Category Archives: Football

DraftNasty’s Under the Radar, Vol. III: Anthony Wint 6’0 224 (E) LB FIU

Strengths: Durable. Smart. Lines people up. Communicates in the pre-snap. Brings major hip explosion to the table. Squats over 600 lbs. Attacks FBs and hammers the ball back to teammates. Downhill player. Fills his gap control with little hesitation if covered up by a three-technique DT. Strong wrap tackler. He flows over the top to replace LBs who’ve abandoned gap control.  Absolutely deposits crossing routes if he can get an indicator off the QB’s indicators (UCF ’15). Comes with absolute force on trail blitz concepts (TFL, UCF ’15). Sticks his foot in the dirt to drive forward out of his pass drops. Closes distances quickly on his inside-out breaks to the sidelines. Tracks plays laterally (Temple ’17). When in pursuit, he’ll unload as a hitter to rock WRs (Marshall ’17).

Weaknesses: Size. Has always used too much shoulder when stacking to shed OL (North Texas ’14). This extended into 2015, when he would attempt to shed OL climbing up to him. Size becomes a detriment when OGs come off late on him. Average contact balance. Overruns some tackles. Took some poor angles sliding vs. outside runs (MT, Marshall ’17-TD). He can occasionally look stiff flipping his hips as a curl-hook defender. Missed three games in 2014 due to a left knee injury. Missed one game in 2017 (Tulane) due to injury.

Other Notes:

  • Attended Homestead HS (Fla.) and was a 2nd Team All-Dade County Class 6A selection in 2013
  • 1st Team All-Dade County as a wrestler (113-25 record in career)
  • 2014 (9 sts, C-USA All-Freshman, Honorable mention All-C-USA): 48 tackles, ½ TFL, FF, FR
  • 13 tackles vs. Indiana on 9/12/15
  • 2015 (2nd Team All-C-USA): 88 tackles, ½ QB sack, 5.5 TFLs, 2 FRs, INT and 2 PBUs
  • 9 tackles, 2 TFLs vs. Maryland on 9/9/16
  • 2016 (12 sts, 2nd Team All-C-USA): 108 tackles, ½ QB sack, 6.5 TFLs, 2 FFs, FR and one PBU
  • 2017 (2nd Team All-C-USA): 92 tackles, ½ QB sack, 8 TFLs, 3 FRs, 2 PBUs
  • Career Stats: 45 games, 336 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, 20.5 TFLs, 3 FFs, 7 FRs, INT and 5 PBUs

Summary: Wint may lack for what you’re asking for in man coverage but it is an area he can improve upon in the next couple of years. His explosion, instincts and play speed are all top-notch. We feel this is a player who will help immediately on any special teams unit as a core player. His size is a weakness, but his football intelligence has gotten better over time.

DraftNasty's Grade: 5.431 (4th Round)

Editor's Note: DraftNasty's grades on players are compiled from our eight identifying characteristics and do not constitute a draft projection.

DraftNasty’s Under the Radar, Vol. II: Kalib Woods 6’1 188 WR FAU

Strengths: Four-year contributor. Long, silky-smooth receiver. Plays a little stronger than his size would suggest. As a freshman, he showed enough COD vs. rolled-up coverage. Back then, he was used on possession hitches on the perimeter (Middle Tennessee ’14). As a backside X-WR, he’s made some spectacular high-point TD grabs (Middle Tenn ’14). Body control. Flips his hips well to cross the face of CBs on inside routes (Tulsa ’15). Contorts his body to catch in-breaking routes behind him. Consistently adjusts to ball off-target. He can sink to catch passes low to the turf. Allows his body to die along the sidelines and toe-taps to get his feet in-bounds (Tulsa ’15). Long strider. Covers six-to-six and a half yards on his first four steps. Able to contort his body to maneuver vs. aggressive CBs to draw contact. Uses arms to get a nudge of room on long patterns down the field.

