On August 30, 2014, the Florida State Seminoles squared off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Advocare Classic. The result? A hard-fought 37-31 victory for the top-ranked Seminoles. The game within the game featured two future NFL All-Pros matching up at different positions then they would eventually star at in the NFL. At the time, current Kansas City WR Tyreek Hill was a running back/return specialist and Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey was starring in a safety/nickel back role. In what proved to be a precursor for the future, Hill tallied an incredible total of 278 all-purpose yards. Ramsey contributed 12 tackles and 1/2 tackle for loss, while displaying outstanding agility and body control. We go inside one of college football’s best matchups of the past decade.
The Oklahoma Sooners were able to get revenge for a loss against Texas earlier in the season by defeating their Red River foe in the Big 12 Championship Game. Oklahoma used an efficient offense and an opportunistic defense to win 39-27 and clinched a spot in the College Football Playoff in the process. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:
33 Gary Johnson (6’0 230) Texas LB-Senior
Johnson literally jumps out of nowhere to make plays. The senior linebacker is able to contort his body, get really low and explode past offensive linemen to make plays in the backfield. Johnson had a third and goal tackle for loss on the Sooners first possession after he blew past the Sooners linemen to stuff the play in the backfield. Johnson also impressed with his hustle to the football. After Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb caught a curl route and took it 50 yards downfield, Johnson snuck up behind him and poked the ball loose, turning what would’ve been a massive play for Oklahoma into a turnover for Texas. Johnson’s pursuit to the football will catch the eyes of scouts, but he will have to work on shedding blocks once he is engaged.
2 Kris Boyd (6’0 195) Texas CB-Senior
Boyd is a technician at cornerback. His ability to mirror receivers and play off of their motions is NFL-quality. The senior cornerback has had a pass deflection in all but two games this season. Boyd had another pass deflection when he mirrored Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown on a fade route and then brought his hands through Brown’s hands to knock the ball away at the last second. Boyd is also a willing tackler on the outside. Look for a team, who is looking for man-to-man corners to target Boyd in this year’s draft.
2 CeeDee Lamb (6’2 189) Oklahoma WR-Sophomore
The Sooners star receiver is a fluid route runner, who also has excellent hands in traffic. Regardless of his slight build, Lamb has shown the willingness to extend his body and leave himself susceptible to shots to his ribs. The sophomore receiver can make big plays as a receiving option on screens or he can make plays for others as a lead blocker on bubble screens to other receivers like he did in the first half against Texas. Lamb caught a touchdown over the middle to bring the Sooners within one point of the Longhorns in the second quarter. Despite his fumble, Lamb was productive, finishing with six catches for 167 yards and a touchdown.
Michigan and Ohio State met on Saturday at the “Horseshoe” with a spot in the Big Ten Championship and possibly a spot in the College Football Playoff on the line. Ohio State capitalized on Michigan’s special teams errors in the second half and rode its offensive and defensive lines to a 62-39 victory. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:
9 Donovan Peoples-Jones (6’2, 208) Michigan wide receiver-Sophomore
Peoples-Jones made all types of grabs on Saturday and when his team needed plays on late down situations, he was the man targeted. The sophomore wide receiver finished with seven catches for 64 yards against the Buckeyes. Peoples-Jones isn’t afraid to make catches over the middle but will be a problem at the next level on the outside because of his quick feet and his ability to accelerate and de-celerate to relieve himself of tight coverage. For the season, the sophomore has caught 39 passes for 541 yards and seven touchdowns. The sophomore is also a threat as a punt returner (two career punt return touchdowns and averages 9 yards a return).
Ohio State offensive and defensive lines
Michigan came into Columbus with the nation’s top-ranked defense and a huge reason why was because of their ability to pressure the quarterback with four men. However, by games end, Ohio State’s offensive and defensive line had stolen the show. The Buckeyes didn’t give up a sack and sacked Michigan junior quarterback Shea Patterson (6’2, 205) three times. In the fourth quarter on 3rd and 12, Buckeyes defensive end Chase Young (6’5, 265) flushed Patterson from the pocket and made him throw off-balance, which led to an interception by junior safety Jordan Fuller (6’2 204). Defensive linemen Robert Landers (6’1 283) and Jonathon Cooper (6’4 257) also contributed with sacks. Offensively, the Buckeyes rushed for 249 yards and passed for 318 yards.
“They slowly devastated us throughout the game. Knowing all the yards they were putting up and how easily they were scoring, it was tough. It was very tough,” Michigan senior defensive back Tyree Kinnel said in a post game press conference. “They completely beat us everywhere. Run game, pass game, everyone is to blame.”
7 Dwayne Haskins (6’3, 220) Ohio State QB-Sophomore
Haskins seems to be getting more and more comfortable as the season goes on. The Potomac, Maryland, native completed 19-of-30 passes for 318 yards and five touchdowns on Saturday. Despite the big game atmosphere, Haskins never forced any throws against a stout Michigan defense. Aided by a strong running game and a clean pocket, he picked the Wolverines apart. Haskins has the arm to make all the throws and is big enough to shake defenders off. If the sophomore can continue to play with the poise he showed on Saturday, look for him to continue to move up future NFL Draft boards.
