By BBD Editor: Matthew Elder
Welcome to Day 2 of College Football’s opening weekend. Today doesn’t feature as many games as yesterday’s did or tomorrow’s promises to but there are two big games on tonight as the annual Chick-fil-a Kickoff Classic gets underway with NC State v. Tennessee while Michigan State takes on Boise State in a matchup that is sure to test a new look Boise team. It should be a fun night of football as we work our way through opening weekend.
Editor’s Note: I will be live tonight at the Georgia Dome to watch NC State v. Tennessee, so make sure you’re following on Twitter or following our live in game scouting reports as the Wolfpack take on the Vols.
Tennessee v. NC State
In the first of two Chick-fil-a kickoff games, I’m going to take the underdog Wolfpack as they shock the SEC and Tennessee. I think Glennon takes a massive step forward this year and solidifies himself as a true QB prospect. Meanwhile it will be on Cordale Patterson to step it up if the Vols are going to be able to replace Da’Rick Rogers.
OG Dallas Thomas 71
6’5, 305 lbs.
Thomas is moving inside to OG this year and we think its a better fit for him. He seemed to struggle at times with quick twitch rushers and moving inside allows him to protected from that and best utilizes his strength and power. There could be an adjustment period that NC State may look to take advantage of.
SAF Prentiss Waggner 23
6’2, 185 lbs.
Waggner is more of an overall DB than a true SAF, he’s a converted CB who now plays SAF but still comes down into man coverage when asked. He’s a strong tackler with the ability to read the play as it happens, one of the more impressive SAF prospects who could give Glennon some issues.
TE Mychal Rivera 81
6’3, 254 lbs.
With the loss of Da’Rick Rogers the role of Rivera will become vital in this offense. With Hunter trying to take the top off coverage somebody will need to work underneath and try and take advantage of vacated zones which should be Rivera. The sure handed TE does a good job extending his arms and making the catch out away from his body. He’s not the most athletic TE though and won’t be a guy you ask to stretch the seam.
QB Tyler Bray* 8
6’6, 213 lbs.
It’s a bit unfair to say that this entire game is on Tyler Bray’s shoulders but this enitre game is on Tyler Bray’s shoulders. He’s currently considered one of the top QB prospects in the nation and this game could do a lot to give people an idea of where to evaluate his talents. We see Bray as the #_ 2014 QB in the country but it wouldn’t shock us to see him go early. We mocked Bray to the Bills in our first mock draft.
WR Justin Hunter* 11
6’4, 200 lbs.
When Justin Hunter went down last year the majority of the Tennessee offensve went down with it. Hunter is a dynamic playmaker who excels at getting behind the defense and making the big play deep down the field. He is coming off a knee injury that has raised plenty of questions and going up against David Amerson is never, especially if his knee isn’t fully healed.
OT Ja’Wuan James* 70
6’6, 320 lbs.
James takes over for Thomas at OT and the hope is that with his length he’ll have more success keeping speed rushers away from Bray. Jackson has the ideal build, the long arms, and the athleticism to play the position but we expect to see him tested early and often in this game. We’re going to find out very quickly if Dooley’s decision to move Thomas inside was a wise one.
DT Daniel McCullers* 98
6’6, 380 lbs.
The massive JUCO prospect is an absolute monster in what little tape we have seen on him. He’s earned the starting nod from this game and honestly we are just interested to see how he moves and how much athleticism he has.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson* 84
6’3, 205 lbs.
With the surprising but not shocking news that Da’Rick Rogers was suspended indefinitely, and then left the team, the Vols were forced to go ahead and inset highly ranked JUCO Cordale Patterson into the starting lineup. Patterson who has struggled with injury through fall camp, has great size and speed and is a very similar receiver to Hunter and it will be interesting to see if he can take on the role Rogers had in this offense.
OC Camden Wentz 53
6’3, 296 lbs.
Wentz is considered to be one of the top center prospects in the entire nation. Wentz is a good blocker at the pivot playing with good leverage and showing enough athleticism to get out to the 2nd level and make a big block. He’ll need to help out his interior lineman though when lined up against McCullers.
