scrimmage.

From the beginning of the play then… we can see that the corner guarding him is every aligned ever-so-slightly to the outside, so Perry’s initial step jabs to the outside and the corner widens out to mirror his movement – Just what Perry wanted. This allowed him to gobble up that 2 yard cushion and push downfield, and by the time Sam Hartman is throwing, Perry is two yards beyond his man. All he had to do is ensure that he caught the football and it’s 6 points, and it duly was.

I feel like the corner was expecting help over the top, hence why he didn’t attempt to jam Perry at the line. The safety gained no depth to provide any help over the top, so this is either poor execution or a bad play design, as it allowed Wake Forest’s best receiver easy access to the deep portion of the field and an easy score. 

Next up and sticking with the Florida State game – Another great release but this time we are seeing separation in the intermediate portion of the field.

Again, we see Perry use his feet well and manipulate a defender with his release. He jabs outside to get the defender to open his hips just a touch, as he knows that he wants to get inside to run his dig (or basic) route.

Another super impressive aspect of this play is that he can work through contact throughout his route, leaning into his man and that despite being 6’5, he can sink his hips and make a sharp cut on his route. This cut gives him the separation that he needs to make the catch unchallenged over the middle of the field.

You will also see on the endzone view on the All-22 here that he can make a solid catch with his hands extended away from his body. This is the sort of chain-moving grab over the middle that makes bigger receivers such a comfort blanket for quarterbacks.

Here’s more evidence of his ability to manipulate defenders with his work off the line… This one was against Army last year in the red zone.

The ball doesn’t come his way here but I love the way he creates space inside by chopping his feet and stuttering at the line. The play wasn’t designed to go to him looking at his body language around the time of the throw (I feel he was in place to create a rub for his team mate) but had Perry known the ball was coming his way on a slightly different play, that’s a touchdown in the middle of the endzone.

However, and there’s always a however in these articles, one thing that I have seen a number of through three games (Florida State, Army, Clemson all 2021), is drops.

Concentration drops and not having hands in the proper technique, more often than not over the short and intermediate areas.

This is a money down; 3rd down with the score tied at 21. It’s a first down if he catches it too and you can see the disappointment in his body language as soon as he sees that one go through his hands. In the NFL, a tipped ball like that can be a turnover. Perry has to tighten up this aspect of his game. 

Last clip here and it’s something I would love to see more of from Perry but this one shows that he’s got it in his locker and that run-after-catch ability.

This one from the Clemson game last year. Backup QB, Michael Kern is in the game for Sam Hartman here and because of that I love that Perry runs the curl route here and works his way back to the QB, showing him his number and giving him a big target to throw at.

I’ve talked about releases already, but this is another great example – Guarded by Andrew Booth Jr., now of the Minnesota Vikings, he immediately threatens deep and gets Booth on his heels and into recovery mode. Perry sells his route superbly and it means that he gains separation by using the defender’s momentum against him as he turns back towards the QB to make the catch. 

The safety misses the tackle due to Perry being able to turn quickly inside and now there’s nothing but green grass ahead of him and he takes advantage with a huge gain after the catch. Had it not been for the incredible recovery speed of safety, Andrew Mukuba (#1), Perry would have scored. 

We can see that Perry is Sam Hartman’s best friend on the football field, so how will these two link up this weekend against Army?

First off, now that I have shown you a taster of the film from this kinda-kooky, slow mesh offense, I want to give a shout out to my guy Simon Carroll over at The Touchdown who wrote up a fantastic piece on the Wake Forest slow mesh offense – Which you can read HERE. So if you want to know more about the bigger picture, hop over to that piece once you’re done here. Here is a clip of it working perfectly against Army last year…

Defenders get caught with their eyes in the backfield waiting to see which way the mesh goes and it’s a game of who blinks first. All the while, receivers like Perry are tearing down the field past DBs and calling for the deep shots! When it works, it’s fantastic.

Last year, in the game against Army, Perry had 6 catches for 146 yards and a score. So considering that he was gaining over 24 yards a grab last year, it’ll be interesting to see how Army game plans for a player who hurt them so much last year.

I feel like Army has two defenses – Either allow Andre Carter to absolutely tee off on every snap from his EDGE position and pray that he sacks Sam Hartman enough times to slow the play down. Or double cover Perry with safety help over the top at all times with the corner who’s guarding Perry playing a tight trail technique behind to dare Hartman to hit the tough throw, or beat them by using the other receivers almost exclusively.

If not, due to the talent differential, I’d expect Perry to carve up the Golden Knight’s defense once again. 

Can we expect to see Perry playing on Sundays?

I would be shocked if we didn’t see Perry drafted within the first couple of rounds of the NFL Draft.

I think he possesses a typical X-receiver’s frame, with his height and speed to make catches that is not too dissimilar to someone like Mike Williams, although the evidence of spectacular body control isn’t on film and is what makes someone like Williams special. He can run routes off the vertical stem and at 6’5, he’s always going to be someone who will be a threat in the red zone with jump balls and ability to box out smaller defenders.

Perry is a player who teams value because the height and speed combination that he possesses are unteachable gifts. He can access the deep portion of the field and create space for his team mates underneath. We’ve seen in the clips above that every team he faces respects the fact that he can run by them and score from anywhere, and that isn’t going to change in the NFL.

One prominent podcaster and scout had him as WR1 in summer scouting.

So to conclude…

Perry is a big-bodied X receiver with the skillset that NFL teams crave, however, he has to clean up his technique and I would also love to see him diversify his route tree as well.

Perry only works vertically, which whilst that plays to his strengths, it limits his effectiveness and can mean that he’s taken out of the game with bracket coverages.

I feel like there’s enough agility to work in some double moves and enough physicality to give him some slants over the middle – With a 6’5 body and long arms, there’s no corner in the league with the length to stop him cashing in on easy money in the short areas, if he can smarten up his hands in clutch moments.

I feel like Perry has all the ingredients to be a player who can be successful in the NFL from day one. He has a good understanding of releases, and manipulating defenders, but he’s not a master of these things. He can be successful immediately by doing the things he does now, but he has a ceiling when he masters certain skills. I feel that he absolutely could be moulded into a more rounded receiver who can be effective at all three levels and in the red zone. 

He’ll continue to hone his craft and be super productive for Wake Forest and continue to forge his path to the NFL and he’s not only a player to watch this week but also for the rest of the year.  

By Lee Wakefield – Follow Lee on Twitter @wakefield90

Read the rest of the Player to Watch articles here.

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F10Y CFB Player to Watch: Blake Corum, Michigan

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It’s that time again! It’s time to sit down and check in on one of the more interesting players and match ups for this weekend’s college football schedule in our Player to Watch space.

However, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that this column appears to have somewhat of a touch of bad luck that follows the players covered – You can read the rest here – With none having a particularly great outing game after being written up.

Big Blue fans will hope that a similar effect isn’t felt by their star running back in this weekend’s game against Iowa… Although, how do you better 243 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns? Anyway, let’s get into Blake Corum…

So who is this power cube of a running back?

