2015 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Pre-New Year’s Bowls

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2015 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2015 NFL Draft Stock page (link coming soon).

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

TCU 42, Ole Miss 3
  • TCU’s Paul Dawson was one of the top inside linebackers in college football. He put up huge numbers as the engine of Gary Patterson’s fast defense. Against Ole Miss, Dawson was all over the field with huge plays to help the Horned Frogs blow out the Rebels.

    Dawson showed his instincts in the first quarter when he fired into the backfield, beat the guard and took down the running back for a loss. He also made a great read to diagnosis a play and improvise a blitz to sack Bo Wallace on a rollout for a loss of eight, just a yard shy of a safety. Dawson almost had another shot at a safety just before the half, but he forced a pick-six for TCU. In the fourth quarter, Dawson added to his great game with a pass batted away.

    Dawson is listed at 6-foot-2, 230-pounds, but some believe he could be smaller than that. Thus, Dawsone may not be an early-round pick, though his speed and instincts mean he could catch on with an NFL team as a backup outside linebacker and special teams contributor.

  • Ole Miss senior quarterback Bo Wallace showed improvement in his final season, but he was still prone to some meltdown performances. His college career ended in that fashion as Wallace and the Ole Miss offense looked completely helpless against TCU.

    The first drive of the game saw Wallace throw a pass late after staring down his receiver. A defensive back read Wallace’s eyes and jumped the route for an interception. Shortly later, Wallace forced a throw late to the sideline. As color analyst Tim Tebow explained so well, Wallace tried to throw a back-shoulder throw, but you can’t do that when the defensive back doesn’t have his back turned to the quarterback. Since the corner saw the pass coming his way, he made an easy interception.

    Just before the half, Wallace was about to get sacked for a safety when he tried to throw the ball away. It flew right to a defender in the end zone for a pick-six. The nightmare continued in the third quarter as Wallace was running with the ball up the middle after finding nothing open. He was carrying the ball loosely and had it was punched out. Wallace finished 10-of-23 for 109 yards. He doesn’t have an arm for the NFL and looks like an undrafted free agent.

  • Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt had a better junior year than 2014. The senior concluded this season with an underwhelming performance overall.

    In the first quarter, Prewitt bit on a fake with a lateral to a wide receiver in the flat. He ran over expecting a screen, and the wideout threw to an open receiver who slipped behind Prewitt and ran down the middle of the field into the end zone. Prewitt was slow to pickup a wideout in coverage early in the second quarter and was beaten for a touchdown by the receiver running across the end zone.

    Prewitt made a big play just before the half though. He came over the top on the deep sideline to make a leaping interception a few yards in front of the end zone. It was a very athletic pick for Prewitt. He came up to make a tackle later in the third quarter, but the back shoved him into the turf and kept running. Prewitt looks like a third-day pick and even could go undrafted.

  • The final prospect worth mentioning is TCU defensive tackle Chucky Hunter. He is a potential Day-3 pick, but he really helped himself against the Rebels. Hunter shed the right tackle early in the game to start a tackle for a loss on the running back. At the end of the first quarter, he beat the left guard with speed on a stunt to get a sack. In the second half, Hunter fell on a Wallace fumble and followed that up by burning the right guard to get a tackle for a loss. Hunter is fast defender who could fit as a backup three-technique for a 4-3 defense in the NFL.

    Stanford 45, Maryland 21
  • Around midway through the season, Maryland’s edge rushers humiliated Iowa left tackle Brandon Scherff. They burned Scherff all game long with speed rushes and made him look like he would better off as a right tackle or guard in the NFL. Stanford left tackle Andrus Peat gave further evidence to be concerned about Scherff as the Cardinal had his way with the Maryland edge defenders aside from a couple of plays.

    Peat had one play where he got caught a little bit out of position, but still had enough of a block to give Kevin Hogan time to pass, but another blocker was beaten for a sack. In the second quarter, Maryland defensive end/outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue – a player who beat Scherff regularly – beat Peat with a speed rush off the edge, but Hogan was able to escape the sack with his mobility. Ngakoue got by Peat around the corner in the fourth quarter, but the play was designed to be a quick pass and Hogan held onto the ball.

