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Week 3 Scouting Notes – Texas A&M vs. Miami

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The week three slate was a bit limited in terms of quality match ups, so I went for the game with the highest rated players I haven’t seen yet, which were Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and nickel/safety Antonio Johnson of Texas A&M. I’ll give my thoughts on those two below, as well as a few others who took my eye, in what turned out to be quite a defensive battle in the end.

Texas A&M

The quarterback play over the first two games of the season wasn’t good enough for the Aggies, so Jimbo Fisher pulled the plug on Haynes King and gave the reins of the offense to LSU transfer Max Johnson.

Johnson didn’t set the world alight here, but the offense looked much better than it did the previous week in their surprise loss to Appalachian State. Johnson looked composed in the pocket and showed off some wheels too on a few designed runs, and although his stat line isn’t great (10/20 for 140 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions), he looks like he has done enough to keep the job going forward. 

I was pretty high on running back Devon Achane in the summer, so I was eager to see him here against a good defense. Achane isn’t going to be an every down back in the NFL, he just doesn’t have the size to handle that kind of workload at 5’9 185. What Achane does have though is speed, and not just good speed, no, we are talking sub 10.20, 100 meter speed, which is flat out flying.

Miami held him in check pretty well, but he still carried the threat to break one on every play. It’s not just in the run game, as he has very natural hands too in the passing game, and is a danger in open space when they flare it out to him. The speed alone will make him a top 100 player, but a big season could push him into the top 64 for a team who values speed over power.

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The Aggies were without their two five-star freshman receivers for this game, as they were both suspended for breaking a curfew, so picking up the slack was the very versatile Ainias Smith. Smith only had 4 catches, but he made the most of them, stretching Miami for 74 yards and looked a threat with his limited touches. What doesn’t show up on the stat sheet is Smith’s blocking downfield ability. He isn’t the biggest at 5’10 190lbs, but he will mix it up with anyone, and was very effective in this game at springing blocks and getting extra yards for his teammates. Smith has spent time in the backfield during his career but now lives mostly in the slot, and that’s where he’ll make his money in the NFL. I seem to be higher on him then most, but I think there’s a day two player here, if some off-field concerns are cleared up by draft time.

Defensively the Aggies were excellent in this game, particularly in the secondary, and we’ll start our notes on that side of the ball with the star attraction, nickel/safety Antonio Johnson

Johnson is mostly lined up as a slot corner and is matched up against speedy slot receivers or hulking tight ends on virtually every play. He has the size (6’3 200lbs) to be physical with the tight ends and the speed (estimated 4.4, 40 yard dash) to keep up with the receivers. He was great here against Miami, especially when lined up against tight end Will Mallory. He is also a force in the run game, willinging throwing himself into blockers and blowing up run plays. He is a versatile defensive chess piece and will almost certainly be a first round pick in the draft.

Someone who caught my eye for the first time was cornerback Tyreek Chappell, who is a true sophomore, so not draft eligible yet. He has a very physical style of play and was sticking to the Hurricanes receivers like glue. He was smooth in phase and very competitive at the catch point, which was impressive as he isn’t the biggest. He had two pass break ups in this game, one a contested catch on a slant in man coverage, and the other was a beautiful play, coming off of his man to make a play on the ball on a different receiver down the sideline. I like the way he plays and I’ll be keeping an eye on him in the future.

Someone who seems to have been around forever is safety Demani Richardson, who has been on my safety list for the last couple of years and I’m still quite high on.   Although he only played the first quarter here, after getting ejected (questionably) for targeting, he was having a very influential game leading the back line of the defense. He is a very aggressive downhill thumping safety but can play in reverse too and cover backs and tight ends well, so he isn’t a one dimensional guy. Straight line speed may be a concern, so his 40 time will play a big part in where he ends up getting drafted.