Blake Corum is on quite the tear to start this season as Michigan have stormed to a 4-0 start and to #4 in the AP Top 25 (although more importantly to the same position in the UK & Ireland CFB Media Rankings). Corum has scored at least one touchdown in each of the four games, he has had a 5 touchdown game against UConn and followed this with the aforementioned 243 yard game against Maryland last weekend! So it’s safe to say that he’s having quite the season so far!

Last year he was part of an absolutely deadly duo with Hassan Haskins in the Wolverines backfield with the pair combining for over 2,400 all-purpose yards. These guys powered Michigan as they won the Big Ten Championship, ended the season ranked #3 in the country, losing in the college football playoff semi-final to eventual champions Georgia and best of all, beat Ohio State. 

I’ve got to say I was very interested to see how Corum would fare without Haskins, but he seems to be shouldering the load and thriving as the main man this season! Whether he succumbs to the previously discussed Player to Watch Kiss of Death remains to be seen.

Into the background before we get some film study in then; Corum stands at 5’8 and packs a dense 210 lbs on to his frame – We really are talking about a wrecking ball of a runner here. Corum grew up in Marshall Virginia before heading to St. Frances Academy in Baltimore for High School where he accumulated over 40 touchdowns across his Junior and Senior seasons, which earned him a 4-star rating across all major recruiting sites. 

Since arriving on campus in Ann Arbor, Corum has worked his way up the depth chart to make it into his current role; in his Freshman season he mainly saw action as a returner, returning five kicks and one punt, with small action as the third running back in rotation. Although he showed his potential by scoring twice in 31 total touches. Then came the breakout Sophomore season where he and Haskins dominated pretty much everyone they faced.

Let’s see how he does his damage…

Corum is a squatty back who can do damage between the tackles. He has a jittery, one-cut style and good vision, which is fantastic when combined with his burst and lateral quickness when needed to create yardage.

Check out how he makes the first man miss with a cut to the outside before a little shake’n’bake leaves another Northwestern defender’s ankles in shambles for a nice gain that leaves Michigan on the verge of a score.

Which brings me on to Blake’s next strength – The guy is a finisher from short yardage.

This is the very next play in the game against Northwestern. He doesn’t get stopped from that distance, as you can see in the above tweet thread vs. UConn. 

Let’s talk about an aspect where Blake is underused – Pass catching. With only 31 catches to date, there isn’t a huge sample size for this but I feel from what I did see, Corum has nice, soft hands and he can take in ones like this that require him to make a catch on the move. Back to the Northwestern game;

There’s no run after catch here, which I feel he can easily get in different circumstances, but I have included this one as I felt it was one that could easily have been dropped. He’s backpedalling, with defenders approaching at pace.

Generally speaking, I see a lot of evidence of Blake being a safe checkdown option with the ability to catch the ball with hands extended away from his body, before turning and accelerating upfield for a decent gain. Easy money for JJ McCarthy and Michigan.

This is an area that will also intrigue NFL teams and make them wonder about his ceiling in his area, because it does feel like there’s untapped potential here.

 This next clip is one I absolutely love, which is from the Michigan State game from last year. Michigan schemes up a lovely run off the left side of their line here, Corum shows outstanding patience to wait for the blockers to open things up and he’s able to burst through the gap. This is a long-developing run play with both tight ends making their way across the formation, as well as the center getting involved. Some running backs would get jittery and get dancing feet in the backfield on plays like this, but not Blake.

It’s not a huge gain but just shows his maturity as a runner.

I’ve also seen multiple instances of Corum being willing and able to do the dirty work as a running back. Corum is willing to chip as he releases out of the backfield, he’s willing to stay in as a pass protector when needed too, and he’s more than a speed bump in those situations. Corum will also get after it as a blocker downfield too when the ball doesn’t go to him and he puts in the effort when doing so.

Add this to his value as a returner, (although as the clear RB1 Michigan hasn’t asked him to return through four games this year) and we have a player whose stock has a good floor level. 

However, as is tradition here in the Player to Watch film segment, we can’t finish off before giving one area of weakness and for Corum aside from his size profile, it’s his long speed. 

In short areas he’s great and he has the burst to make a short gain into a long one but over long distances he’s just not a burner.

We can see this in this return against Western Michigan last season. It’s a superb play and sets Michigan up with fantastic field position, but I feel like a real speedster takes his to the house.

A positive within a play I’m using a negative though – The contact balance is brilliant. Corum’s low center of gravity and thick lower half means he’s very difficult to bring down on first contact.

On to this weekend!

This week against Iowa sees Corum face a stingy defense with a couple of big linebackers…

Iowa’s record stands at 3-1 for the season so far, which on the face of it, seems pretty good. However, anyone who has been paying attention to college football will have noticed that the Iowa offense has become somewhat of a meme with their lack of scoring punch. Although, back-to-back 27 point outputs (albeit against Nevada and Rutgers) may stem the tidal wave of tweets somewhat.

On the flip side, the Hawkeyes defense is performing at a high level, having given up just 20 total points all season. Ok, the opponents have been South Dakota State, Iowa State, Nevada and Rutgers but still, this defense has always been a good units that has almost always performed to a level that is more than the sum of its parts in under Kirk Ferentz and DC, Phil Parker.

The unit is anchored by linebackers, Jestin Jacobs and star man, Jack Campbell, who was ranked very highly by myself and Keith in our Summer Scouting podcast. Jacobs measures up at 6’4 and Campbell at 6’5, unusual given their positions, so it will really feel like a David and Goliath(s) game when Corum gets to the second level. Campbell in particular is a tackling machine with good tackle radius and stopping power. He’s not the most athletic when moving side-to-side, but I know he’ll have been devouring Corum film in the lead up to this game and will be ready.

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I really feel like this one-on-one is key – If Campbell can stop Corum from getting going, it’ll go a long way to stopping the cogs in the Michigan machine from turning, and give Iowa a chance to stay in the game and maybe steal it. The Wolverines may have put up 200 points so far this season but this is Big Ten football now, and Kinnick Stadium is never an easy place to play.

So should you be looking forward to seeing Corum on Sundays?

Corum will get drafted, there’s no doubt in my mind about that.

He has been very productive, he’s got some interesting traits as we discussed earlier, as well as some special teams value. He has also played at a high level for a blue blood programme, in a time of success for the programme. However, just how high will he be drafted?

I feel like Corum’s size puts limitations on his draft ceiling – There just aren’t too many 5’8 running backs who are hugely successful in the league right now and of course, running back is a hugely devalued position in today’s NFL, especially when it comes to the draft.

His old buddy Hassan Haskins was picked up with the 131st Pick (fourth round) by the Tennessee Titans, and I think that could be a similar point in which Corum has his name called on day 3 of the draft next April.

