Well opening weekend is nearly over after the Sunday games have been played. I am very excited to see Boise State and Virginia Tech square off tomorrow, but I have some thoughts about the games that were played this weekend. I haven’t watched all of them obviously, but I got to catch a few of them. Here are my thoughts about how some specific players did:
-Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina- I was impressed with how Jeffrey played last Thursday against Southern Mississippi. He is definitely South Carolina’s go-to guy and while he definitely has some things that he needs to work on he has great size, great natural ability to play receiver and he shows up when they need a first down or a big play, which is something that I really like to see in any prospect that I watch. I am excited to see how he develops in his second season on the college level. At this point AJ Green is the only receiver I would grade higher than Jeffrey in the entire SEC, which speaks volumes about him considering he is just embarking on his sophomore campaign.
-Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State- Pryor seems to have continued his run of quality play that, in my opinion, started in the Rose Bowl last season. Obviously he didn’t play a quality opponent, but he did what he was supposed to do and that was play well and beat Marshall badly, which he did. I haven’t watched the game yet, but I saw part of it and he looked effective to me. But all that means is that he is starting to become a good college quarterback, there is not nearly enough evidence in his play to suggest that he is becoming a quality NFL quarterback prospect yet. But still, his performance on Saturday was encouraging.
-Brandon Saine, RB, Ohio State- Saine was one of my sleepers coming into the season, and last season when he was splitting carries with Daniel Herron I kept thinking to myself that Saine looked like the better runner to me. Well on Saturday he ran for over 100 yards on just nine carries and had two touchdowns. I have not yet posted my list of sleepers because I haven’t finished my defensive watch list, but Saine was definitely one of the guys I thought could make himself a lot of money this year, and it looks like he may just make me look smart this year. I am hoping and expecting a big year for him.
-Matt Barkley, QB, Southern Cal- I have been a big fan of Barkley since he first enrolled at USC and was fighting for the starting job, so I always find myself rooting for him to play well when Southern Cal takes the field. Barkley certainly didn’t disappoint me against Hawaii. He went 18/23, had 257 yards and five touchdowns in the game, and though I haven’t rewatched the game yet he impressed me. His receivers did get a lot of yards after catch which benefited his stats, but regardless I thought he played well. I am excited to see how he progresses this year, as I have been high on him for well over a year now.
-Marc Tyler, RB, Southern Cal- Tyler surprised me by winning the starting spot, but he looked very good against Hawaii. He looked fast, he showed good vision, he made nice cuts, he got North and South well, and most importantly he was productive. I think that with Barkley leading the offense and Tyler carrying the ball USC is going to be very difficult to slow down. I was very impressed with what I saw from him, so look for his draft stock to improve this year if he can stay healthy (which has been his issue in the past).
-Ronald Johnson, WR, Southern Cal- You’d probably think that I am a closet USC fan if you are just reading my blog for the first time, but I promise I’m not. USC is a hotbed for NFL talent though, so it is hard to ignore them when you are looking for players to scout, especially when you want to get as much mileage out of the time you spend watching games as possible. Johnson looked explosive against Hawaii and he was also very productive with three touchdowns. As I said earlier I haven’t re-watched this game yet, but I was pleased with what I saw from Johnson upon my initial view, and it’s hard to spin a three touchdown game for any receiver in a negative light, regardless of the competition.
-Nick Foles, QB, Arizona- I am not a big Foles supporter, but he played well against Toledo. He went 32/37 for 360 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. My issue with Foles is that he stares down his first read very frequently, which was my major beef with Sam Bradford, but he produced in this game. It will be interesting to take a look at this game to see how much he was staring down his receivers, but in the little that I saw of it it looked like he was still doing that. But he still played well and was efficient, so he deserves praise for that at least. He just won’t be moving up my QB rankings list before he shows me that he can read a defense and go through his progressions consistently.
-Juron Criner, WR, Arizona- I honestly knew nothing about Criner before this game, but some of the catches I saw him make were just incredible. He had 11 receptions, 187 yards and a touchdown, but he made a couple of highlight reel catches. He has very nice size at 6’4″, 210 pounds and has a reported 40 yard time of 4.62, which is not very good, but he dominated this game. He really caught my eye, so if or when I re-watch this game I will be paying specific attention to him to see how he looks.