    Aside from those plays, Peat was excellent. He negated speed rushes, and on most plays did so in convincing fashion. Peat was agile, quick and athletic on the edge. He was also effective in the ground game. Stanford ran behind him on the goal line, and the big blocker got low to get enough of a push into the end zone to help his back break the plane. Peat was pushing defenders at the point of attack and winning his blocks.

    Peat doesn’t always play with great knee bend and sometimes reaches, but he is big and quick enough where he can get away with it. Overall, this tape will help him to grade out as a first-round pick if he enters the 2015 NFL Draft.

  • Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs was out for a few games after suffering a lacerated kidney. He is considering entering the 2015 NFL Draft, and his stock needed a good game going against a quality Stanford secondary led by cornerback Alex Carter, who could be an early-round pick. Unfortunately, Carter didn’t really go against Diggs as Stanford played a lot of zone coverage as while blowing out Maryland.

    Diggs started the game well, including a reception of about 20 yards on a crossing route he turned up field. Diggs drew a holding call in the end zone later on the same drive. Diggs used his speed to get open and find soft spots in zones. In garbage time, he beat a corner down the sideline for a reception of close to 30 yards. If that pass had been thrown on time, Diggs would have taken it for a touchdown. He totaled 138 yards on 10 receptions.

    Diggs has missed significant time over the last two seasons. He should return for his senior year and prove to NFL teams that he can stay healthy for an entire season before turning pro. If Diggs enters the 2015 NFL Draft, he looks like a mid-rounder.

    Georgia 37, Louisville 14
  • One of the top wide receiver prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft is Louisville’s DeVante Parker. After missing seven games with a broken foot, he’s been on fire, averaging about 150 yards per game.

    Parker outfought a defensive back in the first quarter for a leaping touchdown reception, but the officials took the score away over a questionable illegal touching penalty as the corner was pushing Parker. It could have easily been ruled he was forced to step out of bounds.

    Parker saw double coverage with safety help over the top thoughout the first half. Parker made a reception of 24 yards after he outjumped the cornerback and safety for the reception.

    Parker moved the chains with a slant in the third quarter, and Louisville went right back to him, but the pass was behind him and deflected off his hands for an interception. It was a catch that the senior should make.

    Parker came back to make some nice plays, including a screen on which he broke three tackles and darted down the field to convert a third-and-20. Parker showed his quickness, strength and run-after-the-catch ability to work through the Georgia defense. That set up Louisville inside the five-yard line, and the Cardinals scored on the next play.

    Overall this performance will help Parker to be a first-round pick, even with the drop that was an interception. Normally, Parker is very sure-handed. He hauled in eight passes for 120 yards. With his size, speed, route-running and hands, Parker looks like a potential No. 1 receiver in the NFL.

  • Louisville redshirt sophomore safety Gerod Holliman decided to enter the 2015 Draft after a breakout year. He entered this bowl with 14 interceptions, but only 37 tackles; his tackling ability has received a lot of criticism. Even with the negatives about his tackling, Holliman is in the running to be one of the first safeties selected because of his ball and coverage skills.

    In the first quarter, Holliman lost his eye discipline as he got caught watching the quarterback’s eyes and didn’t see that he had receiver Chris Conley running a deep post down the middle. That led to about a 45-yard touchdown as Conley beat Charles Gaines and Holliman was not where he was supposed to be as the deep help.

    Holliman had a tackle on receiver Michael Bennett in the flat in the second quarter, and on the next play, Holliman ran into the hole to make a tackle on power back Nick Chubb, and Holliman threw his shoulder into the midsection of Chubb. That sent Holliman out of the game for a play before he came back in.

    In the third quarter, Holliman took a terrible angle and got out of position to help let Chubb explode on an 82-yard run. Holliman also pulled up a little early rather than running through the whistle.

    Holliman had some good plays in coverage helping over the top, but he had little impact in defending Chubb aside from that one tackle in the hole. Overall, this tape will hurt Holliman’s draft grade.

