Category: FBS

Bradley Chubb ( NC State EDGE ) Scouting Report

Chubb was the defensive leader for the 24th-ranked Wolfpack, who harassed reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson the entire night with the win over Louisville at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. Chubb entered with 5 1/2 sacks on the season and the All-American added another as he blew past Louisville left tackle Geron Christian, a 6-6, 315-pound junior also considered an NFL prospect. That Thursday game drew plenty of NFL talent evaluators. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, Washington vice president of player personnel Doug Williams, Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney and Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas.

Chubb’s quickness also gives him the option of shooting the inside gap. He combines it with good snap awareness to give himself a step on the competition.His commitment to gaining inside hands helps him employ an effective power rush. He is able to fire off the ball, maintain leverage and push the blocker into the face of the quarterback. Chubb is a heady player who knows when to use what pass rush move.This is a two-way defender who plays the run with integrity. He uses his inside hands to keep clean and hold at the point of attack. Chubb does a good job stacking and shedding when the ball carrier is in his area.

He plays with a high motor and will chance the play several yards down field. This effort plays a role in his success as both a pass rusher and run defender.NC State has asked Chubb to drop into coverage from time to time. He didn’t look overwhelmed in this task, but it keeps from rushing the passer which is his best attribute. However, it’s nice for defensive coordinators to have options.Chubb is a top-flight prospect who should hear his named called early in the 2018 NFL Draft. His combination of natural talent and production is what evaluators look for in a defensive end prospect. He’s in the running to be the first pass rusher selected in the upcoming draft.

Chubb vs South Carolina 2017:

I noticed he moved from Left DE to Right DE. And the majority of the time when South Carolina ran the ball. It was away from Chubb. He was all over the field, He chased down a wide receiver forcing him to go out of bounds only getting to the line of scrimmage, He totaled 5 tackles, 2 for loss and 1 pass deflection. He should great hustle playing on the right side of the offensive line and having to run to the other side of the field to help make a tackle for no gain (If he doesn’t hustle that play could go for 10-15) The only negative play is when he missed a tackle behind the line and allowed the runner to get in the end-zone. Overall i’d give him a B+

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What’s wrong with the SEC

Ever since the SEC started flexing their muscles with seven straight national championships and dominating every team from the other power 5 conferences they’ve gotten cocky, declaring themselves the hands-down best conference in college football. And at one point they were, but right now the SEC may not even be a top 2 power 5 conference. 

After week 4 of the season. The only team that has yet tasted a lost. Has been Alabama and Georgia. Both standing tall at 4-0. 

The SEC still gets top prospects, top athletes, has some of the best stadiums in the nation.  In the AP Power Poll the top 25 holds a total of 6 SEC teams. 1 Alabama, 7 Georgia, Auburn 13, Florida 21, Mississippi State 24, LSU 25. But How many teams truly belong there. Mississippi State gets blown out by Georgia 31-3. Florida had a last second comeback win against Kentucky to win 28-27. LSU did have a hard time vs Syracuse but pulled away to win it 35-26. Alabama clearly won vs Vanderbilt who was 3-0. 59-0. 

I have a strong opinion that if you want your team to be a top ranked team. Rather you’re in college or the NFL. Then you must pay for that coach. For example, Alabama has been a top ranked school for almost a decade. Why? Because they have arguably the greatest college head coach in NCAA history in Nick Saban. And he makes 11 million a year. The 2nd and 3rd highest paid coaches are Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer. Both in the big 10. OSU has been in first 2 college football playoffs alongside Alabama. Jim Harbaugh has brought the fire back in Michigan And made them a top school once again. Michigan being 4-0 and OSU being 3-1. With OSU only lost coming from 4-0 and number 3 Oklahoma. The remaining top 10 have 1 ACC school being Florida State coached by Jimbo Fisher. Who will be in the Hall Of Fame. One Big 12 school being Texas which is having trouble at their head coaching job. Then the last 5 are SEC and Big Ten schools. But the SEC schools being Mississippi, Texas A&M and Auburn and Big Ten schools being Penn State and Iowa. Penn State is a top 10 school in the nation and Iowa always challenges top schools like Penn State and OSU. And at the moment Penn State and Iowa would beat Mississippi and Texas A&M. Auburn would be able to make it a game but would still lose to Penn State and possibly Iowa. 

