Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs get all the attention at Alabama. Rightly so too, they’re both terrific players. Jeudy is lean and glides as a runner. He makes contested catches, gets downfield and he has YAC value. Ruggs is reportedly destined to run a 4.2 at the combine and does an excellent job extending to catch the football away from his body.
DeVonta Smith is the third wheel but he too warrants high praise.
Every time I’ve watched Alabama this season he’s stood out. He’s extremely dynamic and sudden and he’s practically unstoppable on slants. He’s an excellent hands-catcher. He has a burst of acceleration to separate and when he has the ball in his hands he can round corners and explode away from potential tacklers.
Against Ole Miss he set school records with eleven catches for 274 yards and FIVE touchdowns. Amari Cooper previously held the single-game yardage mark with 224 set twice (vs Tennessee & Auburn in 2014). The five scores were also a school record on a day Tua Tagovailoa also topped the mark for overall career touchdowns for Alabama.
Smith took a slant 74-yards for a score. He had TD’s on a crossing route with some YAC and a pass into the flat. His fourth touchdown was a deep post. His final score was a great sideline grab running towards the end zone. He basically showed he can score in every way possible in one single game.
At SPARQ he ran a 4.13 short shuttle and jumped a 35-inch vertical. He’s competitive, quick and catches well. If he turns pro after this season, keep an eye on him for the Seahawks. He looks like their type of receiver. Henry Ruggs left the game with a serious looking injury so fingers crossed he’s OK.
On the defensive side of the ball for Alabama, Trevon Diggs is the kind of defensive back the Seahawks could use. He’s tremendously athletic, physical and he tracks the ball well. He’s Stefon Diggs’ brother. He’s also a really good kick returner and had a 36-yard return in the 59-31 hammering of Ole Miss.
— On the subject of wide outs, CeeDee Lamb had seven catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns as Oklahoma beat Texas Tech 55-16. Lamb, Jeudy, Ruggs and Smith are just four of a great looking set of receivers for the 2020 draft. The Seahawks seem to have struck gold with D.K. Metcalf and hopefully John Ursua will eventually work his way into a role. Given the talent available at the position in the 2020 class, it’d be a surprise if the Seahawks didn’t tap into the group.
— One other player they could take a long look at is Washington tight end Hunter Bryant. The Huskies are developing a reputation for producing quality tight ends. Very few people talked about Will Dissly and Drew Sample during their final seasons at Washington but both significantly boosted their stock during the off-season and went in the fourth and second round respectively. The Seahawks will certainly need to add at least one tight end for next season. Bryant had a fantastic run and catch for yet another explosive play against USC. He finished with 49 yards on four receptions. He did have a fumble on a botched pitch. He’d be an excellent compliment to Dissly as a move-tight end capable of attacking the seam and creating mismatches. He catches the ball extremely well with strong hands and he’s very athletic. It’d be a surprise if the Seahawks didn’t have their eye on him.
— Jonathan Taylor had 119 yards on 26 carries plus a touchdown as Wisconsin beat Northwestern 24-15. He also had three catches for 15 yards. He can be a featured back and although he lacks top-level explosive athleticism or acceleration — he’s decently good at everything. He can cut, he can run with authority to get the hard yards, he’s not a slouch in the open-field. He has a very good chance to go in the top-50. It’s surprising that Wisconsin don’t feature tight end Jake Ferguson more in the passing game. He had a really good SPARQ score and is a terrific athlete capable of being more than a mere blocker. Some thought he could boost his stock into the early rounds this year.
— Clemson had a real battle against an energised North Carolina team today (and won by a point). Trevor Lawrence was rattled. He still managed to find Tee Higgins for a vital fourth quarter touchdown. Higgins finished with 129 yards on six receptions and a score. Add Higgins’ name to the long list of excellent receiver prospects. Isaiah Simmons had a big sack for a loss of 11-yards. He blitzed from the second level and blew up the attempted block by the running back for the sack. He also had multiple TFL’s. Is he a safety or a linebacker? He might be better at linebacker. Travis Etienne ran for 67 yards on 14 carries.
— I’ve never understood the first round talk surrounding Iowa pass rusher A.J. Epenesa. Where did it come from? He was spelled constantly last year and even in his better games there wasn’t that much to get excited about. This year he has one sack in four games. He had two tackles and a deflected pass only in a 48-3 win over Middle Tennessee today.
— Jeffery Okudah (CB, Ohio State) is showing why he’s the top cornerback in this class. He has great size, outstanding athleticism (he was a top SPARQ prospect) and he does everything. Against Nebraska he’s making jarring open-field tackles and jumped a route to make an interception. His second pick came after he slipped to the turf and showed great reflexes to catch a tipped pass while lying on his back. The Seahawks would surely love to have a player like Okudah. It’s a shame he’ll go in the top-10. Shaun Wade is another talented Ohio State cornerback. He’s a former five-star recruit and can play nickel or outside corner. Like Okudah he has size and is a willing tackler. He’s eligible for the 2020 draft but might stick around as a redshirt sophomore.
I’ll update this post with the later games shortly.
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