  • Louisville outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin is a potential second-day pick. He has been a consistent pass-rusher across the past two seasons and would fit well as a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level.

    On his first drive of the game, Mauldin beat the right tackle with speed to almost get a sack, but he forced quarterback Hutson Mason to step up into other teammates for a sack. Mauldin fired by the right tackle in the third quarter and punched the ball out while tackling Chubb. Louisville recovered the ball close to midfield. Mauldin did miss a tackle on Chubb, but overall, he was active and had a quality performance with a respectable tackle total. Mauldin could use a strong performance at the Senior Bowl to help his draft stock.

    Notre Dame 31, LSU 28
  • This game featured three interesting offensive line prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft in Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley, LSU left tackle La’el Collins and LSU left guard Vadal Alexander. Among that trio, Stanley is the highest rated and could be a top-10 pick in a few months – if he decides to enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

    Stanley illustrated early on why he is held in high regard. Stanley did have a lowlight though as he was beaten on a rush to the inside, and that disruption started a tackle for a loss for LSU. However, to end the drive Stanley made a critical block downfield on a wide receiver screen to hit a cornerback and spring his ball-carrier for a touchdown. Stanley showed great quickness and athleticism to get downfield to make that block.

    Stanley sprung another longer run on the next drive. The Fighting Irish ran him twice later in the first half to score short touchdown runs. In the third quarter, Stanley didn’t sustain a block on LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter, who made a tackle for a loss of four on a screen pass.

    Stanley finished the rest of the game in fine fashion. He is very quick, agile and athletic. Stanley is fast in his drop to negate speed rushers and has natural bend in his knees with length to make him hard to get around. He is an advanced pass-protector.

    The one thing that Stanley could use for the NFL is some more power. He doesn’t always pack a big punch in the ground game or get big movement at the point of attack. It also shows up in his sustaining of blocks. That could be added in a NFL strength and conditioning program. This outing should help Stanley to grade out as a high first-round pick.

  • This was La’el Collins’ final game and was it a solid performance, though not overly impressive. He had some nice blocks in the run game and didn’t look bad in pass protection. Midway through the third quarter, Collins helped open a huge hole for Leonard Fournette to run untouched for an 89-yard touchdown. Collins’ movement skills and body type suggest that he is better suited as a guard or right tackle in the NFL.

  • LSU cornerback Jalen Collins is considering entering the 2015 NFL Draft. The junior is a big corner who also runs extremely fast. However, he is a raw defensive back who has some deficiencies in his game. Various sources are hot or cold on Collins.

    Collins broke down well against a running back in the second quarter to make a tackle for a loss. He added another good tackle on a perimeter run later.

    In pass coverage, Collins wasn’t beaten for any big plays, but allowed a slant to move the chains midway through the game. He was beaten for another slant that went about 12 yards on Notre Dame’s game-winning drive. Collins wasn’t in bad position on the play, but he didn’t track down the ball well – it was thrown high – and missedsan opportunity to slap it away. Lack of ball skills is an issue for Collins, and sources have said he struggles in this regard.

    Collins could contend for an early-round selection and should be a star of the Combine, but as a player, he could be better with further development before going pro.

    Arkansas 31, Texas 7
  • There were some good defensive line prospects in this game, but the star of the night was Arkansas senior defensive end Trey Flowers. He was a Second-Team All-SEC selection this season and could get second-day consideration in the 2015 NFL Draft. This performance will definitely help his chances of grading out in the top 100.

    Flowers made a nice run-defense play in the second quarter as he shed a block and stuffed a run. With the Longhorns backed up inside their five, Flowers fired by the left tackle to hit the running back in the backfield right as he was struggling to control a handoff. Flowers’ hit helped lead to Arkansas recovering the ball in the end zone; he was credited with a forced fumble.