Teams like OSU, Michigan, Penn State are so well coached on all 3 sides of the ball and are all 3 very good at recruiting. The only school that can match them in the SEC is Alabama with Nick Saban. The 2017 recruiting class Bama was 1, OSU was 2nd, Michigan and Penn State came in 5 and 15. In 2016 class Bama was 1 again, OSU was 3rd, with Michigan and Penn State coming in at 8 and 20. 

 

Tennessee Vols Preview 2017

butch jones

2016 SEASON:
Tennessee finished with a record of 9-4. The season had some very high points but some very low points as well. The Vols started their season on a roll at 5-0, which is quite exceptional in an elite conference like the SEC East. Following that mark, they finished with a disappointing 4 wins and 4 losses. The unexpected nosedive was in large part due to injuries on the defensive side of the ball. Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Cameron Sutton were vital players on the defensive side of the ball that were out for a large portion of the season after the 5-0 start. As far as their 9 wins, 3 of them stood out for Tennessee. Facing Georgia, they won on a late hail merry from Joshua Dobbs to Jauan Jennings to secure the victory 34-31. In the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl game win against Nebraska, Derek Barnett broke Reggie White’s team sack record late in the 4th quarter. Additionally, anytime a team wins a bowl game it’s a big deal. The most notable win of the three came against the Florida Gators. The game didn’t end on a Hail Mary or didn’t go into overtime. In fact, the Vols won the game 38 to 28. The Vols went into halftime down 21-3; however, Dobbs and company were able to come back to win, capitalizing on several mistakes made by the Gators. This win snapped an 11 game winning streak that Florida had established over Tennessee.

QUARTERBACK:
Quinten Dormady, junior, started spring practice in the front of the repetition line, but head coach Butch Jones has said that there is no depth chart and that the quarterback position is still very much up for grabs. This leaves opportunity for Sophomore quarterback Sheriron Jones to win the starting job. Jones looked comfortable in open drills, and had his athleticism and accuracy on display. Nevertheless, the starting job is likely to come down to Dormady and 2016 redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano. Guarantano was listed as the nations number 1 duel threat quarterback of the 2016 class. Like Dobbs, Jarrett Guarantano shows awareness in the pocket and has the ability to escape pressure when necessary.

OFFENSIVE LINE:
Tennessee’s offensive line last season with Dobbs at quarterback were 52nd in sacks allowed per game and 37th in rushing yards per game. Senior guard Jashon Robertson could be an NFL offensive lineman. Offensive line coach Walt Wells has done nice work with the offensive line, especially 5-star recruit Trey Smith who is getting off to an incredible start. The offensive line were so productive in the month of November that the Vol’s offensive averaged 50 points per game. Coming into 2017 they will be more of a veteran team and if they can stay healthy should be a much better group overall in both the run and passing game.

SECONDARY:
It is imperative that the Vol’s secondary get better results this season. They must limit the amount of explosive plays allowed. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop is considering moving to a 4-3 look. Tennessee could have 2 of the most dynamic defensive backs in the SEC with safety Todd Kelly Jr. and Nigel Warrior. Both are sons of former vols first round NFL Draft picks. Warrior is the son of former NFL All Pro Dale Carter. He is expected to push for the starting job against the more experienced Abernathy. Abernathy, who was out this spring due to surgery on his shoulder did show flashes last season but missed a game with a hamstring injury. Injuries were a big problem for the Vols last season. In fact the Vols started 11 different secondary combinations over the course of 13 games. None of the players in the secondary started every game.

RECRUITING:
According to 247 Tennessee is ranked 17th in recruiting with 1 five-star recruit, 4 four-star recruits, and 23 three-star recruits. The 5-star recruit is OL prospect Trey Smith. The best 2 four-star recruits are Maleik Gray at safety, and running back Ty Chandler. Both are top 80 nationally ranked prospects and top 10 at their respectful positions.