Weaknesses: Off the field concerns. Suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season due to an incident that occurred in early June (   One of his biggest weaknesses has always come around not truly sinking his hips. Has a tendency to run to the spot and fail to accelerate upon arrival (allows CBs to beat him to the reception point). Raises his frame when chopping into his square-in/dig patterns (Tulsa ’15, Marshall ’17). Does a little too much chopping-and-shaking vs. press on some of his outside releases. Questionable strength holding stalk blocks on the perimeter.

Other Notes:

  • Attended Duncan Fletcher HS (Fla.) and was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track & field
  • 2014: 16 receptions for 223 yards (13.9 YPR) and 2 TDs
  • 2015: 27 receptions for 330 yards (12.2 YPR) and 3 TDs
  • Six 100-yard receiving games
  • 2016: 68 receptions for 934 yards
  • 6 receptions for 208 yards and one TD vs. North Texas on 12/2/17
  • 2017 (8 gms): 24 catches for 619 yards (25.8 YPR) and 4 TDs
  • Career Stats: 135 catches for 2,106 yards (15.6 YPR) and 10 TDs
  • 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl measurements: 6023 188 9” hands, 32 3/4” arms, 79 1/4” wingspan
  • 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl In-game report: Kept working vs. stacked double team on the perimeter as a gunner and got in on tackle in the 3rd QTR (4:04). Caught a comeback outside the numbers from Woodside for dying ball.

Summary:  His former offensive coordinator Brian Wright said way back in 2014, “He has the ability to be a great player.” That statement may very well have been true but, much to Woods’ own doing, that statement never truly came to fruition. Where he goes is not as important as to what role he could play for an NFL team. We think he’s capable of contributing on special teams because he showed some upside in kick coverage during the 2017 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.  However, there are issues about his foot speed. Will he run in the 4.6-range?  Woods has some similarities to former Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton (49ers, Jets).

DraftNasty's Grade: 5.361 (4th Round)

Editor's Note: DraftNasty's grades on players are compiled from our eight identifying characteristics and do not constitute a draft projection.

DraftNasty’s Under the Radar, Vol. I: Thomas Owens 6’1 198 (E) WR FIU

Strengths: Body control. Long strider who builds to speed. Adjusts over the wrong shoulder to make tough catches (UCF ’16). He finds a way to win on jump balls through positioning and upper body strength (Tulane ’17-Nickerson; Minter-MTSU ’17). The team moves him both inside and outside in their schemes. No false steps off the ball in his two-point stance if uncovered. Accelerates into slant routes with a controlled straight-stem.  Exhibits nice patience on deep stops outside the numbers. Makes the low-ball scoop snags near the ground. Extends his inside arm to overpower CBs in press coverage (P.I. vs. Jackson, Marshall ’17).  Has won on slant-and-go routes in the RZ (TD, Marshall ’17).

Weaknesses: Does not impress going in to crack block on safeties (Marshall ’17). Allowed a skinny post to slip through his hands vs. Old Dominion in 2014. Covers just five yards in his first four steps. Displays limited energy setting up post-corners as an X-WR. Questionable long gear on nine routes. Sinking at the top of his routes has been an issue dating back to 2014.  Fails to consistently come back downhill for the ball (UCF ’16-PBU, Killings). Knee injury cut short his 2017 campaign.He’s made questionable decisions blocking back towards his GL (clip, UCF ’16). Will run the stutter-and-go outside the numbers (as an X-WR) but does not re-accelerate into the second portion of the pattern.