Yes, it sounds sort of disrespectful to say that his super-productive college player will go on day 3, but that’s the reality of having this profile, at this position. Every season there is a running back who is productive in the NFL, that 90% of fans of his team won’t have heard of before he started scoring touchdowns on Sundays. Think of someone like Elijah Mitchell at the 49ers, he was drafted in the 6th round and has 1,100 scrimmage yards last year! However that is sadly the reality of it, especially when he doesn’t have that breakaway speed. He’s a short-term, short yardage battering ram, the kind of back that an NFL team will draft, run into the ground whilst on his rookie contract and then discard, in all likelihood.

Sad, but true. 

To Conclude… 

Corum is a super-fun player to watch and he will be fondly remembered in Ann Arbor and by Michigan fans for a long while. However, there’s a part of me which feels that he could blend into relative obscurity in the NFL, whilst having a respectable career for a decent number of years.

The sort of player who makes me think, fun college player but just fine in the NFL. 

So let’s enjoy his dominance whilst he’s still playing on Saturdays! Corum is worth a watch almost alone for a Michigan team who will be pushing all the way for that 4th playoff spot this year and another visit to the CFB playoff.

By Lee Wakefield – Follow Lee on Twitter, @Wakefield90

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F10Y CFB Player to Watch – Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State

Welcome in once again to our Player of the Week space. This week I am heading back to the well of my favourite position in football and talking about an edge defender. This week I’m running the rule over s true breakout pass rusher, who may seem a little off the beaten track right now but come draft time, I think Felix Anudike-Uzomah will be appearing in a lot of top 50 lists, or even first round mock drafts.

Full disclosure, and perhaps a little teaser for later in the season, this week I really was tossing up between writing about Felix and another Big XII edge, Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson – Let me know if you would like to see that one in the next few weeks!

So Kansas State has a new star man… on defense!

It’s been a while since Kansas State has had a potential defensive star on their hands.

The Wildcats have had a couple of second round offensive linemen in recent times, Dalton Risner, Cody Whitehair… As well as Tyler Lockett, who has blossomed into a ln important player for the Seahawks, but again, he was a day two selection.

Felix Anudike-Uzomah could buck that trend and be the first Wildcat to be drafted in the first round since Josh Freeman in 2009, and the first defensive player taken on the first day of the draft since Terrence Newman in 2005.

So yeah, it’s been a minute. 

Anudike-Uzomah is a 6’4 Junior who tips the scales at 255lbs, so he is on the lighter side for an edge defender, especially considering that K-State typically lines up in a 3-3-5 base defense (more of his role and alignment later).

As I’ve alluded to, Kansas State isn’t a hotbed of talent who sends players to the NFL on a regular basis – Although, offensive lineman Cooper Beebe is highly thought of, especially by our guys who scouted him in summer. They have also Deuce Vaughn, who may carve himself out a spot in the league despite being very, very small by NFL standards.

This also speaks to Felix’s time before rocking up in Manhattan. He was a 3-star recruit from Lee’s Summit High School, in suburban Kansas City, and despite a steady stream of tackles for loss as a Junior and Senior in high school and earning district honors from the Missouri media and coaches association, the offers did not roll in. According to 24/7 Sports, Felix committed to North Dakota State in September 2019 and in December of the same year, he had de-committed and signed up with Kansas State.

And those were his only two offers. There are also no mention of offers on any other site that I usually cross reference information on either, including his K-State bio.

It is said that everyone develops at different rates on the football field and Kansas State must be ecstatic that they managed to get a local kid whose talent would usually be snapped up by a more illustrious football programme.

Felix saw action in his True Freshman season, playing a handful of games and rotating into the defensive line, although, in limited action he still managed one sack.

However, it was in 2021, as a Sophomore where he truly took flight! 12 games, 14.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and an even more incredible six forced fumbles. Everything just clicked for him and now he’s making splash plays and has become a game wrecker!

No signs of him being a one season wonder either, this season through three games, 9 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks and another forced fumble. With seven forced fumbles, he is actually only three shy of the Kansas State school record.


So where did this homegrown diamond come from? Let’s look at how he plays…

As usual, I’ll start with the first thing that jumped off the screen when I was going over the film – Felix burst and he’s also a very willing worker. Given that Kansas State is sometimes only rushes three and this means that Felix spends a lot of time lined up as a 4i, and therefore the offensive line has a natural double team on him. 

This isn’t the prettiest sack of his career so far but I feel like it really shows that he can work for his rewards and it does reward him. He’s lined up in the 4i here and has the agility and wherewithal to defeat the chop block and then chase down Spencer Sanders for a sack.

A lot of his positives that I’ve listed on his evaluation are linked to his physical gifts. In addition to the quickness and motor that I mentioned above, it’s his ability to turn the corner and flatten the arc whilst in contact with the lineman.

Felix was absolutely dominant in this game vs. TCU – four sacks and two forced fumbles. I am not sure if someone could turn a corner more here as he performs a 180 on this play to take down the QB.

Lined up on the nearside of the defensive line (#91), he beats the tackle around the edge – And he was a little slow off the mark (more of that next) – and then is able to tightly turn and take the passer down from behind.

Would I like to see further refinement? Of course! There are instances such as this one below, where I would love to see more development with his understanding of the game and offenses. I’ve slowed this clip down just before the snap so that you can see just how late he gets off the ball here, especially in comparison to his fellow defensive linemen.

Just as in the second clip, he needs to learn how to time the snap better and get off the ball a fraction quicker. The battle between offensive and defensive linemen is all about racing to landmarks and beating each other by fractions of a second. It’s encouraging that he’s having success in spite of this flaw. 

So back to positives, I’m really encouraged by the breakout in production that he’s had in general. The caveat is that it is in the Big XII and therefore he’s maybe not seeing the greatest level of competition.

Although, wanting to remain positive; he knows how to win reps, and has done so with frequency over the past season and a bit and he has the unteachable stuff. He’s got the god-given attributes that some players simply don’t have bestowed on them.

Lastly, and I’ll discuss the importance of this more further down the page, but I love his nose for the ball… check this forced fumble out.

Super valuable play here near the goal line and he has shown a knack for this kind of thing. Felix (lined up on the far side of the defensive line) gets depth and drives his lineman (#55) back, but he’s also aware of the QB and as the quarterback tries to scramble, he’s able to make the tackle and force the ball loose. 

With that in mind, how is this going to translate into the NFL?

Anudike-Uzomah could be drafted in the league today and cause issues for lower-level tackles just due to pure speed and physical gifts. I absolutely loved Azeez Ojulari a couple of draft cycles back, who was all speed and needed refinement in the same sort of manner and he had a very successful rookie year, registering 8 sacks. 

Azeez is quicker than Felix, but Felix’s nose for forced fumbles gives him a real edge and another layer to his game that gives me confidence that he’ll be a success in the league.

Defense in 2022 is all about turnovers, getting another possession for your offense. Forced fumbles are a great way to get turnovers!

As a Chargers fan, I heard a veteran player like Joey Bosa say that he wanted to add strip sacks to his game a couple of years back and last season in 2021, he had seven in 16 games. That’s huge for a defense to have that many opportunities to get the ball back, and Felix already has this kind of killer instinct in his game.

