CFB Scouting Notebook: Week 3
As always with college football, even when the matchups aren’t as stellar there was plenty of thrills and spills in Week 3. In addition to all the excitement, we got to see plenty of NFL Draft prospects continue to grab headlines while some suffered shaky outings. Rory Daniels breaks it all down in this week’s Scouting Notebook.
Offensive Performances of the Week
J.K. Dobbins (RB, Ohio State) – The Ohio State offense is a major headache for their opponents. The transition to being led by Georgia transfer Justin Fields has been seamless. Fields’ ability to push the ball deep and also offer a threat as a runner is opening up the Buckeye playbook. One of the main beneficiaries is running back J.K. Dobbins. Despite being 5’10, Dobbins is a powerful runner with long speed. He went for over 200 all purpose yards vs Indiana helping the Ohio State to a straightforward 51-10 victory. Dobbins ripped off a 56 yard-run to help get the Buckeyes into position to go up 23-3 before his own 26 yard TD run extended the lead before the break. The play showcased his balance, regaining control after a slip before overpowering the defenders on the goalline.
Sage Surratt (WR, Colorado State) – It was a surreal evening for the Surratt family on Friday night. Two brothers took the field but on opposing sides of the Wake Forest vs North Carolina tilt. Older brother Chazz Surratt had enjoyed a standout game for UNC in the season opener versus South Carolina, but it was brother Sage’s turn in the limelight. Surratt used all of his 6’3 frame to compete in tight coverage, displayed his ability to separate at the top of his routes and rounded off an astounding first half off with a big TD play. Having slowed to lull the safety forward, he exploded past on his way to a 51 yard TD. Despite a Tar Heel comeback, Surratt’s 169 yards receiving helped ensure Wake Forest held on, giving him the family bragging rights.
Defensive Performances of the Week
Shawn Davis (S, Florida) – Opinion is split as to whether losing Feleipe Franks is a major loss or not. One thing that is for sure is that Florida can depend on their defense to keep them competitive in 2019. We’ve already looked into the pressure they get up front from their bookend defensive ends but against Kentucky it was a member of the secondary that took the plaudits. Safety Shawn Davis contributed with two interceptions, including one in the 4th Quarter as the Gators mounted their comeback. Davis looked physical in the tackle and kept his eyes on the backfield when picking off Sawyer Smith, returning it for 72 yards earlier in the game. The junior has been short on playing time in his first two years, having missed time due to injury as a sophomore but having started all three games this year he is one to mark down for the future.
Isaiah Simmons (S, Clemson) – The linebacker group for the 2019 draft suffered another blow this week, Purdue senior Markus Bailey suffering a season-ending knee injury. Drafniks will have to do without Bailey and Alabama’s Dylan Moses this season but they will certainly take great pleasure in turning on Isaiah Simmons’ tape. Saturday’s game against Syracuse will likely be one of the first they go to. The linebacker/safety hybrid recorded 11 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks displaying his full range of talents. He leads the Tigers in tackles by more than double the next player. Despite his 6’4. 230lbs frame it isn’t just his ability to be forceful in the second level that impresses, he has excellent coverage traits. His versatility will appeal to NFL teams and he is steadily rising up draft boards.
Play of the week
Najee Harris (RB, Alabama) – It’s not often that a draft prospect can call on one play to exemplify their skill set. Najee Harris might have just done that with his touchdown versus South Carolina this weekend. Despite being used in a running back rotation last year, Harris was often the name called when Nick Saban needed a big play. Now the number one back in Bama, Harris is making sure scouts get to see what he has to offer. The NFL is keen on running backs who can play a part in the passing game and Harris proved he can on this stunning play. After safely catching the ball on the 40 yard line, he shrugs off one defender, maintaining balance as he does so. He then displays freaky athleticism to hurdle another defender, land safely and accelerate smoothly before bouncing off a couple of more Gamecocks and crashing home for the TD. What more can you want?
A Tough Week For
Tommy Stevens (QB, Missisippi State) – This year was vital to Tommy Stevens. Having decided to transfer from Penn State and reunite with his former offensive coordinator Joe Moorehead at Missisippi State, the aim was clear, prove he could be an NFL quarterback. Things haven’t quite gone to plan. Having displayed promise in a 3 TD showing in Week 1, Stevens left his second game after completing 9 of 9 passes, with a shoulder injury. It got a lot worse on Saturday. Having been declared fit Stevens threw a pair of picks and fumbled, eventually leading to his 3rd quarter benching. Despite removing Stevens the Bulldogs went down to Kansas State and the QB’s prospects look anything but secure going forward.
Paulson Adebo (CB, Stanford) – Adebo has received plenty of buzz in draft circles recently. However he and the rest of the Stanford Cardinal struggled mightily against Central Florida on Saturday. Facing off against Gabriel Davis, Adebo never looked truly comfortable. Beaten early on a slant route and then over the top on one where Davis couldn’t keep his feet in, the signs were ominous. It came to a head when Davis beat Adebo deep with a double move. UCF QB Dillion Gabriel duly obliged by dropping the pass right over the top of the highly touted corner for the TD. Later on, Adebo also missed out on a contested catch with UCF receiver Marlon Williams. The hope is that the game was an aberration for Adebo and not a sign that the hype is going to his head. There is still plenty of work for the junior cornerback to do but this will have just cooled his stock for now.
UCF WR Gabe Davis gave Paulson Adebo hell Saturday pic.twitter.com/b9itBmj2hE— Maliik 🏁 (@Obee1ne) September 16, 2019
Non Draft-Eligible Prospect to Note
Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State) – I flagged up Micah Parsons during our 25 CFB Players to Watch series and his performance vs Pittsburgh suggests we were right to do so. The sophomore displayed his versatility throughout in a stellar display. He ended the day with 9 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, a QB hit and a pass break-up. You can line him up as a true middle linebacker, blitzer off the edge and drop him into coverage. Despite Penn State lacking the star power of previous years they will be worth a watch simply to see Parsons. If he continues at his current trajectory it would be no surprise to see him on early top-10 lists for the 2021 draft.
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com