The decision by the NCAA to give everyone an extra year of eligibility gave Werts a new lease on life as a college football player. It is not like he hasn’t produced at Georgia Southern. In fact, prior to announcing on Twitter that he had entered the transfer portal (eventually committed to Louisville), the now former Eagle finished off his career with an MVP performance in the 2020 New Orleans Bowl. In that contest, he sliced up the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs with a 65-yard touchdown strike that traveled 52 yards in the air. He finished with 126 yards passing and one touchdown, while rushing for 71 yards and three more scores.
Due to the Eagles spread option attack, some felt Werts would look to throw the ball more at another school. However, he has been working at the wide receiver spot in possible hopes of a transition to that spot potentially in the ACC. In four seasons as the team’s starting quarterback, Werts finished with 3,778 yards passing (57%), 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Perhaps just as impressively, he rushed for 3,072 yards (4.4 YPC) and 34 more scores.
Werts has a bevy of highlights, but his two-point conversion spin cycle throw to put the Eagles up by one point against Louisiana in 2020 serves as a true gauge of his multi-purpose capability.
The Texas A&M Aggies finished off a 9-1 campaign with a fourth quarter flurry of scores versus a game North Carolina Tar Heels team that played without a plethora of its offensive firepower. We go inside the action with a photo gallery that describes some of the best action in the Aggies 41-27 victory over the Tar Heels. The game’s ebbs and flows were befitting of a New Year’s Six bowl.
2021 Capital One Orange Bowl halftime show
Hard Rock Stadium was the host for the 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl and the fireworks display at halftime was befitting of a new year.
Isaiah Spiller RB Texas A&M
First-team All-SEC RB Isaiah Spiller scored the first touchdown of the game behind Texas A&M TE Ryan Renick. Spiller went over the 1,000-yard mark (1,036) with 11 carries for 50 yards and two touchdowns on the night.
DeMarvin Leal makes the tackle
Leal (No. 8 seen tackling UNC RB Josh Henderson) started the game strong and was active throughout the contest. The former U.S. Army All-American finished 2020 with 2.5 QB sacks and seven tackles for losses. He also had a fumble recovery, interception and three pass breakups on the year.
Bobby Brown III vs. Brian Anderson
On the last play of the first half, Texas A&M first-team All-SEC defensive tackle Bobby Brown III beat the block by UNC center Brian Anderson and put his 325 pounds on Tar Heels RB British Brooks.
Dazz Newsome TD catch
Despite excellent coverage by Texas A&M freshman DB Antonio Johnson (No. 27 pictured), UNC WR Dazz Newsome was able to catch the tipped pass for a 28-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Texas A&M WR Chase Lane athletic grab
Texas A&M freshman WR Chase Lane (No. 2 pictured) had a productive season capped off by this twisting 27-yard grab in second quarter of the 2021 Orange Bowl. He finished with 29 receptions for 409 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games.
Fox vs. Hocker
UNC DT Tomari Fox (No. 56 pictured) -the younger brother of UNC OLB Tomon- fights off Aggies RG Jared Hocker (No. 73 pictured) despite giving up nearly 45 pounds.
Fox vs. Moore
Fox (No. 12 pictured) drew this third quarter holding call versus Aggies second-team All-SEC offensive tackle Dan Moore (No. 65 pictured). Fox -who finished the year with seven QB sacks and 10.5 TFLs- made the first two tackles of the game.
Kellen Mond and Isaiah Spiller
Spiller (No. 28 pictured) works downfield to get a block for quarterback Kellen Mond (No. 11 pictured) on this 24-yard run in the third quarter. The play was called back due to a holding call.
Tony Grimes QB sack
On a key third down in the third quarter, UNC freshman CB Tony Grimes chased down Texas A&M's Kellen Mond for a quarterback sack. Grimes finished the contest with three tackles, a quarterback sack and two pass breakups.
Tony Grimes covering Hezekiah Jones
Grimes was also competitive in coverage through the fourth quarter versus the Aggies wide receivers.