Other Notes:

  • Attended Atlantic Community HS (Fla.) and played football/basketball
  • Averaged 12.6 PPG in basketball at the prep level
  • 9 receptions for 166 yards vs. Indiana on 9/12/15
  • 2015 (12 sts): 51 catches for 638 yards (12.5 YPR) and 8 TDs
  • 11 catches for 148 yards and 2 TDs vs. Charlotte on 10/15/16
  • 2016 (12 sts, Honorable mention All-C-USA): 47 catches for 652 yards (13.9 YPR) and 7 TDs
  • 11 catches for 162 yards and one TD vs. MTSU on 10/7/17
  • 2017 (9 gms, 1st Team All-C-USA): 59 catches for 887 yards (15 YPR) and 6 TDs
  • Career Stats: 40 games, 157 receptions for 2,177 yards (13.9 YPR) and 21 TDs; One TD pass; 11.4 yds/PR


Summary: Owens did not receive a combine invite and he will have to make up for it on his Pro Day. His speed is a question mark entering the postseason. We were impressed with the physicality he showed as a runner after the catch. Look no further than the Middle Tennessee State game as a senior to observe how relentlessly he attacks the football down the field. His tenacity as a blocker was up-and-down for the most part in the film viewed, but it is an area that has improved over the course of his career. The Panthers ranked No. 1 at the FBS level in Red Zone efficiency in 2017. A big part of the reason was Owens’ ability to draw coverage in their balanced attack. He finished his career with 21 touchdown grabs. He has late-round value if he can clear the medical checks on his knee by NFL teams.

DraftNasty's Grade: 5.082 (5th Round)

Editor's Note: DraftNasty's grades on players are compiled from our eight identifying characteristics and do not constitute a draft projection.

2018 CFP National Championship preview: Georgia vs Alabama, 1-08-18

This year's championship game in Atlanta will feature two SEC teams and  two coaches who are familiar with one another.

Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1 overall, 7-1 SEC) will face off against his former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart's Georgia Bulldogs (13-1 overall, 7-1 SEC) on Monday night.

Both teams are led by stingy defenses.  Each unit ranks top five scoring defense.

Worth noting, Saban is 11-0 against former assistants.

Players to watch


3 Roquan Smith LB- Junior

Smith, at 6'1 225 lbs., is a little smaller than a typical first round linebacker but he has typical high-round talent. Smith finished the College Football Playoff semifinal versus Oklahoma with 11 total tackles. For the season,  Smith has 124 tackles, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Smith already has an SEC Championship game MVP under his belt,  and the Bulldogs will need a similar effort to handle the Crimson Tide.

1 Sony Michel RB- Senior

Michel is a threat to take it to the house  any time he touches the ball. In the semifinal against the Sooners, Michel scored the game-winning touchdown and finished with 181 yards and three touchdowns. This year, he is averaging eight yards a carry.


94 Da'Ron Payne DT- Junior

Payne is poised to join the likes of Marcell Dareus and Jonathan Allen, former Crimson Tide defensive linemen who have become premier run stuffers at the next level. Payne, at 6'2, 308 lbs., is a space eater and does the dirty work in the trenches that allows the 'Bama linebackers to roam free. He also intercepted a pass and caught a touchdown against Clemson in the College Football semifinal.

29 Minkah Fitzpatrick DB- Junior

Fitzpatrick patrols the back end for the Crimson Tide and his measurables (6'1, 203 lbs) could make him useful at the next level as a nickel corner and safety. Versatility is the name of the game for defensive backs in the NFL and Fitzpatrick possesses that ability. On the season, Fitzpatrick has eight pass deflections, one interception and one forced fumble.

Prediction: Georgia 13 Alabama 21

---Troy Jefferson, DN Staff Reports

DraftNasty’s Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl, In-Game Report: Northwestern vs. Kentucky, 12-29-17

The battle of the Wildcats ended in dramatic fashion as a failed two-point conversion by Kentucky propelled Northwestern to its second consecutive bowl victory for the first time in school history. DraftNasty’s National Correspondent De’Angelo Bryant provides a deeper look in analyzing the potential NFL prospects of this game.