This week’s match up is an interesting one…

Kansas State heads to Norman, Oklahoma, off the back of a jarring loss to Tulane with the hopes of getting back on track.

Off course, heading to the home of the conference heavyweights is never going to be an easy task. Brent Venables has made a solid start to life as the Sooners’ Head Coach and they have recorded three resounding victories so far this season.

Quarterback Dillon Gabriel has the mobility to make the defensive line’s day very frustrating – He has to be accounted for as a runner and can slip out of what is seemingly a negative play until he slips away and runs for a big gain.

However, before Gabriel, Felix has got star left tackle, Anton Harrison to deal with. Harrison is one of the better thought of tackles in the 2023 draft class – Again, you can hear our pod here on offensive line for fuller analysis.

If Felix and the Kansas State coaches look at moving him around, Wanya Morris, Oklahoma’s right tackle, is no slouch either, so I’ve no doubt that this will be a test for Felix in the early hours of Sunday morning (UK time).

So to conclude…

Felix Anudike-Uzomah is an intriguing prospect with big upside and a couple of flaws and aspects of his game that need more work.

I don’t feel like the ways in which K-State aligns him uses him to his full potential. I don’t feel like he has the size profile to play as a down lineman in an odd front. He’s not the sort of build that we would typically see from a team line the Patriots in the league, who have had lines for 280-290lbs defensive linemen who have little in the way of juice but are super disciplined and are powerful against the run, Felix isn’t a guy like that, and he’s being put in those spots. 

We haven’t seen him stand up as a pass rusher as of yet and I would be really interested to see him deployed in a way that gets him more one-on-one match ups with tackles from either a wider alignment or even front as a more traditional 5 or even 7-tech defensive end.  

His stance is nice and low, he’s got the physical tools and he obviously knows how to win and be productive, so rushing from wider with his hand in the dirt, would put him in a more advantageous position.

Landing spot is going to be so important but I feel like this is a player who can put up numbers and be a game wrecker in the NFL.

Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90

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F10Y CFB – Player to Watch; Tyler Van Dyke, Miami

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Welcome back to our Player of the Week space for a third week, here on the Full 10 Yards College Football staff, we seem enamoured with ACC passers, with Jake covering Malik Cunningham of Louisville recently, adding to his thoughts on UNC’s first year QB, Drake Maye.

In this column so far, I’ve given you my thoughts on Isaiah Foskey and Jordan Addison, but this week I am shining the spotlight on Miami quarterback, Tyler Van Dyke. A player that my colleague Raj is super high on, as you can hear here

Van Dyke has had a decent enough start to the season, albeit Miami have played two out of conference opponents who are way below the level of the ACC, beating Bethune-Cookman 70-13 and followed that up this past weekend with a 30-7 win against Southern Mississippi.

Van Dyke has thrown for 454 yards on 33 completions with 3 scores and an interception so far. No bad, but tougher games are ahead, especially with Texas A&M next up! 

Anyway, let’s find out who Tyler Van Dyke is…

Van Dyke was a highly rated and highly recruited high school prospect out of Connecticut, rated as four-star QB with a plethora of offers from Power-5 schools from all over the map. Michigan, UCLA, Wisconsin and NC State, the highlights alongside Miami, in a group of around 20 offers.

A Redshirt Sophomore who stands at 6’4 and 224lbs – So great measurements for a quarterback in today’s NFL – and he made his Miami debut in 2020 against Florida and played a second game that season against UNC. However it was 2021 when Van Dyke really burst on to the scene.

Taking over from D’Eriq King after 2 and a bit games due to injury, Van Dyke played the rest of the season throwing for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns and only threw the ball to the other team on six occasions. The 2021 season also included an ending in which Van Dyke threw for over 300 yards in each of the final six games, which for anybody’s first batch of starts in college football, shows strong promise for the future, especially considering Miami was 5-1 throughout those final six.

So what kind of quarterback do we have here and what makes him so highly rated?

After diving into the film this week, it’s clear to see that Tyler Van Dyke has some NFL type attributes that will make him an attractive draft prospect in the next year, or maybe two depending on when he declares. And what’s more is that I feel that some of the attributes that he has fit the modern NFL as well, so we have a player who will fit the league.

Let’s start with the first thing that jumps off the page, which is his arm talent. Think of all of the best QBs in the league right now; Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert… They can all hit throws at all three levels of the field and they can fit them into tight windows too, well, so can Van Dyke.

Apologies this week – There is a lack of All-22 available for Tyler Van Dyke so it’s all broadcast film, let’s start with the opening game this year against Bethune-Cookman.

Despite the view we can see the receiver (#8) at the bottom of the screen we can see that this is a 10 yard out that is being run on the left (field) side of the screen, Van Dyke is on the right (boundary) side hash and has absolutely no issues making, and with a good amount of zip on the ball.

Here’s a second example, also from the opener; Van Dyke once again throws to the wide side of the field, but what I like about this is that he doesn’t need to muscle it in there, and this is a longer throw than my first example in terms of air yards. This play has the kind of high-low read that an NFL team would be expecting from any starting QB too, and it’s executed really nicely with a long pass which with finesse.

This next clip is going to mesh together that finesse with another great trait that I saw from Van Dyke this week – This ability to hang in the pocket and deliver passes even with pressure in his face. This one in from the NC State game last year.

Tyler shows that he’s not scared by a big body and flailing arms coming towards him – He lofts this one up there and allows the receiver to get underneath it for a score. I accept that the corner doesn’t get his head around and could have defended this better but still, it’s another example of the variance that Van Dyke can put on his throws.

Ok so we can see that he’s able to quarterback from the pocket and he’s got a more than decent arm, so let’s give an example of how he can navigate the pocket. Don’t get me wrong, Van Dyke isn’t a statue in there, he can escape a crumbling pocket but he isn’t a mobile QB.

This is a nice example of the kind of pocket movement and awareness that he can show, not always but we’re talking about a young guy here. This is against Southern Mississippi from this past weekend. A nice example of clean footwork on the 5 step drop, which he does with urgency and purpose, he slides to his right, and then up in the pocket and sidesteps the defender before delivering the pass. That’s pretty advanced stuff, keeping eyes downfield and keeping poised like that.

The final positive thing I want to mention is how he’s going to fit into the modern NFL with his proficiency in the quick game, using RPO playing to his advantage and play-action in general. I feel like this is a big strength of his and will make him a sought after player when he comes out.

Check out how fast this ball is out against NC State. This is NFL stuff again, and will have some teams looking at this and thinking that they could work with this guy.

As a side note, the pass-catcher here (#85) is Will Mallory, one of the top tight ends in the draft class. Well worth keeping an eye on, and the next clip also involves him catching a pass…

This is so nice. Again, the sort of play that is seen on Sundays. Mallory is showing his versatility playing some H-back here, he leaks out on play-action and we can add some pocket moving stuff in here for Van Dyke which shows he’s fine throwing on the move for an easy conversion on what was 3rd and 1. This kind of concept can be used in the red zone too, so it adds another layer to Van Dyke’s game since he’s so comfortable doing it.