-Adam Robinson, RB, Iowa- Robinson ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in Iowa’s opener, pacing the Hawkeyes on their opening day victory. I haven’t re-watched the game yet, but I am looking forward to seeing how he develops this season. This was a very good start to the year for him.
-Derrick Locke, RB, Kentucky- Locke’s role on Kentucky reminds me a lot of Dexter McCluster’s on Ole Miss last year. It isn’t to the same extent, but their roles are similar in that as Locke goes Kentucky goes, much like how McCluster fueled Ole Miss last year. Locke is a guy I have really liked for a couple of months now, and he is definitely one of my RB sleepers for this year’s RB class. He and Brandon Saine are two of my favorite RB prospects in this senior class, but they haven’t gotten a lot of pub. Locke is very versatile and he honestly reminds me a lot of Warrick Dunn in that he can run up the middle, has the speed to get the edge, and is a very reliable receiver out of the backfield. This week he had 125 total yards (104 rushing) and two touchdowns. Watch out for him.
-Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky- Cobb is a guy that I think has star potential, he is just so talented and is so versatile. He had 19 yards passing, 80 yards rushing on only four attempts, 19 more yards receiving on only two receptions and 59 yards on two kickoff returns. It’s not his most impressive game, but it shows the versatility he presents. Definitely watch out for him, he’s only a junior.
-Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan- What can you say about this guy other than “wow” to be honest. He had 197 yards rushing in his debut as a starter along with one touchdown rushing, plus he went 19/22 for 186 yards passing with one touchdown and he didn’t turn the ball over. That is about as efficient as it gets, especially when you are averaging 9.8 yards per attempt and 6.8 yards per rush. It will be really interesting to see if he can put up numbers even remotely similar to that against conference opponents this year. But wow, what a debut.
-Greg Jones, MLB, Michigan State- I watched the majority of this game while I was also watching Florida play, but I paid attention to Jones when he was on the field and he was impressive. I don’t know what his stat line looked like, but all I can say is this guy is the real deal. He has great instincts, he is always around the ball and he has just been impressive every time I’ve seen him play. Watching him play almost makes me regret that the Falcons ended up with Sean Weatherspoon, that is how high I am on this guy.
-Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson- Ellington had a good game against North Texas as he went off for 122 yards on just 12 carries with two touchdowns. It will be really interesting to see if he steps up to the plate and replaces Spiller, though he will be hard pressed to replace Spiller in all aspects of the game he should be able to step up and help replace his speed and playmaking ability on offense.
-Jamie Harper, RB, Clemson- Harper is another guy I want to watch out for because he had 102 yards and a score this weekend also. The combination of Ellington and Harper could be lethal this year, especially if Parker starts to come on at quarterback. I haven’t re-watched this game yet, but I am excited to see how both of these players look this year. Hopefully Harper runs as hard as he should at his size, because I was disappointed with how hard James Davis ran when he was the alleged “Thunder” to Spiller’s lightning a couple of years ago.
-Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida- Jenkins is a guy that I have been impressed with since last year when I noticed him when I was scouting Joe Haden. Haden was a very good corner, but Jenkins might be just as, if not more, athletically gifted. I love how Jenkins supports the run, he is a good tackler, he is very physical, and he is good in coverage. He looked good to me yesterday, though I didn’t watch him on every snap and it was hard to see him at times due to the camera angles on TV. But he had a great break on the ball which ended in a pick six that kept Florida out of trouble while their offense was sputtering. As far as I’m concerned he was far and away their best player on Saturday.
I know there are other players that played well, but it is just too much to go through every game and find players who performed well. These were guys that I was aware of playing well before I started looking through box scores and reading through recaps. Hopefully that is a good enough list for all of you.
Once there are some more competitive games I will start putting up some preliminary scouting reports for that game that will hopefully involve previous viewings of the player if I have been able to see them before. Obviously they won’t be final reports, but they will be something that I take into serious account when I write a final report later in the season.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully it wasn’t too wordy, I try to keep these short but it never works.