Observations and analysis from the second week of the college football season, including thoughts about some of the nation’s top offensive prospects.
ICONFloyd looked explosive in the open field.
I wrote last Saturday about Notre Dame wide out Michael Floyd concerning how I thought he put on a little too much extra bulk from his sophomore to junior year, and that wasn’t quite the same type of explosive, quick-twitch athlete he was in 2009. However, watching him Saturday evening eat up the Michigan defense, I think it’s safe to say the guy is at his ideal playing weight as he looked as explosive and quick as ever. Floyd did a great job slow playing his routes off the line in order to set up defenders before accelerating quickly into the slant and separating from defensive backs. He was also sudden laterally when asked to beat press and get down the field. However, the biggest difference I saw from him Saturday evening compared to a year ago was his ability to be shifty with the ball in his hands, gain a step on defenders and then accelerate away from them in tight areas. His combination of size, power and burst was on display on night after the catch and I think it’s safe to say if Floyd can keep himself clean off the field, he looks like a bona fide NFL starting caliber wide out early in his NFL career.
- There were some concerns about the overall size of Michigan center David Molk coming into the year, as the 6-2, 288-pound pivot seemed more like a zone guy only at the next level who would struggle with power consistently. However, watching him vs. Notre Dame Saturday night, he was quick off the snap, moved his feet well and did a great job gaining leverage and sticking through contact. Molk did a nice job keeping his pad level down, stayed compact with his punch and routinely got his hands inside on defenders. Pair that with his initial burst off the ball in the run game and ability to get into blocks quickly, run his legs through contact and create a push inside. Overall, Molk looked athletic, coordinated and technically sound and warrants a potential starting grade at the next level. He’ll be most attractive to zone schemes, but I could also see him getting plenty of looks as well from teams who run power that need their center to be a “plus” pass blocker.
ICONReynolds does not look like an NFL caliber starting lineman.
BYU left tackle Matt Reynolds is considered in some draft circles as one of the top offensive line prospects in the nation. However, I’ve been watching the guy closely for the past two seasons and I haven’t seen much more than a kid who struggles with balance into contact and lacks ideal range in space. Those attributes showed up again vs. Texas this past weekend as he consistently was exposed laterally, giving up penetration when trying to shuffle and slide and simply didn’t have the kind of lateral quickness to mirror with any kind of consistency in space. Now, he is at a bit of a disadvantage playing in the wider splits on the BYU offense. However, he just doesn’t seem real quick footed when trying to mirror explosive pass rushers and despite his size, he plays too tall to be a dominant force in the run game. He does exhibit good initial quickness/coordination when asked to get around and seal, but even than he struggles to stay on blocks through contact. Overall, he looks more like a right tackle only, but I don’t think he plays with the type of natural power or explosion needed to warrant a potential starting caliber grade.
- Florida International wide out T.Y. Hilton put on a show Friday night vs. the Louisville secondary, finishing the game with 7-catches for 201-yards and two touchdowns. He’s a thinner, narrow framed receiver at 5-10, 183-pounds. However, exhibits impressive balance and flexibility with the ball in his hands and possesses a second gear to outpace angles in the open field. He does a nice job as a route runner setting up routes off the line from the slot, slow playing his release, exploding out of his breaks and separating from his man. Now, he isn’t the sharpest of route runners and needs to do a better job consistently plucking the football. Nevertheless, he’s the type of athlete who can routinely run away from coverage and looks like an intriguing inside threat at the next level.
- Finally, after watching Florida Atlantic RB Alfred Morris this week vs. Michigan State there were two things that were noticeable about his game. The first was that he does have some natural running back skills. He played quick in tight areas, displayed a bit of a burst when picking his way through traffic laterally and he lowered his pad level well when finishing runs. However, vs. top-tier college competition, he’s just not dynamic enough in any area of the game to routinely be overly effective. His top end speed maxes out very quickly once he gets into the open field and for a guy who runs low and breaks a ton of tackles vs. Sun Belt competition, he rarely is able to make defenders miss in the open field and/or work his way through contact vs. BCS caliber defenders consistently. Overall, I think Morris is a natural runner, but at 5-10, 205-pounds, there just aren’t enough dynamic qualities to his game to warrant much excitement about his NFL potential.