Tag: SEC

Draft Notebook 1.0

draft

As we closer to the end of the college football season there will be more mentions on players who will declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. As of now there are a few big name underclassmen that have said they plan on entering the draft. 

Safety Derwin James, one of the top defensive backs in the nation has declared for the draft. James has said he will not be playing in the Seminoles’ bowl game as well. James who stands (6’3 2010 pounds) is talked about being a top 2 pick this season. He finishes his career at Florida State with 186 tackles with 15 of them coming for a loss. He also tallied a total of 5.5 sacks with 3 interceptions for his career. 

There’s noise going around that James isn’t the only Florida State player that could be leaving at the end of the season. Defensive end Josh Sweat (6’5/250/DE/OLB) And big tall wide receiver Auden Tate (6’5/225/WR) Also are players that are potentially going into the draft. As well as 4 year tight end Ryan Izzo (6’5/245/TE) Is also considering the draft with one of the top rated corners in FBS Tarvarus McFadden (6’2/ 200/DB) Is expected to leave Florida State for the draft as he is projected to be a first round pick. 

Duke Dawson, Cornerback for the Florida Gators will not only be attending the draft. But Dawson and fellow teammate Johnny Townsendsted little time accepting to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl game. Dawson who stands 5’10 208 pounds is possibly a second or third round pick. Dawson who this past season was targeted 48 times allowed only 21 catches. And finished with a passer rating of 37.1 according to Pro Football Focus (PFF) Which was good for 2nd lowest in the SEC. Taven Bryan, Also from Florida (6’5/293/DE) has been said to be thinking about declaring for the NFL Draft as well. 

Reading more into the SEC and players who could and will declare I read that some scouts in the area are grading Georgia running back Sony Michel actually ahead of his teammate Nick Chubb. Who ranks second all time in rushing yards for a Georgia running back. Only behind Herschel Walker who holds the all time rushing yards and touchdown record for the Bulldogs. 

Harold Landry as accepted his invitation to the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl. Landry is slated to be a first round pick and possibly slide down into the early second round. Landry who stands 6’3 250 pounds is a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, But if drafted into a 3-4 scheme he will be positioned at outside linebacker. Landry totaled 158 tackles with 48 for loss, 25 sacks, along with 1 interception, 6 pass deflections and 10 forced fumbles. He as missed the last 4 games of Boston College regular season with an ankle injury and is undetermined if he will play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against Iowa on 12/27/2017

Wisconsin may be losing one of its cornerbacks. Nick Nelson (JR/5’11/208) Has been telling teammates and people close to him that he is choosing to enter the draft. In fact he is saying that he is close to choosing an agent as well. Nelson played his freshman and sophomore years at Hawaii before transferring to Wisconsin. Nelson who tallied 34 tackles in his junior year. Not as impressive has his 51 tackles his sophomore year. But he did improve on his pass breakups in his Junior year going from 18 to 20. He was also his teams punt returner. Nelson returned 22 punts for 186 yards (8.5 per return) and one touchdown. Nelson however didn’t tally a single interception in his 3 year career. He does however have good ball skills and is able to line up in man coverage. He is an aggressive player who isn’t afraid to get in on tackles. Nick Nelson is projected to be a mid round selection. 

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Roquan Smith Scouting Report. 11/1/2017

Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith (3)
(Photo by Jim Hipple)

Name: Roquan Smith  
Games Watched: Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida
Physical Grade/Body Composition:
 My physical grade on Smith is a B at the moment. Body Composition reminds me a lot of Myles Jack from UCLA. 6’1 and 225 pounds. 
Tackling/Hit Power Analysis:
 Smith’s tackling is second to none. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith has 133 run snaps, He has 29 tackles from running the ball. 5 assists, But where he is second to none is due to his 0 missed tackles. he has 21 run stops (at or behind the line of scrimmage) That gives Smith a run stop percentage of 15.8 percent. In the passing game, Smith has 176 snaps. Again with no missed tackles on. Roguan Smith will come up and hit you. He doesn’t have great power like a Foster did when coming out of Alabama last season. But he will hit you and isn’t afraid of contact. 
Instincts/Play Recoginition Analysis:
 Very well rounded, Can read run plays, attacks the ball carrier with the right angles, diagnosis plays in time to get his team in the right scheme, Sideline to sideline speed when chasing down the ball carrier, understands to force the runner back inside where his help is. Smith breaks down the play as it is happening very well and is able to make himself skinny through the hole when trying to make a tackle. 
Scheme Fit:
 3-4 inside linebacker. 
Career Overview and Summary:

176 total tackles, 8 for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass deflections, 3 force fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.  