Texas A&M P Nik Constantinou
Texas A&M freshman punter Nik Constantinou kicks this ball off the side of his foot in the fourth quarter. Despite the shank to his left, Constantinou averaged 42 yards per punt, landed two punts inside the 20-yard line and posted one punt of 50-plus yards in the Orange Bowl.
Sam Howell QB-UNC
UNC QB Sam Howell was a dual-threat in the 2021 Orange Bowl. Not only did he complete 18-of-31 passes for 234 yards (3 TDs, INT), the sophomore signal-caller rushed for some key first downs. The yardage totals are misleading, due to the fact that he was sacked four times by the Aggies. The team gave up 34 sacks in 2020, which ranked 13th in the ACC.
Devon Achane RB-Texas A&M
Texas A&M freshman RB Devon Achane has the hand-eye coordination to get more involved in the Aggies passing game moving forward.
Eugene Asante squaring up the running back
Having the unenviable task of replacing first-team All-ACC LB Chazz Surratt (opted out of the game) proved to be no problem for UNC sophomore LB Eugene Asante (No. 7 pictured). He was a consistent presence from the onset and finished the game with 10 tackles.
2021 Capital One Orange Bowl MVP Devon Achane
At the end of the game, 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl MVP Devon Achane (pictured on the podium) was throwing oranges to his teammates. Achane -the 2020 Gatorade Texas Boys Track & FIeld Athlete of the Year- finished with 140 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 24 yards.
Johnson will get an opportunity to show what everyone has seen from him in the FCS over the last few years in the 2021 Senior Bowl later this month. The 2019 AP first-team All-American is used on fly sweeps, speed shovels, speed outs, box fades (No.2 slot), slants and even one-step screens from the No. 3 position in bunch formations (back in 2018).
He demonstrates savvy working against off-man coverage in the slot or on the outside. His biggest impact may come in the return game, where he has very good peripheral vision and balance. We had the opportunity to watch him perform in the 2018 FCS playoffs versus Kennesaw State and his hand-eye coordination impressed in that contest.
Other Notes: Attended Bellevue West HS (Neb.) and earned all-state honors after catching 16 TDs and recording 4 INTs • Was a member of a state championship team in basketball • 2017 (1,166 all-purpose yards): 23 receptions for 318 yards (13.8 YPR) and 3 TDs; 28 yds/KR and 2 TDs • 2017: 32 tackles, TFL, 5 PBUs • 2018 (AP All-American): 67 receptions for 1,332 yards and 17 TDs; 27.2 yds/KR • 2019 (AP 1st Team All-American): 72 receptions for 1,222 yards (17 YPR) and 8 TDs; 8 carries for 149 yards; 21.7 yds/KR • Career Stats: 40 games, 162 receptions for 2,872 yards (17.7 YPR) and 28 TDs; 12 carries for 182 yards (15.2 YPC); 26.7 yds/KR ad 2 TDs
2021 NFL Draft prospect Zach Wilson’s 425-yard, five-touchdown performance (3 PASS, 2 RUSH) led the day -and rightfully so- and now we take a look at some of the other pro prospects from BYU’s 49-23 victory over the UCF Knights in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl.
95 Khyris Tonga 6’4 321 DT-Senior BYU
Tonga’s stat line will never jump off the screen. In today’s NFL, the splash interior defensive line prospects typically are able to work to half a man for quick penetration. This is not Tonga’s game. Where he does flash in the passing game revolves around his timing to cloud passing lanes.
He posted a pass breakup in this contest and recorded three in the team’s final four games of 2020. He finished his career with 12 pass deflections. The former rugby star is strong, runs well in a straight line and projects as a zero-technique in three-man fronts.
5 Dax Milne 6’0 189 WR-Junior BYU
Milne has been a model of consistency all season for the Cougars and this game was no different. There were several games this season where he flashed down the field capability in terms of high-pointing the football (see Houston ’20). The former walk-on uses deception and a quick-footed style to fool defensive backs. It is a big reason he was the team’s second-leading receiver on third downs. One of his better patterns is the stutter-and-go comeback route (see Western Kentucky ’20), but there have been occasions where he’s made deft one-hand grabs from his quarterback down the field in contested situations (TD vs. Sails, USF ’19). Milne recently declared for the 2021 NFL Draft and he could be the program’s first receiver picked since Austin Collie in 2008 (Indianapolis Colts, 4th Round, 127th overall).