    Shortly later, Flowers strung a run out to the perimeter before shedding his blocker and making a tackle for a a loss of one yard. Flower flew by the right tackle in the final seconds of the half and got his hands off of him with a rip of his right arm to chase down the quarterback for a sack. Flowers finished the half with a sack, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble. He came close to another sack early in the third quarter after working by the tight end and running back with speed and strength.

    After that Flowers added a few more pressures as he was consistently beating the right tackle with speed and bull rushers. Flowers showed impressive strength with the ability to shed blocks. This was an impressive game from Flowers that should send his stock up.

  • Texas junior defensive tackle Malcom Brown was probably playing in his final collegiate game as he is likely to be an early-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. On the first play from scrimmage, Brown fired through the A gap to stuff the running back for a loss of a couple of yards.

    Brown later put together a good rush to chase the quarterback out of the pocket. Arkansas spent the majoriy of the game running away from Brown, and the Texas offense was inept as the Razorbacks controlled the time of possession to wear out the Longhorns’ defense. Brown flashed some quickness and strength. If he wants to be a first-round pick, he probably would be better off returning for his senior year. If Brown is comfortable going on Day 2, then he could enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

    Clemson 40, Oklahoma 6
  • There was a good draft matchup in this game with Clemson speed rusher Vic Beasley going against Oklahoma offensive tackles Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams. Beasley has been one of college football’s most consistent pass-rushers for the past three years. Thompson and Williams would be tested by Beasley’s speed off the edge.

    Beasley burned Thompson with a spin move to the inside on the second drive of the game and closed on Trevor Knight in a heartbeat to pick up a sack. In the third quarter, Beasley helped defend a screen well and didn’t bite on the fake. He dropped into coverage on tight end Blake Bell for the next play and made a leaping pass deflection near the goal line to almost pick off a would-be pick-six.

    Beasley mainly lined up over Thompson as the Tigers had him play both defensive end and outside linebacker. Thompson had some good reps in stopping Beasley, but he also was holding on for dear life at other times against Beasley and other Clemson defensive linemen. This game illustrates that Thompson would probably be better off as a right tackle or guard in the NFL.

    Williams played better than Thompson, but it wasn’t an overwhelmingly impressive game for Williams either. At the point of attack, Williams has some strength to move linemen. He should stay at right tackle at the next level – or possibly move to guard.

    This duo is reminiscent of the Tennessee tandem of Antonio Richardson and Ja’Wuan James last year. Richardson got more publicity, but NFL teams felt James was the better prospect and selected him in the first round while Richardson fell undrafted because of a micro-fracture knee injury. I’m not saying that Thompson will go undrafted, but don’t be surprised if Williams is selected first and is the better pro.

    This was a fine tape from Beasley. He showed his great edge-rushing ability and the athleticism to move to outside linebacker. That is the position he’ll have to play in the NFL and could be best utilized in a Von Miller-type role in a 4-3 defense, or as a hybrid inside/outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Beasley could be a top-20 selection.

  • There was another speedy outside linebacker/edge rusher draft prospect in this game: Oklahoma’s Eric Striker. He overpursued on the first play and the receiver cut back behind him. That terrible angle by Striker let the wideout take the flanker screen 65 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, Striker burned around the left tackle to notch a sack with a teammate. Striker also added a batted pass in the second half. He was unblocked on the next play and chased down a back running to the other side for a tackle for a loss.

    Striker is likely to enter the 2015 NFL Draft, and this game could help him. He looks like a mid-rounder.

    Texas A&M 45, West Virginia 30
  • This was the final opportunity for Texas A&M left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi to lessen the damage from his midseason slump. He had the season off to a strong start before a rough streak against Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Alabama that saw him give up a number of sacks. Ogbuehi finished the year in better fashion and has the ability to be a starting left tackle in the NFL.

    Ogbuehi was excellent in pass protection versus the Mountaineers. He showed excellent feet, natural knee bending and agility. Ogbuehi had no issues with speed rushers and stymied any bull rushes. It was a nearly flawless game in pass protection.

    In the ground game, Ogbuehi wasn’t as impressive. He was quick to hit blocks on the second level and is fast at firing out of his stance, but he doesn’t pack much of a punch. Ogbuehi isn’t going to blow defenders off the line of scrimmage and drive them around the field.

