Tag Archive: Bowl Game


I didn’t have as many notes on this game but I still have some thoughts on a few prospects.

Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy (Senior)- Jernigan was the best NFL Draft eligible prospect that I watched all day on the first day of bowl season. He is a little undersized at 5’9″ listed, but he is not as skinny as you might think he would be considering his explosiveness. He is pretty well built for a 5’9″ guy if he is really 185-190 pounds like he is listed as. But boy can he move. Troy gets him the ball on kickoffs, punts, by throwing it to him and by running jet-sweeps with him because he just needs to have the ball in his hands. The turf was not ideal for cuts, but boy when he could plant and explode he made some people look foolish. On his touchdown he ran a slant, caught it easily with good separation, continued on his diagonal path towards the end zone but while he did it he juked one guy, then broke another dude’s ankles and turned on the jets as another guy dove at his ankles and then all of a sudden he was walking into the end zone by himself. It was pretty amazing how much explosiveness he has and how quick he can go from 0-60 so to speak. He looks like he has pretty solid hands, but this is a pretty small sample size to judge that on. I think he has definite 3rd round potential and he could definitely work his way into the second round if he tests pretty well and does well in post-season games. I really like him as a slot receiver and return man in the NFL and I think with time he could develop into a reliable #2 who can stretch the field but also be reliable for quick passes, kind of like a “Wes Welker” role.

Corey Robinson, QB, Troy (Freshman)- Robinson is pretty damn impressive for a freshman. I couldn’t believe this when I heard it, but as a Senior in high school he threw for 91, yes, 91 touchdowns in one season and threw only four interceptions that year. You might wonder why he didn’t get scholarships from everyone in the country considering he played in a pro-style offense and broke the national record for most passing touchdowns in a single season, and the answer is probably his height. He is only listed at 6’0″, and that means there is a chance he is only 5’11” in reality. He’s a pretty small guy, but he has a quality arm and showed some pretty good zip and accuracy in this game. He didn’t look incredible necessarily, but he looked like a quality college QB. I don’t know if his game will ultimately translate to the NFL, but he runs their no-huddle offense pretty effectively, especially for a freshman.

Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy (Sophomore)- Massaquoi impressed me almost as much as Jernigan in this game. Every time I watched him he reminded me more and more of a small-school Brandon Graham. Yes, that is high praise, but it is fitting for Massaquoi. He is relatively undersized at 6’2″, 252 pounds (listed), he lined up at LE for Troy, he showed a great burst and impressive acceleration to beat his blocker to the inside or to the outside, and he has a terrific motor. He even chased down a WR on a screen thrown into the flat and wrapped him up from behind. He is the real deal, and coming into the game he had 17.5 TFL and 10 sacks. He definitely added to that in this game, and probably will finish the season with 20 TFL and 11 sacks if not a little more. I am excited to see how he develops next year, because if he continues to improve and fill out his frame he could be the next stud pass rusher to come out of Troy. Obviously I’m a fan, and I’m going to keep serious tabs on him from now until the 2012 draft, and if you like quality pass rushing prospects you should too.

This might sound weird, but I wasn’t particularly impressed with any NFL prospects on Ohio in this game… I was hoping to get a solid look at Terrence McCrae, their senior WR (#11) but they threw the ball so little in the first half of the game that he had almost no passes thrown his way and ended up with three catches for only 24 yards in this game.

Hopefully the Troy notes were enough for you guys, I can’t believe I have to wait until the 21st for more football!

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

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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

Obviously I took a lot of notes on Virginia Tech’s players, but I also took note of what some Tennessee players were doing. I took notes on their two best WR’s Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore, brief notes on their TE Luke Stocker, their MLB Herman Lathers, their OLB LaMarcus Thompson and their freshman safety Janzen Jackson. I liked what I saw from all of them, but they had their ups and downs.

Jones has pretty good size and hands, and emerged as a reliable target for Crompton during his junior season.

Gerald Jones had a pretty good game and only had one drop plus two good catches he made with his hands from what I saw. He was pretty consistent in this game, but he also let a pass or two get into his pads which is something I did not like. He was routinely open on curl routes near the sideline and did a good job of making catches with his hands there. He seemed to do a good job of finding a hole in the zone and making a catch there. His biggest challenge coming into his senior season will be to clean up his hands, continue to improve his route running and he needs to just be more consistent. He had something of a breakout year last year as a junior as he matched and exceeded his career totals from his previous two seasons in catches and yards and almost matched his career total in touchdowns (he had four last year and his previous career total was 5). It will be interesting to see how he does this year, because I honestly like him in the mid-late round range right now, especially if he can knock this bad habit of letting passes get into his pads.

Moore has great speed and has shown some impressive route running, but he needs to be more consistent catching the ball with his hands.