SCHEDULE:
@ Georgia Tech (Mon. 9/4, 8pmEST on ESPN)
Indiana State (Sat. 9/9)
@ Florida (Sat. 9/16, 3:30pmEST on CBS)
Umass (Sat. 9/23)
Georgia (Sat. 9/30)
BYE
South Carolina (Sat. 10/14)
@ Alabama (Sat. 10/21)
@ Kentucky (Sat. 10/28)
Southern Miss (Sat. 11/4)
@ Missouri (Sat. 11/11)
LSU (Sat. 11/18)
Vanderbilt (Sat. 11/25)

STATS:
Total Offense: 40th (443 yards/game)
Total Defense: 95th (449 yards/game)
3rd Down Conversion: 59th (72 of 175 for a .411%)

ALABAMA 2017 PREVIEW:

 

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Alabama
Sep 10, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) passes against Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Hilltoppers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

ALABAMA 2017 PREVIEW:
Once again, Alabama has lost several key players. The most notable departures this time around are DE Jonathan Allen, ILB Reuben Foster, OLB Tim Williams, and CB Marlon Humphrey. Replacing studs like these has become routine for head coach Nick Saban though. He has been proving his dominance in recruiting for nearly a decade. His ability to reload at any position with another five star player at any point in the season has yet to be matched. This has been and will remain an integral part of ‘Bama’s success.

ALABAMA SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS:

Both Alabama and Florida State have plenty of talent returning on both sides of the ball. The Nick Saban vs Jimbo Fisher is as good of a coaching matchup as you can get in today’s college football. Fisher is an offensive guru who was arguably prevented from knocking off last season’s eventual national champion Clemson with one bad referee call. Saban is notorious for consistently producing nightmarish defenses. Bama’ QB Jalen Hurts and FSU QB Deondre Francois are both going into their 2nd season as starters. Hurts must take extra caution facing CB Tarvarus McFadden, rated on Matt Miller’s and Daniel Jeremiah’s top 5 players list, and S Derwin James, considered by most a top 3 defensive player in college football this year.

Alabama may face a very tough Florida State team week 1 of the season in Atlanta, but the matchups from week 2 to 4 present far less formidable opponents. Nevertheless, Saban is known to take every team very seriously. They’ll face Fresno State and Colorado State at home before going on the road to Vanderbilt.

Week 5 brings a game that most Alabama fans love to watch but also may secretly fear. That would be the Ole Miss Rebels coming to Tuscaloosa. One advantage the Tide will have on their side is home field. It also won’t hurt that they no longer have to face All-SEC QB Chad Kelly who put up 421 yards passing and 3 touchdowns in his last game he would face ‘Bama. Additionally, by that time in the season, Saban’s new starters should be up to speed on everything and playing to their potential.

Come Nov. 4th the LSU Tigers come to Tuscaloosa in yet another great rivalry will add another great game to the list. Alabama holds the upper hand due not only the fact LSU comes to Tuscaloosa but Alabama will be coming off of a bye week. As if Nick and Alabama needs an extra week to gameplan to beat LSU. Saban will also throw flame to the fire and use Derrius Juice words to light a fire under the Alabama defense. Juice, (LSU running back) went on record saying that Alabama was scared to play LSU and that every time that we were about to run Alabama would stack the box) Nov. 4th will be a very big game like always for the Tide. And Nick Saban as this game circled on his calendar.

PLAYERS TO WATCH ON DEFENSE:

Last year Alabama lead the nation in scoring defense with 13.0 points per game. The biggest returner on the defensive line is Da’Ron Payne who will be a monster piece on the Alabama’s defensive front. With Payne will be 5-Star DE Da’Shawn Hand who was sitting behind Jonathan Allen last season waiting for his opportunity. There’s no doubt Hand would have been a starter on almost any other team in the nation. Defensive lineman Raekwon Davis and Joshua Frazier are all very quality players that will be rotating in and out of the line-up. 

Inside linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton played along side Reuben Foster last season. He was one of the Tide’s top tacklers before being injured against the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship. His recovery has gone very well and he’s expected to to have zero restrictions at the start of the season.

Minkah Fitzpatrick will fill the CB Marlon Humphrey vacancy. Cornerback Anthony Averett had 8 pass deflections last year. He and safety Ronnie Harrison are both returning. Harrison will be asked to take on more of a leadership roll which he seems to have the tools to fit.

OFFENSE:

New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was brought in from the New England Patriots where he served as an assistant coach. Daboll begins with a luxury that previous OC Lane Kiffin did not. For the first time in a few years Alabama knows who it’s quarterback will be. Starting quarterback Jalen Hurts finished last season with 23 passing touchdowns and nearly a 63 percent completion percentage. Hurts did have some issues with holding onto the ball at some points in the season; still, Hurts ran for 950 yards and 13 touchdowns. He combined for over 3700 total yards and 36 touchdowns. Those numbers prove a remarkable season for just a 18 year old freshman. 