67 Brady Christensen 6’6 300 LT-Junior BYU
For the most part, Christensen has been steady. There are some occasions where players get the best of him due to a questionable anchor (see Boyles, USF ’19; Wiley, UTSA ’20). In those instances, he has even been knocked to the ground. Mobility and foot quickness, however, make him a viable option to hear his name called this spring after recently declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. In this contest, he was adept at baiting the opponent up the field, particularly on QB Zach Wilson’s quarterback draw for a touchdown in the first quarter. Christiensen is also agile as a pulling option on the perimeter (1st QTR/0:25, Boca Raton ’20). Can he long-arm the opponent when quick-setting (2nd QTR/5:11, Boca Raton ’20)?
2 Otis Anderson 5’11 174 RB-Ret-Senior UCF
After not playing against USF, Anderson was solid in what may have been his last collegiate game (16 carries, 73 yards). He does have the option of returning for one more season. The former wide receiver finishes with over 90 career receptions and a healthy six yards per carry average.
An adept punt returner who could carve out a niche in that role, he has more than one tool in his skill-set. His foot speed will likely determine whether he can sneak into an NFL training camp.
83 Isaac Rex 6’6 247 TE-Redshirt Freshman BYU
As the season has gone on, Rex continued to work the seams both in the field and the Red Zone. He scored two or more touchdowns in five of the team’s final seven contests. The team will line him up one-on-one for back-shoulder fades (Western Kentucky ’20, 2nd QTR/0:21). And just think what this offense would have looked like had NFL prospect Matt Bushman been available all season. Versus UCF, Rex led the team with five receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns. One of his touchdowns came on a flea-flicker where he was left wide open down the right sidelines.
The former San Clemente High School (Calif.) product was a basketball recruit and part of the 2017 recruiting class. He has already served a mission in Samoa for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Is the future now?
The Mountaineers rolled the Mean Green in the inaugural 2020 Myrtle Beach Bowl by a score of 56-28. We take a look at several prospects that we’ve had our eye on this season.
Appalachian State Mountaineers
6 Camerun Peoples 6’2 202 RB-Sophomore
For Peoples it was all about getting downhill over the course of the last year. In 2019, he missed most of the season with a knee injury. How would he return in 2020? The results were a bit up-and-down, as he put the ball on the turf four times (fumbles). In the 2020 Myrtle Beach Bowl, the game MVP displayed a build speed stride that often outpaced the angles of North Texas’ defense. His upright running style is offset by his quick one-cut ability. He scored on an outside zone late in the second quarter, displaying very good straight-line speed. Continued flexibility gains are in order for the redshirt sophomore.
12 Zac Thomas 6’1 210 QB-Senior
Thomas came into the season as perhaps the Sun Belt’s most ballyhooed quarterback, but his final stanza ended on a bit of a sour note. He struggled with decision-making in the Coastal Carolina contest and -despite a bounce back performance against Troy- ended the final month with the ball largely out of his hands. His impact as a running threat gradually faded over the final month of the year.
70 Cooper Hodges 6’4 295 RT-Sophomore
Hodges works his hands on the outside lanes. On Peoples’ 64-yard touchdown run near the end of the second quarter the sophomore finished a knockdown block by simply running his feet through the long arm of the defensive end. His hinge blocks on the backside of run away are technique-sound. He is a player to keep an eye on moving forward.
51 John “Bear” Hunter 6’3 295 RG-Senior
Hunter’s nickname is appropriate because he runs down the opposition. Hunter won to the spot versus North Texas DT Dion Novil on a reach block and then he flipped his hips to cut him off on the team’s outside zone run schemes (on more than one occasion). The former defensive lineman displays good hip torque on contact. He possesses good vision to pick up linebackers running through his gap control on run action away. The questions on Hunter revolve around length and whether he can transition into the center spot.