21 RB Justin Jackson (5’11, 200, Sr.)

Jackson earned game MVP honors after being the workhorse with a season-high 32 carriers for 157 yards and two TDs. Jackson can best be described as elusive as he mixes a dose of quickness, jump cuts, and short-area explosion to elude defenders. He naturally squares his shoulder pads to get vertical and squeezes through tight areas to reach the second and third levels. There are times when he makes one too many cuts which causes him to accumulate negative yards. Despite his thinly-built frame, he shows toughness on initial contact. He only caught one pass for 10 yards.

18 QB Clayton Thorson (6’4, 220, Jr.)

Before being carted off the field from a right leg injury, Thorson was proficient moving the Northwestern offense downfield. He attempted just eight passes but showed precision in the pocket and kept his eyes downfield versus the rush. He showed quick shoulder nods when pump faking and remained in a strong throwing position to release the football.

9 H-Back Garrett Dickerson (6’3, 248, Sr.)

Dickerson caught my eye with his combination of speed and size. His position on the team is referred to as the Superback, a hybrid running back, fullback, tight end position. On a few occasions, he won on vertical routes versus linebackers and forced safeties Mike Edwards & Darius West to push to their maximum speed to avoid getting beaten. Though he has caught over 30 passes this season, there were a few times I questioned his hand-eye coordination.

2 WR Flynn Nagel (5’11, 194, Jr.)

Used in motion to line up as a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver. Product of hide and mid-star routes where he is responsible for reading the linebacker and safety drops to find the open zones. Tough when catching the football in traffic and knows how to protect his body to avoid the big hits. When being motioned in to block the overhang defender, he was often over-matched (particularly versus Kentucky OLB Josh Allen).  At times, he was also nudged off his landmark on routes downfield.

1 DT Tyler Lancaster (6’3, 315, Sr.)

Subbed a lot due to the personnel sets from Kentucky. Played predominately on potential run plays. Strength to move the center backwards is evident, but he struggles to maintain low pad level throughout his penetration. As a pass rusher, he did show an athletic spin move to complement his bull rush.

24 CB Montre Hartage (6’0, 195, Jr.)

Passes the eye ball test and has the physical style of play to complement the look. Kentucky picked on him on the first possession by going to Tavin Richardson. This was just one of several shots they took at Hartage.  After the first possession, he was moved to the opposite side away from Kentucky’s X-receiver and played more to the combination receiver side. This suited him well, as he did a good job of using the sideline as an extra defender to the boundary and played the underneath routes well when squatting in rolled coverage. A physical tackler, Hartage will duck his head and not bring his eyes with him through contact.  He had difficulty locating the ball in the air.

21 S Kyle Queiro (6’3, 220, Sr.)

Was not impressive on the opening kickoff. He was literally put on his backside by KR/RB Zach Johnson because of his high pad level on contact. Stiffness was exploited on several occasions when attempting to make tackles in space as defenders danced around him. His length was his savior. He does a good job of communication and can cover ground well. Maintained good leverage in bracket coverage.

16 S Godwin Igwebuike (6’0, 212, Sr.)

Aggressive safety when entering the box and can fill alleys with aggression. Interchangeable safety in 3-deep zone coverage concepts (can play both SS & FS). Can roll to the middle or roll to hold the No. 2 receiver's vertical route. Versus trips formations, he was effective holding the No. 3 receiver's vertical route and buzzing to cover the flats. Good wrap tackler and will look for an opportunity to go for the strip. When playing the backside safety, he identifies the crosser and looks to rob the route. His lower body stiffness was exploited when attempting to recover on routes after getting his eyes caught in the backfield on flash fakes from Kentucky’s QBs. Grabs in coverage and was called for a pass interference on Kentucky’s last drive. Doesn’t really have a defined technique, but maximizes his effort on every play.

32 LB Nate Hall (6’2, 230, Jr.)

Missed game due to a knee injury suffered in bowl preparation practice.


73 RT Kyle Meadows (6’3, 300, Sr.)

Veteran savvy. Understands the DL stunts, slant and twist games. Slow movement off the snap. Appears he doesn’t trust his feet; which puts him in bad position versus the rush. Uses little technique when releasing inside to get to the second level. Struggles to sit his hips down and it causes him to absorb contact too often.