And the final clip on the quick game before I show you one bad clip.

This is a quintessential RPO play here against Pittsburgh last season and the sort of things that some NFL teams are incorporating in their offenses up and down the league nowadays. It’s easy money and easy yardage when done correctly and the QB makes a good decision.

Overall I believe there are a tonne of positives right now and a lot of reasons to be excited about Tyler Van Dyke – You feel like there’s a but coming don’t you? And there is…

But, there is one aspect of his play that kind of stands out, and it’s not surprising at all giving that he’s 11 starts into his college career.

 Van Dyke isn’t being asked to read the whole field and he doesn’t go through his progressions at all at times, and on some plays he only has two reads to go through, as the play is designed to be a half-field read.

One example being the second clip above on the out route that he hits – There are only receivers on one side of the field and everyone running a route is moving vertically or to the right and the offensive line walls off any backside pressure. I saw this a lot and there’s not a lot of head movement at all, which to me, right now, isn’t a huge deal. However, he can’t go into the NFL when the Hurricanes’ offense doesn’t ask him to carry out full field reads and execute concepts where he has to read the whole defense. You can get away with it for a few games, but NFL defenses will learn your tendencies and pull pressure on where you don’t like it quickly.

It also causes issues in college – This clip is of the interception that he threw this week against Southern Mississippi.

On his play, Van Dyke does go through his reads, you can see that he starts with the left side of the field but quickly moves on, across the field to the right – ending with the high-low read with the tight end underneath and receiver over the top.

There’s a hitch and a hesitation, and not a lot of head movement to deceive the defenders to that side of the field. It’s not a terrible throw but timing on out breakers is so important and the mixture of hesitation and telegraphing the throw with his eyes really costs him here.

Not terminal but something to work on throughout the season. 

So we can see the strong points – Is he going to be playing on Sundays next year and what kind of draft range are we looking at?

I feel that Tyler Van Dyke is a talented QB who has time on his side. He has the physical tools and enough evidence of advanced aspects of his game having a high enough ceiling to warrant an early draft selection.

However, there are enough things about his play and the offense that would give me pause. Right now, I have a mid-to-late second round grade on Van Dyke, which is a very respectful grade, especially considering his inexperience.

He’s one to watch throughout the season. I will be looking at how much more the Miami coaching staff is placing on his plate and how he is responding to the increased demands as time goes on. If he responds well and Miami has a good year, then I would be happy for Van Dyke to capitalise on a good season and head to the NFL.

Although, if that isn’t the case, he does have time on his side with him having so much more eligibility remaining. What would he rather, get drafted in the second round and maybe enter the NFL undercooked, in a draft class where Bryce Young and CJ Stroud are going to get all the attention?

Or wait a year and maybe be at that level where he is being talked up as one of the better QBs in the class? Food for thought, for sure. 

So looking ahead to this weekend?

As mentioned above, it is Texas A&M this week for the Hurricanes, and they are a wounded beast at the moment.

Fresh off their embarrassing loss to Appalachian State, the Aggies will be playing with some extra fire in their bellies, I am sure, and won’t make it easy for Van Dyke to play his game and serve up another defeat and make it back-to-back home losses.

The star of the show on the Aggie’s defense is defensive back, Antonio Johnson. A player who can affect the game in multiple ways and who you can hear me rate very highly in our Summer Scouting podcast on linebackers and safeties here.

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Johnson has had a nice start to the season and is the leading tackler through two games with 17. He has also recorded a sack and a tackle for loss as well, so his strength in coming downhill and being aggressive has been on display already this year.

Not one for huge interceptions so Van Dyke won’t have to avoid him too much when throwing downfield but Johnson might be sent on a blitz or two by defensive coordinator, Mike Elko.

Elsewhere on defense, Freshman Edge LT Overton already has a sack in his early career as part of the rotation and Senior safety, Demani Richardson will be looking to make life difficult for the young passer.

So in conclusion…

There is no doubt that Van Dyke is a talented passer and should be on everyone’s watch list moving throughout the season, especially as his competition heats up, starting his week against SEC competition.

Should he be thinking about entering the NFL after this year? Well, that’s a question that he can answer throughout the season. If he does pour on another loss for the Aggies then tickets for the hype train will surely be selling quickly. 

By Lee Wakefield – Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90

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WEEK 2 SCOUTING NOTES – Texas Vs. Alabama

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This was by far the best match up of the week 2 slate, especially from an NFL draft perspective, and although not many gave the Longhorns a chance they almost pulled off a big upset. Texas can take a lot of pride with how they responded after losing their quarterback to injury in the first half, but as usual Alabama found a way to win, even when nowhere near their best. 

Let’s start our scouting notes with the almost guys, those new look Longhorns…


Now it must be said that this was very much a defensive struggle, but before his injury, Quarterback Quinn Ewers looked every bit the phenom he’s been built up to be. He has an effortless throwing motion, a big accurate arm and led his offense with poise. This injury will knock him out for four to six weeks, which is a big shame, but let’s hope he’s back sooner rather than later. 

His replacement Hudson Card stepped in admirably, but he doesn’t have the skill set that Ewers does. He does have ability though and he was only one or two plays away from causing the upset. He will get a run of games now to show what he has, and more than likely we will see him in the transfer portal at the end of the year, as he tries to find a starting gig for the 2023 season.

The star of the Longhorn offense is undoubtedly running back Bijan Robinson. Now Alabama set up to stop him and make the quarterback(s) beat them, and they succeeded with that plan. Robinson was held to just 57 yards with a 2.7 average. That doesn’t tell the whole story though as Texas has a very inexperienced offensive line, and they had big issues against the ‘Bama front. Robinson had to feed off of scraps but what is still easy to see is how dynamic he can be. His biggest play of the game came on a wheel route, perfectly executed, for a big gain up the sideline.

Whilst the yards were tough to find on the ground in this game, and perhaps for some time to come with this young line in front of him, the talent is clear to see and he’ll remain atop most peoples running back lists, barring injury of course.

There is something special about Wide Receiver Xavier Worthy. He has the same size and skill set of DeVonta Smith, which will cause some to be wary of him, but like Smith, Worthy can take over games if targeted. He almost had an great TD laying out in the end zone, almost snagging a Ewers bomb, but he was a threat all game, going against a very talented secondary. He isn’t draft eligible yet, but his name will be a hot topic entering the 2024 draft cycle. 

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There’s a little bit of Deebo Samuel about wide receiver Jordan Whittington. He has a thick build with a strong lower half, and has some very nice YAC ability. He made a couple of impressive catches here and was a nice chain mover for the offense. He did have a bad drop too though, so there are things to work on, but he has a nice look about him and hopefully he won’t get lost with all the other weapons that this offense has.

As I mentioned earlier, the offensive line is very young, but it does have one senior on it, and that is right tackle Christian Jones. Whilst there was chaos going on all around him, Jones held up incredibly well here, especially in pass protection. He spent last year at Left Tackle and that did not go well at all, so he’s back over on the right side and looks very natural there indeed. More tape like this, especially against top pass rushers like he faced here, and his name will be moving up boards.

