In the first of two big SEC battles the Gators traveled down to College Station to take on the Aggies and the 12th Man. In what was a hard fought and exciting game the Gators rudely welcomed the Aggies to the SEC by stealing a victory from them. Among the players that impressed were TE Jordan Reed, OT Xavier Nixon, DE Damontre Moore, and LB Jonathan Stewart. Read about these four and 21 others just below the fold.
RB Mike Gillislee 23
-Good blitz pickup to cut down defender
-Impressive power as he runs through arm tackle of Moore and over the SAF
-Power run off the tackle, and runs right over the safety on his way into the endzone
-Has a reported hip and groin injury but will continue in this game
-Good vision to pick through the hole
-Good stiff arm to stuff would be tackle on Stewart and bounce the run outside
-Nice acceleration around the corner but seemed to gear down as he neared top speed, could be injury?
-Solid vision in the hole, seems to know in advance where his next cut or block will be
-Injury definitely has affected him as the game wears on, definitely not playing to the same level as earlier but still gutting it out
Summary: I like what I saw from Gillislee, he really helped to settle Driskell into this game by ripping off some big runs and he also shows a lot of heart in continuing to play despite his injury. I would like to see more from Gillislee and hopefully he can recover this week with some rest. I do wonder about his ability to make the big play happen though.
FB/TE Tre Burton* 8
-Comes across in motion and then gets into flat for a reception
-Turns ball up field quickly
-Takes fake FG pitch for a big first down
-Quickness is evident as he reverses field and beats Stewart out enough to get first down
-Takes Wildcat snap and goes more east, west and backwards than ever forward
-Surprised they are trying to use his athletic advantage more often v. Texas A&M LB’s and SAF’s
-His footwork is very good and it allows him to get into and out of cuts with ease
Summary: Burton looks like that extra part that you always have when putting together a piece of furniture from Ikea. It’s just not clear how he fits in the Brett Pease offense. He’s a very athletic and super talented player who can run, catch, and even throw but right now he just does everything average and excels at nothing. Ideal fit may be to make him into an H-Back type prospect.
WR Andre Debose* 4
-Working hard as a down field blocker for RB
-Did not catch a single pass in this game
Summary: Debose continues to be a prospect that frustrates and infuriates a Florida fan base that thought he would replace Percy Harvin. What has happened though was that Debose has become a return guy who is a the 3rd or even 4th option for the Gators QB when it comes to being a receiving target. Debose for all his speed has yet to be able to establish himself as consistent or even reliable passing threat.
TE Jordan Reed* 11
-Good hands on the out route and stretches out on the sideline to get the first down
-Showing nice speed after the catch to avoid tackles and get up field
-Quickness and speed are evident, gets a catch makes three defenders miss and goes for 25 yards
-Loose hips allow him to change direction quickly
-Great start and stop ability
-Lining up both inline and in the slot
-Complete mismatch for Texas A&M LB
-Hands catcher who extends his arms out to go get the ball
-You can see the trust between Reed and Driskell blossoming in this game
-Reed has lined up at the X, Y, and Z WR spots along with inline as a TE
Summary: I was very impressed with the play of Reed who I felt really did a lot in this game to give Jeff Driskell a reason to trust him and make him a feature target in the near future. With the loss of TE AC Leonard over the offseason the Gators had to have Reed step up and it appears he has. The junior TE is definitely one to watch in the future.
