Category Archives: 2018

2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl, Photo Gallery, 12-31-18: 22) Northwestern vs. 17) Utah

The 22nd-ranked Northwestern Wildcats used a furious third quarter rally to overtake the 17th-ranked Utah Utes, 31-20. Led by a defense that forced timely turnovers and 2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP Clayton Thorson, the Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points in the third stanza. DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous takes us inside the game with this photo collage.

2018 Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl Photo Gallery, 12-28-18: Auburn vs. Purdue

Led by redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham’s six touchdowns (5 PASS, 1 RUSH), the Auburn Tigers overtook the Purdue Boilermakers 63-14 in Friday’s 2018 Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl. DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous gives a peek at some of the images from Nashville.

2018 Valero Alamo Bowl In-game report: Iowa State vs. Washington State, 12-28-18

Washington State emerged victorious in a back-and-forth thriller against Iowa State.  The Cougars defeated the Cyclones 28-26 to win the 2018 Valero Alamo Bowl.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

16 Gardner Minshew (6’2 220) Washington State QB-Senior

Former East Carolina quarterback Gardner Minshew’s transition to Pullman culminated with his selection as college football’s 2018 Johnny United Golden Arm Award winner.

The East Carolina transfer put together a season that ended with him winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, which is given to the nation’s top senior quarterback.  Minshew impressed in the Valero Alamo Bowl with his short compact delivery and his elusiveness in the pocket.  Iowa State opted to rush just three defensive linemen for the better part of the game and he took his time with patient reads.  When he is at his best, Minshew can power off his back foot and drive the ball in the short and intermediate passing game.  At the next level, the Cougars quarterback will have to answer questions about his deep ball accuracy and ability to run a less quarterback-friendly offense than head coach Mike Leach’s air raid offense.  The former ECU Pirate finished his senior season with 4,779 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and nine interceptions. 

4 Marcus Strong (5’9 185) Washington State CB-Junior

Marcus Strong showed his anticipation and ball skills when he jumped a slant in the first quarter and ran the interception in for a touchdown. The junior cornerback, however, was called for a taunting penalty and had his touchdown negated.  For the game, Strong finished with seven tackles, one sack and one interception.  He impressed this season -and against Iowa State- with his ability to compete and play through the whistle.  Despite giving up nine inches against Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler, Strong got physical and made life hard on the taller opponent.  The lack of size will concern scouts, but the Cougars cornerback has the right mentality to play on the outside in the NFL. 

18 Hakeem Butler (6’6 225) Iowa State WR-Junior

Butler is physical and not afraid to put his hands on the opposing cornerback to create room in his routes.  He also showed the skills to seal the edge during running plays.  Despite his height, Butler can still get low and get in-and-out of his breaks (see his comeback routes during the first half).  The junior had a productive season, posting 60 catches for 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns.  Against Washington State, he caught nine passes for 192 yards.  This included an acrobatic one-handed catch over the middle of the field. 

32 David Montgomery (5’11 216) Iowa State RB-Junior

David Montgomery has the tools to be an every down back at the next level.  He showed soft hands in the receiving game in the Valero Alamo Bowl (4 catches for 55 yards). And like he did all season long, he refused to go down on first contact.  Against Washington State, he ran for 124 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. On the season, the Cincinnati native rushed for 1,216 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

2018 Walk-on’s Independence bowl, PHOTO gallery, 12-27-18: Temple vs. Duke

Temple got off to a strong start in the 2018 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, but the Duke Blue Devils took off in the second half to pull away from the Owls 56-27. DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous goes inside the action with his photo gallery from Thursday’s action.

2018 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, In-game report: Duke vs. Temple, 12-27-18

A dominant second half by the Blue Devils was enough to help them cruise to an Independence Bowl victory. Duke scored 35 unanswered points to defeat Temple, 56-27.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

17 Daniel Jones (6’5 220) Duke QB-Junior

With Oregon’s Justin Herbert returning to Oregon for another season, Duke’s Daniel Jones should get some attention earlier in next year’s draft.  That is if the redshirt junior decides to declare early.  The Blue Devil signal-caller finished with one rushing touchdown, five passing touchdowns and two interceptions against Temple.  A throw that stood out to me was his pump-and-go pass for a touchdown to T.J. Rahming, the slight pump was enough to get the defensive backs attention and clear the way for Rahming.  Jones not only sold the pump with his legs, head and arm moving in sync but he threw a good pass as well.  The game was a microcosm of his season: a mixed bag of good and bad.  Scouts will question his pocket awareness.  Against Temple, he was sacked three times and for his career, he’s been sacked 82 times. I would like to see the internal clock in his head operate a little quicker and if plays aren’t developing, see him throw the ball away.  The positives for Jones is that he has good size, great athleticism for his stature, can throw on the run and has worked with David Cutcliffe, who has enjoyed a myriad of success with young quarterbacks. 

Jones (No. 17 pictured) connected with Rahming (No. 3 pictured) on a career-long 85-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of Saturday’s Walk-On’s Independence Bowl against the Owls.

3 T.J. Rahming (5’10 170) Duke WR-Senior

You can’t help but think of former Duke wide receiver and Redskins current slot receiver, Jamison Crowder, when you see T.J. Rahming. The two have identical builds and are used in similar situations. Rahming is used on jet sweeps as a motion man and works mostly in the slot.  Rahming might be a little faster straight-line than Crowder but he doesn’t have the same agility as his elder.  Like Crowder, Rahming also can help out in the punt return game (5.9 yards per punt career average).  Against Temple, Rahming caught 12 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. 