SAF Brandan Bishop 30
6’2, 210 lbs.
Bishop is a player we like a lot and who is flying under the radar. He’s an underrated player maker with a knack for finding the football. He’s a strong tackler in the open field and has more athletic ability than he’s given credit for. He’ll be tested a lot in this game by Tennessee’s high flying offensive attack, this is where he can truly make a name for himself.
OG RJ Mattes 79
6’6, 303 lbs.
Mattes is a former OT who is sliding inside to LG this year next to Rob Crisp. The athetic Mattes could be a very effective pulling and trapping blocking for the Wolfpack against a Vols defense that many figure will be in attack mode. It will be interesting to see how Mattes tries to block McCullers who is of the same height at Mattes but outweighs him by over 50 pounds.
QB Mike Glennon 8
6’6, 225 lbs.
This is the game where Mike Glennon is either going to prove he’s a legit top tier NFL QB or he’s not. Glennon has been overlooked not just around the country but in his own conference as people point to Tajh Boyd and Logan Thomas as the top QB prospects. Glennon has the arm, the size, and the moxy to be a legitimate NFL starting QB. He needs to cut down his forced throws and that starts by making better reads from the pocket.
SAF Earl Wolff 27
6’0, 201 lbs.
Wolff will combine with Bishop to form one of the better safety tandems in the country. Wilson does a nice job as a free ranging safety who can make plays all over the field. He’s not as big a hitter as you would like but he understands how to read routes and how to read the QB’s eyes. Does a good job closing on the ball and rarely takes a gamble that won’t pay off.
CB David Amerson* 1
6’3, 194 lbs.
This is the matchup to watch and the one everybody is excited about, Justin Hunter v. David Amerson. Amerson who has the size, speed, and playmaking ability to be a top flight shut down CB will go up against arguably the best playmaking WR in the SEC. Both are regarded as top tier NFL Draft prospects and the matchup could be one that people talk about for weeks and months. Amerson needs to physically impose his will on Hunter who is still not proven to be 100% healthy.
OT Rob Crisp* 78
6’7, 312 lbs.
It’s Crisp’s job to keep Mike Glennon’s backside turn stain free tonight in the Dome. He’s got an ideal build, very good footwork, and Tennessee DE’s/LB’s could really struggle to find ways to beat Crisp. Expect Tennessee to try and run some stunts or zone blitzes on Crisp’s side in an effort to get him either off balanced or confused.
DT Dylan Buntyn* 76
6’4, 330 lbs.
He may not quite be the size of Daniel McCullers but he’s the biggest and nastiest NC State has. Dylan Buntyn is going to hope to control the middle of this Tennessee offensive line and not allow them to get their running game going. Buntyn will see a lot of Dallas Thomas inside and this will be a matchup to watch as Thomas makes his first collegiate start at OG.
Boise State v. Michigan State
The Broncos are not the team they were the past few seasons and I don’t think they pose much of a threat to Michigan State here. Look for RB Le’Veon Bell to have a big game for the Spartans as they break in a new QB. A guy Im very interested to see more of is DT Ricky Tjong-a-Tjoe.
CB Jamar Taylor 5
5’11, 196 lbs.
With so much turnover at Boise State from last year’s team its going to be imperative that veterans like Taylor step up and play bigger than ever before. Taylor will be going up against a rather untested passing attack so there could be opportunities there for him to use his speed and ability to break on the ball to make big plays happen.
RB DJ Harper 7
5’9, 201 lbs.
Harper will be the guy that makes this train move early on for the Broncos. With a new QB back there, the onus will be on Harper to pick up where Doug Martin left off last year. Harper is a tough runner between the tackles who runs behind his pad level and stays low. He’s able to break some tackles thanks to his center of gravity but isn’t a home run threat.
WR Mitch Burroughs 20
5’9, 186 lbs.
Burroughs is an often over looked weapon for the Broncos but he reminds us a lot of Danny Coale from Virginia Tech. A little small but he runs very percise routes and really kills teams underneath on crossing routes when he gets the ball in space. He’s got nice speed and really turns on the burners after the catch. He’s the kind of guy that will draw comparisons to a player like Devon Wylie because of his quickness and smooth cuts.