OT Xavier Nixon 73
-Beaten outside by DE, forces run back inside
-Holding like crazy, but is getting away from it
-Gets out in front of Damontre Moore and shuts down his speed rush
-Gets a punch on Moore but then lets him go inside and never tries to block him again after he beats the OG and is on his way for a sack
-Strong punch that is neutralizing the DE
-Gets out of his stance quickly and into the 2nd level
-Has no defender to block but does well to seal edge and QB uses that edge to scramble for a first down
-Good awareness to see blitzing LB that TE is supposed to pick up, knows it could be trouble so gets off his combo block to engage LB who had just beaten the TE
-Kick slide looks much improved this year
-Needs to sit down in his stance better v. power rush, getting pushed back too often
-Does well to knock down deflected pass
-Hands look powerful, really pops the defender with that punch
-Still not sure he’s quite as aware as he needs to be, slow to identify blitzers coming from the 2nd level
-At times got caught over extended but for the most part looked much more refined in his technique bending from the knees and not the waist
-When he gets beat he grabs and that is something he will get called for at the next level
Summary: Nixon (much like Dallas Thomas) was an OL prospect who I was disappointed in last year but who impressed me the second time around. It’s clear Nixon has been working with coaches to go from being an athletic OT prospect to one who understands the technical side of the game and who knows he can block any DE in the country. Would like to see the awareness to get a little better but that can be taught.
OC Jonotthan Harrison* 72
-Good job staying home and locating the blitzer on the zone blitz
-Generating good power on interior rushes
-Gets put on his behind by Moore’s power
-Had poor balance and looked like he was backpedaling when Moore hit him
-Gets head and hands up quickly off snap
-Snaps all have good pace and accuracy
-Listed at sub 300 lbs and he may need to add weight Nealy walks him back into his QB’s lap
-Technically everything looks solid but his strength just isn’t at the level that it needs to be to handle the interior guys he’s going to see in this conference let alone the NFL
-Athletically very gifted and would like to see him pull and trap more often in this system
Summary: Harrison with time and a serious strength and conditioning program could blossom into a top tier center. He snaps the ball very well, he is quick out of his stance and technically he’s in the right position. He does tend to get a little high sometimes, and he doesn’t have the functional strength to play against zero gap DT’s one on one but he has a lot of promise.
DE Dominique Easley* 2
-Tries to push Matthews off balance but goes nowhere
-Good pursuit on play ran away from him
-Gets down from his DE spot to help Elam make the tackle on Swope on the bubble screen
-Great effort early from Easley
-Going nowhere against Matthews one on one
-Trying speed, power, and counter moves and Matthews is handling them all with ease
-Good rush there to hit C gap and get right into QB face
-Very frustrating day for Easley from the DE position, has been stone walled on nearly every rush
-Credit for his effort though, he never just settles for being blocked always working to try and get through the block
-Liked him better at DT than at DE
-First step is still very good but going against this OT tandem it’s just not good enough to trouble either one
Summary: You can see the athletic ability from Easley even as a DE in this front. He is probably their most athletic down lineman and he has very good get off. The issue is that he doesn’t have the strength or speed beyond his get off to be a power or speed rush end. He needs to move back inside to DT where he can utilize his first step quickly and split the A or B gaps consistently.
DT Omar Hunter 99
-Good power rush v. Lewis, just moves him 2-3 yards into the backfield
-Got pushed back by Lewis this time
-Holds the point of attack stuffs a running play
-Gets down the field to help make a tackle on a WR
-Seeing lots of rotation
-When he stays low off the snap generates good push
-Doesn’t always stay low and when he pops up he gives the interior lineman an easy target to block
-Was impressed with his ability to hold the point of attack, shed the block and make the play
-Appears to have plenty of strength and I’d be interested to see him get more snaps in a 43 alignment
Summary: Hunter showed some power and potential v. Texas A&M and it could be enough to put him firmly on NFL radars after being a highly heralded HS recruit. He has a decent to good first step but his ability to hold the POA, shed, and make plays in the running game is what intrigued me the most.
