This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2020 NFL Draft Prospects
By Charlie Campbell.
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Notre Dame 35, Louisville 17
There was the potential for some good draft matchups in this game as Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton was taking on some talented Notre Dame edge rushers, including early-round prospects in Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara. Overall, none of those three looked bad, and they all had some nice plays, but not one of them was overly impressive.
On the opening drive, Becton did a good job of pushing defenders out of their gaps in the ground game. Louisville quarterback Jawon Pass was hurting the Fighting Irish with his feet, so that kept Kareem and Okwara playing a fair amount of containment on the edge for a lot of the game rather than pinning their ears back and going after Pass.
Late in the second half in the obvious passing situations, the Notre Dame pass-rushers were turned loose. Becton did okay, but did give up some ground on some bull rushes. Okawara and Kareem are fast and athletic off the edge. Both could stand to get stronger and add more pass-rushing moves for the NFL.
Becton is a giant blocker who is similar to Cordy Glenn. While Becton (6-7,330) is huge, he is a good athlete for his size and moves pretty well in space. He does a nice job in the ground game of sustaining his blocks. Even though he is massive, Becton is not a true bull who overpowers blockers. He makes it tough for them to get free with his size as he turns and manipulates them. In pass protection, he needs to improve his hand placement, as he can get too wide and let defenders get their hands in chest. That can make Becton have problems with bull rushes. Becton has talent, but it might best for him to return for his senior year and redistribute some weight with added strength and improved technique before going pro.
Last year, Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool flashed for the Fighting Irish. This year, he is expected to take on the role as the No. 1 receiver with Miles Boykin in the NFL. Claypool got his senior year off to a strong start with five receptions for 94 yards in this contest.
Claypool had two receptions in this game on which he displayed impressive run-after-the-catch skills. In the third quarter, he made a chunk gain on a crossing route, and it took a handful of defenders to bring him down after moving the ball for 31 yards. In the fourth quarter, Claypool caught the ball along the left sideline, crossed the field working his way vertically gradually, and ended up gaining about 20 yards after the catch while before being tackled near the right sideline for a 44-yard gain. On top of those plays, he made a superb catch on a ball thrown behind him in the first half.
Claypool (6-4, 229) presents a size mismatch with good hands and run-after-the-catch skills. He runs pretty well for his size, but the speed to separate from NFL cornerbacks is the issue that could make Claypool more of a second-day pick.
Oklahoma 49, Houston 31
Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has first-round potential for the 2020 NFL Draft, but he had a quiet debut compared to his typical performances from 2018. Lamb still put points on the board though. Lamb ran a go route down the seam in the second quarter and Houston had busted coverage with not a defender near him. It was maybe the easiest touchdown catch that Lamb will ever be gifted as he scored from 45 yards. He totaled 46 yards and the score on two receptions.
Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts has some limitations as a passer, and that could hurt Lamb's production this season. Lamb is put together well, possessing the physique of a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. He also runs excellent routes and has good hands, so even if his numbers are down, Lamb should be an early-round pick.
Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray looks like a future NFL starter, and he put that on display against Houston. On the second play from scrimmage, Murray read a wide receiver screen and slammed the wideout into the turf for a short gain. Murray spied the quarterback on the next play and joined a teammate in chasing him down for a loss. Shortly later, Murray was unblocked and fired into the backfield to get another tackle for a loss. Murray was on a tear, flying to the outside to make a clutch open-field tackle on a third down to get his defense off the field.
Murray also had some mistakes as well, as he overpursued on one play running downhill, and that opened a gap for the quarterback to scramble downfield. That set up Houston well into Oklahoma territory, and a few plays later, the Cougars scored a touchdown. In pass coverage on a tight end, Murray allowed a first down on a reception of about 10 yards on an out route, but Murray was close in coverage and quickly made the open-field tackle. Murray later once again flowed through the line and got a tackle for a loss, and he finished with around 15 stops and a sack against the Cougars.
Murray looks like a great fit as a Will - weakside - linebacker who can be a seek-and-destroy defender. He has excellent speed and quality instincts, plus he is a good tackler. If Murray enters the 2020 NFL Draft, he could be an early-round pick.