Running back Damien Harris is coming off of a season where he gained just over 1000 yards rushing. However, he must improve on getting in the end-zone as in 2016 he only crossed the goal line twice on the ground and twice in the air. The Crimson Tide do have a bruising threat at running back in Bo Scarbrough. A true workhorse, Bo was coming on strong late last season until sustaining a fracture in his lower leg in the National Championship game. For future durability, this kind of injury serves much better than torn ligaments so his recovery should be very strong. From week 10, Bo was averaging no less than 16 attempts a game with at least 5.3 yards per rush. In the last 3 games Bo totaled 364 yards rushing on 46 carries and 6 touchdowns.

Tight end O.J Howard and receiver ArDarius Stewart left for the NFL. This will create opportunity for wide receivers like Cam Sims and Robert Foster. Both are very raw talented players. 5-Star freshman  receiver Jerry Jeudy is someone who is a must watch. He left many impressed in Alabama’s spring game.

RECRUITING:

Alabama was rewarded with the number 1 recruiting class for 2017. They had the number 1 recruiting class in 2016 and the 2nd best in 2015. The Tide secured recruits like RB Najee Harris, the top ranked in the nation, 5-Star OT Alex Leatherwood, top ranked OLB Dylan Moses. Other 5-Star recruits including WR Jerry Jeudy and LB LaBryan Ray also highlight this year’s class.

STATS:

87th in total passing offense (210 yds/game)

12th in total rushing offense (245 yds/game)

1st against the run (64 yds/game)

Ranked 24th against the pass allowing just 197 yards per game.

Ranked 2nd in total defense, tied w/Michigan, (261 yds/game)

34th in total offense (455 yds/game)

CAN LSU WIN 10+ GAMES IN 2017

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CAN LSU WIN 10+ GAMES IN 2017?
 According to the Football Power Index (FPI), which measures a team’s strength and performance moving forward, FPI projected results are based on over 10 thousand simulations of a teams schedule. LSU is scheduled to face four top 25 ranked teams: at Florida (15), home vs Auburn (11), at Alabama (1), and at Tennessee (25). According to FPI, the Tigers’ winning chances are 59.5% vs. Tennessee, 56.3% vs. Florida, 53% vs. Auburn and a slim 25% vs. Alabama. Of the other 8 teams they’ll play in 2017, FPI shows at least a 75% chance for victory.
OFFENSE:
The 2016 season interim coach and now head coach Ed Orgeron brought in reputable offensive coordinator Matt Canada to crank up the attack. Arguably the biggest question about the LSU offense isn’t who’s going to be the quarterback. That spot is being locked down by Danny Etling. Also, the running back spot is expected to be filled by Derrius Guice, coming in for the loss of Leonard Fournette. The question is who will be catching the football? Five of the team’s top six wide receivers are gone. D.J. Chark remains, and will be depended upon much more this season. In 2016 he snagged 26 receptions for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns. Guice was exceptional last season when called upon. While filling in for Fournette, he carried the ball 183 times for 1387 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The offensive line should have another very good year. Will Clapp makes the move from guard to center, something he’s very comfortable with. Toby Weathersby has been talked about having next level talent at tackle.
There is no doubt, LSU will match up against some strong run defenses. It is yet to be seen whether Etling and his receiving corps can pick up the slack when needed.
 DEFENSE:
Dave Aranda, the defensive coordinator, did a great job in his first season at the helm. LSU finished 10th in the nation in total defense. Aranda’s defense only allowed 20 or more points per game just three times last season. All three of which were won. They held Louisville and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson to just 9 points. National championship runner up Alabama was kept to only 10 points. Overall, LSU allowed an average of 16 points per game.
LSU has become well known for replacing lost talent on the defensive side of the ball. However, they lost their top 6 tacklers, including the top ranked safety and 6th overall draft pick Jamal Adams. Star inside linebackers Duke Riley and Kendall Beckwith were also taken in the draft. When a team loses a player of Jamal Adams’ caliber, they don’t replace him. They can only hope whoever steps in plays up to speed. Devin White and Donnie Alexander combine for little experience, but are projected to fill the vacancies left by Riley and Beckwith. First round pick Tre’Davious White’s replacement, Donte Jackson, has the potential to be an all-star cornerback.
Nose tackle Greg Gilmore and defensive end Christian LaCouture come back and will play a big part in the front 3 of the defense. The pass rush should be great considering Arden Key comes back solid from shoulder surgery. With him being out all offseason and not ready to go for the start of camp this season, there could leave some reason for worry. He is clearly their best player and is considered by some to have a higher ceiling than Myles Garrett who was the 1st overall pick in the draft this year. Key came up with 12 of the teams 36 sacks just a year ago. If he returns to normal, it’ll be a huge boost to LSU’s defense.
RECRUITING:
The Tigers ranked 8th in the nation among 4 major recruiting sites. The most notable recruits are 5 star safety JaCoby Stevens and 4 Star recruit nose tackle Tyler Shelvin, their top recruit from the state of Louisiana. According to 247 sports, LSU commits only 1 five star recruit, a total of 13 four star recruits and 8 three star recruits.
STATS:
101st in passing offense (190 yards/game)
21st in rushing (233 yards/game)
59th in total offense (423 yards/game)
13th in run defense (117 yards/game)
23rd in passing yards allowed (197 yards/game)