41 OLB Josh Allen (6’5, 230, Jr.)

Active LB off the edge. Good speed rush and will dip his shoulder to avoid contact from the OT.  His backside pursuit on screens and options displayed his lateral movement skills. When Northwestern motioned a receiver or H-back in to block him, he showed quickness when slanting inside the blocks to take away his gap for the RB.

34 LB Jordan Jones (6’2, 221, Jr.)

High-energy, sideline-to-sideline defender. Does a good job of his scrape-to-fit versus the run game. Has a good sense of when to trigger when the QB becomes mobile outside the pocket. Will backdoor and shoot the gap on runs away. Needs to be more efficient on wrap stunts from the backside. Will overrun gaps because he’s too fast when tracking.

8 CB Derrick Baity (6’3, 186, Jr.)

Shows the most fluidity between he, Johnson and Westry. Evident that the coaching staff believes in his coverage ability more than the other two. Adjusted well to coverage checks. When playing press-man he shows some quickness and suddenness when reacting to the receiver's moves off the line. To the nub side of the formation, he was over-matched when taking on blocks.

6 CB Lonnie Johnson (6’3, 203, Jr.)

Started the game and rotated with Westry. Also was a part of Kentucky’s nickel package, where he lined up over the outside receiver. Patient in his off-man technique, but he will drop his foot in the bucket when transitioning out of his breaks.  When taking on blocks he tends to get his hands outside of the blocker's frame, which makes it difficult for him to shed  them.

 21 Chris Westry (6’4, 195, Jr.)

Long and rangy defender with experience. Did not start the game, but played a significant amount of snaps. Shows a strong punch and extension in press coverage. Can close on a ball carrier or receiver in a hurry, but will get bounced around due to his thin frame.

7 Saf Mike Edwards (6’0, 200, Jr.)

Mainly played the free safety position. In sub-packages, he rocked down to cover the slot in man coverage and to also play man on RB Justin Jackson. Showed some twitch when changing from his pedal to plant-n-drive coming downhill.

* 26 Benny Snell Jr. (5’11, 223, So)

Thickly-built and strong through contact. Shows good vision and will patiently follow his blocks. One-cut runner with a short area burst and a secondary move in his repertoire. Scored the game's opening TD, but was ejected in the 2nd quarter for removing an official's hands following a play.

Bryant’s Beehive: 3-for-3 into NFL Week 17

Is Dez Bryant worthy of carry the title of X-Factor? Is Drew Brees still the best QB in the NFC South? What challenges does Kansas City Chiefs rookie QB Patrick Mahomes face in his first career start? Read more to find out these answers and more in Bryant’s 3-for-3.

Dez Bryant: X-Factor or Not

There’s no question from a physical standpoint Dez Bryant is one of those Terrell Owens specimen-type athletes. However, Bryant’s mediocre productivity this season has only been a reflection of his previous two seasons in Dallas. The Cowboys need more from their big money receiver. Before the double coverage murmurs begin, teams have had to respect the veteran presence of Jason Witten, the consistency of Cole Beasley, and the speed of Terrance Williams. Even when comparing him with Hall of Fame WR Michael Irvin in his eighth-year in the NFL, Irvin had 111 catches for over 1,600 yards (1995). Despite a decline in his numbers and less games played the following season, Irvin went on to have back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons (1997-98). At this point, the projection of Bryant reaching his 2012-14 status is not looking so bright. In 2017, Bryant failed to have a 100-yard receiving game and according to Pro Football Focus, he ranks second in the NFL with nine drops. The bottom line is Bryant is underperforming his contract, as well as his lead position for the Cowboys organization. With the future at quarterback and running back, is it time for the Cowboys to seek a No. 1 WR in the 2018 NFL Draft?