9 Demetrius Taylor 6’1 295 DL-Senior
Taylor posted one quarterback hurry and just two tackles in this contest. Taylor’s impact can largely go unnoticed until it doesn’t. He plays bully ball on the edge and has been one of the stronger players in the conference dating back to 2017. He finished his career with 35.5 tackles for losses and at least part of his emergence began with current Kentucky defensive line coach and former CFL standout Anwar Stewart (https://journalnow.com/sports/college/asu/app-states-demetrius-taylor-has-the-talent-to-make-a-big-impact-his-position-coach/article_7bdadc68-9943-5133-bc25-f7bfcb73f097.html).
North Texas Mean Green
97 Dion Novil 6’4 330 NT-Senior
This was a game that Novil needed to put a stamp on what had been a productive senior campaign, but he was reached and scooped by Appalachian State RG John “Bear” Hunter on Peoples’ long touchdown run near the end of the second quarter. His inactivity in this game was evidenced by a final line that included zero tackles. He was moved off of the ball versus double teams due to a tendency of playing on his toes (3rd QTR/0:21). Perhaps more disconcerting was the fact that he was unable to adjust his game versus the Mountaineers angle blocking schemes.
Strengths: Held his own against Missouri’s Jordan Elliott (2020 Cleveland Browns 3rd round pick) especially when he lined up in the one-technique DT (Missouri ‘19). Light on his feet. Can seal the backside on outside runs (Tulsa ‘19). Versatile. Has taken game reps at both guard positions as well as his natural center position. Shows the ability to chip- and-climb; and runs his feet once connected (Colorado State ’20). Led Wyoming with over 100 knockdown blocks, per the team’s statistics.
Weaknesses: Not a naturally big guy, came to school at 240 pounds and was thought to be a tackle (https://gowyo.com/news/2020/11/25/football-kevins-commentary-keegan-cryder.aspx). Is he strong enough to block stronger interior lineman at the next level? Loses wrestling matches and can be thrown to the ground (1st QTR/4:40, Boise State ’20). Will have to win with leverage and technique. Not a natural mauler. Can be tricked on games run by the opposing defensive line (Hawaii ‘20).
Other notes: Attended Dakota Ridge (Colo.)and played both offensive tackle and defensive end • Civil engineering major • 2019 Second Team-All Mountain West • 2017: Redshirted • 2018 (12 games, MWC All-Academic): Started all 12 games (3 at left guard, 1 at right guard, 8 at center) • 2019 (13 games): Played over 800 total snaps • 2020: Earned first-team All-MWC honors at center
Summary: Wyoming has had its fair share of NFL offensive linemen, including former Cowboys center Chase Roullier (Washington Football Team), who recently signed a four-extension. Cryder carries some similarities to Roullier, but lacks the same consistent hip roll to stick on defenders. He flashes upside against better athletes and has enough quick strike ability to make up for his lack of mass.
As the 2020 MAC football regular season comes to a close this weekend, we give one player from each team our analysis prior to their final exams.
76 Jaylon Moore 6’5 315 LT-Senior
Moore’s consistency dates back nearly three full seasons. A smooth mover with enough power, he simply needs more consistency with hand placement. He bears a strong resemblance to former Western Michigan tackles Taylor Moton (Carolina Panthers) and Chukwuma Okorafor (Pittsburgh Steelers). Both are former Broncos currently starting at the right tackle position in the NFL.
2 Caleb Huntley 6’2 226 RB-Senior
Scouts are impressed that the 225-plus pound barreling ram has continued to improve his footwork in 2020. A recent rib injury has robbed him of the last two games, but his presence provides balance for quarterback Drew Plitt and the Cardinals (4-1). Prior to the injury, Huntley had posted three 100-yard games in 2020.
8 Troy Brown 6’2 204 LB-Junior
A heat-seeking missile at just 204 pounds, the former safety turned linebacker sifted his way to 16.5 tackles for loss in 2019 (led the MAC). Along the way there was the occasional hiccup (targeting ejection, MAC Championship ’19) but it has not deterred him from continuing to lay the lumber in 2020. He busted loose versus Ball State last weekend (12/5/20) with 12 tackles, 2.5 quarterback sacks and 3.5 tackles for losses.
