A Big East battle is brewing on Saturday and its got some huge conference implications. Pittsburgh has the superior set of talent on paper but they don’t play the game on paper. Whoever wins this game will take a 2-0 conference lead and that could page huge dividends come later in the season. I think Rutgers has the best prosepct in this game but Pitt will make fewer mistakes. The Panthers roll in this one.
RB Ray Graham (5’9, 195 lbs.)*
The diminutive Graham has been a constant headache for opposing DC’s this season. Not only is he using his speed and quickness to make people miss in the running game but he’s also hurting teams in the passing game. Thus far this season he as racked up 905 total yards of offense.
WR Mike Shannahan (6’5, 220 lbs.)*
We aren’t quite sure yet if Shannahan has the necessary speed and route precision to stick at WR in the NFL. Some compare him to current Buffalo Bill David Nelson but thus far we aren’t buying that. He has good hands and really does a good concentrating and bring in the tough catch.
TE Hubie Graham (6’4, 230 lbs.)*
An active TE who knows how to get open, Graham does a good job v. zone working in the soft spots. Matched one on one Graham gives some coverage issues but is not what we consider to be amongst the elite style of athletes.
OT Lucas Nix (6’6, 305 lbs.)
One of Pittsburgh’s top prospects Nix displays good power off the snap and the ability to blow his man back off the ball. He has ideal size and moves well though we don’t see him as the ideal pull guard option. Has the frame to add even more size and become a better anchor against bigger DT’s.
DE Brandon Lindsey (6’2, 250 lbs.)
Even after the departure of Romeus and Monroe there has been little drop in Pittsburgh ability to put pressure on the QB. Lindsay is an ideal 43 DE who is relentless in his pass rush and has a nice balance of speed and power.
DT Chas Alecxih (6’5, 280 lbs.)
Alecxih is a pure penetrating DT who does a good job staying low despite his elongated frame. He is having the best season of his career thus far creating 3 turnovers (1 INT, 2 FF) and being a constant presence in the backfield (3.5 TFL, 1 Sack, 2 QBH). He can at times get too high when engaged and needs to stay as low as possible.
LB Max Gruder (6’2, 230 lbs.)
An absolute tackling machine for the Panthers, Gruder’s job is a simple one. Any player who is able to get back Lindsey and Alecxih is his to clean up. He has above average athleticism and range and does a good job of taking angles to make up for a lack of top end speed.
S Jared Holley (5’10, 180 lbs.)*
Holley is an active tackler who is seen in the box a good bit despite being undersized. He can blitz off the edge effectively and really knows how to deliver a shit. His pass coverage skills need a little to be desired as he can be looked off by savvy QB’s.
FB Joe Martinek (6’0, 215 lbs.)
A converted RB turned FB Martinek is a decent lead blocker for the young Savon Huggins. Martinek is also a very solid receiving option out of the backfield. He absolutely must add some weight to his frame. This game will be a great chance to see if Martinek has what it takes to be a lead blocker in the NFL.
WR Mohamed Sanu (6’2, 218 lbs.)*
Sanu is by far Rutgers best and most dynamic player. He has lined up for them at a multitude of positions and because of that is still a little raw technically and runs some sloppy routes. He has great hands, ideal size, and speed that can burn a defense that is not paying enough attention.
OT Desmond Stapleton (6’5, 285 lbs.)
Stapleton is a big frame OT who is athletic but really lacks the strength and bulk to be considered a top level talent. His technique is sloppy and he is caught too often waist bending. He is very good at getting out in front of swing or screen passes however.
OG Desmond Wynn (6’6, 290 lbs.)
Like Stapleton, you really want to see Wynn put up some weight and work on his strength. As of now he’s an athletic OL who they like to use on the move but he doesn’t seem nearly as athletic to us as Stapleton appears on tape.
DT Scott Vallone (6’2, 290 lbs.)*
Vallone is another penetration based DT who uses hard work and playing through the whistle to make plays. He has a decent swim move but clearly lacks top level athleticism. He does do a good job of getting his hands up into passing lanes and has been awarded with 3 pass deflections already this year.
LB Steve Beauharmais (6’2, 230 lbs.)*
Beauhermais has been all over the field this year for the Scarlet Knights. He is one of the most athletic defenders on this team and he does a good job of getting into the backfield and wreaking havoc. He is very effective coming off the blitz and is still learning some of the finer parts of dropping into coverage.
LB Khaseem Greene (5’11, 220 lbs.)*
We found Greene to be amongst the most consistent defenders for Rutgers. His ability to constantly be in the right position was uncanny and if he was a few inches taller we feel like he’d be considered a much better prospect. Not a great athlete but he manages to make plays by using his head.
CB Duron Harmon (6’1, 198 lbs.)*
Harmon has great size for the CB position and is using it well this season as he battles for the ball and makes plays. His 3 INT’s lead the team, but we would like to see him get better that the finer points like utilizing press coverage and showing more of a willingness to help out in run support.