ARKANSAS FOOTBALL 2017 PREVIEW:

Arkansas finished the 2016 season with a record of 7-6, 3-5 vs. SEC opponents. The Razorbacks must succeed in the SEC conference in the future to rise above those average records produced year after year. They haven’t won more than 8 games since 2011 when they earned 11 wins under the tutelage of former Head Coach Bobby Petrino.

Arkansas will have to make great strides to improve their pass protection situations, short yardage running and conversions in the red-zone. Austin Allen had a very good first half in the 2016 season with 18 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions and a 63 percent completion rating through his first 7 games. One of Allen’s most productive games was against Alabama where he was able to put up 400 yards in the air. Allen will be returning with his lead running back, Rawleigh Williams, who last season finished with 245 carries for 1360 yards and 12 touchdowns.

OFFENSE:

Arkansas could possibly have one of the best SEC duos at running back with Williams and Devwah Whaley. Allen along with Williams and Whaley should benefit with a better offensive line, returning 4 starters. The most established being at the center position with Frank Ragnow. Fans of Arkansas are hoping they protect Allen better this season against the pass rush. In 2016 the offensive line allowed a devastating 35 sacks.

Jared Cornelius is their returning leader at the wide receiver position. Cornelius finished 2016 with 32 catches, 515 yards and 4 touchdowns. Other than Cornelius, Arkansas has a fleet of inexperienced wide receivers. Sophomore wideout Deon Steward should see plenty of action coming into 2017.

DEFENSE:

The Arkansas defense allowed an (FBS) worst and a school record 39 rushing touchdowns. New Defensive Coordinator Paul Rhoads has moved the defense to a 3-4 front with the blessing of Head Coach Bret Bielema. A sound move after considering the previous coordinator’s 4-3 defense was ran all over repeatedly by other SEC teams, averaging 258 yards on the ground per game.

Reports are saying Bijhon Jackson and Austin Capps are expected to start at the defensive tackle positions, while McTelvin Agim and Armon Watts will lead a pack of very inexperienced defensive ends. The redshirt freshman’s Briston Guidry and Jonathan Marshall could also have an impact in the rotation. Dre Greenlaw, Junior, is the returning linebacker. In the secondary Kevin Richardson, recovering from a torn pectoral muscle, is expected to be 1 of 6 defensive backs with starting experience. Ryan Pulley is one of the SEC’s most underrated cover corners in the game.

RECRUITING:

According to 247Sports Arkansas recruiting class of 2017 finished 27th in the nation and 10th in the SEC. They bring in zero 5 star recruits, four 4 star recruits, and twenty 3 star recruits. Some of their key recruits are Chevin Calloway, CB, Dallas, TX and Montaric Brown, S, Ashdown, AR.

2016 TEAM STATS:

The Razorback offense was 57th in the nation and 8th in the SEC in scoring. They were 78th nationally in rushing and 11th in the SEC. In passing, they finished 32nd in the nation and 3rd in the SEC. In total offense they ranked 54th and 8th.

Defensively, Arkansas was 85th nationally and 10th in the SEC for scoring. Defending the run, they were 94th in the nation and 10th in the SEC. Defending the pass they finished 58th in FBS and 8th in the SEC. In total defense they ranked 76th and 8th.