DT Shariff Floyd* 73
-Stunts while in a four man front, can’t get pressure but sees the QB takes off and tracks him down from behind
-Down with an injury
-Gets off block and makes tackle on Michael to save TD
-Beats OG again and stop Michael near the goal line
-Good power and first step
-Good effort to work through Joeckel block and eventually break free to put pressure on QB
-Good power to work through that block from one of the top OT’s in the country
-Seeing time at a lot of different positions, 34 DE, 34 DT, 43 DT
-Uses arms well to keep blockers off his body
-Gets outside position and forces run back inside to waiting LB’s
-Can shed blocks with his hands, really impressive in run defense
-Would like to see a little more pop on initial contact on his power rush, force the OT to anchor down
Summary: I thought Floyd was the most impressive and consistent DL for the Gators all day. He saw a lot of snaps and made some plays. Floyd was consistently in the right position and unlike Hunter and Easley was unable to be moved from his spot by the A&M line. While that may not show up on a stat sheet it’s very important because of how it redirects plays.
LB Jelani Jenkins* 3
-Sure tackler, has cleaned up two missed tackles by fellow defenders
-Sees Wildcat formation and shoots the hole to stop the RB before he gets a yard
-Left field with injury for X-Rays, Out For Game
Summary: Very disappointed to see Jenkins leave the game and come back with his arm in some kind of a cast a sleeve. I never actually saw how he got hurt but it looks like he will miss some time.
LB Jon Bostic 1
-Shoots through A gap and hits Michael in the backfield
-Good chase on QB who had broken the pocket to get him down for a sack
-Comes back from his blitz to finish a tackle on WR to save a first down
-Good chase on bubble screen to tackle the WR for a loss
-Sideline to sideline range
-Cleans up QB that McCray flushes by forcing him out of bounds
Summary: Bostic stepped up well for the Gators after Jenkins went down early. He showed off impressive athleticism and range as he made plays from his LB position. Bostic took proper angles and really showed a knack for cutting off outside runs by both the A&M QB and RB’s. His ability to run and blitz could be a useful tool in the NFL.
SAF Josh Evans 9
-Late on a hit, lowers his head and actually hits his teammate because he’s not looking
-Good open field tackle on RB to limit what looked like a big play
-Again shows more willingness to make a hit than a tackle, just poor technique
-Covering the slot WR
-Beats second level block on Joeckel with his speed to make tackle on Michael
-Misses tackle on QB and it costs Florida a TD
-Good tackle on the speedy RB (Tray Matthews) to save a big play
-Comes up on reverse and vacates deep zone where pass is thrown to
-Takes huge hit from RB and is down injured, did not return
Summary: Early on Josh Evans looked like he was looking for a big hit rather than securing a big tackle. He lowered his head a number of times and launched himself into a tackle. This cost him on the Texas A&M TD where the QB took a draw play right past Evans into the end zone. Evans did get better though as he took down both backs Michael and Matthews in for potentially touchdown saving tackles. Evans was laid out by an A&M runner who just trucked him, the extent of his injury was unknown but they were looking at his shoulder and arm on the field.
SAF Matt Elam* 22
-Cuts down Swope on bubble screen for a loss
-Again is all over the bubble screen to Swope, showing great speed to get out of the box and to the sideline
-Good job getting his hands up and knocking a TD pass away
-Needs to turn his head and locate ball better, could have made an INT
-Once again the first man to the ball on a swing/screen pass to the perimeter
-Spending more time in the box than back in coverage
-With Evans out he seems to have gone back into coverage more and his playmaking has been limited
Summary: Elam’s game reminds me of a more athletic Donte Whitner. He’s a huge asset in the box making plays close to the line of scrimmage. The Aggies didn’t really test the deep middle part of the field with an aerial assault so it was difficult to evaluate Elam in this role. Elam is a sound tackler who if he gets his hands on you will take you to ground. His ability to close on still developing screens and swing passes make him a huge asset.
K Caleb Sturgis 19
-Crushes 51 yard FG with lots of room left
Summary: The big legged kicker from Florida didn’t disappoint as he consistently put his kickoffs into the endzone and hit a big 51 yard FG that would have been good from close to 60. Sturgis is one of the top NFL kicking prospects.
Texas A&M Prospects on Page 2!