WR Geraldo Boldewijn* 17
6’4, 204 lbs.
Burroughs will be successful this year because Boldewijn will be the big play guy down the field for the Broncos. This will be the first year in a while that the Broncos have really had a size WR who can run and make the big catch for them but Boldweijn is it. He does a nice job tracking the ball over his shoulder and gets his arms extended to make the catch out away from his body. He’s a tough cover but he may have issues with Johnny Adams who is a physical CB who isn’t afraid to jame bigger WR’s.
DT Ricky Tjong-a-Tjoe* 43
6’3, 303 lbs.
The man in the middle for this Broncos defense, Tjong-a-Tjoe will be counted on to create problems for Michigan State rushing attack by hitting gaps and getting penetration. He’s going to have a good battle on his hands with Chris McDonald blocking him but Tjong-a-Tjoe may just have enough athleticism to give McDonald fits.
CB Johnny Adams 5
5’11, 175 lbs.
Adams is a fiesty CB who doesn’t care how big you are, he’s going to hit you and do it repeatedly. Expect Adams to draw the Boldewijn assignment and we hope to see Adams up at the line of scrimmage jamming him. Adams has good press technique locking out his arms and does well to either delay or misdirect the route of the receiver trying to get off the line. Adams is an aggressive playmaker who needs to show more discipline when covering double moves and not biting on fakes.
DT Anthony Rashad White 98
6’2, 320 lbs.
We saw Rashad White last year while scouting Worthy. He’s a load to handle in the middle and more times than not he impressed us more than Worthy did. He has a nice motor for a big man and generates a nice push off the snap showing the ability to collapse the pocket. It will be interesting to see how his game changes without a stud like Worthy next to him, but if he can adapt to the extra attention it could be a special season for him.
OG Chris McDonald 62
6’5, 300 lbs.
The aforementioned McDonald will be doing battle with Ricky Tjong-a-Tjoe all night long tonight and he will also be trying to clear a lane for Le’Veon Bell to get through. McDonald relies on solid technique and leverage to move his man out of the way which could be effective v. Tjong-a-Tjoe’s athletic ability. McDonald isn’t the most mobile interior lineman but he can get to the second level and make a block when needed.
OT Fou Fonoti 51
6’4, 300 lbs.
I wish Boise State had a pass rushing DE to challenge Fonoti but they really don’t and I think Fonoti will dominate whoever he faces tongiht. He’s an athletic OT with a good punch but does nto appear to have those ideal long arms you want from your classic pass protection based tackles. We could so Fonoti use alot to seal off the edge for Bell on outside runs or to get out in front of screens to the RB or WR.
DE William Gholston* 2
6’7, 275 lbs.
This is the man to watch all night long, Gholston is a freak athlete much like his brother and he flies all around the field. He’ll rush from multiple positions in this game and really look to find a weakness in this Boise State offensive line. Gholston will be in constant attack mode and if he gets the opportunity will absolutely unload on the young QB Joe Southwick. Im not sure if Boise State will be able to properly block Gholston so they may have to scheme to stay away from him.
RB Le’Veon Bell* 24
6’2, 238 lbs.
The big back for the Spartans will look to wear down this Broncos defense through tough physical running. Don’t be mistake though just because Bell is a larger back doesn’t mean he’s all power, Bell shows some open field speed that allows him to pull away from defenses consistently. I do wish he was a better pass catcher but that’s something that can be worked on with time.
TE Dion Sims* 80
6’5, 280 lbs.
Michigan State has a long and recent history of producing very good TE prospects for the NFL an Dion Sims shouldn’t be any kind of an exception. Sims is very much in the new age TE mold of the athletic pass catcher who can create mismatch problems. The only difference is that Sims is a bit larger than most of those guys and is a far better blocker. Sims athleticism and blocking ability remind me of a bigger Dwayne Allen type prospect, now Sims just needs to work on his routes and make sure to catch the ball with his hands and not his body.