CFB Scouting Notebook: Week 5
Week 5 served up some great college football action. No.1 ranked Clemson got a scare from in-state rivals North Carolina, Alabama rolled on and Ohio State confirmed they too should be considered contenders. It was all about the skill players this week with some crazy stats from QBs and receivers alike. Don’t worry though, we spread the love across offense and defense in this week’s scouting notebook.
Offensive Performances of the Week
DeVonta Smith (Wide Receiver, Alabama) – You’ve heard plenty about the Alabama receivers so far this year. Jerry Jeudy, the savvy route runner who should go top 5 in the draft. Henry Ruggs III, the speedster who could challenge John Ross’ combine 40 yard dash record. Jaylen Waddle the talented sophomore who returns kicks. Well, this week was all about DeVonta Smith. Smith tore apart the Ole Miss secondary recording 11 catches for 274 yards and five touchdowns, setting program records as he went. If you were worried about the number of receiving threats you had to cover against the Roll Tide then this weekend’s performance should have you terrified. Tua Tagovailoa is leading one of the most talent-laden offenses in recent history.
Alex Leatherwood (Offensive Tackle, Alabama) – In this piece I usually try to vary the games that we select prospects from. However, this week I’m going to make an exception. DeVonta Smith’s numbers made him a lock for the first spot in this section but my second spot goes to teammate Alex Leatherwood. Offensive lineman don’t often get the credit they deserve in pieces like this but Leatherwood’s performance showed he has the potential to be a great NFL player. We highlighted his battle with Qaddir Sheppard in our preview piece and the offensive lineman didn’t disappoint. Leatherwood is a big part of why Tua Tagovailoa has so much time to throw the ball. Light on his feet and technically refined he looks ultra comfortable despite having played on the interior of the line in his first two years.
Defensive Performances of the Week
Chazz Surratt (Linebacker, North Carolina) – This is not the first Surratt to make our list of top performers. Chazz’s brother Sage made the list in a breakout game as his Wake Forest team tested the Tar Heels. This week was all about Chazz. North Carolina came a failed two point conversion away from unseating the National Champions. Surratt was a thorn in Clemson’s and Trevor Lawrence’s side all day long. Surratt tallied three QB hurries, a sack, two tackles for loss and two pass break ups in as complete of a performance as you could wish for from a linebacker. Doing so against the No.1 ranked team in the Nation is worthy of plaudits especially considering the former QB has only five games experience on defense.
Jeffrey Okudah (Cornerback, Ohio State) – To my mind Okudah did a lot to secure himself as the top cornerback in the country vs Nebraska this weekend. It didn’t take him long to flash. On the first drive we saw him explode out of zone coverage to make a thudding tackle in the open field. He followed it up by getting his eyes on the QB and jumping a pass to make a fantastic diving grab to secure an interception. He topped things off later with a second interception from a tipped ball, as he lay on the ground. Okudah’s exceptional physical traits matched with his savvy and ball skills mean he will have the full attention of NFL scouts from now on.
Jeffrey Okudah made a beautiful play on the ball on that interception. pic.twitter.com/akJmaalbjK— Taylor Ashbrook (@taylor_ashbrook) September 29, 2019
Play of the week
Tyler Johnson (Wide Receiver, Minnesota) – This weeks play of the week isn’t as flashy as some of its predecessors. The reason it goes to Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson is because it is an NFL play. Johnson is well known in scouting circles and is another name to add to the growing list of elite receivers that will be eligible for the 2020 Draft. One thing any team wants in college or pro football is being able to convert redzone opportunities to touchdowns. This play shows how good Johnson is at doing exactly that. Working in close coverage and short of space the amount of separation Johnson generates is exceptional before highpointing the ball on a back shoulder fade.
Tyler Johnson’s ability to win quick at the line of scrimmage is why he reminds me so much of Davante Adams as a prospect. pic.twitter.com/CMtDkLMoWB— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) September 28, 2019
A Tough Week For
Josh Jackson (Quarterback, Maryland) – Jackson was exposed to big-time college football early in his career. Coming in as starter for Virginia Tech in his redshirt freshman year means he knows all about high-level competition. However, the Maryland QB struggled mightily against an improving Penn State defense. Having arrived as a graduate transfer Jackson had started brightly under Michael Locksley. Suffering from constant pressure from the likes of Yatur Gross-Matos, Jackson threw for a paltry 65 yards and two early interceptions as the Terrapins failed to register a point.
Cam Dantzler (Cornerback, Mississippi State) – Auburn hung 42 points on Mississippi State before half time on Saturday. That’s indicative of the kind of night the defense had as a whole. In particular junior cornerback Cam Dantzler’s display was worrisome. It was a tough night coming up against Seth Williams, something highlighted when Williams went above Dantzler in the endzone to haul in a TD. When Dantzler flashes he is an impressive player but the miscues can lead to big plays. He will now need to pick himself up as part of a defensive unit that will be woefully short on confidence
Non Draft-Eligible Prospect to Note
Ellis Brooks (Linebacker, Penn State) – We’ve already spoke about how the Nittany Lions made Josh Jackson’s night a tough one, a big part of that was Ellis Brooks. Having lost Micah Parsons to an early targeting call Penn State needed their other defensive pieces to step up. Sophomore Brooks duly obliged finding gaps in the offensive line for 2.5 sacks and 2 tackles for loss. Add in his team-leading six tackles and it was quite a day. Brooks and Parsons could be a premier partnership at linebacker, remember neither will be draft eligible until 2021.
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