    There is one thing lacking from Ogbuehi’s game: strength. If he could get stronger, he could be a special left tackle in the NFL. Overall, this tape will help Ogbuehi’s draft stock and serve to confirm a first-round grade.

  • West Virginia senior wide receiver Kevin White is also a potential first-round pick and made his impact felt quickly. He burned Aggies cornerback Deshazor Everett along the sideline in the second quarter to haul in a 49-yard touchdown. The Mountaineers then forgot about White until midway through the third quarter when he burned the cornerback off the line of scrimmage on a go route. The pass was thrown well to allow White to make the over-the-shoulder catch for 45 yards.

    White had a real lowlight in the fourth quarter when he was trying to do too much fighting for extra yards while being gang-tackled. He had the ball slapped out from behind. White also made a few sideline catches to move the chains, but West Virginia ran out of time. He caught seven passes for 129 yards and the score in this bowl. Overall, this tape should help White’s draft stock – minus the fumble. He showed some speed to get separation to go along with route-running and body control.

  • West Virginia junior safety Karl Joseph could be a second-day pick if he enters the 2015 NFL Draft. He had a pretty quiet game. Joseph got in on some tackles and was solid at helping in coverage over the top. However in the fourth quarter, Joseph had an easy interception fall right to him yet he dropped an easy catch. It was an ugly play for Joseph. The junior hasn’t shown a lot of ball skills in his college career, so it might be in his best interest to return to West Virginia and improve on those before going pro.

    USC 45, Nebraska 42
  • Two of the top defensive prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft were in this game. USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams and Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory are both potential top-five picks. The Cornhuskers were going to need Gregory to step up to limit quarterback Cody Kessler and wide receiver Nelson Agholor, as the Trojans aerial attack has the potential to be lethal. USC also has a power back in Buck Allen and Nebraska’s run defense really struggled late in the season. Overall, Gregory had a solid game, though he didn’t record any game-changing plays.

    On Gregory’s first snap, a third-down obvious passing situation, saw Gregory get around the corner to pressure the quarterback. His speed was evident as he flew down the line to get in on a tackle of Agholor on a wide receiver screen. Gregory followed that up with a pressure on a swim move.

    Gregory only recorded four tackles in this outing, but he caused a lot more disruption than the numbers indicate. Gregory didn’t record a sack, but he definitely put heat on the quarterback. For NFL evaluators, Gregory showed some great pass-rushing moves with serious explosion off the snap. He is extremely athletic to change directions and dart by blockers.

  • Williams was superb for USC. He spend the entire game destroying the right tackle and right guard from the Cornhuskers.

    In the first quarter, Williams had a good pressure with a swim move to beat the right tackle. He also hurried a throw to almost cause an interception. Late in the first quarter, Williams powered his way by the right tackle and hit Tommy Armstrong right after the pass was released, but Williams whipped him to the ground and drew a roughing the passer penalty.

    Williams fired into the backfield on the next play to take down Armstrong for a sack. Williams got slapped with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting the Nebraska bench after the play, so while Williams was impressive, he had some unforced mental mistakes to spoil his great play.

    Williams made another impact play in the third quarter as he burst through the right guard and right tackle to start a tackle for a loss, though the credit went to a teammate. Williams later burned the right tackle again to get a tackle for no gain. He finished the evening with nine tackles and one sack.

    This was a thoroughly impressive performance that illustrated Williams’ combination of explosive speed and strength. This tape will help him to be a top-10 pick and serve to confirm that high draft grade.

  • Agholor had solid performance in what is probably his final game for USC. He beat man coverage on a slant for a 17-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. Agholor moved the chains with a number of nice receptions and runs after the catch. He is a polished receiver who looks like a potential No. 2 for the NFL. Agholor isn’t overly fast or big, but he should be able to contribute quickly as a pro. In the 2015 NFLraft, Agholor looks like a day-two pick.

  • Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah had an excellent senior season, but was slowed down late in the year by a knee injury. He flashed his early season form as he returned the opening kickoff 49 yards to midfield; it showed off his burst and cutting ability. After that splash start, Abdullah had a hard time finding running lanes as he ran for only 32 yards in the first half.

    Abdullah found a nice lane in the third quarter as he paused behind the line before breaking around the right side to dart 20 yards into the end zone. Early in the fourth quarter, Abdullah took a screen pass to burst upfield with a gain of 33 yards.

    Abdullah finished with 88 yards on 27 carries and six receptions for 61 yards. This tape will help his draft stock as he bounced back from his knee injury and showed his versatility as a runner, receiver and returner. Abdullah looks like a nice value pick on the second day of the 2015 NFL Draft.

  • USC running back Buck Allen has had an excellent junior season and has been the real workhorse for the Trojans. Cody Kessler and Nelson Agholor have gotten more attention, but Allen has deserved a lot more acclaim than he has received for the year he’s had. That was case again as Allen finished the year well against Nebraska.

    Allen ran hard for four quarters. He showed a good burst, cutting ability and strength to finish runs well. In the third quarter, Allen charged up the middle for a 44-yard touchdown run. He showed nice vision and cutting ability to go toward his left and then back to his right to get through the Nebraska defense.

    Allen ran for 152 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns. He had one reception for 16 yards. Allen could enter the 2015 NFL Draft, and if he does, he looks like a second- or third-round pick.

    Arizona State 36, Duke 31
  • This was the final college game for Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong. The junior has announced that he will enter the 2015 NFL Draft, and that seems like a good decision as he is likely to be a first-round pick. Strong had an impressive performance for his final collegiate performance.

    Strong caught a screen for the Sun Devil’s first offensive play and turned that into a gain of about 15. Shortly later, he got open on a post route for a 49-yard gain. Strong showed his quickness to get separation, but quarterback Taylor Kelly let the ball hang a little bit, which forced Strong to slow down for the pass. That allowed the cornerback time to recover and tackle Strong following a leaping reception.

    On his next reception, Strong made a fabulous hands catch, securing the ball with his finger tips along the sideline while a defender was diving for the pass. Strong moved the chains a few plays later after getting open on an out along the sideline in zone coverage. He made another impressive sideline reception while dragging his feet for the gain. The junior had 85 yards on five catches by the half.

    Strong worked the sideline again in the third quarter to move the chains a few times. He also got open for a long touchdown, but was interfered with and drew a penalty. It was a mixed play as Strong didn’t sell his block long enough to draw in the safety, and if he had, it probably would have gone for a touchdown. Strong totaled 103 yards on seven receptions in this outing.

    This tape will help Strong’s draft stock as he showed his ability to work the sidelines and make tough catches to move the chains. Strong may not have elite speed, but he is big, physical, strong, sure-handed and runs quality routes.

  • Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder is a tiny slot receiver candidate, and he has been a good player for the Blue Devils with a lot of production. That history landed Crowder an invite to the Senior Bowl.

    Crowder made a few short receptions before coming through with a game-changing play. He fielded a punt and weaved his way through tacklers to break into the open field and run away from the coverage unit. Crowder took the punt back 68 yards for a touchdown. He showed a great move to slip away from four tackles in the first 20 yards before bursting free.

    In the fourth quarter, Crowder took a halfback sweep and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass on a fourth down. It was a huge play, but Arizona State quickly recovered the lead. Crowder answered with a catch for 43 yards on a deep post. He finished this bowl with 102 yards on seven receptions. Crowder looks like a mid-round pick who could contribute as a slot receiver and returner. This tape will help his draft stock as he showed the he is a tough weapon who contributes in a variety of ways.

  • Duke senior guard Laken Tomlinson is a potential third-day pick. He is better in the ground game than his pass protection during this game. Tomlinson struggled with some of the speedy defenders on the Arizona State defensive line, but he also was getting some push at the point of attack. Tomlinson needs a strong performance at the Senior Bowl with an impressive showing in the pass-blocking one-on-ones to rise.

