#7 DE Jadeveon Clowney (Jr.)
-Nice outside swim move
-Gets hands on QB; consistent early pressure
-So quick off snap; already across line-of-scrimmage before anyone moves
-Will play high, but uses strength and athleticism to compensate
-Easily beat OT Gates for sack
-Showing a good repertoire of pass rush moves
-So quick off line
-Good balance and awareness to recognize short pass and get hands up
-In pain during fourth quarter (right foot), trouble getting off field led to substitution infraction
-Very impressive out-in-spin combination to lose blocker
-Much slower and less dynamic late in game, looked to be limping a bit
Overview: Clowney is the real deal. He consistently beat his man play after play and was constantly in the backfield. He’s so quick off the line that often times he’s across the line of scrimmage and close to making contact before the tackle can even get out of his stance. He has the habit of coming out and playing too high, but he’s able to use his elite strength and athleticism to compensate.
He knows how to use his length and leverage and showed a good repertoire of moves. He unleashed an impressive outside-inside spin combination that had the right tackle confused.
He began to show problems with his right foot in the third quarter. His foot was stepped on during practice earlier in the week, according to a report from ESPN’s Holly Rowe during the TV broadcast.
It really began to bother him in the fourth quarter as he had an evident limp. He was still able to beat his man most of the time despite the injury, but was less explosive.
Clowney rightfully earns the moniker as a once-in-a-generation prospect. He’s explosive, athletic and fundamentally sound. Concerns about fatigue and toughness may linger due to his time out of the game for his foot, but when he’s on the field he’s on a level all his own.
#90 DE Chaz Sutton
-Good pursuit and tackle
-Also in backfield on Clowney sack
-Would like to see better balance; would be easy to take out with cut
-Not much in run support but penetrates and causes havoc
-Gets downfield quickly
-Looks lost on run play, still trying to penetrate after runner past the point of attack
-Gets by lineman with ease but still non-factor in run game
-Good motor, will pursue downfield
Overview: Sutton consistently beat his man off the edge, but he tends to overrun plays. He is quick and is a factor on passing downs, but he is mostly absent against the run.
Sutton is too focused on getting up field and making the play in the backfield that he consistently gives up the edge or he overruns the play. He has a nonstop motor, however, and will make tackles downfield.
His pass-rushing moves are limited at this point. He focuses on beating his man on the outside or with bull rushes.
Sutton has all the tools to be a dynamic defensive end, but lacks the discipline and awareness to put it all together at this point. He’ll wreak havoc off the edge, but he too often plays like a chicken without a head, failing to see what’s going on around him.
#99 DT Kelcy Quarles (Jr.)
-Compared to rest of defensive line, easily slowest off snap but he plays on fast line
-Decent penetration and awareness to make tackle negated by facemask penalty
-Hurt on outside run, grabbing right hamstring, returned soon after
-Gets push but no penetration
-Plays high off snap
-Struggled with double teams and was easily pushed around
Overview: Quarles is an underwhelming 4-3 nose tackle. Listed at 298 pounds, he’s light for the position and it shows. He failed to get a constant push versus Georgia, and double teams easily pushed him around.
He was easily the slowest off the snap. A few times he was just coming out of his stance by the time his teammates were in the backfield. He consistently plays too high, failing to gain leverage while often having trouble doing anything inside.
One of the few plays he made was negated because he grabbed the runner by the facemask, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.
Quarles really needs to improve several parts of his game as a nose tackle. To compensate for being slow off the line, he needs to get lower to truly get a good push and direct traffic.
#14 QB Connor Shaw
-Overthrows WR Ellington on left flat
-Goes down in middle of field on third down draw to set up early field goal, smart/good awareness
-Doesn’t complain to referee after late hit (no flag); gets back to line and calls play
-Surprisingly good runner; can make occasional play with feet at next level
-Good strike down middle but receiver dropped touchdown
-Floating throw to corner for touchdown; needed more velocity
-Wasted clock late in first half by running ball rather than throwing the ball away
-Great throw to corner of end zone
-Received several bad snaps and recovered well
-Fumble after long run that gained first down
Overview: Shaw had a decent game and nearly led the Gamecocks to a comeback victory, but his flaws were exposed.
While he completed 64 percent of his passes, he regularly showed poor downfield accuracy and his placement of the football was underwhelming. On passes more than 10 yards, his completion percentage was only 45 percent. He too often looks to be aiming downfield passes rather than trusting his arm with his throws.
His lack of arm strength was also apparent. He can move the ball downfield decently, but he lacks velocity on his passes. His lone completion of more than 20 yards was a floating pass to a wide-open receiver. His lack of zip gave the defenders time to nearly catch up to the receiver while he waited for the ball.
He was a surprising runner, making plays both on designed runs and scrambling. While he doesn’t have the speed to be a playmaker with his feet in the NFL, he has the ability to extend plays and gain yardage when plays break down. He had a fumble on a long scramble, however, that was the final nail in the coffin for South Carolina’s loss.
Shaw doesn’t display the ability of a quarterback worthy of a draft pick, but he should get into an NFL camp. His arm strength is his biggest issue, but if he can improve his ball placement and downfield accuracy, he may have a chance at the next level.