39 Malik Harrison (6’3, 245) Ohio State LB-Junior
Harrison impressed with his form tackling ability against the Wolverines. The junior linebacker used his eyes well and was able to make tackles on Michigan senior running back Karan Higdon (5’10 202) by being patient and meeting Higdon in his running lanes. Harrison can also be used in blitz packages. He sacked Patterson on the second play of the game when he came into the backfield untouched. For a player his size, Harrison has excellent sideline-to- sideline ability yet is strong enough to take on interior linemen in the running game. Harrison projects best as a 4-3 outside linebacker.
We go inside the game of a few prospects who stood out in Kentucky’s hard-fought 24-17 victory over the Golden Eagles this past Saturday.
93 Matt Panton 6’5 233 P-Senior
The Australian-bred punter had an outstanding day for the Wildcats. The fact that he averaged 42 yards per punt on nine kicks tells just part of the story. In what proved to be a battle of field position throughout the afternoon, the rugby-style punter often pinned the Golden Eagles deep in their own territory. One of his pooch punts was downed at the one-yard line after a funny bounce and he had another pooch punt that he got off in a respectable 1.22 catch-and-kick time. While he lacked hang time (3.91) on yet another punt that was fair caught at the 15-yard line, he did generate 57 yards in distance on the kick. Despite prototypical NFL-size for a punter, the biggest question mark remains how he would fare kicking from a traditional style.
41 Josh Allen 6’5 230 OLB-Junior
Stats: 5 tackles, QB sack, 3 TFLs, FF
Allen did a fine job of working through traffic to slant inside (from a 2-pt LOLB spot) when the team ran zone blitzes from the wide side of the field. From this same OLB spot, he ran down screens and quick swing passes that worked away from him with positive lateral pursuit angles. When the team attempted to block him with H-back Julian Allen, he used his hands to snatch-and-pull him while maintaining his force as the quarterback flushed his way. Despite somewhat of an angular frame, he translated speed-to-power to nearly post a safety running through Golden Eagles OT Paul Gainer, Jr. from the ROLB spot in the fourth quarter. Allen’s ability to slip OTs was evident from either side, and he posted a quarterback sack and forced fumble in the first half. He was equally effective slipping offensive guards when aligned head-up over them. The junior’s versatility shined when they used him to walk out over the slot as he changed directions to break with fluidity versus screen passes.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles
32 Xavier Thigpen 6’5 240 OLB-Senior
Coming into the game, we knew Thigpen would line up all over the place in DC Tony Pecoraro’s multiple schemes. Once again, he was often featured in a stand-up OLB position in the team’s amoeba defenses on third down. He flattened effectively to thwart a Kentucky inside run on a 3rd and 6 attempt, displaying adequate flexibility. On this play, Pecoraro had all 11 players standing up prior to the snap. His versatility also showed up when re-mapping his course to stop a potential big kickoff return in kickoff coverage. With his hand in the dirt as a LDE, he still needs work constricting his courses to prevent getting pushed by the pocket. He was at least satisfactory plugging the puller versus power schemes. His leggy nature was a bit evident when attempting to defeat cross-blocks from H-backs on split zone run concepts.
19 Curtis Mikell 5’8 170 CB-Senior
The diminutive Mikell has always overcome his size with zeal and fire. Additionally, he’s adept at climbing the ball to fend-off potential catch opportunities down the field for bigger opponents. In this game, he used his bail technique to keep vision on the quarterback before going up to deflect a post pattern away from the Wildcats 6’3, 214-pound sophomore WR Tavin Richardson. His vision came up big when mid-pointing a seam route from the outside-in to nearly pick off another pass when in three-deep zone. He also showed the ability to turn-and-run on a go route when in off-man coverage versus one of Kentucky’s faster wideouts in Isaiah Epps. His tackling stood out when defending smoke screens to the Kentucky wide receivers.
In 2013, DraftNasty traveled north to get an in-depth glimpse of former Buffalo Bulls standout Khalil Mack. The current five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro has since become one of the NFL’s best defenders over the past decade. The 2013 MAC Defensive Player of the Year totaled 12 tackles and 2.5 tackles for losses versus Bowling Green. During his four-year run for the Bulls, he accumulated 327 tackles, 28.5 quarterback sacks, 75 tackles for losses, three interceptions (128 yards, 2 TDs), three fumble recoveries and 16 forced fumbles (NCAA all-time record). Mack was DraftNasty’s No. 1 overall player on its 2014 NFL Draft Big Board and went fifth overall to the Oakland Raiders.
West Virginia’s spectacular duo of WR-PR Tavon Austin and WR-KR Stedman Bailey put on spectacular performances in 2012. The former Mountaineer teammates both heard their names called by the St. Louis Rams in the 2013 NFL Draft to become teammates one more time. While they didn’t play long together in St. Louis, the images of their time in Morgantown may never be duplicated.