The biggest surprise was how the Longhorns managed to almost shut down this powerful Alabama offense. Their success started up front where their big boys challenged a new look Crimson Tide offensive line, and for the most part won their battles.

The most impressive of the front seven was the versatile senior Moro Ojomo, who spent most of his time lined up as an interior player, but has more of an EDGE size and style. Listed at 6’3 281lbs, he clearly wouldn’t be able to hold up on the inside in the NFL, but he could play a five tech/big end role no problem. He didn’t trouble the stat man much, but he did have three pressures and he was a constant pest, creating disruption at the point of attack and slowing down that fast tempo Alabama offense. 

The entire Longhorn secondary played well and limited the big plays that Alabama’s offense thrives on, and the best player for me was nickel defender Jahdae Barron. Playing that role can be a thankless task, but Barron had the look of a really smooth athlete in coverage and was a force against the run too, the perfect combination for that position. He hasn’t had a great deal of playing time in his first two seasons in Austin, but he has the starting role now and looks like he could develop into a real playmaker.


There will be people looking at quarterback Bryce Young’s stat line and assuming he had a rough game, but in all honesty he did all he could do here. When it came down to the crunch, he led his team down the field in 90 seconds for a game winning field goal.

Yes, the stats aren’t great, but he spent a lot of time with pressure in his face, as his inexperienced offensive line was continuously exposed, and a few drops from his young wide receivers didn’t help either. Like C.J Stroud the week before, Young faced adversity and carried the team to the win, and that’s why both Quarterbacks are so highly thought of. 

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Running Back Jahmyr Gibbs has been a name on most people’s lips during summer scouting, as the former Georgia Tech runner swapped the ACC gutter for an SEC powerhouse. He’d flashed ability the last couple of years but now he has the platform to show a national audience how good he can be. He is the Crimson Tide’s number one running back, and looks every bit as good as his predecessors, including two former first round draft picks. Gibbs has an explosive running style, hitting the hole at speed and is decisive in his cuts. He is a fantastic receiving threat, displaying natural hands and route awareness, and this game he highlighted his catching ability grabbing 9 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Gibbs honestly reminds me of Alvin Kamara with a splash of Christian McCaffrey, and I think all 32 NFL teams would want a back like that. There’s every chance this game will have the top two running backs selected in the 2023 NFL draft, and the both could be first rounders too.

As I alluded to earlier, this isn’t the greatest looking Alabama offensive line, but a true Sophomore did stand out and looks the real deal. right tackle JC Latham was a five star prospect out of Florida, and the number three overall recruit in 2021, according to 247 sports. He looked every bit of that lofty rating, and at times reminded me of Evan Neal when he was on the right side in the 2020 season. He excelled in pass protection, using a great base to latch on and dominate defenders. He ended up bailing some of his teammates out at times and looked to have an old head on very young shoulders. You’d expect him to move over to the left side in 2023, and like Neal before him, has every chance of being a top 10 pick come the 2024 NFL draft.

The star of this defensive unit EDGE Will Anderson had a relatively quiet game by his standards, but a quiet day for this monster still resulted in five tackles, two for a loss and one sack. He is unblockable at times and can create havoc on every snap. Only right tackle Christian Jones could slow him down, but even then he still beat him a couple of times too. He is a beast and he will be a top three pick. 

I think Linebacker Henry To’o To’o is a bit overrated and he didn’t do anything in this game to change my mind. I see a lot of athletic ability but he takes so many false steps on run plays that he can’t recover and lanes open up on him. I can’t get on board with this first round talk, to me he is an early day three player.

The best player for me defensively in this game was defensive lineman Byron Young. He was a run stuffing machine and was the main reason that Bijan Robinson had so little room to work with. He has violent hands that keep his chest clean and his quick twitch gets him into space to blow up plays. He is a bit undersized to play inside full time, and Alabama uses him over the tackle in their odd front a fair bit as well, and this is probably where he’ll play at the next level. He hasn’t graded this highly for me before, so this level of play will need to remain if he wants to climb the list and into the mid rounds.

By Keith Lucken – Follow Keith on Twitter @lordlucken

Links for Keiths previous scouting notes; Week 0, Week 1.

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College Football Player to Watch; Jordan Addison, USC

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Welcome in to our Player to Watch series for week 2 of the college football season! This week we will be putting the spotlight on USC wide receiver, Jordan Addison.

Last week, I put Isaiah Foskey of Notre Dame under the microscope in the lead up to the college football game of the week as the Irish clashed with Ohio State (read that here).

This past week Jordan Addison suited up for his Trojans debut against Rice as Southern California ran out 66-14 winners, and he had five catches for 56 yards and a pair of scores – More of that game a little bit later on.

Today, we’ll look into who Addison is, what makes him such a high-end receiver, and who Addison is going to be battling this week against Stanford.

So Jordan Addison, you may have heard of him before…

Addison measures up at 6’, weighs in at 175lbs and is a former 4-star recruit out of Frederick, Maryland. Strangely, he wasn’t recruited as much as you would have imagined considering he was a four year high school starter who played receiver, quarterback and defensive back in High School. When considering he averaged over 20 yards per reception and scored 8 touchdowns in his Senior season as well, it really does get quite curious. 

Addison had offers from Virginia, South Carolina, East Carolina and Pittsburgh, with perhaps his best offer coming from Notre Dame. But that’s it, which strikes me as odd considering what a star he’s become as he moves into his Junior season. 

Last season whilst at Pittsburgh, Addison was one of the best receivers in college football, bringing in 100 catches for 1,593 yards (the fourth most in college football) whilst finding the end zone 18 times (17 receptions and 1 rushing) which was the most in college football. So there was no wonder why there were a number of programmes linked to him once it was clear he was going to be heading to the transfer portal.

So we clearly have a super-talented receiver here and he should be in for a monster season in Lincoln Riley’s offense, but how does he do it?

After spending time watching Jordan Addison’s film from last year, I really see a complete receiver at the collegiate level and I was super impressed with the majority of what I saw.

Addison is a complete receiver in terms of the ways in which he can be used and the ways he can hurt an opponent. He can line up inside or outside, he can get open in short and intermediate areas with his route running ability, but he’s also got the speed and the understanding of tempo to win in the deep part of the field. Equally, he’s a player who an offensive coordinator can give manufactured touches to on plays like bubble screens and hand offs, just to see what he can create for himself with his ability to make a defender miss.

So the first couple of clips are what I consider the bread and butter for Addison; both clips show his awareness and ability to find soft spots in the intermediate areas of th field.

This first clip from Pittsburgh’s visit to Tennessee last year shows the understanding of tempo that I mentioned…

He doesn’t sprint out of his release, before stuttering on his cut which is made on the blindside of the linebacker and freezes the safety from triggering downhill on him. The cut is sharp and the reception is made.

This next clip from Pittsburgh’s game at home against Clemson. Addison plays through the traffic – Something that’ll be important in the NFL – And once again, finds the open grass in which to make the catch, and what a lovely catch it was too with strong hands extending away from the body.

