Tag Archives: SMU Mustangs

Avila continues to flash voracity

The TCU running game has been on fire this year and part of the reason revolves around the team’s interior offensive line. Led by Esteban Avila (6’4 339) and SMU transfer Alan Ali (6’5, 300), there are a number of possibilities down-to-down with their inside run schemes.

Look no further than TCU’s fourth quarter goal line touchdown against SMU two weeks ago. The Mustangs aligned in a three-man front with two stacked linebackers. Ali (6’3, 300) sat on zero-or-one-technique nose guard Terrance Newman early in the down, allowing Avila to quickly climb to SMU linebacker and Oregon transfer Isaac Slade-Matautia. After left tackle Brandon Coleman controlled defensive end DeVere Levelston, it provided a walk-in touchdown for running back Emari Demercado.

Earlier in the third quarter, Avila flashed an adequate ability to get out in front for Demercado on a screen pass that netted a big gain for the Horned Frogs. On the play, Avila hit a moving target in space (LB Shanon Reid) to open up hidden yardage for Demercado.

Both of these plays occurred while Avila manned the left guard spot.

When Ali left the game briefly in the third quarter due to injury, Avila slid over to the center position. This is the spot he started at during his second-team All-Big 12 campaign as a junior. As a left-handed snapper, he is most comfortable in pass protection going left, but his overall awareness remains more than satisfactory at the position.

TCU Steve Avila practicing center snap vs. SMU in 2022
TCU offensive lineman Steve Avila, pictured, has started at all of the three interior line spots for the Horned Frogs. He moved to center for a couple of snaps against SMU when starter Alan Ali went down to injury.

The question for NFL teams will inevitably revolve around his projection in zone-based run schemes. The Horned Frogs All-Big 12 lineman most likely projects in a man blocking scheme due to a few hiccups reaching opponents laterally on a consistent basis. With that said he started at all three interior line spots as a sophomore in 2020. The theme has continued thus far in 2022.

The four-year starter gobbles up defenders half or equal to his size and -once he gets his hands on the opposition- can be tough to dislodge from down-to-down. The quick hands alternate when punching while sitting down to anchor. His trunk strength and bulk frequently wins for him in the elevator battles without having to jump around to catch his opponents.

As is typical of most Horned Frogs, Avila showcases voracity on the field.

Washington Redskins, 7th Round, 256th overall selection, Mr. Irrelevant: Trey Quinn WR SMU

18 Trey Quinn 5’11 203 WR-SMU, LSU

What makes this player Nasty….(Strengths): Positive size and measurements. Former high school track star with above average long speed if he can build to it (Tulane ’17). Frequently controls the slot positions for the Mustangs. He’s the team’s move guy with z-in and z-out motion, much like he was during his freshman year at LSU. They’ve even aligned him in an offset RB spot to run trail-seams (SMU ’17). Uses his helmet to move defenders on his straight-stem. Excels running post-corner-post routes from the No. 2 slot position and will beat double teams (UConn ’17-2 TDs, Tulane ’17-TD). As an outside WR (LSU), he would attack the CB’s blind spots and then drop his weight on comebacks (Tabor, Florida ’14). This showed up on occasion at SMU on post-corners from the outside Z-WR position (Tulane ’17). Satisfactory hand-eye coordination. Snatches the ball. He will go low to scoop errant passes off the turf (Florida ’14). Displays little regard for his body attacking the middle of the field (one-hand grab (left) on dig route, Houston ’17). Exhibits body control along the sidelines when running double moves (TCU ’17). The team often put him at the No. 2 weak position in empty to work pivot-returns, quick outs, shallow crossers, digs and post-corners. Works the seams of the field. Deft option route runner (3rd and 3-6). He’s even been used on double passes (TCU ’17). He’s come through for the team in clutch situations with miraculous efforts (4th and 4, 4th QTR, Cincinnati ’17).

Weaknesses: One-year wonder. Got buried on the depth chart at LSU behind ordinary receivers. Why did he leave? Average run after the catch threat with limited wiggle. Will leave passes on the turf. Dropped a shallow crossing route vs. Florida in 2014 with no one around. He also had a drop vs. UConn in 2017. Does not run through the ball on quick drives or slant routes. He was not featured much outside at either LSU or SMU despite having adequate size and speed. May project as a slot-only prospect. While at LSU, he would struggle vs. physical play near the LOS (Florida ’14). CBs can still frustrate him when split outside in press coverage (Lewis, Tulane ’17). Will drift up the field at times on some of his speed cuts on out-breaking routes. Will fall away from punts on occasion when attempting to judge the flight of the ball (Houston ’17).

Other Notes:

  • Attended Barbe HS (La.) and became the national all-time leader in receiving yards (6,566). Set a Louisiana state record for receptions (357)
  • Was named a USA Today 1st Team All-American
  • Two-time Class 5A state finalist in the 100-meters (10.93)
  • Threw a no-hitter in the opening round of the 2008 Little League World Series
  • 2014 (7 sts, LSU): 17 catches for 193 yards (11.3 YPR); One tackle
  • 2015 (2 sts. LSU): 5 receptions for 83 yards
  • 17 receptions for 156 yards and one TD vs. Houston on 10/7/17
  • 17 catches for 186 yards vs. Cincinnati on 10/21/17
  • 2017 (13 sts, 1st Team All-AAC): 114 catches for 1,236 yards (10.8 YPR) and 13 TDs; 1-of-2 passes for 34 yards and one INT; Two tackles
  • 2018 NFL Combine: 9 ¼” hands, 32” arms, 17 reps-225 lbs, 4.55 40-yd, 33 ½” VJ, 9’8” BJ, 6.91 3-cone, 4.19 20-yd SS, 11.4 60-yd LS

Time to get Nasty….Our Summary: Current Arkansas offensive coordinator and former SMU OC Joe Craddock clearly had a plan for Quinn in 2017. Perhaps he watched his LSU film. While there, Quinn ran a number of possession routes off of stack looks or in motion. Many of them were on third downs as a freshman. The decision to leave LSU is still an unknown, but he took full advantage of playing in SMU’s creative scheme this past year. He’s strong, quick and tough. Additionally, he has positive hand-eye coordination. To become a solid slot option in the NFL, he has to create more of an illusion for the defensive back. Despite good timed speed, he sometimes looks as if he’s playing at one clip on Saturdays. While he stems well to move defensive backs off their marks, he is not as decisive the more physical man coverage enters the equation. The former Mustang brings Day 3 value to the 2018 NFL Draft.

DraftNasty’s Grade: 5.5 (4th Round)

2018 Big Board Rank: 227