NEW Monday morning series to get your week started off right! Each Monday I’ll be taking a look at five prospects who elevated their stock with a fine performance during the past weekend’s games, and five who struggled through disappointing showings on Saturday.
1. Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky
The TDN Offensive Player of the Week, Snell absolutely balled out against Florida, running for 175 yards on 27 carries to help Kentucky snap a losing streak in Gainesville that dated back to 1979. With Kentucky suffering some ups-and-downs in the passing game, Snell was everything for the Wildcats, showing power, decisiveness and the ability to finish runs behind his pads.
His post-game interview exhibited the emotion and effort he’d put into snapping this losing streak for his team. I think Snell is limited athletically, but the dude plays hard, physical football and has that motor that makes him hard to doubt.
Benny Snell just absolutely demolished this poor soul. pic.twitter.com/vyf5KorLhh
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) September 9, 2018
2. Darryl Williams, LG, Mississippi State
All the talk is about running back Kylin Hill’s big game, but Williams was one of the big dogs paving the way for him up front. Williams is technical and powerful at the first level, consistently creating movement at the line of scrimmage before working down to the second level with what looks like improved agility. He made some terrific second level blocks for Hill, and was a key part of Mississippi State’s success in pass protection as well.
3. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
1 sack, two tackles-for-loss and a quarterback hurry was what the final stat line read for Sweat’s second game of the year, but the lanky edge rusher’s impact went beyond the box score. He showed impressive rush move combinations and a consistent awareness of where the ball is at all times. There’s a lot to like about Sweat’s game, and he impressed against two of the best tackles in college football.
Stab -> Club -> Rip -> Work the hips around = pressure
— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) September 9, 2018
4. Qadree Ollison, RB, Pittsburgh
Ollison is not a coveted prospect right now, but he’s an extremely physical runner who romped all over Penn State’s run defense in the rain Saturday night. 21 carries, 119 yards, one touchdown and plenty of post-contact production highlighted an excellent performance for Ollison, who looks like he’s secured feature duties in the Panthers’ backfield moving forward.
Can he be the next Pitt back to make the leap to the NFL and find some level of success?
5. D’Andre Walker, EDGE, Georgia
South Carolina looked overmatched all game long on Saturday, and a big reason why was the play of Walker off the edge for the Bulldogs. Four tackles, two tackles-for-loss, a sack and another hurry were just part of Walker’s impact, as the senior harassed South Carolina’s offensive line all game long.
Walker isn’t the bendiest edge rusher, but if he can improve his first step, he does possess some tools to threaten the edge. I’m excited to watch his development this season.
1. Juwan Johnson, WR, Penn State
Drops, drops, drops. Johnson has dropped at least three passes over the past two weeks, and has only eight catches for 90 yards and no touchdowns against weak competition. Johnson is supposed to be the best prospect on Penn State’s offense, but he’s been overshadowed by the rest of the Nittany Lions’ passing attack so far this season.
2. Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Y’all know I love Samuel’s game, but he wasn’t as impressive against Georgia as I hoped he’d be. Granted, he drew two penalties on Deandre Baker, but one was ticky-tacky, and I thought Samuel struggled to gain a lot of separation watching on the broadcast angle. He also dropped a pass, and didn’t make any of his trademark highlight plays with the ball in his hands.
I think Samuel could be a better version of Golden Tate in the NFL, but is that a first round player? I think so, based off of his brief 2017 and 2016 tape, but Samuel didn’t play up to those standards from what I saw against Georgia.
3. Martez Ivey, OT, Florida
Ivey entered Florida with high hopes as a five-star recruit, but has been nothing but a disappointment since arriving. His frame and movement skills are salivating, but Ivey’s technique and attention to detail has never developed. He was brutal against Kentucky, consistently struggling to find the proper range in his pass set and failing to show physicality in the run game. Part of the issue with Florida in the trenches is that they just aren’t tough enough, and Ivey is a big part of that.
4. Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State
I get that Fitzgerald is tough and gutsy as a runner, but he’s not an NFL prospect folks. His accuracy is terrible to all levels of the field, and he’s a true one-read passer with very little nuance to his game. Fitzgerald has a chance to achieve some special things with this Mississippi State team in 2018, but I just don’t see the traits necessary to make the jump to the NFL, and that was obvious against Kansas State.
5. Jake Bentley, QB, South Carolina
I know some will be calling for Bentley to come out this season, and based on their prototype, I can see the NFL showing enough interest to make Bentley think about it. Based on last year’s tape and what we’ve seen this season, I can’t advise against it enough.
Bentley has a great arm and is tough as nails, but his accuracy is all over the place and his decision-making is brutal. He should have had a couple more picks than the two he finished with, as he consistently placed the ball in harm’s way. Bentley has some raw tools, but I just don’t see him as anywhere close to NFL-ready.