We came into this game wondering if Clemson was finally legit or if this was going to be another situation where they looked good one game and not the next. Well we can say that not only did Clemson look good, they did enough to convince us that they are finally as legit as the preseason polls told us. FSU held their own and injuries to players like QB EJ Manuel certainly hurt but they just don’t have the talent this year to run with Clemson. Here is a breakdown of how the prospects played.
DT 98 Brandon Thompson-
-We found it interesting that despite facing multiple double teams, Thompson choose to try and split the DT with speed and moves rather than with power. We have seen many scouts say he could be a 34 5 tech DE and based on what we saw in this game we aren’t sure about that evaluation.
-He did a very good job of anticipating the snap and getting off the ball quickly.
-Does a good job of using his swim move in the A and B gaps to beat his man and get into the pocket
-Loved the way he stunted showing off good athleticism and footwork not to mention him fighting through a block to make a tackle from his knees.
-Late in the 1st half on a 3rd and inches we love the way Thompson shot across the line, stayed low throughout and created a pile that stopped the RB well short.
DE 40 Andre Branch-
-We didn’t like the way he worked out of the 2 point stance, we did not see that quick twitch athletic ability that you like out of potential OLB’s.
-Overall it was a disappointing game for Branch we left with more questions than answers.
-He really struggled against both Sanders and Datko and got almost no pressure the entire game.
-He got way too high out of his three point stance and had no leverage at the POA allowing him to generate no power on his rush.
-He did do a good job of tracking the ball on running plays and one particular time he washed down the line and made a play.
RB 23 Andre Ellington*-
-We were relatively sure that Ellington was still hurt in this game so our notes on him need to be taken with that in mind.
-We saw a lot of hesitation from Ellington during this game. The holes appeared to be there but he seems to pause for a second and wait before he made his move.
-When he didn’t hesitate he was able to rip off solid runs of 5-7 yards.
-He showed a good burst to get through the hole but seemed to slow as he reached the second level.
-Saw little wiggle to make you miss, and no breakaway ability.
TE 83 Dawyne Allen*-
-We had no idea how good of a blocker he was coming in, he did a fantastic job and even took on Brandon Jenkins one on one.
-Continuing on his blocking he showed the ability to get out to the 2nd level and really do a good job at locating his targets and getting his hands on them.
-Showed off impressive hands, did a good job to extend his arms out away from his body and snag the ball.
-We liked his overall speed and the potential mismatch issues it causes when lined up against a LB or S.
-Has the size/speed combo that will make OC’s have nightmares.
-Is the most complete TE we’ve scouted thus far this year.
OT 72 Landon Walker*-
-Walker showed fluid movement in getting to the 2nd level and making blocks.
-Looked light on his feet and did a good job staying in front of his runner to the outside.
-Despite facing a trio of fierce pass rushers, Walker was giving them almost no ground.
-Locked his arms out effectively and really did a good job controlling his man
-We would like to see Walker show more tenacity on the field and really looked to finish his man in run blocking.
-We really liked the way he handled the FSU stunts and his coordination with his OG to pass on the rusher and not get confused by the move.
OG 74 Antoine McClain-
-He got a great push off the ball when run blocking, wasn’t getting quite same push we saw Warmack (OG-AL) getting this weekend but he was moving people.
-Did a phenomenal job of bending his knees and not getting over extended in pass protection. Really help to form a nice pocket for Tajh Boyd to set into.
-Worked in conjunction with Walker to stop the stunts, they showed a natural comfort level with each other.
OC 55 Dalton Freeman*-
-Did a good job of snapping his head up off the snap and keeping it on a swivel
-Set up with a wide base and looked to be balanced.
-Did a great job recognizing Brandon Jenkins lined up as Mike LB and pick up his delayed blitz up the middle.
WR 84 Rodney Smith-
-Is probably FSU’s most trusted WR right now, has great size, decent speed, and very good hands.
-Showed excellent concentration on his TD catch, showed good concentration to make sure he came down with the ball.
-Did a good job to track is over his shoulder and made an adjustment near the end of the route to use his size to shield the defender from making a play.
-Not sure he has the speed to get separation at the next level but he definitely has some ball skills.
OT 67 Andrew Datko-
-Was our #1 ranked OT coming into this game and really did a solid job of rebounding.
-He got beat by Andre Branch off the line during Branch’s speed rush but he has enough athleticism to recover and prevent Branch from getting to the QB.
-Slides exceptionally well, and looks very smooth in his footwork.
-Really locks his man down once he gets his hands on you, defenders struggle to disengage from him.
-Want to see more pop in his punch against pass rushers, he throws it out like it’s a slight jab as opposed to a straight left.
-Had a nice bounce back game after struggling v. Oklahoma, but he was not the dominant type of player we have come to expect from him.
OT 77 Zebrie Sanders-
-Did a good job of kicking out in combination with the TE to create a nice seal block on the backside of a roll out.
-Really does a good job of extending his arms and keeping the defender at bay, did this to Andre Branch a few times.
-Did not show good awareness when pulling inside on a trap block and completely missed the inside blitzer.
-At one point he tried to cheat on FSU’s outside rush and got caught leaning outside as the DE cut back inside to put pressure on the QB.
DE 49 Brandon Jenkins*-
-Switched around the line a lot, and even played some Mike LB in a blitzing role.
-He made a pretty heady play when he ducked under OT Walker who was trying to block him high and made a play on the ball carrier.
-Showed off a very quick spin move against Walker, but did not set it up well, he just randomly used it and it was only mildly effective.
-Played Clemson’s option well as he stayed home and forced the QB to make the pitch to the RB.
-When Jenkins lined up at DT he would always stunt to the C gap and did not try and generate pressure up the middle.
-He was effective on one play where he used his speed to beat the OT and get a sack but otherwise was mostly held in check.