Next up, and the penultimate clip I want to show you in this section, is to show you the threat to make plays in the deeper portion of the defense. I don’t feel like Clemson respects his ability to get behind them here. #24 trails but not close enough and the Tigers pay by giving up 6 points. I love the concentration that this catch would have taken, a pressure moment with a defender close by, and it was no problem at all.

Ok and lastly, I actually want to show you a really quick clip of one of the two touchdowns that Addison scored this past weekend. This route is one we see from Cooper Kupp and Hunter Renfrow a lot in the NFL, the whip route. This shows that you don’t need to be a hulking receiver to be effective in the red zone.

Clearly Addison is one of the better wide receivers in the college ranks, but how will this translate into the NFL?

It’s fairly clear to see that Addison is going to be undersized entering the NFL, and even if he packs on 10lbs or so, he’ll still be undersized. Even then, given his slight frame I don’t know if he could a) gain much more than that and b) benefit from the increased muscle without harming his speed and shiftiness that make him the player that he is. 

Does this mean he’s destined to be a slot-only receiver in the NFL? Potentially, yes. Addison’s skillset isn’t one that is going to win with physicality at the catch point against longer and taller outside corners, nor does he have the elite long speed of some smaller outside receivers such as Tyler Lockett or Hollywood Brown.

Does this harm his draft value though? I don’t actually feel like it will after the 2022 season and here’s why – Cooper Kupp just won the triple crown playing a lot of snaps from the slot and this season Justin Jefferson is going to be playing that Cooper Kupp role in Kevin O’Connell’s offense, O’Connell being the former Rams Offensive Coordinator. I feel like Jefferson is going to be put in a position where come the end of the season there could be a lot of fans around the league saying that he is the best receiver in the NFL, again, mostly working out of the slot. 

So slot receivers are super-valuable to NFL offenses these days, especially when they can block as well, which is where Addison comes back in.

Ok, look, I can’t say that he’s the finished article when it comes to blocking, because he’s not, he’s 175lbs however he is willing and he’ll go after defensive backs when tasked to! And maybe, this is when those extra 5-10lbs that he can add once in an NFL weight programme can come in handy.

So as much as a team wouldn’t be drafting a big, X-receiver who can run down the field and jump over guys, it’s also not the early 2000’s anymore and there is definitely a place for these kinds of guys be be really valuable to their teams and be a big success. 

Here’s a little taste of that willingness…

Anyway, enough of the NFL talk, what about this weekend against Stanford?

This week USC head to Northern California to face Stanford, who opened up their season with a win against Colgate 41-10, so both teams will be looking to move to 2-0 in their first conference clash of the year.

Stanford’s most talented defensive back in Kyu Blu Kelly, a Senior corner who has very similar dimensions to Jordan Addison at 6’1 and 190lbs. However, that seems to be where the similarities end, and that contrast of styles could lead to this being a very intriguing match up.

Kelly is a physical player who has that competitive fire that you like to see in number one corner who was great against Drake London when these two teams played each other last year, however, Drake London is a different proposition to Jordan Addison, and Addison may ask him questions that he’s less comfortable in answering with the shiftiness shown above.

Will Kelly be able to clamp down and physically overwhelm Addison or will the USC man prevail and be able to run away from his guy more often than not? Either way it’s another great matchup between two highly-touted draft prospects and well worth tuning in to. 

So in conclusion…

Jordan Addison and the USC offense are going to be a fun watch all season long and given that Oregon and Utah are already 0-1 after tough opening games, the Trojans are carrying the hopes of the conference with regards to the college football playoff (no pressure, guys).

Addison is going to be a monster in Riley’s system which will scheme him open and give him opportunities to make plays in natural and manufactured ways, so after a solid yardage total in week 1, watch out for him growing into the offense as he gains further experience in it.

Another 1,000+ yards is surely on the cards and I’ll be watching him add to it against Power-5 and conference competition in the early hours of Sunday morning and I hope that you will too.

Check back next Friday for the next instalment of the series – I have my eyes on a certain quarterback that many people are excited about.

Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90 

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Week 1 Scouting Notes – Ohio State vs. Notre Dame

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This was the biggest match up of the week 1 slate, and from a scouting perspective this game was loaded with high end prospects. Both teams struggled with early season rustiness but Ohio State put together a strong second half to see off the Irish 21-10. I’ve got a few notes for all of you on how all the top players did and throw in a couple of guys who surprised me too. We’ll start with the victorious Buckeyes…

Ohio State

All eyes were on potential number 1 overall pick Quarterback C.J Stroud and star Wide Receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (both of whom made our Preseason All-Conference team), but unfortunately we lost Smith-Njigba early in the first quarter to a hamstring problem. He did come back later in the half but clearly wasn’t right and was left on the sidelines after that.

The initial report is he’ll miss a couple of weeks, which isn’t a disaster for him, especially as those games will be against Arkansas State and Toledo.

Stroud had a difficult first half, with Notre Dame containing him well and then losing his top target, you could see him becoming frustrated. He was totally different in the second half and looked much more like his usual self, taking control of the offense and improvising when needed. This was a big early test for him and he showed he could cope with in-game adjustments and dealing with adversity well. 

With Smith-Njigba out Ohio State needed some pass catchers to step up and two did in Wide Recievers Marvin Harrison Jr. and  Emeka Egbuka. Harrison looks tall and lengthy and made a couple of nice key catches when needed. Obviously the pedigree is there with his Dad (former Colts legend, Marvin Harrison Sr.) being a Hall of Famer so there will be a lot of expectation on his shoulders going forward, but this was a nice start for him.

Egbuka was Stroud’s top target in the game and he looked very comfortable in that role. He wasn’t used to stretch the field, as they had him running shallow routes and picking up boundary work, but he looked smooth in space and displayed some nice safe hands. These two will become the focal point of the passing attack whilst JSN is out, and it appears to be in pretty good hands, pun intended…

The Offensive Line wasn’t very good last year, although they received plenty of hype. This year’s version seemed to have some question marks, but on the first showing of the season, against a top ten quality team, they came through with flying colours. I’m really high on Offensive Tackle Paris Johnson Jr. who has moved over from guard to take the coveted left tackle position and he had a nice debut there. He did get beat on the outside a couple of times in pass protection, but considering the level of opponent and the new position switch, he handled himself very well and this will be the benchmark he’s set for the rest of the year. Right tackle Dawand Jones graded as the best Lineman for me on the day. Jones is absolutely massive (6’8, 350lbs) but plays with much better agility than you’d expect for someone that size. This was a big test and he was dominant, particularly in pass protection, which again for a man that huge is a big arrow upwards. He has the ability to be an Orlando Brown type and that’s pretty high praise.

I also have offensive guard Matthew Jones graded highly on last year’s games watched and he enjoyed a good start to the season here too. An under the radar guy now, but if this offensive line gels like I think they can, he will move up boards.