The best Pass rusher in the SEC

SEC PASS RUSHER ARDEN KEY, OLB/DE, LSU:

First Team All-American Arden Key stands 6’5″ weighing 238 pounds, and is coming off of an impressive sophomore season. It was a significant increase in production from his freshman year. In 2016, Key finished the season with 56 tackles, 14.5 of those for a loss. He also had 12 sacks which marked the new LSU record for sacks in a single-season. He tallied a total of 3 forced fumbles and 3 pass deflections as well. This was a nice improvement from his freshman season where he garnered 41 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 pass deflection and a fumble recovery.

POSITIVES:

Key has an ideal build for what is looked for in a pass rusher.  At 6 feet 5 inches tall, he possesses nice wingspan. This long reach gives him the leverage to contest blockers and the range to grasp a ball carrier from a distance. He is explosive getting off the line of scrimmage, and he has the ability to bend at the top of the loop allowing him to get good pressure on the quarterback.

The strongest aspect of his game that scouts and coaches will love is his style of play. Key displays a high motor, always hustling from the snap to the whistle. As an 3-4 outside linebacker though, more is required than just pass rushing. Defending the run is important too. With his length, he is able to hold the blocker and stack them up at the point of attack. Key also possesses the speed and effort to run down plays from the backside. So far his college production has been very impressive.

AREAS TO IMPROVE:

At times, Key has trouble locating the ball and also has a tendency to bite on play fakes. Though he excels at chasing the ball down from the backside, he needs to improve on the front side run plays when he ball is coming in his direction. He must improve at block shedding and become more active.

The biggest question mark Arden Key leaves is a result of his absence in spring training which sources said were due to personal reasons. That is likely to cause some confusion whether it was lack of love for the game or that something happened behind closed doors. If that question remains unanswered, he’ll be fine as long as he makes plays and stays out of trouble.

THE TAKEAWAY:

Arden Key is far from the perfect prospect; however, he possesses all the skills and tools to remain a dominant player in college and become one in the NFL someday too. It is imperative that the teams he’ll face this season account for him, keeping the running back in the backfield or bringing an extra tight end or offensive lineman to help on his side of the ball.

Key is a more instinctive pass rusher than the NFL 2017 number 1 overall draft pick Garrett was last season, but Garrett was a bit more gifted athletically. It will be exciting to watch Key play and see if he improves on his outstanding production just one year ago

Florida Gators: A look into 2017

The Florida Gators finished the 2016 season with a record of 9-4 and earned a bid in the SEC Championship game. Can they return to the SEC Championship again in 2017? According to sportingnews.com they’ll  face as many as five teams in the preseason top 25 consisting of Florida State, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, and Michigan. The Gators are currently ranked 14th in the nation in the same preseason poll. They have a good balance coming off of their recruiting class with 5 offense and 5 defensive players coming in as their top 10 recruits. Florida natives Tedarrell Slaton (OL), James Robinson (WR), and Zachary Carter (DE) are just a few of the key names. Gators recruiting was exceptional in landing local prospects in this class. Eight of their top ten are from The Sunshine State. This is a plus in a state like Florida, always overflowing with talent.

A look ahead to what Florida should be looking at coming into 2017:

Who will be the signal caller for the Florida offense in 2017? The two quarterbacks vying last season were Austin Appleby and Luke Del Rio. Appleby has since moved on seeking a career in the pros. Del Rio, son of Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio, is recovering from a shoulder injury. In 2016, Appleby and Del Rio combined for a total of 18 touchdowns and 15 INT’s. Florida needs more consistent play at the quarterback position. So, could the promising freshman Feleipe Franks be the answer? The good news is there top receiver from a year ago, Antonio Callaway, is back as is RB Jordan Scarlett who could be just the 4th Gator running back to rush for over a 1,000 yards in the last 20 years.

Antonio Callaway could be thrust into a much bigger role this season since some experts consider him one of the best receivers in the nation. He’s also a big threat as a return man. In 2015, he averaged 15.5 yards and was able to score 2 times. The statistics weren’t as fruitful last season, but the threat remained. The biggest question that comes with Antonio is his off the field issues. His most recent citation came in May for a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana which has already landed him a week 1 suspension against Michigan. Furthermore, red flags went up when sources learned the criminal record of the man he was accompanied by when caught.