Auburn 27, Oregon 21
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is in the running to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but his season-opening performance won't do a lot to help him, as Herbert failed to lead his team to a victory while losing to a freshman quarterback making his first start. Herbert had some great plays, but like many other games, he didn't do quite enough to be thoroughly impressive.
Herbert found a wide open receiver off of play-action early on to get a 47-yard gain. That set up a short rushing touchdown for Oregon a few plays later. Herbert had a mixed showing early, as he was getting rattled and pressured on some plays but then following it up by moving around making some money throws to move the ball. On a third-and-goal, Herbert had a receiver open in the back of the end zone and had a touchdown dropped. Herbert then had a pretty play scrambling before taking a hit and using his strong arm to rifle the ball into the end zone to a big receiver for a 20-yard score. That was probably his best play of the night.
Herbert set up Auburn for second-quarter points as he and a back fumbled at the mesh point and Auburn was able to scoop the loose ball with a long return of about 80 yards. Herbert ran hard to help get in on the tackle and prevent a touchdown, which turned out to be huge, as the Ducks' defense made Auburn settle for a field goal.
In the third quarter, Herbert had a money throw with a fastball into a tight window to beat close coverage for a third-and-long conversion. It was a phenomenal pass, and the very next play, Oregon had a rushing touchdown to expand their lead.
Herbert finished completing 28-of-37 passes for 242 yards with a touchdown. He has all the tools to be a good NFL starter. He showed his strong arm, mobility and accuracy against Auburn. But there are some uneven moments for Herbert, and they stem from him struggling when facing pressure. When he's under pressure, Herbert loses accuracy and composure, but when he has a clean pocket, he's deadly. Improving his passing under pressure is critical for him to rise this season and to be a success in the NFL.
The best prospect in this game regardless of position was Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown. Team sources have said that Brown would have gone before Ed Oliver or Christian Wilkins had he entered the 2019 NFL Draft, but Brown decided to return for his senior year. He was impressive against Oregon even though his statistical game was not massive. Brown caused disruption and was a force on the side of the line.
Brown made a great, early play on a second-and-goal blasting the right tackle backwards about three yards and knocking him on his back. That open gap allowed his linebacker to fire into the backfield to make a tackle. Brown later came close to a sack chasing down Herbert, but the big quarterback fell forward to get past the line of scrimmage.
Brown made some great plays showing his freakish size and speed combination that other defensive tackle can only dream of making. He has a lot of versatility with techniques he can play and how he frees up edge rushers. This tape will help Brown to be a top-10 pick next April.
Oregon linebacker Troy Dye has early-round potential, but this game was not impressive. Dye blew coverage on a back leaking out of the backfield on a wheel route in the second quarter, as Dye lost eye discipline on a play-action. That allowed a long gain for Auburn into the Oregon red zone.
Dye showed his speed in the second half, chasing down a running back downfield and making a touchdown saving tackle along the sideline. Dye later took some false steps in coverage that let a slot receiver get separation on him for a big gain. Dye has the skill set to cover and flies around the field with versatility to be an inside or outside linebacker, but he needs to eliminate those coverage mistakes to be a Thursday night pick next April.
Georgia 30, Vanderbilt 6
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is the consensus third rated quarterback prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft and he had a season opener that was consistent to his play the past two years. Fromm managed the game well and played off a strong rushing attack to make the necessary throws to produce points for another easy Bulldogs win.
Early in the first quarter, Fromm threw an easy touchdown pass as he had all day to throw and found a receiver wide open running across the end zone. That was his only scoring strike, as Fromm was 15-of-23 for 156 yards and one score with zero interceptions.
Fromm does not have a great skill set, but he is an accurate passer who makes good decisions and manages the game well. Team sources rave about his intangibles and intelligence, so while Fromm may not have elite physical traits, they think some evaluators and coaches will fall in love with him as a kid. Thus, Fromm has a good shot to be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft if he comes out.
Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas is the top-rated prospect on our big board, and left guard Solomon Kindley also is an early-round prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft. They had an easy game against the Vanderbilt offensive line, pushing open a lot of holes in the ground game and having an easy night in pass protection. Thomas and Kindley will see better tests in the weeks to come but they got their season off to good starts.