0 Samuel Womack 5’10 187
One of the most competitive defenders in the conference, Womack overcomes ordinary size with pristine footwork and a glass half empty, glass half full approach. His gambles are often calculated and timely. After defending 17 passes in 2019 (2 INTs, 15 PBUs), he has broken up seven passes so far in 2020. The key for him moving forward comes down to timing his opens to run out of his backpedal or in press-man coverage.
3 Tyrice Richie 6’0 193 WR-Senior
The former JUCO product impresses in the intermediate passing game alongside fellow transfer quarterback Ross Bowers. Richie scored a receiving touchdown last weekend against Toledo, but it was not against the aforementioned Womack. Richie has four 100-yard receiving games in five contests, but may not even reach his listed measurements.
99 Turan Rush 6’2 246 OLB-Senior
The 249-pound Rush posted two sacks against Ball State and his pass rush variety is improving. He has been more steady holding the edge in 2020 as opposed a season ago; particularly versus tight ends. The Charleston, West Virginia native has 11.5 quarterback sacks in his career and would benefit from taking advantage of an extra year if allowed to return to school, as he has slowed down in recent weeks.
49 Taylor Riggins 6’2 255 DE-Senior
While teammate Malcolm Koonce get most of the ink, Riggins’ productivity has arguably been just as noteworthy (13.5 sacks over the 2018-19 campaigns). He has, however, been invisible in all of the Bulls contests in 2020 due to an undisclosed ailment. The former UMass transfer may decide to come back in 2021 to finish on a stronger standing.
7 Dustin Crum 6’3 207 QB-Senior
His ball placement continues to shine, particularly on routes that require touch and arc within three yards of the sideline on nine routes or fades down the field. A deft zone read specialist, Crum leads the nation’s second-ranked offense in scoring, No. 1 offense in yards per game and the second-ranked offense in third down conversion percentage.
Editor’s Note: Crum now wears No. 7 for the Golden Flashes
51 Danny Godlevske 6’3 300 OC-Senior
While not a dominator, Godlevske gets to most of his spots and has even shown the ability to get out in space when the team uses the screen game. Improvement in his pass pro versus stronger defensive linemen should be his focus down the stretch. Godlevske opted for the NFL Draft early before the MAC proceeded with its season this fall. He is not as strong of a prospect as fellow senior offensive line mate, left tackle Tommy Doyle, but he could at the least get into an NFL training camp.
47 Austin Conrad 6’2 245 OLB/DE-Senior
His energy never wavers despite a relative lack of size. He fights relentlessly down-to-down. Coaches also lauded his first step. He’s the personal protector on the punt team, competitive versus the run and has even lined up as the three-technique defensive tackle in some of their packages. The Bobcats have only played three games as of press time (12-9-20), so Conrad’s numbers won’t jump off the page.
Bubba Arslanian 5’9 205 LB-Senior
There are not a lot of 205-pound linebackers that play as if they’re carrying a boulder on their back. Arslanian averaged over 10 tackles a game in 2019 but has picked up the pace, averaging slightly over 11 in 2020. Most impressively, he’s been able to stay injury-free.
Quintin Morris 6’4 251 TE-Senior
The former big wide receiver has transitioned positively to the tight end/H-back position after the staff convinced him of the move. He did so while adding weight. The 2019 second-team All-MAC pick brings flex capabilities to the table, with intriguing run after the catch skills. After a slow start to the season, Morris has posted three consecutive 60-plus yard receiving games.
What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): One of the better Wham blockers in college football. Shows the ability to come in motion and stonewall bigger defensive lineman and linebackers (UGA ‘20). While he doesn’t look as filled out as other tight ends, the willingness and technique is solid as a blocker. In his few targets, Forristal exhibits the skill to make acrobatic grabs. Large catch radius. Efficiency as a blocker allows him to lull defenders to sleep and then get behind linebackers (TD, Citrus Bowl ‘19).