Smith isn’t the type of player that will come in and knock you out, But Smith is a very sure tackler. Once he gets his hands on you he is making the tackle. He does need a little more experience in the passing game but he has done well against the pass. I like how Smith is able to disengage the blocker and get in on tackles. He is at his best when playing the run. I’d like to see him gain a little more weight. But Myles Jack is doing just fine and they are the same size. In the run game, Smith has a good feel for finding the ball and avoiding blockers while doing a fine job of keeping the ball in front of him in coverage. Smith’s production is difficult to ignore when projecting him to the next level, and his presence in the middle is a huge reason for Georgia’s early-season domination. Pro Football Focus (PFF) has the Georgia junior ranked eighth among all linebackers in the country.

 
Projected Round: Middle 1st to early 2nd. (But has the ability to solidify himself as a 1st rounder as the year progress) 

Alabama or Georgia Who’s Better?

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Whose the better team, Alabama or Georgia? That will be answered in Atlanta for the SEC Championship and place in the college football playoffs. To understand and not just say well Alabama is ranked 1 at the start and have yet to loose so they deserve the number 1 spot let’s dig deep into this topic. 

ALABAMA: 

Their schedule Didn’t look to hard. With games vs FSU, Auburn, And LSU. But if you look further into it rather than just the games in themselves. You’ll see that their schedule wasn’t just a simple cake walk. FSU came into the season ranked number 4, Now they’re a horrible 2-5. Largely due to them loosing their star quarterback in Deondre Francois. Let’s look at Alabama notable wins, Wins over Colorado State whose 6-3, Texas A&M at 5-3, And Fresno State at 5-3. Their key games remaining are VS LSU whose sitting at 6-2, At Mississippi State and Auburn, both at 6-2. Auburn and LSU at the moment both have top 25 defenses, and top 30 offenses. 

 Georgia:

 Georgia schedule as key wins over Mississippi State at home, And then going to Notre Dame and winning. (ND is ranked 5th in the power rankings sitting at 7-1) Other than those two wins they don’t have very rough schedule. But what makes them impressive is how they’re winning. They have won 7 games by 21 or more points. 

Passing: 

When it comes to passing the ball, Alabama is ranked 85th with a average of 201 yards per game. Georgia is ranked number 111th with a average of 162.5 yards per game. (Alabama wins this stat) 

Rushing: 

When it comes to running the ball, Alabama is ranked 7th with a average of 299 yards per game. Georgia is ranked number 10th with a average of 284 yards per game. Now even tho it’s close what makes this very interesting is Alabama not only has Harris and BO, But they have Jacobs and a freshman 5 star running back in Harris as well that they all will use to stay healthy and fresh as well has Both quarterbacks can run. Georgia only has Chubb And Michel. ( Alabama wins again) 

Rushing Defense: 

When these two teams face the run it’s just as impressive as when their offense is on the field and running the ball. Alabama is ranked 1st averaging only 66 yards per game against the rush. While Georgia is ranked 6th averaging only 95 yards per game against the rush. (Alabama wins) 

Passing Defense: 

Yet another stat with both teams ranked in the top 10. Alabama is ranked 10th averaging 170 yards per game against the pass. Georgia is ranked 3rd averaging 157 yards per game against the pass. (Georgia wins) 

Total Defense: 

This stat may be the most impressive by far. Both teams are ranked top 3 in the nation in total defenses. Alabama is ranked 1st with 236 yards per game given up. While Georgia is ranked 3rd with 252 yards per game given up. (Alabama wins but it’s VERY close) 

Now instead of just leaving it there. Lets see how they are facing 3rd downs, Sacks, and Turnovers

Sacks:

Alabama is averaging just under 3 sacks a game with 2.88, that puts them at 20th ( Now they are dealing with some injuries up front. Most notable being the (DE) Hand. Georgia is ranked 73rd with 1.88 sacks per game. (Alabama wins) 

Turnovers:

Alabama is ranked 8th with 1.25 per game. They have 15 forced turnovers while losing 5. Georgia is ranked 49th with .25 per game. They have 12 forced turnovers while losing 10. (Alabama wins) 

3RD Down Conversion PCT: 

Alabama is ranked 38th on converting 3rd downs, With a .434 percentage. Georgia is ranked 5th on converting 3rd downs, With a .500 percentage. (Georgia wins) 

3RD Down Conversion PCT Defense: 

Alabama is ranked 5th sitting at .250 percentage against offenses on 3rd down. Georgia is ranked 27th sitting at .314 percentage against offenses on 3rd down. (Alabama wins) 

Crucial Players:

Alabama: Alabama has a handful of key players that will dictate how the game will play out. They are 

Jalen Hurts: 

Jalen Hurts will play a major role in the offense for Alabama, With how good Georgia is on defense he cannot have a repeat of what happened in the National Championship game vs Clemson. This season Hurts is 95-151 for a 63 percent completion percentage for 1223 yards and 9 touchdowns and 1 interception. Alabama doesn’t ask Hurts to throw it a lot down the field. But maybe in this game it may keep the safeties back. One area that Hurts can kill a defense is with his run game. He takes long strides so it looks like he is just gliding through the field. He has ran for 572 yards and 6 touchdowns. (Big key is he hasn’t turned the ball over passing or running the ball.) 

