Corey Robinson, QB, Troy:*
Overall: Robinson impressed me, though he only attempted 11 passes, and for the most part he had a clean pocket as a result of good protection and made easy throws. He was accurate and threw a beautiful deep ball vs 1 on 1 coverage, but I didn’t see him come off his primary read regularly. Obviously I need to see more of him, and he’s just a junior, but I think he has a NFL future. He’s impressed me since he was a freshman at Troy, and has been overlooked because of his height his entire football career. He can play, and I hope he’s alright as it looked like he may have sustained a concussion.
Quanterus Smith, DE, WKU:
Overall: I came in excited to watch Smith against Troy but despite flashing a bit of hand usage to keep his blocker off balance he didn’t do anything as a pass rusher despite entering the game with 6.5 sacks on the season (including one against DJ Fluker). He has some edge speed, flashes of hand usage, and seems to have a solid motor, but that didn’t translate into production against Troy. Had Robinson not been knocked out just before halftime I have plenty of confidence that Troy would have beaten WKU, and Smith’s inability to beat Troy’s RT like he stole something played a big role in that.
Jack Doyle, TE, WKU:
Overall: Doyle impressed me. He’s not a 1st round prospect by any means, but as a mid-late round prospect I think he has some value. This was the first time I’d watched him, so it’s impossible for me to put a round grade on him given that, but he has the size at 6’6”, 252 pounds, looks pretty athletic, gave good effort as a blocker and caught all the passes I saw thrown to him (even though they were mostly underneath). He needs technique work as a blocker, but he showed that he can be a wall-off type even if he didn’t get much push or sustain consistently against defensive ends in the run game. He’s a solid prospect, so keep an eye on him.
Mitchell Henry, TE, WKU:**
Overall: If Doyle was solid and consistent, Henry was eye-catching and intriguing. At first I thought he was a wide receiver, but he’s a 6’4”, 245 pound tight end who is an interesting joker tight end prospect. He is an athletic kid with some burst to him, he releases off the line of scrimmage well, looks smooth when running his routes, seems to have good hands and showed that he can make tough catches in traffic a few times last night. I’m definitely a fan, and since he is only a sophomore he should have two years as the starter barring unforeseen circumstances after Doyle graduates.
Antonio Andrews, RB, WKU:*
Overall: Andrews finished with 26 carries for 113 yards (4.6 ypc) and 1 reception for 14 yards, but he easily could have had a couple touchdowns receiving as he beat linebackers with his route running in man coverage at least two or three times and was horribly overthrown by his quarterback Jakes (who is not nearly draftable despite being born one day after me on February 28th, 1990). He impressed me as a route runner and as a runner despite fumbling the ball twice. He is a bigger back at 6’0”, 211 pounds but has legitimate athleticism and shiftiness to him which I liked. Both of his fumbles, from what I could see, were forced by defenders getting their helmets on the ball and dislodging it. There’s not a ton you can do about that, but the little that he could have done (cover the ball with two hands when contact was imminent) didn’t happen, and that is on him. What bothered me more was even later in the game, despite fumbling twice in the first half, still was running towards and through contact with one arm on the ball and on one play I thought he was definitely going to get stripped from behind. I like Andrews, but he needs to work on ball security. He’s only a junior and I would be surprised if he declared after this season, but it’s his first year as a starter and he has had a great start to the season after stepping up to replace Bobby Rainey after he left for the NFL. I like him, but he has room to improve.
Andrew Jackson, MLB, WKU:*
Overall: Jackson was a very pleasant surprise for me because I love instinctual middle linebackers that can deliver a big hit. It’s one reason I really liked Curtis Lofton, Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes coming out, and it’s why I like Jackson. He’s listed at 6’1”, 265 pounds but he looked like he could stand to lose 10-15 pounds and perhaps help himself move even better than he does. He looked like a pretty good athlete despite potentially carrying extra weight, and he is a tackling machine. He had 17 TFL last season during his first year as a starter while he also had 100+ tackles (40-45 solos if I remember correctly) and already has at least 7.5 TFL thus far as a junior. I think he may need to improve his conditioning, because I think he was taken out for a few plays on one of Troy’s longer drives, but that comes back to the weight issue. If he drops that and improves his conditioning LOOK OUT. He’s a nice middle linebacker and I definitely enjoyed watching him against Troy.
Xavius Boyd, OLB, WKU:*
Overall: Boyd is another talented junior linebacker on WKU. I didn’t see him as much as Jackson, but he filled downhill well and made a couple nice plays on the goal line to help force Troy to attempt a fake field goal despite having the ball inside the 10, getting a pass interference penalty, and then still getting stopped three more times. It was an impressive stand, and Boyd definitely contributed to it.