Weaknesses: The plethora of injuries are a major concern. Two seasons were cut short by knee injuries. (https://www.si.com/college/alabama/bamacentral/coming-off-knee-injury-tight-end-miller-forristall-happy-to-take-a-hit-again-TwwQEARd5U-0q2ppi46O-Q). He also has dealt with throat, ankle, shoulder and groin injuries in consecutive seasons. 14 combined games played in his first four seasons. Lack of production (31 total receptions as of midway through the 2020 campaign).
Other Notes: Attended Cartersville High School (GA) and played alongside Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence • Forristall played QB during his junior season and was rated the No. 11 tight end nationally by Scout.com • Suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2017 and in 2018 • 2016 (3 games): 5 receptions, 73 yards • 2017 (1 game): 1 reception, 7 yards • 2019 (8 games): 15 receptions, 167 yards, 4 TDs• 2020 (6 games): 10 receptions, 141 yards, 1 TD
Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Alabama has been an NFL factory and they’ve been able to get a number of late round picks onto professional rosters despite a lack of college production. Wide receiver Cam Sims (Washington Football Team) and tight end Hale Hentges (Indianapolis Colts) are some recent names that come to mind. Forristall has the blocking chops to join fellow Crimson Tide tight ends Irv Smith Jr. and O.J. Howard in the NFL. His Wham blocking skills reminds us of former Washington Redskins tight end Don Warren, who was used primarily as a blocker in Joe Gibbs’ offensive schemes, but did end his career with 244 receptions (seven TDs). Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor comes from the Joe Gibbs coaching tree and his single back offense would be attractive for a player with Forristall’s skill-set.
Rice wide receiver/returner Austin Trammell may rank as quicker than fast, but he is efficient and strong with the ball in his hands. The former Klein High School (TX.) product broke his shin as a senior at the prep level, but his durability concerns have not shown up at the collegiate level. In fact, he has yet to miss a game for the Owls. Versus Middle Tennessee in 2020, he had a rare muffed punt near the end of the third quarter (1:53 mark).
This belies his down-to-down consistency in the return aspect of his game. Trammell catches kickoffs coming forward, which often allows him to get on top of kick coverage units when the team uses double teams. His shiftiness nearly allowed him to score on a 34-yard punt return versus Wake Forest in 2019.
As a receiver, he is capable of executing on the post-corner-post pattern and is fluid on stop routes outside the numbers. His footwork allows him to be effective on option routes in the slot. He understands how to work the leverage points of defensive backs. Last season, Trammell averaged 13.2 yards per reception on third downs. In the Wake Forest contest (2019) referenced earlier, he did drop an out route from the No. 2 slot position. There is also some slight stiffness in the lower half.
Trammell is known for his backflips around the Rice program (https://twitter.com/RiceFootball/status/1324833265702871042) but his coaches agree that his overall impact has moved the team forward.
“He is a role model for everything we want our program to be,” said former UNC-Central head coach and current Rice offensive coordinator Jerry Mack back in 2019.
We feel his playing style carries similarities to former New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, who entered the NFL as a lightly-regarded undrafted prospect out of the now-defunct Hofstra football program. Chrebet finished his Jets career with 580 receptions for 7,365 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Through just two games in 2020, Trammell has already set a career-high in touchdown receptions (5) and is currently averaging 21.9 yards per reception.
The former Georgia Bulldog’s agility can leave offensive tackles grasping for air when aligned in either a two-point stance at outside linebacker or four-point stance at defensive end. He has satisfactory length and enough flexibility to occasionally drop into coverage on some of the team’s zone blitzes. His quick snap-count reactions have enabled him to make a number of plays behind the line of scrimmage over the last two seasons (4th QTR/3:34, Arkansas State ’19). He proved against Iowa State (2020) that he is strong to set the edge versus tight ends and some offensive tackles. At times, however, he tends to lead with his shoulders to hold gap control can be flattened as a result when spiking into inside line gaps (Georgia State ’20). So far this season, Manac has yet to match either his 2018 or 2019 production for the Ragin’ Cajuns.