Bulldogs running back D'Andre Swift is another potential first-round pick who got off to a good start as he had his way in Nashville. Swift was using his speed to rip through the Vanderbilt defense in the first half, ripping off chunk runs and also showing some power to run through contact. Swift then went behind Thomas for a run of almost 40 yards to eclipse 100 yards. He totaled 147 yards on 16 carries and easily ran all over Vanderbilt. Swift could be the best prospect in a talented running back class with Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor and Clemon's Travis Etienne.
Vanderbilt has their own future NFL running back in Ke'Shawn Vaughn. The senior ran really hard against Georgia even though he didn't have good rushing lanes. Vaughn showed some serious strength through contact, as he flat out ran over some Georgia defenders. Vaughn totaled 74 yards on 15 carries, but this was an impressive tape that will help his draft grade.
North Carolina 24, South Carolina 20
South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw had a breakout junior season, as the former JUCO product showed an ability to get after the quarterback and defend the run. He picked up where he left off in the season opener. Kinlaw was impressive taking on North Carolina.
Kinlaw got in on some run tackles and was causing disruption in the pass rush in the opening quarter. Kinlaw later got a coverage sack, as he fought off the right tackle and took down the scrambling quarterback as he climbed the pocket. Late in the third quarter, Kinlaw came up with another big play recovering a fumble after a sack of the North Carolina quarterback. Kinlaw then drew a face mask penalty that was a huge play in getting the ball back for his offense to make an attempt at getting a late win.
The first thing that stands out about Kinlaw is his size. He is a tall, thick, good-looking athlete. After passing the eyeball test, one can see some special ability, as Kinlaw really fires off the ball. He is quick to close and has strength to fight off blockers. Kinlaw (6-6, 310) gets in trouble when he stands up too high. Working on his technique will help him to get more out of his excellent skill set. Kinlaw has an early-round talent, and if he plays up to it, he could be a Thursday night pick.
Stanford 17, Northwestern 7
The top prospect in this game was Stanford left tackle Walker Little. Unfortunately, Little's season looks like it could be serious danger. Late in the fourth quarter, one of his knees buckled and he looked seriously injured. He was unable to put weight on his leg as he exited the field. Hopefully, Little is not hurt seriously, as he had first-round potential for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Little was seeing a quality test with Northwestern defensive end Dan Gaziano. Little was generally very good in pass protection, holding up his rushers and keeping them from getting pressure on the quarterback. Gaziano beat Little for a tackle for a loss in the second quarter, as Gaziano tricked Little with a stop-start move and the big left tackle missed the block to let Gaziano run free into the backfield.
Little is physical in the ground game and a technician as a pass blocker. He has a bad habit of losing his feet and going to the ground too often, but he looks like a future starter in the NFL and this tape will help him prior to the injury.
Late in the fourth quarter with the Wildcats down by three, Gaziano came up with a clutch fumble recovery after the Cardinal botched a handoff. Gaziano is a try-hard player who makes some plays based off his effort and want to. His skill set may not translate to the NFL, but he could be worth a pick in the mid-rounds or day three of the draft as a rotational backup.
Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello has early-round potential for the 2020 NFL Draft, but his season got off to a rough start. In the fist half, Costello was efficient, but not very impressive. In the final seconds, Costello scrambled forward and went into a slide but got cleaned out by a Northwestern defender with his helmet getting knocked off by a forearm to the face. That ended Costello's game, as the trainers pulled him into locker room. He finished 16-of-20 for 152 yards and a touchdown. It will be interesting to see if Costello can play next week against USC.
Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo has early-round potential in his draft class, and he illustrated why with an excellent season opener. In the first half, he was thrown at once on a short dig route. Adebo had blanket coverage and smacked the ball away. A similar play happened din the third quarter, as Adebo broke hard on the ball to slap another pass away. Late in the third quarter, Northwestern got burned testing Adebo again as he jumped an out route to undercut a receiver for a leaping interception.