Can Randy Shannon make Florida a top ranked defense in the SEC? Shannon was the defensive coordinator in Miami back in 2001-2005 so he knows what it takes to make a stifling defense. He lost some key players up front but Jabari Zuniga and CeCe Jefferson return and could really contribute up front and develop the new young linebacker core of Florida.

What will Florida’s new secondary look like with the losses of Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor at cornerback, and Marcus Maye at safety. All were drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft. Florida also has a new defensive back coach in Corey Bell who comes from Florida Atlantic. The players that the Gators staff will look for are the future replacements of proven players Duke Dawson and Chauncey Gardner at cornerback, and Marcell Harris, senior safety. Gardner who played in 11 games last season ended 2016 with 3 INT’s.

Florida will most likely start a trio of sophomores at linebacker since the loss of Davis inside. Reese, who will likely play inside as the Mike, has a nose for the football. Kylan Johnson, a former high school quarterback, has an understanding of how defensive looks can affect an opponent’s play calling. Vosean Joseph plays with a chip on his shoulder, thus replacing the presence of Davis, becoming the enforcer of the group.

 2016 Stats:

Florida was 12th in the SEC and 112th in the Nation in scoring per game with 23.9

14th in the SEC and 113th in the Nation in rushing yards per game with 128

14th in the SEC and 116th in the Nation in total yards per game with 344

Number 1 in the SEC and 2nd in the Nation against the pass allowing only 148 yards per game

Number 2 in the SEC and 5th in the Nation in total yards allowed with 293 yards per game

I can see Florida winning the East again and playing in the SEC title game, but for now I’m predicting them to finish 2nd with the looks of their schedule and key losses to the defense. Still, I would not be surprised to see them in the title game once again.

 

Why Alabama will once again win the SEC Championship

This series will be articles about SEC teams, and previewing how their 2017 campaign could go and reasons why the could or could not succeed.

 

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You may be upset all you want, But even the Alabama haters know that the road to the college playoffs go through Alabama. And here are the reasons why Alabama will win the SEC once again.

  1. And probably the biggest reason. The defense, It will reload just as it does every single season. The loses of Tim Williams at OLB, Jonathan Allen at DE, Marlon Humphrey at CB, Ryan Anderson on the other side playing OLB, and the captain of it all in Reuben Foster all being drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft. If it was any other team lost those amount of play makers and stars on one side of the ball it wouldn’t be the same the following year. But Saban and Alabama are just a different breed of college football. They always seem to reload on the defense every year. Da’Shawn Hand, The player coming into the place of Allen. Hand was a 5 star recruit that would of started on just about every other team in the nation except for Texas A&M and Tenn considering they had Garrett and Barnett. Both top 15 NFL draft picks as well. Shaun Dion Hamilton will take over and command of the ILB position that once was held by Foster. ( A top 10 pick if it wasn’t for a injury and off the field issues ) Hamilton plays just like Foster with scents for the run. Hamilton is a great run blocker. But Hamilton is also very good against the pass. As well as dialing up the right plays at the right time. But what makes Hamilton on top and with talks about being a top ILB is his ability to get sideline to sideline. Rather that be against the run setting the edge or against the pass. Anfernee Jennings is a extremely talented pass rusher and will take over the OLB spot for Williams. Minkah Fitzpatrick will play either safety or corner, He has the ability to cover wide receivers man to man and the play making ability to play safety against the run and pass.
  2. Alabama is known for their recruiting classes year after year being top 2 every year. This year they hold the number 1 spot for recruiting once again. Saban brings in the number 1 overall prospect in running back Najee Harris. To put it in prospective Alabama as 8 of the top 100 prospects and 15 of the top 200 players of the 2017 class and 2 of the top 10 juco transfers. Alabama finished 2017 with the number 1 recruiting class, the number 1 class of 2016. And the number 2 class of 2015. Recruiting is very big to Alabama’s success.
  3. Jalen Hurts, he ended the 2016 campaign with 35 total touchdown and close to 3500 yards. But in the playoffs he didn’t play as well. Only getting 2 total touchdowns and less than 300 yards in the 2 playoff games. But coming into 2017 he comes in with more experience and the confidence to build on to come in and be a better QB. Hurts also as the threat of his legs. Being a great running QB. Hurts is more of a running back when he runs. He doesn’t shy away against contact and can actually carry and or fall forwards when hit.
  4. Bo Scarbrough could very well be in the heisman watch. He hasn’t played a lot of games, So his legs are fresh coming into 2017. In the 1st game of the playoffs he ran the ball 19 times for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the National Championship he once again was having a big game with 16 carries for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns. But then he got injured when he got his ankle rolled up on. Once he left, Alabama’s offense was never the same during that game. You could say if he stayed in the game Alabama wins the game. Clemson had no answer for him. Bo reminds a lot of Alabama fans of Derrick Henry. A heisman trophy winner.
  5. Nick Saban, It’s pretty easy to say that Saban is the best coach in college football today. And has been for some time, The record proves of it. Before the loss to Clemson in the Championship game Saban was 5-o. Alabama has been a powerhouse and arguably the number 1 team in college for years and to be the best you have to beat the Tide. And the biggest reason for the success at Alabama is because of Nick Saban.