'Brees’-ing Through

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees continues to find the Fountain of Youth. Over the last few seasons, the NFC South has been graced with the athleticism of Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, Atlanta Falcons 2016 MVP QB Matt Ryan, and the emerging Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Jameis Winston. However, the 38-year old veteran has led his team to its first winning record and playoff berth in four seasons. Perhaps these accomplishments are more fulfilling at this stage in his career than passing for 5,000 yards in a season (something he has accomplished four times). With one more game remaining on schedule, Brees has completed a career-high 71.9% of his passes and has managed to stay in the single digit column in interceptions (8). It has been eight years since Drew Brees has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.  Does the ageless wonder have what it takes to bring another championship back to New Orleans?

Mahomes Debut

After locking up the AFC West for the second season in a row and clinching a spot in the playoffs, head coach Andy Reid is turning the keys over to rookie QB Patrick Mahomes for Sunday’s contest against the Denver Broncos. While this game may serve as a meaningless game for some, Mahomes will still be tested by a Broncos defense that ranks second in the league in total defense and fourth in the league against the pass.  Mahomes, the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft, displayed great arm strength, strong hips through his release, and mobility coming out of Texas Tech. With a notable seasoned veteran and the potential contract discussions of Alex Smith at the end of the season, could we be getting a glimpse of the Chiefs new QB next season?

2017 Cotton Bowl preview: USC vs Ohio State, 12-29-17

Two blue chip programs will matchup in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.

The Cotton Bowl will serve as a consolation prize for Ohio State (11-2 overall, 8-1 Big Ten) and USC (11-2 overall, 8-1 Pac-12), both of whom had College Football Playoff aspirations at the beginning of the season.

Both teams are led by star quarterbacks. Sam Darnold, a consensus Top 10 NFL draft prospect, leads the men of Troy. J.T. Barrett, one of the most decorated quarterbacks in college football history, leads the Buckeyes.

Both teams enter the game as conference champions as USC defeated Stanford and Ohio State beat Wisconsin in their respective conferences.

Players to watch

Ohio State Buckeyes

J.K. Dobbins RB- Freshman 

Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins averaged 7.5 yards per rushing attempt and had six games this season with more than 100 rushing yards. After just one season, Dobbins is making waves and could find himself in the same breath as former Ohio State running backs Archie Griffin, Maurice Clarett and Eddie George. Dobbins took home the MVP award in the Big Ten Championship after finishing with 174 rushing yards on just 17 attempts.

Tyquan Lewis DL-Senior

Lewis is expected to be an early-round draft pick and will have to be accounted for by the Trojans offensive line. Lewis has 22 career sacks, 34.5 tackles for losses and four forced fumbles. When Lewis is at his best, he's a relentless pass rusher who is never out of a play.

USC Trojans

Ronald Jones II RB- Junior

Darnold might receive the air time but Ronald Jones II was the workhorse running back behind the Trojans offense.  Jones II finished the season with 242 carries for 1486 yards.  Like Dobbins, he had an impressive conference championship game. He finished with 140 rushing yards (4.7 YPC) and two touchdowns against Stanford.

Iman Marshall CB- Junior


Marshall has been reliable as they come at USC.  The junior cornerback stands 6'1"  205 lbs, and he has the size scouts will covet in the NFL.  Marshall has six career interceptions.  A knee injury forced him to miss four games in the middle of the season. However, Marshall returned for the final two games of the season, finishing with two pass deflections.

Prediction: USC 21 Ohio State 35

2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl Photo Gallery: West Virginia vs Utah, 12-26-17

2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl preview: Utah vs WVU, 12-26-17

The Heart of Dallas Bowl will feature two teams with explosive offenses that underwhelmed in their respective conferences.

Utah (3-6, 6-6) will match up against West Virginia (5-4, 7-5) in Dallas on Tuesday.

The Mountaineers will be without transfer quarterback Will Grier, who is out with an injured finger.  The Mountaineers will also be without running back Justin Crawford, who is entering the draft and will sit out.