Damien Harris: 

Harris is having a great year running the football for the tide. He’s almost at 700 yards rushing and is averaging over 8.5 yards a carry with 10 touchdowns. He lost a little weight in the off-season and it has shown by him being able to not get caught from behind. He must have a good day to keep the pressure off Hurts. Harris also ranks 5th according to Pro Football Focus in elusive rating with a 116.2, Not to bad for a Alabama running back. 

Freshmen Wideouts: 

Why not Ridley? Well cause Georgia will obviously be aware of him and try to take him out the game plan. Alabama has a great group of young wide receivers that I believe will need to step it up late in the season if the Tide want to beat the Bulldogs. Ruggs one of the freshmen has 5 catches for over 100 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jeudy who I really like and believe can be better than Ridley. Has 12 catches for over 200 yards and 1 touchdown. ( But Jeudy has made some very impressive catches.) 

Da’Ron Payne: 

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Payne will have to stuff the middle and take on double teams the entire day. Payne has 14 run stops at either the line of scrimmage or behind the line. And a percentage of 11.0 percent. Only Isiah Buggs has a better run stop percentage than Payne in the SEC. And Buggs as well is playing for Alabama. (Reason why I don’t say Buggs is cause once Hand comes back Buggs will play only when Hand needs a break.) 

Shaun Dion Hamilton: 

Hamilton is a force, Against the run and pass. He is a great tackler and has great sideline to sideline speed. As well as he is a good cover (LB) through 8 games Hamilton as totaled 37 tackles 5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks. 

Combination of Wallace and Fitzpatrick: 

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Why both? Well Fitzpatrick is arguably the best Defensive back in the nation. Between his speed, Tackling, Ball skills, and football IQ. It makes him extremely dangerous to any offense. He can play corner, safety and even come on designed blitzes. It’s a must know where Fitzpatrick is at all times. Wallace as emerged as one of the nations best corners. Wallace has a .07 passer rating when throwing at him. Which is 1st among draft eligible corners. Wallace also has 3 interceptions, 9 Pass deflections. And he gets to the QB with blitzes as he has 2 sacks.

Georgia: 

Georgia as some serious pieces that cannot be taken lightly at any point in the game. 

Jake Fromm: 

Georgia quarterback Fromm must be on his A game vs Alabama. He will not face a defense like what Alabama will bring all season long. But he is off to a good start to his career. He has a 62 percent completion percentage, for 1263 yards and 13 touchdowns as well as 4 interceptions. Fromm does have some running ability. He has 3 rushing touchdowns on the year. 

Chubb/Michel: 

Georgia carries two very solid running backs, One of the best duos in the nation. Chubb and Michel have tallied a total of just under 1400 yards rushing. And 17 rushing touchdowns between them. Both Michel and Chubb are ranked top 12 in elusive rating according to Pro Football Focus. Chubb as a elusive rating of 91.5 (12th) While Michel as a rating of 96.1 which is good for 10th. 

Roquan Smith: 

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Smith is arguably the best inside linebacker (ILB) in the SEC. He is just everywhere on the field. Smith has posted 53 tackles, 1.5 Sacks, 2 pass deflections through 8 games. But what makes him so dangerous is the fact that he just doesn’t miss tackles. According to Pro Football Focus. Smith has 0 missed tackles. And holds the number 1 spot in run stop percentage with a 15.8 with his 21 stops. 

Lorenzo Carter: 

Carter will play a big role in the defense. Much like Smith Carter is a very important piece to the Bulldogs Defense. Carter has 22 total tackles, 3 Sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles. Carter knows how to get to the ball carrier and make an impact. 

Rodrigo Blankenship: 

Yes i’m including a kicker, Why? It’s pretty simple if you think about it. Alabama doesn’t allow teams to score touchdowns on them. And Blankenship is 10-11 on field goals this season. Alabama holds the 8th ranked red-zone defense in the nation. Not very easy to points on them. So Blankenship could be a vital piece for the Bulldogs. 

So with all this taken in. Who do you believe will win this game? Alabama or Georgia.

 

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+

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.