Adebo is a special player with size, cover ability, instincts and ball skills. He looks like a future early-round pick in 2020 or 2021.
Boise State 36, Florida State 31
Florida State running back Cam Akers could be a second-day prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft, and he had a fine start to his junior year. Akers struck early in the first quarter taking a fourth-and-1 carry up the middle and broke a tackle from a linebacker to explode downfield for a 38-yard touchdown. That set the tone, as Akers ran well against Boise State. He was decisive and quick, and he showed nice cutting ability and vision. He totaled 116 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown while catching two passes for 12 yards. Florida State should have gotten the ball to Akers more than they did.
Akers looks like he could become a three-down starter in the NFL, as he is a natural runner. With speed to this the hole and get to the second level, Akers is tough to contain, as he also has some strength to run through contact. He also showed good receiving ability to function in the passing game in 2018. This tape should help Akers later in the year when scouts are assigning grades.
Florida State redshirt sophomore wide receiver Tamorrion Terry has a great skill set, as the 6-foot-4, 203-pounder has surprising speed for a wideout of his size. He showed that in the first quarter with a 75-yard touchdown on a wide receiver screen. After that, Terry made some short receptions, and the big wideout presents a good target for his quarterback. He totaled 99 yards on four receptions with the touchdown. Terry could be fast riser if the Seminoles can consistently get him the ball this year.
For years, Florida State has boasted a defense that has had some size and speed freaks, and Marvin Wilson looks to continue that trend in 2019. He was excellent in the opener, as he had his way with the Boise State offensive line. In the first quarter, Wilson was active, making a nice run tackle and then swimming off the center to get hard hit on the quarterback just after the ball came out. He had other good plays in run defense, powering through the right guard and swallowing up the back at the line of scrimmage.
The 6-foot-5, 311-pound Wilson has a nice combination of size and athleticism. He was consistently grabbing offensive linemen, tossing them aside, and putting pressure on the quarterback. He is a balanced defender who does a nice job defending the run and pass. This analyst would like to see some more refinement and employment of pass-rushing moves for the NFL. However, with his size, length, and versatility to play a variety of techniques, Wilson has the potential to be a real riser throughout the 2020 draft process.
Memphis 15, Ole Miss 10
There were two quality running back prospects in this game for NFL scouts to observe. Of the two, Ole Miss' Scottie Phillips is the higher-rated prospect, but Memphis' Patrick Taylor Jr. had the bigger game to open 2019. Early in the first quarter, Taylor showed nice vision on a cut-back run with some power to go through a tackle and require a few Rebels to get him down. Taylor converted a number of tough carries including a goal line run going through a few Rebels to get into the end zone.
Throughout the game, Taylor ran well against the Rebels, totaling 128 yards on 27 carries with a touchdown. He showed some strength to break tackles with contact balance to maintain his feet after getting hit. He had a highlight-reel touchdown run from midfield, but it was overturned after Taylor's forearm had hit the turf while landing on the back of a defender. Still, it was a great run showing his power, vision, quickness, and instincts. This tape will definitely help Taylor's draft grade.
Phillips ran better his totals of 62 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown illustrate. Phillips is a short back who is very thick and strong, and has some real power. He flat out ran over some tacklers with violence and showed a serious ability to puck up yards after contact. On top of his physicality, Phillips has a burst with quickness to the edge and speed to hit the hole before it closes. Phillips may not have the size to be a bell-cow back in the NFL who is a true three-down starter, but I know team sources who like him and think he could be a very good rotational back who offers a change of pace as a shifty but strong back.
Ole Miss nose tackle Benito Jones was on NFL team's preseason watch list, and he had a strong debut to his final collegiate season. He was doing a nice job defending the run, controlling his gap and getting off some blocks to make tackles. He had an impressive tackle for a loss, and put a few hits on the quarterback. In the third quarter, Jones made a good read seeing Memphis trying to set up a screen. Jones flowed into the throwing lane and the big nose tackle made a beautiful one-handed catch for an interception that got the Rebels back into the game.
The 6-foot-1, 329-pound Jones is a strong nose tackle who plugs his gap and is tough to move at the point of attack. He shows some quickness in the pass rush, so if he continues to develop as a pass rusher during his senior year, that will really help him next April.
