CFB Scouting Notebook: Week 4

Week 4 was a hell of a ride for college football fans. From tight battles between ranked teams to two Pac-12 teams scoring 130 points between them. Here’s your weekly scouting notebook.

Offensive Performances of the Week

Joe Burrow (Quarterback, LSU) – Burrow’s display against Texas in Week 2 was the stimulus for the NFL Draft community to begin paying attention. After an underwhelming first year, having transferred from Ohio State, he has followed that up with a spectacular breakout. Now in tune with the offense and invigorated by former Saints’ offensive assistant Joe Brady’s appointment to passing game coordinator, Burrow has made significant strides. My favourite of Burrow’s 6 TDs and 398 yards passing vs Vanderbilt, was this back shoulder throw to Ja’Marr Chase. Stiffer tests are on the horizon notably back-to-back games with Auburn and Alabama.

Jalen McCleskey (Wide Receiver, Tulane) – Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs is unlucky not to take the second spot in our offensive players of the week. I figure he will have plenty of chances to make this section in future weeks. However, it isn’t often a prospect at Tulane grabs the headlines. McCleskey put in a performance befitting a prospect at a Power 5 school on Thursday night. That’s because he is one really. McCleskey was a successful receiver at Oklahoma State but decided to transfer to the Green Wave. Unwilling to play second fiddle to  Tylan Wallace. It was McCleskey who hauled in the walk-off TD as Tulane took down Houston in a thriller. Not to mention this sideline grab earlier in the game (see below). His speed and hands suggest he can be an excellent slot option at the next level.

Defensive Performances of the Week

Derrick Brown (Defensive Tackle, Auburn) – We’ve heard plenty about the Auburn defensive line and in particular Derrick Brown. It was a surprise to see the play-wrecking defensive tackle return for his senior season. Texas A&M fans will be wishing he hadn’t after Saturday’s showing. Brown’s stat line doesn’t always do justice to the problems he causes. However, he managed 3 tackles for loss and two sacks vs the Aggies. His constant disruption in the trenches meant that Kellen Mond could never settle and had to frequently depart the pocket to get the offense moving. Brown’s 6’5, 318lbs frame makes him an easy projection to the next level but his athleticism is a welcome surprise.

Evan Weaver (Linebacker, California) – Draft analysts will switch on California tape to look at their well respected secondary, however it may be a linebacker that catches their eye. Weaver’s choice of number 89 as a linebacker makes for uncomfortable viewing but it’s soon clear that there is more than that to draw eyes to him. Simply put he is a tackling machine. Perfectly summed up by his stat line of 22 tackles vs Ole Miss on Saturday. He deserved to be the man to seal the victory stuffing Rebels QB Matt Corral on the goalline. Weaver is a typical enforcing middle linebacker. Perhaps without the dynamism to be a high draft pick but his work rate and leadership are traits NFL teams will look to add to a roster.

Play of the week

Jacob Eason (Quarterback, Washington) – Georgia transfer Jacob Eason made a bright start to his career at Washington. Only to be derailed by a tough Justin Wilcox defense when they came up against Cal in Week 2. However, he may have just thrown his hat into the ring as a first round prospect. I know, it’s only BYU’s defense but Eason showed the arm strength and accuracy of an NFL signal caller on Saturday night. If his roll-out and pass deep into the endzone for a TD wasn’t enough then this bullet to Aaron Fuller is most certainly a ‘Sunday night’ throw. Eason, sat in the pocket and throws an absolute dart. Threading the needle between a trio of Cougars displaying high level arm talent and anticipation. It’s just one throw but my gosh, what a throw!

A Tough Week For

Jaylon Johnson and Julian Blackmon (Secondary, Utah) – The Utah defense was the ‘buzzy’ unit of the Pac-12 heading into the season. It was so well respected that it even meant the Utes were many people’s darkhorses to take the conference title, we’re looking at you Simon Carroll! So it came as somewhat of a surprise that USC’s third string QB Matt Fink proceeded to take apart their secondary with ease. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson was beaten over the top by Tyler Vaugns on an early TD grab and safety Julian Blackmon had trouble containing Michael Pittman. USC ended up with 368 passing yards, Pittman in particular excelling. His 232 yards and 1 TD will be a source of chagrin for this promising group of defensive backs.

Liam Eichenberg (Left Tackle, Notre Dame) – Notre Dame ran the Georgia Bulldogs closer than some expected on Saturday. Had it not been for a lull at the beginning of the second half the Fighting Irish could have done better than a 23-17 loss. They still had a shot right at the end but senior left tackle Liam Eichenberg looked lost on the play. Pressure from his side forced Ian Book into a hopeful hail mary. It summed up a difficult night for a prospect well respected at the start of the season. Responsible for four penalties, Eichenberg never looked truly comfortable. Georgia’s true freshman Nolan Smith gave him fits throughout and it made for ugly viewing. Notre Dame is well known for it’s offensive line play and Eichenberg will look to bounce back but he will wish he could have this display back.

Non Draft-Eligible Prospect to Note

Ja’Marr Chase (Wide Receiver, LSU) – The 2020 NFL Draft is going to be loaded in terms of wide receivers. However, you can be forgiven for looking at 2021 prospects at the position. Rondale Moore at Purdue is a regular name in our coverage but this week we highlight another sophomore wideout in the shape of Ja’Marr Chase at LSU. The 6’1 receiver has already become the go-to receiver for Joe Burrow having surpassed his 2018 total of 313 yards receiving through 3 weeks. His stat line v Texas read 8 receptions, 147 yards and 1 TD but he blew that out of the water vs Vanderbilt. He went for 229 yards and 4 TDs. Tigers fans will be excited that Chase has another season to play out before he departs for the NFL.

Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

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