BYU-UTEP Notes:

Trevor Vittatoe, QB, UTEP (Senior)- Vittatoe started really slow, but he showed some flashes in the second half. He definitely is not NFL material, but he is tough as nails for playing through multiple torn ligaments in his right ankle throughout this game which scouts at any level will like. He has pretty good arm strength and when healthy he has some mobility, but his accuracy and ball placement is inconsistent and his decision making is questionable at best. His success in this game really came when he just threw up deep balls to Kris Adams who got open and brought in three touchdowns for him. He won’t be drafted but with his arm he could get a shot in the CFL.

Kris Adams, WR, UTEP (Senior)- Adams had a pretty impressive statistical game but BYU’s corners are really nothing to write home about. He could have had a fourth touchdown but the pass bounced right off of his hands with just 20 seconds left in the half. That could have brought UTEP within two scores before the half and could have changed the game. He looks like he has solid hands, he has pretty good size at 6’3”, 195 pounds and looks like he has 4.48 speed. He has the frame to add some size though and if he can work on his fundamentals and perhaps his concentration he could stick on a roster. He might not get drafted but I would be surprised if he didn’t get a free agent deal because of his ability to stretch the field.

Marlon McClure, WR, UTEP (Sophomore)- McClure has very impressive speed and quickness. He was one missed tackle away from breaking not one but two KR’s for touchdowns. He brought one to the 20 yard line anyways. He showed potentially solid hands as a receiver but I believe he had one drop and let another one get into his pads when it was a low throw. He has a ton of speed though and he should be a quality KR/PR option when he leaves after his senior year in a couple seasons. He is undersized at a listed 5’9”, 155 pounds but despite his small stature if you can run like he does you can find a spot as a return man and maybe as a slot receiver if he can continue to improve his hands.

Jake Heaps, QB, BYU (True Freshman)- Heaps was far and away the better QB in this game and was arguably the best player on the field for either team. He was efficient all game and showed good arm strength, good accuracy and some pretty impressive ball placement on eight yard out routes and also on deep balls over the top of coverage. He threw four touchdowns in this game, three of them to Cody Hoffman (his redshirt freshman WR). He threw out of shotgun for the most part and didn’t make a boatload of NFL throws, but he showed pretty good decision making outside of his interception and a couple other throws which was impressive for a true freshman. I look forward to seeing him play next year. He has a good arm, enough mobility to extend plays and he already seems to be the leader of that team. I like his upside.

Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU (Redshirt Freshman)- Hoffman had a huge game with 8 catches, 137 yards and three touchdowns. One of those touchdown catches was a questionable catch but he showed pretty reliable hands in this game catching the ball away from his body a couple times. He has impressive size at 6’4”, 205 pounds and he looked like he had 4.5 speed, maybe a little faster. He looks to be Heaps’ favorite target in the future and I understand why.

Matt Reynolds, OT, BYU (Redshirt Junior)- Reynolds had some hype at the beginning of the season and was mentioned as a potential day one pick, but I just don’t see that kind of ability from him at all. He has good size at 6’6”, 320 pounds (listed) but I didn’t see much to like out of him beyond that. His athleticism is lacking, he doesn’t have good lateral agility to take away the edge from speed rushers, he struggles to get to the second level and lumbers in space, he does not have a very impressive initial punch to shock defenders, and he doesn’t maul defenders in the run game like you might expect considering his size and his probable switch either inside to guard or to right tackle in the NFL. He bends his waist at times and struggles to sustain one on one blocks, and often struggles to find a blocker to block when in space. His first step is not very good and that hurts him when he is asked to down block on a defensive tackle or when he has to take away an edge rush, and because he leans and bends at the waist he will end up on the ground more than you would like to see. He walled off defenders a few times, particularly when he doubled defenders with another player like a tight end, but he was unimpressive in one on one situations throughout the whole game. I haven’t scouted him specifically before this game, but based off of this game tape I wonder if he is even worth a selection at all, much less a 2nd or 3rd round pick. I have a couple more games to watch of him, but I didn’t like what I saw today. He was pretty unimpressive.

NIU-Fresno State Notes:

Chandler Harnish, QB, NIU (Junior)- Harnish has decent size, pretty good arm strength and he is a true dual threat and ran for a couple of touchdowns in this game. I look forward to the progression he makes going into his senior season, but as for right now I was a little underwhelmed with him as a passer. His accuracy is inconsistent and he missed high at least four times that I can remember, and I wasn’t overly impressed with his ball placement or his decision making. He forced a couple of throws even though he didn’t throw interceptions on them. Overall he played well in this game, but he has a ways to go before I would say I am sold on him as a NFL prospect.