    South Carolina 24, Miami 21
  • There were many good NFL prospects in this game, but one player stood out among them all. Miami junior left tackle Ereck Flowers was absolutely dominant from start to finish against South Carolina. He was overwhelming the Gamecock defensive linemen in the ground game and didn’t allow them to get close to his quarterback Brad Kaaya.

    For eight years, Flowers has been one of the leading blockers for junior running Duke Johnson, as the two played in high school together before staying local and attending Miami. Johnson is said to be entering the 2015 NFL Draft according to his mother, and this game Johnson ran behind Flowers for probably the last time.

    Johnson got his day started with a few receptions, including a nice one on a third down in traffic to get Miami a first down. On the same drive, Johnson ripped off a 27-yard run and broke a couple of tackles to get into the secondary. Flowers had an excellent block riding his defender down the field. He went behind Flowers on a fourth-and-1 to pick up 23 yards as Flowers and company crashed down the line to open up the edge.

    Johnson dropped a check-down pass in the second quarter and it was picked off on the deflection. Fortunately for Johnson, his defense stepped up to get the ball back. Johnson showed his speed and elusiveness with a 26-yard gain on a screen pass.

    For four quarters, Johnson ran tough, even though South Carolina was constantly stacking the box to try and limit him. Johnson ran for 132 yards on 24 carries with five receptions for 51 yards. This tape will help Johnson, as he showed strength and toughness, two question marks about his game. Johnson looks like a late first-round or early second-round pick.

  • Of the prospects in this game, Flowers will probably be selected first if he enters the 2015 NFL Draft. Sources from multiple teams say Flowers has received first-round grades and has top-20 potential. This tape will help him to be an early first-rounder.

    Flowers was dominant in pass blocking. He showed great feet, quickness, and athleticism. It is extremely rare for a blocker as big and long as Flowers to be so athletic. Flowers showed superb strength to sustain blocks and was throwing some defenders into the turf with brutal force. Flowers was pushing defenders at the point of attack and moving them out of their gap in run blocking. This was a great performance by Flowers.

  • South Carolina running back Mike Davis was playing in his final college game. Davis was held back by injuries all year, but he entered the game needing only 73 yards to get 1,000 for the season. Davis was going against a possible late first-round or early second-round pick in Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman.

    Early in the game, Davis had a tough run in which he fought for yardage on a gain of eight. The next play, Davis was stuffed in the backfield before Perryman finished him off for a tackle for a loss. In the second quarter, Davis had a powerful run to go through a linebacker for a touchdown, but a holding call brought it back. However, on third-and-goal from the 15-yard line, Davis ran through the defense to get open in the end zone. Davis made a nice hands catch to reel the ball in for six.

    Davis finished with 55 yards on 13 carries with two receptions for 19 yards. He probably should have returned to school to put together a healthy season before entering the draft. It also hurts him that 2015 looks like it could be loaded at running back. Davis could end up going on Day 2.

    Perryman, meanwhile, was pretty quiet in the first half, but he had a nice play when he dropped in zone coverage to bat a pass away. He was close to an interception. Perryman made a number of tough run tackles in the box during the second half. This tape should be neutral for his draft stock.

  • Miami wide receiver Philip Dorsett is a speedy big-play weapon who is grading out as a second- or third-round pick, according to sources. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes struggled to get Dorsett the ball, just like they have all season as he entered the contest with only 31 receptions, but with a huge average per catch. Late in the fourth quarter, Dorsett got open along the sideline in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. He finished with 45 yards on five receptions. Dorsett was getting open consistently, but wasn’t having the ball thrown his direction.

  • South Carolina left tackle Corey Robinson and left guard A.J. Cann were playing in their final games. Both players had solid outings, but weren’t overwhelming. Robinson was beaten by speed to the inside by freshman defensive end Chad Thomas to get a tackle for a loss.

    Of the two, Cann is the better prospect and is more technically sound. He’s a better run blocker than pass protector, as he can struggle in space and with speed rushers. Sources have told us that they graded Cann in the third round, but the team that likes him enough to draft him may pull the trigger on him in Round 2. Robinson looks more like a mid-round pick.

