Player Notes – Week 4

* LSU S Brandon Taylor had a good game vs West Va. He picked off a pass, broke up a pass, and had 4 solo tackles. The INT came when a ball was deflected over the middle and Taylor came up to make the grab. Broke up a 3rd down pass late in the half. Had time to break on the ball and get over to the spot. Almost picked off pass in 3rd Q. Taylor isn’t a star but is a solid S prospect. 3-year starter. 6’0, 194.

* Clemson TE Dwayne Allen had a great game vs Florida State. He caught 4 passes for 67 yards and a TD. Allen has exceptional body control. Great hands. Extends for the ball and plucks it. Caught a pass in space late in the game and almost got loose for TD. Showed off his good RAC ability. Allen is a gifted athlete and natural pass catcher. He’s only a Junior, but NFL scouts will definitely know who he is. Could very well come out this year.

Teammate Brandon Thompson is a good DT. He’s been inconsistent when I’ve watched him over the years, but he has size and ability. Lists at 6’2, 310. Got half a sack vs FSU when he looped wide and was unblocked. His specialty is stopping the run.

* Speaking of good DTs, Penn State’s Devon Still is playing as well as anyone in the country. He doesn’t have the upside to be a super high pick, but he is a terrific college player. Still had 2.5 TFLs in PSU’s win over Eastern Michigan. He’s got 5.5 TFLs and 21 total tackles on the year. Good numbers. Still is a big guy, but is able to get off the ball quickly and get penetration. Disruptive player enjoying a strong Senior campaign.

* Defensive linemen hate playing Ga Tech because of all the cut blocking the Yellowjackets do. UNC star Quinton Coples looked miserable throughout the game on Saturday. Coples had 1 solo stop and 4 assists. Tech piled up 496 yards and 35 points. The Tar Heels could have used star LB Zach Brown to help slow down Tech, but he was partially suspended for breaking team rules. Brown was allowed to play on STs, but not defense. Interesting punishment from interim coach Everett Withers.

* Ga Tech WR Stephen Hill is an emerging star. He’s only a Junior. Goes 6’5, 200. Ga Tech decided to work on their passing game this year to balance the offense out. Hill has 14 catches for 462 yards and 4 TDs. He is averaging 33 yards per catch. Hill made a sensational grab in the game. He went up and made a one-hand catch. Literally. He plucked the ball with one hand and brought it into his body. Special play. He later dropped a sure TD so he’s got to get more consistent, but he’s got big time ability.

* The best WR in the country is Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State. He had a wild game on Saturday. He was 11-121-1. Blackmon made one amazing TD catch. He got the ball right by the sideline. He got one foot down and dragged the toe on the other foot. Great footwork, body control. Oddly, it was ruled out initially. The play happened in an area where shadows were involved. Replay clearly showed he scored and the incompletion ruling was overturned. As great a catch as that was, Blackmon had an equally bad play. He was running in on the other side of the same endzone and went to hot dog. The ball came out of his hands and ended up going out of the endzone for a touchback. That was an important play in the 4th Qtr of a tight game. I’m sure the coaches weren’t too happy with him. OSU still won so Blackmon was let off the hook. Great player, dumb mistake.

* Bama RB Trent Richardson had a huge game vs Arkansas. He was 17-126 as a runner and 3-85 as a receiver, with a TD. He had a 61-yd catch. Richardson runs with great speed, but also great strength. He breaks tackles and bounces off defenders. I don’t know who to compare him to. Might be a more physical version of LaDainian Tomlinson. There are times when Richardson will make your jaw drop. Great combination of power and speed.

Alabama LT Barrett Jones is a good blocker on the 2nd level. He can take out LBs and give Richardson room to run if he’s able to get by initial defenders. WR Marquis Maze has excellent RAC ability. He accelerates really well and is comfortable running in traffic. Maze had a spectacular PR where he showed his RAC ability. He weaved in and out of players, read his blocks, and then used his speed when needed.

* South Carolina DL Melvin Ingram struck again. He recovered a fumble for a TD. He now has 2 sacks on the year. He’s got 3 TDs. He also has 1 INT. And he recovered an onside kick. Weirdest set of stats I can think of.

* Arizona State MLB Vontaze Burfict was the subject of some not nice comments from USC QB Matt Barkley. Burfict got revenge in the game by picking off a pass. He came up with an INT in the RZ on WR screen. Dumb pass. Sneaky job by Burfict. He hid for a second then got in the passing lane. Barkley tackled him after the return. Burfict helped him up and patted Barkley on the head. I didn’t think Burfict played the run all that well. USC ran for 175 yards and averaged over 5 yards per carry. Burfict did get a nice hit on WR Robert Woods after a catch in early 4th. Burfict finished with the INT and 2 solo tackles (3 assists).

* I was not impresses with USC Safety T.J. McDonald. He loves to hit, but needs to do a better job of tackling. You can’t throw a shoulder into every runner or receiver. Ask Taylor Mays. You must be able to tackle players in the open field. McDonald has a skinny build. In the game he drew 3 flags for personal fouls. No one loves the new rules on hitting, but you have to deal with ’em.

Southern Cal RB Marc Tyler had a good showing. He was 22-149-1. He ran hard. Showed okay speed. Tyler did have a crucial fumble in the 3rd Q.

USC LT Matt Kalil is the team’s best pro prospect. I’m up and down on Barkley. Kalil had a strong game in pass pro. He’s also a good blocker out in space. Kalil flattened a DB on run play where he pulled outside. Guy was slow to get up after the hit.

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