Chad Spann, RB, NIU (Senior)- Spann is first and foremost a tough runner and he runs with good pad level, keeps his legs churning and is willing to grind for tough yards. He has also been impressive in pass protection picking up blitzes and giving Harnish time to throw. I’m not sure how good of a receiver he is out of the backfield, and he looks like he has about 4.55 speed on the field. He’s not slow though and I think that if he got into camp he could stick as a NFL RB, perhaps on a practice squad as a rookie. But he is fundamentally sound, he’s an extremely hard worker and he is a smart guy. He probably won’t get drafted unless he plays well in a post-season game (perhaps Texas versus the Nation?) but even if he doesn’t get an invite to one of those I think he will get signed as a free agent. He is worth a look.

Martell Moore, WR, NIU (Sophomore)- Moore was arguably the most impressive player in the entire game as far as actual production and how it would translate to the NFL. He only had 4 catches for 88 yards, but he caught each ball with his hands away from his body, not to mention on two or three of those passes he had to go up and high point the ball. He doesn’t have great size but he is very athletic, looks like he has 4.45 speed and has good hands. I really like his potential as a NFL receiver and I look forward to watching him more next year.

Chris Smith, CB, NIU (Senior)- Smith had an ok game. He looked good in run support and did well form tackling offensive players when they came to his side of the field occasionally. He made a couple nice pass deflections in coverage, but he also gave up a couple catches in coverage. He has ok size at 5’10”, 185 pounds but he probably doesn’t have much better than 4.55 speed. I didn’t see him get challenged much, but if he has good closing speed he could be an effective zone corner despite his less than ideal 40 yard dash time. However, I don’t think he will get drafted right now, but could or should generate interest as an undrafted free agent.

Ryan Colburn, QB, Fresno State (Senior)- Colburn had good looking stats in this game but he was not impressive to me at all. He has solid size as he is listed at 6’3”, 220 pounds but his arm strength is average, his accuracy is solid but so much of Fresno State is simple screens and dump off throws that his accuracy and ball placement is not tested as much as you might expect from his stat sheet. In my opinion he has average arm strength, average accuracy, solid size, poor footwork, average intangibles (if that) and limited pocket poise. Obviously this isn’t a glowing recommendation of him, but despite his stats I was not impressed with him at all. For those of you who didn’t see the game you might think his first touchdown was a nice throw, but in reality it was a horrible off balance throw that floated in the air for what felt like forever before his receiver managed to pull it in in the end zone and somehow get his foot down for a score. It was a truly horrendous throw mechanically and as far as zip and ball placement were concerned, but he got lucky and his receiver made a nice play getting under it. To me, Colburn is like a sausage link: His stat sheet, like a sausage link, looks good before you eat it. But when you find out how it’s made you wonder if you should eat it or not.

Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State (Sophomore)- The first thing you notice about Rouse is his toughness. He played through a rib injury in the game today and somehow managed to play running back despite having a huge club on his injured left arm. I don’t know how he did it, but he even managed to catch a pass with it. He was bottled up for most of the game, but the few times he did manage to get some daylight he showed good vision, burst and quickness. He is a small back at 5’7”, 185 pounds but he runs hard and like I said, he looks like he has good burst. It will be interesting to see how he does next year.

Jamel Hamler, WR, Fresno State (Junior)- Hamler has solid size at 6’2”, 195 pounds but he doesn’t have great timed speed. I looked it up and it has him listed as a 4.60 in the 40, which isn’t good for his NFL prospects. However, Hamler was Colburn’s go-to guy in this game as he had 7 catches, 87 yards and he was the one who managed to turn Colburn’s horrible miracle pass into a touchdown on the sideline in the end zone with some impressive footwork. He looked like he had reliable hands and made three catches in a row for first down conversions on third downs on one drive, including that touchdown grab which was also on 3rd down. He doesn’t seem like a very draft-able prospect as far as his athleticism goes right now, but depending on how he improves next year he may get interest late in the draft or as a free agent. I have to say, showing up on 3rd downs is a very good way to get yourself into the NFL and I really like seeing that in prospects.

Troy-Ohio is still going on, it is nearly halftime right now, so I will probably post those notes tomorrow. Hopefully you enjoyed my thoughts on the prospects that showed their stuff earlier today!

Thanks for reading!

–Tom