Denarius Moore had more ups but also more downs in this game. He had a couple of nice catches that he made with his hands away from his body, and really showed some nice route running ability when he burned Kam Chancellor deep in the 2nd half and when he set up a play action pass well when he faked a block and then darted into the end zone for a touchdown. He had three good catches, but he also had two huge drops. The biggest drop could have been a game-changer for Tennessee as it was on the same play when he burned Chancellor deep. He faked a post to the outside and then darted back down the seam and he completely turned Chancellor around and got at least four yards of separation. The ball was on target and it got to him more or less in stride but he tried to catch it up against his pads and it fell to the turf. If he makes that catch or tries to secure it with his hands first and then cradles it against his body it is almost certainly a touchdown that would have brought Tennessee within six points. Instead it was a drop and Tennessee would later punt the ball away on that drive.

Moore has great speed (4.42 timed speed) and he has great quickness to get in and out of his breaks, and really showed some dedication to his route running in this game. But he has to clean up those drops because you can’t drop a pass like that in the NFL if you want to stick on a roster. He also dropped another touchdown pass later in the game, but he was diving for it as it was a little low and he got hit as the ball got there. It hit his hands and it would have been a nice catch, but regardless of the circumstances it was still a drop. So like I said, Moore had an up and down game, but those dropped touchdowns will probably haunt him for a long time. That is, before he makes up for them by improving his hands and making more big plays as a senior than he did as a junior. Like his teammate Gerald Jones he matched and exceeded his career totals in receptions and yards but he also exceeded his career totals in touchdowns as a junior. If he improves his catching ability he could move up boards quickly with his speed and route running ability, so I am excited to see him play this year.

Luke Stocker was not overly involved in this game and I didn’t take any notes on him as a blocker, but he had a decent game receiving. He had a couple catches, both of which he made with his hands away from his body, and showed some toughness making a catch in traffic and dragging a defender for some tough yards after the catch. I don’t know why Tennessee doesn’t involve him in the passing game more as he seems to have reliable hands. Hopefully next year he will have a more significant role in the passing game.

Lathers has decent size, pretty good instincts and plays well when he can play downhill versus the run.

Herman Lathers looked pretty good to me in this game. He is a little undersized for the MLB spot as he is only 6’1”, 213 pounds right now, but he should put on more weight before his sophomore year. Despite being a little light, he did a good job versus the run. I am not sure how good his change of direction ability is, but when he can play downhill versus the run and shoot a gap he is very effective. He is a pretty good tackler but he missed a tackle or two on Ryan Williams (but so do a lot of people) over the course of the game. Overall I was impressed with him versus the run, but didn’t see much one way or another versus the pass since VT didn’t involve Greg Boone in the passing game at all. He had a pretty good season starting as a freshman, so I am interested to see how he does as a sophomore now that he has some experience.

Thompson is undersized but he packs a punch as a hitter.

LaMarcus Thompson had a pretty solid game, especially versus the run, and made me check on his measurables and his production from the past season. He had 35 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one sack, one QB hurry and one forced fumble. He isn’t very big at 6’1”, 221 pounds, but he looked good supporting the run in this game. He will be a senior this year, so it will be interesting to see if he can put on a little weight. I don’t know how good he is in coverage, but even if he doesn’t do that well he should get a shot as a late round pick or a UDFA because he is a good tackler who really packs a punch as a hitter. He strikes me as a late round pick who will make a team because he will be able to contribute positively on special teams. How he performs as a Senior will determine whether he ever improves his stock beyond that.

Janzen Jackson had a pretty good game. He seems to be a good tackler and he may be the next great playmaking safety for the Volunteers. He got into some trouble earlier in the year as he was potentially involved with an armed robbery and back in August he was held out of practice and forced to run for the duration of that practice because he missed curfew. He seems to have some issues with maturity, but he sure is talented. He had a very nice play when he picked off Tyrod Taylor to end a drive late in the 1st half when VT seemed to be on the move to pick up either a touchdown or a field goal. He is athletically gifted and has a lot of potential, but you have to wonder if the light will come on for him and he will keep himself out of trouble or if he will let off-field issues derail his career. NFL teams will not pick guys with serious character concerns early in the draft anymore, so if he keeps this up he will plunge his stock when he finally declares for the draft later in his career. However, I liked how he looked on the field, especially when he made that nice leaping grab to pick off Tyrod Taylor.

So that is all I have to say about Virginia Tech-Tennessee. If you actually read all of this I commend you for it because it was at least six to seven pages on Microsoft Word prior to the addition of photos. Hopefully you liked what I had to say, and feel free to comment if you agree or disagree with anything I wrote in here.

Thanks for reading!

–Tom Melton