9 Michael Dogbe (6’3 280) Temple DL-Senior

Dogbe is a little light for a defensive tackle but his activity and constant movement is never lacking.  In a time where defense is more about reacting than dictating, Dogbe is a throwback see ball/ get ball type of player.  In the Independence Bowl, Dogbe impressed with his ability to attract double teams and follow and stick with the play from behind.  He projects best as a 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end at the next level.  At Temple, single digit numbers are reserved for tough and hardworking players and Dogbe has earned his stripes.  For the season, Dogbe finished with 12.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three forced fumbles. 

2018 Quick Lane Bowl In-game report: Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech, 12-26-18

Two run heavy offenses squared off in Detroit in the Quick Lane Bowl.  However, Minnesota was able to make more plays in the passing game, en route to a 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

62 Jared Weyler (6’4 300) Minnesota OC/OG- Senior

Weyler has missed time over his career in Minnesota with a torn tricep and a torn ACL but when he is on the field, he provides toughness and leads the heavy run Gophers offense.  The senior can play both guard and center. He is not the most athletic prospect and looks a little stiff when forced to block on screens.  Against Georgia Tech, he did show the ability to call out blocking formations and provide a clean lane for his runners.  Weyler, a captain for the Golden Gophers, projects best at the next level as a center. 

24 Mohamed Ibrahim (5’10 205) Minnesota RB-Freshman

Ibrahim is only a freshman but he impressed all season long with his ability to serve as a workhorse running back. Despite his 31 touches in the Quick Lane Bowl, Ibrahim never looked tired or worn down. He is also a willing blocker in passing formations.  For the season, Ibrahim finished with 1,160 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 202 carries. The running back from Olney, Maryland, didn’t get a chance to show his ability to catch very much this year (four receptions for 26 yards).  In a few years, look for Ibrahim’s name to come up as a potential NFL prospect. 

6 Tyler Johnson (6’2 200) Minnesota WR-Junior

Johnson is the best receiving weapon for the Golden Gophers.  His explosiveness off the line of scrimmage is lethal.  He was able to sell a move to the inside in order to get a clean release on the outside for a touchdown in the first quarter.  Against Georgia Tech, Johnson hauled in two touchdowns on four receptions for 57 yards.  For the season, Johnson had 78 catches for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns. Johnson projects best as an X-receiver, who has the skills off the line to scare cornerbacks in man-to-man coverage.

Look here at how Johnson uses explosiveness in his routes, high- points the football and makes a play:

3 Tre Swilling (6’0 195) Georgia Tech CB-Freshman

The son of former Saints Pro Bowler Pat Swilling, the younger version stood out in the Quick Lane Bowl because of his clean hips and ability to mirror receivers.   Swilling didn’t see much action to his side against Minnesota and at times it looked as if the Golden Gophers offense was intentionally avoiding him.  For the season, Swilling had one forced fumble, an interception and six pass deflections.  Swilling has the skills and bloodlines to be a next level talent.  As the years go on, his progress will be worth monitoring. 

Gasparilla Bowl In-game report: Marshall VS. USF, 12-20-18

Marshall used a strong first quarter to take care of business against USF in Tampa. The Thundering Herd defeated the Bulls, 38-20, in the Gasparilla Bowl. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

84 Randall St. Felix (6’2 205) USF WR-Freshman 

If his freshman year was any indication, St. Felix should join the long list of hometown Miami receivers, who have gone on to play at the next level.  St. Felix finished the season with 33 catches for 679 yards and four touchdowns. Against Marshall, he hauled in six passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns.  St. Felix understood where to find the soft spots in the Marshall zone and in man-to-man coverage, and this was evident when he scored a touchdown using a double move in the third quarter.  St. Felix is a clean route runner for such a young prospect, and look for him to only get more refined with more time in college football.

89 Mitchell Wilcox (6’5 245) USF  TE-Junior 

Wilcox fits the mold of the new age tight end: tall, strong and can run.  He impressed when he extended and laid out for a 27-yard catch.  The junior tight end seems like a natural catcher and doesn’t let the ball get into his body often, despite his fourth quarter drop. For the season, he finished with 43 catches for 540 yards and two touchdowns. Look for Wilcox to work best at the next level as a tight end out of the slot rather than a traditional in-line blocking tight end.

61 Levi Brown (6’4 290) Marshall OC-Junior 

Levi Brown is a true mauler at center. Brown is a little tall for the position and that shows when he is in pass protection and is forced to maintain a low base.  However, he has excellent hands and reach which allows him to hold sturdy in the interior.  In the run game,  Brown plays through the whistle and is almost always downfield finishing blocks.  The Marshall center was named to the second team Conference USA roster in 2017.  This year, he may been in for a first team finish. Brown will probably return for another year of college but look for him to be in the conversation as a Day 2 draft pick in 2020.

8 Tyre Brady (6’3 206) Marshall WR-senior

Back in his home state of Florida, Brady put on a show. The Homestead native caught five passes for 88 yards and ran once for 14 yards.  Despite his 6-foot-3-inch frame, Brady moves with fluidity and was used on reverses and screens throughout the game. The senior wide receiver also showed strong hands on a 42-yard catch in the first quarter when he used an inside release and then out- muscled the smaller USF corner for the football. On the season, Brady finished with 71 catches for 1,002 yards and nine touchdowns.  An NFL team will be getting a productive and versatile receiver if they bring in Brady.

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

Georgia

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.

Alabama

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