Wisconsin 49, South Florida 0
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is one of the top running back prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, and he showed some new elements to his game in a dominating performance to open up his junior year.
On the first drive of the game, Taylor did a lot of the heavy lifting on a few carries and powered through a third-and-one. He then finished the drive with a 37-yard touchdown run as he went behind the left side of the line and made a jump cut at the second level before darting downfield for six.
Taylor caught his first touchdown reception of his career in the second quarter, as he caught a pass in the flat and raced down the sideline for a 36-yard score. A little bit later, he added his second aerial touchdown. Taylor lined up as a receiver with nine seconds remaining prior to halftime and caught a short pass at the 4-yard line and he powered through two tackles to dive into the end zone. It was great situational awareness because the clock would have gone down to zero if Taylor didn't get into the end zone, but his superb play put the Badgers up 28-0 at the half.
Taylor took a third-quarter carry up the middle and did a stutter step to wait for a hole to open. After showing that patience, he scooted through the scrum to explode downfield for a 38-yard touchdown run. That ended his night, as Wisconsin emptied the bench. Taylor totaled 135 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns. He caught two passes for 48 yards and two scores.
This tape will definitely help Taylor, as he completely owned South Florida. He was too strong, quick, and deadly in the open field for their defense to contain. He didn't even need to use his deadly stiff arm. Taylor showed a complete skill set and it was great for him to show some receiving skills. This was a fantastic start to the season.
Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz is in the running to be the top draft-eligible center for the 2020 NFL Draft. He put on a clinic against South Florida. Biadasz was handling one-on-ones in the passing game showing a strong anchor to handle bull rushes and the strength to sustain his blocks through the whistle. In the ground game, he blasted open some holes with power and showed impressive quickness and athleticism to pull around the tackle and hit blocks in space. South Florida's defensive line was not much of a challenge, but Biadasz got his season off to an excellent start.
Wake Forest 38, Utah State 35
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love has some buzz about being a pro prospect, and he showed some good and bad in the season opener against Wake Forest. On the Aggies' first drive of the game, Love threw accurately through the secondary and led them downfield for a short touchdown run. That set the tone for the night, as he moved the ball consistently through the Wake Forest defense.
Love made a nice throw later in the first quarter, dropping in a pass downfield between a corner and safety in zone coverage, but the drive ended poorly when Love had an underthrown pass with poor ball placement and it was intercepted in the end zone.
Love bounced back to make a nice throw stepping up in the pocket and lacing a 27-yard touchdown pass, leading his receiver into the end zone. He lofted in another pretty touchdown pass before the half getting it to his receiver high in the corner of the end zone where only his wideout could make a play on the ball.
In the third quarter, Love stared down a receiver and threw a pass right into the chest of a safety, but the ball was dropped. If he caught the interception, it probably would have been a pick-six as there was green grass ahead. Love then once again telegraphed where he was going with the ball on a quick pass to the flat and this time he was picked off as the corner jumped the route for the easy interception. That set up Wake Forest just outside the 10-yard line, and they quickly scored a touchdown to take a 31-28 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Love helped get Utah Stat back in front, but Wake Forest went up 38-35 late in the fourth, giving Love just over a minute remaining. Love's first pass was almost intercepted, as he threw off the mark into double coverage. His next pass was again into a crowd of defenders. Love's risky passing came back to bite him again with a game-losing interception with 17 seconds left. Love scrambled forward on the play and tried to loft the pass over a defender, but he was picked off as it floated too close to the defender.
Love finished 33-of-48 for 416 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Love made a lot of excellent throws, but his three turnovers were back breaking for Utah State.
As a pro prospect, Love has some good tools to work with. He has a strong arm and can fire some lasers downfield and to the sideline. He also shows the ability to put air under the ball and throw touch passes. Lofting in passes between defenders and throwing receivers open can be tough for strong armed quarterbacks as they can get too reliant on fastballs. Love does not have that issue. Love's pocket presence is developed, and he has some mobility to move around as well.