My eyes were on star quarterback Tyler Van Dyke for the Hurricanes, who had risen up draft boards over the summer and was firmly in the mix to be QB3 on most people’s lists. Now he never made it that high on mine, but he did have a very good end to last season and you could see why he was getting plenty of summer buzz. Unfortunately, this season hasn’t started well for him and he looked out of sorts in this game too against an aggressive Aggies defense. Mechanically there’s a lot to like, he has a smooth set up and a good arm with some nice zip, but there are accuracy and decision making questions, and it’s topped off with some general inconsistencies from play to play as well, so there’s a lot of work for him to do to rescue this season. The good news is though that it’s just week three and there’s plenty of time to rebound, and if he doesn’t, he can always go back next year and try and get back up those rankings.

There really weren’t many positives for Miami offensively, but one young offensive lineman stood up well to the Aggie onslaught, while the others crumbled. Redshirt freshman guard Jalen Rivers has nice size at 6’5 325lbs and played like a veteran, rather than someone making just their sixth career start. He has strong hands and grip control to ride defenders away and looks pretty agile on the move. The size and athletic profile indicates a potential move to tackle in the future, where he could excel.

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I’ve never been high on tackle Zion Nelson, but there were still plenty of people thinking he had first round ability entering this year, but I can slam that door shut for them now. He hasn’t started the last two games and when he was on the field the same old problems were there. If you haven’t figured it out after 2452 career snaps, my guess is you never will. Not draftable in my opinion, but no doubt someone will take a chance on him at some point believing they can light his fire.

The Hurricanes did a nice job defensively in this game and their whole secondary really caught my eye. They have an impressive young safety pairing of James Williams and Kamren Kinchens, both true sophomores who look like stars in the making. Williams is massive (6’4 224lbs) but moves around effortlessly in space, whilst Kinchens has that true headhunter mentality and physical style of play that I love in a safety. 

They are for the future, but for right now, Miami has a couple of very intriguing cornerbacks in D.J Ivey and Tyrique Stevenson. Both have excellent size and length and they gave up nothing to the Texas A&M wide receivers in this game. Ivey was targeted three times but gave up zero catches and was all over receivers for the entire game. I’ve seen plenty of him over his five years at Miami, and he’s never graded overly well for me in the past, but if this game is any indication of his level of play now, then he’ll be moving up boards in no time at all. 

Stevenson is a Georgia transfer who looked good in a limited role for the Bulldogs but struggled for me last season in his first year in Miami. He was only targeted once in this game and like Ivey gave up zero catches. He has a great athletic profile and is someone who is still highly regarded, and more performances like this will justify the hype he is currently getting. 

By Keith Lucken. Follow Keith on twitter – @lordlucken

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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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SEC Preseason All-Conference Team

With the college football season around the corner, it’s time for us to lay a marker down as a team and give you guys an idea of who the very best players in each conference are, and we are going to do that by dropping our all-conference selections for each of the Power-5 conferences.

Since these are quite short and easily digestible, they will be dropping rapid-fire with a couple each day and then we’ll hit you with the second half of our pre-season questions as well.

Here is our SEC All-Conference selection from our guy Will Lane;

Read Will’s Analysis:

A lot of these positions felt like it came down to a coin flip, there are a lot of players to love this season which can make it hard to choose at times.

That is true for most, but definitely not the quarterback position, clearly Bryce Young is the best quarterback in the SEC. Doesn’t feel like much of a debate as the Alabama quarterback is coming off of a Heisman campaign in 2021, there are plenty of talented QBs in the SEC but none of them are like Bryce.

Now at running back it was hard not to pick somebody who goes by the name of Tank Bigsby, that just screams SEC all over it. Just missing this list was Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. Next up at wide receiver we have LSU’s Kayshon Boutte and Tennessee’s Cedrick Tillman. Boutte was no debate, and neither was Tillman in all honesty, these two really stand out in 2022. At the flex we have receiver Jermaine Burton, the transfer from Georgia is entering an Alabama system where he will be looking to be their number one guy, he also has the benefit of playing with one of the game’s best in Bryce Young.

Thanks for reading, let us know what you think of this one! Next up will be our Big Ten selection later today.