The Utes resume lacks a signature victory but they did defeat short-handed UCLA in November and could have similar success against the Mountaineers, who will be without two key offensive pieces.

Utah has won 13 of its past 14 bowl games.

Players to watch

West Virginia

13 David Sills V WR-Junior

Crawford and Grier combined for over 4,500 yards worth of yardage during the regular season. Junior wide receiver, David Sills, who led the team with 18 touchdowns, will have to shoulder the load if his team has any chance of winning. Sills, 6'4, 203 lbs., will be targeted early and often by backup quarterback Chris Chugunov.

3 Al-Rasheed Benton LB-Senior

Al-Rasheed Benton ranks at the top or near the top in every statistical category for the Mountaineers defense. Benton led the team with 73 solo tackles (102 total) and finished second with two interceptions, a forced fumble and three quarterback sacks.  He has 18 career tackles for losses.


9 Darren Carrington II WR-Senior

Senior Utes receiver Darren Carrington will suit up one more time in his collegiate career, which spans back to three years at Oregon. Carrington, 6'3 205 lbs, feasted on early non-conference opponents and against his former team.  Despite having not recorded a single 100-yard receiving game since that matchup versus the Ducks, he enters the bowl game with 66 receptions for 918 yards and six touchdowns.

23 Julian Blackmon DB-Sophomore

Utah's sophomore defensive back Julian Blackmon covers a lot of ground and is equally strong against the run as he is against the pass. Blackmon finished the season with 36 solo tackles and two interceptions. The Heart of Dallas Bowl could be a sneak preview for the future NFL prospect.

Prediction: Utah 34 West Virginia 23

2017 Birmingham Bowl Preview: Texas Tech vs USF, 12-23-17

Two explosive offenses will face off in the Birmingham Bowl on Saturday.

Texas Tech (6-6) and USF (9-2) will pit two of the game's more efficient senior quarterbacks against each other, in what is expected to be a back-and-forth scoring affair.

USF’s quarterback Quinton Flowers threw for 21 touchdowns and six interceptions , a career-low, in 2017. In his first full season under center, Texas Tech’s quarterback Nic Shimonek tossed 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.

Former Texas head coach, Charlie Strong led USF to nine wins and his team lost two games by a combined 11 points. Texas Tech started the season 4-1 but couldn’t compete in the Big 12 and suffered four straight losses in the middle of their schedule.

When Strong was at Texas, he went 2-1 against Texas Tech.

Players to watch

Mazzi Wilkins

Wilkins, a junior cornerback, has a nose for the football and figures to have a lot of balls thrown his way against a pass oriented Red Raiders attack. Wilkins finished the season with three interceptions and a half sack. Wilkins' lanky frame allows him to get in and out of breaks and makes him a tough assignment for Texas Tech wide receivers.

Emilio Nadelman

Nadelman is one of the most lethal kickers in college football. Nadelman is 20/24 this season and didn't miss a field goal last season. In a game that should be high scoring and back and forth, Nadelman has the leg and accuracy to put the game away with a field goal from 40 yards plus.

Dylan Cantrell

Cantrell stands 6'3 and 220lbs and is a prototypical red zone target. Cantrell should be able to sky over the diminutive South Florida starting corners, who stand 5'8 and 6'0 respectively. Expect Kingsbury to give Cantrell a few jump ball opportunities in the Birmingham Bowl. Cantrell finished the season with six touchdowns.

Dakota Allen

After a stint at East Mississippi Community College and a starring role on Last Chance U, Dakota Allen has returned to Texas Tech and made himself one of the best linebackers in the Big 12. Allen leads a defense that led the Big 12 in turnovers forced. Allen had two interceptions and a forced fumble this season. An athletic linebacker, who is also willing to stop the run, bodes well against a balanced USF offense.


Texas Tech 35 USF 38

---Troy Jefferson, DN Staff Reports