However, Love still has a lot to work on, as his field vision is painfully bad. Consistently, he locks his eyes on his primary read and does not move them away. He stares down targets and does not look off defenders. He must start reading the field, working through his progressions, and make better decisions. If Love continues this kind of play, he should return for his senior year to improve before going to the NFL.
Clemson 52, Georgia Tech 14
Clemson running back Travis Etienne is one of the top running back prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, and he proved why with a massive opening to the season. After a hiccup early in the first quarter, Etienne rallied and lit up the scoreboard to get the Tigers off to a good start on the season.
Etienne had a nice run in the first quarter on which he darted to the second level, but as a few defenders took Etienne to the ground, a defender punched the ball out and another Yellow Jacket frll on the ball to get a take away in Clemson territory.
After the fumble, Etienne bounced right back with a 90-yard touchdown run. Etienne showed good elusiveness to juke a defender in the backfield, cut around another defender at the second level, and then used his track speed to race down the sideline for the score.
Shortly later, Etienne darted into the end zone again from 14 yards out. It was an easy run as he had a big hole and went untouched to pay dirt. That happened again in the third quareter when he took a carry behind the right side of the line and exploded down the field for a 48-yard touchdown, untouched again. Etienne finished with 205 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries.
Overall, Etienne looks thicker and stronger than he was last year. The junior definitely seems to have hit the weight room hard in the offseason, and he still has serious speed with a quick first-step and a second gear in the open field. While Etienne is stronger, he still is not a power runner and his legs can stall after contact. It will be interesting to see if Etienne can show more ability to run through contact as he gets into a groove this season.
Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins is another early-round prospect, keeping up Clemson's tradition of good wideout talent for the next level. Higgins was impressive versus Georgia Tech, leading the Tigers through the air. Higgins started out with a nice sideline reception, reaching out along the sideline. In the second quarter, Higgins made a leaping grab over a cornerback about 40 yards downfield. Higgins then spun away from the corner and raced into the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown. That score put the game away for Clemson, with Higgins totaling 98 yards on four catches with a score. Higgins (6-4, 215) is a big receiver, and it will be interesting to see if he has the speed to separate from good quality defensive backs when the Tigers see better competition later this season.
Clemson safety/linebacker Isaiah Simmons could have been a first- or second-round pick had he entered the 2019 NFL Draft, but Simmons decided to return for his junior year. Simmons was all over the field against Georgia Tech. Early in the first quarter, he read a play well to start into the backfield and make a textbook open-field tackle. A few plays later, Simmons dropped into coverage and then read the scrambling quarterback to chase him down for another open-field tackle, putting the signal-caller into the turf with some violence. Simmons added more tackles, showing speed to cover a lot of ground and good instincts. This tape is going to help his draft grade next spring.
Florida 24, Miami 20
Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson was the top prospect in the first game of the college football season, and Henderson had a mixed showing to begin his junior year. Henderson is a smooth cover corner who did not allow a touchdown during his sophomore season, but team sources have said his tackling is a serious concern. Both of those issues were seen in the season opener, where Henderson was good in coverage but awful as a tackler.
In the early going, Henderson had close coverage running with the Miami tight end in the middle of the field, but the big-bodied receiver was able to block out Henderson in the throwing lane. However, Henderson got lucky when the catch was dropped.
Henderson came close to an interception in the third quarter when he seemed to trick the quarterback into throwing his direction in the flat. Luckily for Miami, the pass fell low and incomplete. At the end of the third quarter, Henderson mistimed a breakup attempt, hitting a receiver too early and getting flagged for pass interference. Shortly later, Henderson had a horrible missed tackle, diving by a running back at the second level. It looked like Henderson didn't want to make the tackle, giving no effort to wrap up the back. That led to a long touchdown run that put Miami up 20-17 early in the final period.
Henderson broke up a touchdown pass a short time later after the receiver got away with a push off. Henderson recovered and got his arm in to help knock the ball free from the wideout.
This tape will confirm what evaluators thought about Henderson entering the season. He has serious cover skills, but his tackling is awful and he looks afraid of contact. Henderson needs to get a lot more physical in the weeks to come or his tackling could end up being a painful negative for his draft grade.