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Defensively, Ohio State had Notre Dame’s number, all bar one big pass play in the first quarter. There were plenty of stand out performances on all three levels of the defense but we’ll start with Safety Ronnie Hickman. Hickman spends most of his time in the box and is a very aggressive run filler, flying downhill to hit runners. For all his aggressiveness he is a sound tackler too, which isn’t a thing you always see. He has good size, quick feet and this is his second year as a starter. He graded pretty well for me last year, so he is definitely on my radar now.

Linebacker Tommy Eichenberg really impressed me with his violent style of play. He was consistently around the ball and like Hickman is a fantastic tackler. He only started four games last year and didn’t grade great for me, but this is an impressive start and I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on him going forward.

His partner in crime in the middle of the defense is former running back turned Linebacker Steele Chambers. He looks super athletic, which is not surprising given his previous position, and you’d expect him to get better and better with the more reps he gets in his new role. He will be an intriguing player if he does declare for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Defensive Tackle Michael Hall, who is not draft eligible, had some real standout flashes here. He was quick off the snap, had strong hands and showed some nice ability to work in space. They lined him up all along the defensive line and he had success wherever he went. One for the future for sure, but certainly a name worth noting.

Notre Dame

I’m sure the offensive game plan for the Irish was to grind the clock and keep that explosive Ohio State offense off the field, which to a certain extent they did, but it didn’t make for exciting viewing. The star attraction for Notre Dame offensively is Tight End Michael Mayer, who most consider TE1 and a first round lock. This game certainly won’t go down as one to show scouts as he was largely ineffective, only showcasing his great hands on one catch that he plucked out of the air. Even on that play he ended up fumbling and was lucky the ball bounced straight back to him. Ohio State stuck cornerback Cameron Brown on him all game, and this really limited his effectiveness as a receiver, and will surely be copied by other teams they face going forward. How he deals with this kind of attention will be interesting to see as the season goes on.

Notre Dame defensively in the first half were excellent, never allowing Stroud time to settle and limiting his off script plays. The second half was a different story though and the Irish were exposed, particularly at cornerback, where one guy really struggled.

I was quite high on Cornerback Cam Hart going into this season but he had a bit of a shocker here. He is a big corner at 6’3, 200lbs and whilst the size is impressive he looked very clunky in transitions and really struggled locating the ball when he did get in position. He gave up a touchdown and had a pass interference call against him, and he was targeted often by the Buckeyes who had obviously singled him out as a weak link. This game will hurt him, but he has size and length you can’t teach, which means he’ll still be highly regarded in the NFL world.

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The biggest name for the Irish defensively is EDGE Isaiah Foskey. Notre Dame used him all over the place last year, which was frustrating for the evaluation process as we didn’t get to see him all the time in what will be his NFL position. Off of what we saw in this game, it looks like the Irish have ditched that plan and are exclusively using him as a pure EDGE. Now while that’s good for us, it wasn’t so good for Foskey, who struggled to have any type of influence on the game and was limited to just one pressure. The two offensive tackles from Ohio State that he went up against could both be top 50 players come draft time, so this isn’t doom and gloom yet, but we need a good bounce back game or two, as this will be a talented EDGE group come draft time, and he needs to keep his name in that first or second tier of guys.

Safety Brandon Joseph came over from Northwestern as a high level transfer, albeit coming off a disappointing Sophomore campaign with the Wildcats. He had a good solid debut here looking strong in the tackle, which was a weakness on last year’s tape, and limiting the effectiveness of the big plays over the middle, which is a staple of the Buckeyes offense. The one play he wasn’t roaming the backend they blitzed him, and Stroud threw right behind him, exploiting the single coverage he left behind for a Touchdown. Not his fault at all, just a good demonstration of C.J Stroud’s understanding of the game. 

By Keith Lucken, follow Kieth on Twittter @LordLucken

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Post Mortem Route : Tigers fall to FSU, 23-24

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A heartbreaking blocked extra point probably isn’t the way Brian Kelly envisioned losing his first game at LSU. Credit where credit is due though, Florida State played an amazing game led by their star QB and an amazing haul of transfers who showed out in a big way in a big game. 

Jordan Travis is the Florida man:

In the words of Andy Moore (@AJMoore21 on Twitter) “I told you so”.

I was sceptical of Jordan Travis coming into this game, even with my apprehension regarding LSU’s somewhat shaky secondary, he proved me wrong though and put the rest of college football on notice with an incredible performance that should have the rest of the ACC worried.

With that said the stat line of 260 yards and 2 touchdowns doesn’t really show how good he was all night. With LSU’s elite defensive front coming after him on every play Travis kept cool making plays with his arms and legs. He found Ontaria Wilson in the endzone twice, once with a beautiful flea flicker that left the LSU defence with their hands in their pockets and again when Wilson hauled in a one handed grab for one of the most impressive catches of the week.

Johnny Wilson and Myach Pittman also made their presence felt; seemingly unguardable for a majority of the contest and to round off the Seminoles attack, running back Treshaun Ward was also harder to bring down than Derrick Henry as he went up against one of the best defensive lines in college football. 

Florida State’s defence was also solid, not allowing LSU to get into a rhythm until late with Albany transfer Jarred Verse blowing past the LSU offensive line on almost every play. Verse racked up two sacks, three tackles and enough pressure to suffocate any signal caller out there.

Tatum Bethune and Renardo Green seemed to be everywhere as well, wrapping up LSU players left, right and centre ensuring finding the endzone was almost impossible for the Tigers.

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The All-American underachiever, Kayshon Boutte:

With 2 catches for 20 yards Kayshon Boutte very much disappointed last night especially as he’s the best receiver in college football (in my humble opinion). Boutte looked bothered and lethargic all night but is poised for a big bounceback as the Tigers face southern next week, probably just needed to shake the cobwebs off. 

Jayden Daniel’s looked shaky early behind a bad line, bad snaps and some bad reads. He managed to bounce back as the game progressed becoming the second LSU QB to pass for 200+ yards and rush for 100+ yards in a single game. Daniels found Jaray Jenksins twice for the end zone while hitting Mason Taylor, Brian Thomas Jr. and Malik Nabers as he moved down field. Nabers suffered the wrath of the LSU fan base this morning as his 2 dropped punts allowed FSU to get two scoring opportunities inside the 10 one of which was turned into points.

The LSU defence went exactly as expected, a shaky secondary exploited by a star QB when they should’ve been picking up slack from the offensive line that lost Maason Smith early to an injury and Ali Gaye to one of the most reckless plays I’ve seen from a player in a while. Despite his early trip to the medical tent BJ Ojulari looked solid all game with freshman Harold Perkins getting stuck in early and Senior safety Jay Ward showing his understanding of the defence and leadership skills as he helped control the defence from the secondary early on trying to pick up the slack left by his corners throughout the game. 

Oh and LSU’s kicker struggled, punter looked good though…

A disappointing outing for the new look Tigers but an absolutely stellar performance from FSU, a team I will very much look forward to seeing in the coming weeks. An ACC championship should be their goal now.

For more follow me on YouTube and twitter @KieranHorneCFB