Because of these 5 reasons, Alabama will not only be  in the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row but also be in the championship game and win it all once again.

 

Deshaun Watson: Scouting Report

The QB crop in the 2017 class has as much debate as any position in the draft, which is particularly rare for the QB class. Often by this point in the process there is a confirmed number one and everyone knows who will be the first QB off the board. This year is different in that Mitch Trubisky (UNC) only has one year of film which leaves questions ask to his real skills and value. Deshone Kizer (ND) showed promise only to benched in season and most recently called out by his coach. Patrick Mahomes (TTU) shows good potential, but his transition will be difficult coming from an air raid offense that does not focus on the minute aspects of playing the quarterback position. As you can see each one has their flaws and now we’ll discuss another top option Deshaun Watson QB (Clemson).

Watson has proven to be a gamer playing great in big games and coming away from the 2016-2017 season with a National Championship. Watson plays with an edge and looks as if he provides the necessary leadership to lead a team of grown men. When thinking of the modern NFL Watson looks to have the tools athleticism, leadership, and arm talent (kinda). Let’s dig in more.

Watson showed his ability to throw with touch to all levels of the field particularly over the middle of the field. However, when he throws the long ball he is very inconsistent missing long and short. When a quarterback misses long and short it is worrisome due to the inaccuracy that is being shown to control the ball at all. There were several times when a receiver would be running wide open downfield and the throw would be nowhere near the receiver not even giving him a chance. In the NFL missing long ball throws will only make the field more condensed and daring him to throw long even more. Watson does throw with good anticipation on short to intermediate routes which is due to his somewhat average arm strength. When looking to drive throws he can become inaccurate and the ball begins to wobble, which could become worrisome in adverse weather (Stay away Browns).

When he is in the pocket he does a good job of standing tall and working through the limited reads he had. Pressure in the pocket did not have a tremendous impact on his throws as he often looked to escape and was able to get outside the pocket, while keeping eyes downfield still looking to throw. Plays after pressure did look as if it made him flee the pocket rather quickly, with no pressure in sight. In the NFL I would assume whoever picks him look to move the pocket and give him half field reads while also looking to exploit his athleticism. When he does run he shows the athlete he is, although he does take big hits that will injure him if he doesn’t learn how to slide. Him being an intelligent player I’m sure he will get the memo on sliding in one of his first practices.

Mentally Watson is said to be a student of the game so he should be able to comprehend a NFL playbook. His awareness has to get better as he did throw 17 interceptions last season and several of the throws were right to the defenders. He just flat-out misses defenders sometimes which can be attributed to a fairly simple offense with many keys for the defense and his lack of reading the defense post snap. With film room work this could be eliminated, and a good QB coach to speed up his mental process post snap.

As for his NFL projection I believe it will take some time and would be better off coming in mid-season in first year or starting his second year. He is a GAMER and some team will love that enough to take him first round, but he would be best off in a Dak Prescott situation with a strong team around him as he will not carry a team right off the bat. If he can improve upon his accuracy which is definitely possible he could develop into a very good starting quarterback that provides passion and leadership to a team while making throws he’s supposed to make and limiting his mistakes. As a somewhat similar comparison think Alex Smith but more athletic and actually wins and plays good in big games. Think of Alex Smith struggles with inaccuracy in early stages of career. Should go round 1 late first 2nd or 3rd QB off the board.