Florida received a transfer gift in defensive end Jon Greenard. The former Louisville Cardinal had an impressive start to his senior year in his debut for the Gators. In the first quarter, Greenard started a sack for his defense, using his speed to get upfield follow by a rip move to shed the freshman left tackle before then closing on the quarterback to ruin the play for Miami. Late in the first half, Greenard drew a critical holding penalty to help push the Hurricanes out of the red zone. Late in the fourth quarter, Greenard showed good hustle by running to the flat to lay a hard hit and force a fumble from a Hurricanes running back. Aside from those plays, Greenard consistently put pressure on the quarterback and showed an ability to use speed and strength to beat blocks. This was a good tape to start his senior year.
Florida edge rusher Jabari Zuniga has been a good pass-rusher for a few years now, but the senior showed improved run defense against Miami. Early in the first half, he made a tackle in run support after cutting to the middle from the edge. Shortly later, he knifed into the middle to make a tackle for no gain. Zuniga started the fourth quarter by blasting into the backfield, right by the right tackle, to get a tackle for a loss. Late in the fourth quarter, Zuniga drew a holding penalty on a fourth-down attempt, but while Zuniga didn't get to the quarterback. he helped set up a sack for his teammates.
On the next Miami possession, which was very late in the fourth quarter, Zuniga fired off the ball and blew by the left tackle. He powered through the running back to get a sack. This was a quality tape for Zuniga to show pro evaluators he has improved and is more well-rounded.
Gators running back Lamical Perine came on strong to end the 2018 season and had a hard-fought game to open the season behind a new offensive line. Perine briefly left the game after taking a vicious hit, but returned in the second quarter. He made some big contributions, including hitting a lead block on Miami linebacker Shaq Quarterman to spring Florida's quarterback to convert a fourth-and-1 carry. Perine broke a few tackles on the next carry to go for about six yards, and he then made a fingertip catch in the flat to covert a first down that set up the Gators in the Miami red zone.
In the second half, Perine ran through a tackler on a carry for over 10 yards. Late in the third quarter, he ran a good route on a little slip slant from around the right side of the line to get open in a tight window for a reception. Perine banged his way through three defenders to score a go-ahead touchdown.
Taking on Miami, Perine ran for 42 yards on 10 carries with six receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown. He is a tough runner who has the strength to break tackles and does the dirty work between the tackles. Perine was also impressive as a receiver and blocker. He could have second-day ability for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Miami linebacker Shaq Quarterman had a decent start to the season. He came up with a critical open-field tackle on Lamical Perine on a third-quarter second-and-goal for a short gain that helped Miami to force a field goal from Florida. Throughout the game, Quarterman was a tough run defender in the box, getting in on tackles and filling his gap. Quarterman needs to show more pass-coverage skills in the weeks to come.
Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson was one of the best gunners in college football in 2018, and he showed those skills again in the 2019 season opener. He was in the face of a returner to force a fair catch at the 10-yard line in the first half, and in the second half, he was Johnny-on-the-spot to recover a muffed catch at the Hurricanes' 11-yard line. The inconsistent passing skills of Feleipe Franks could hold back Jefferson's receiving production all season, but he has the ability to contribute as a receiver in the NFL and havs star potential for special teams. That could make Jefferson an intriguing mid-rounder in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Another Gators wide receiver who could be held back by Franks being a feast-or-famine quarterback is Kadarius Toney. The junior speedster showed his big-play ability early in the 2019 season opener. Toney took a wide receiver screen and exploded to the second level, where after breaking a couple of tackles about 15 yards downfield, he maintained his balance to bolt down the sideline for a 66-yard touchdown. On the next possession, Toney converted a fourth-and-1 by using his speed to bolt to the edge and erase the angle of a couple of defenders. Toney only had that one reception and three carries as Franks was too streaky to get the Gators' passing game in any rhythm.
Toney looks like a fast and versatile play-maker who is similar to Curtis Samuel and/or Parris Campbell. The Gators have to get the ball in the hands of Toney more, but he is an intriguing wideout for the NFL with early-round potential in his draft class.
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