  • Miami tight end Clive Walford was out of the game with an injury.

    Utah 45, Colorado State 10
  • There was a great draft matchup in this game with Colorado State left tackle Tyler Sambrailo taking on Utah defensive end Nate Orchard. Both are potential early-round picks and very talented. The edge rusher Orchard entered the game with 17.5 sacks in 2014, while Sambrailo hadn’t given up a sack in 2014 or 2013. Even though Orchard didn’t beat Sambrailo for a sack, Sambrailo’s impressive streak came to an end.

    Sambrailo blocked Orchard well in the obvious passing situations early in the first quarter and held him him check on the first couple of third downs. Sambrailo had a good block to push Orchard to the inside on one play. Sambrailo also got in front downfield and helped pave the way for a touchdown run with a nice downfield block. He showed nice quickness and athleticism to get his block downfield.

    Orchard beat Sambrailo to the outside late in the first quarter to hit quarterback Garrett Grayson as he threw to force a third-down incompletion. Shortly later a run hole in the inside never opened up, and after being initially blocked by Sambrailo, Orchard bounced off the left tackle to get in on tackle for no gain. Orchard got a nice pressure of Grayson in the second quarter as he used power and quickness to the inside. After a good start in the first quarter, Sambrailo was having problems with Orchard’s speed and keeping him out of the pocket.

    There was a point in third quarter where Sambrailo had his man blocked, but after a while, he worked free to get in on a strip-sack of quarterback Garrett Grayson. It got worse later on. In the final minute of the blowout, Sambrailo was beat on a speed rush around the corner by Orchard’s backup to get a strip-sack of Grayson from behind.

    Overall, this tape will hurt Sambrailo’s draft stock as he struggled with the Utes’ speed rushers. Sambrailo has a nice skill set, but he needs development in his technique before being ready to start at left tackle in the NFL. This tape would indicate he belongs more on the second day of the 2015 NFL Draft rather than the first round.

    Orchard made a few tackles in run support and applied some pressures on the quarterback, but was held without a sack. Overall though, Orchard was active and a solid defender for the Utes. If Orchard were larger, he would probably be rated higher, but a strong performance at the Senior Bowl could really help his draft stock.

  • Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson is a sleeper quarterback who is held in higher regard with NFL scouts than he is by the media or fans. Considering his bowl game didn’t go well, Grayson will get a chance to generate more headlines at the Senior Bowl.

    Grayson himself didn’t play poorly, but the Utah defense just outplayed the Rams’ offense. The game didn’t start well as Grayson threw a good strike while under pressure that was dropped by normally sure-handed Rashard Higgins on a third down. Midway through the first quarter. Grayson caught a throwback pass and followed his blockers to run in a 39-yard touchdown for Colorado State. Grayson showed nice quickness and athleticism on the play.

    On the next possession, Grayson found Higgins running wide open downfield and threw the ball well to hit him for a 59-yard gain. Grayson made some nice throws while under pressure with good touch and arm strength, but he was under duress all day.

    Grayson threw a beauty of a pass in third quarter by threading a needle in a tight window to his receiver for a 22-yard gain. Grayson showed nice anticipation to throw the pass before the wideout broke open and lead him to making the catch. Grayson made another good throw on the drive that should have been caught for a touchdown, but it was dropped. The drive fizzled as Grayson was caught by a few Utes for a sack.

    It got worse for Grayson in the fourth quarter as he took a hit when stepping up in the pocket while he threw, and the ball went flying up for grabs. A Ute defender ran underneath the pass for an interception. Grayson finished completing 20-of-34 for 227 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. This tape won’t help him, but it shouldn’t hurt him that much either. He showed mobility, toughness, and the ability to work through progressions. Grayson threw accurately with zip and touch in the short to intermediate part of the field.

    During the game, a general manager of an NFL team texted me that Grayson was the favorite to be their third-rated quarterback in the 2015 NFL Draft. He needs a strong Senior Bowl to rise up draft boards.


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