College football week five notes: Damian Swann shines

Damian Swann has a chance to rebuild his stock this year

Tennessee vs Georgia
Damian Swann (CB, Georgia) showed a lot of promise in 2012 before regressing last year. The Georgia defense was terrible in 2013. A real joke at times. In several key situations they failed to line up correctly, they were badly organised. They’ve changed the staff and Swann appears to be benefiting. Against the Vols he played well in run support and had a sack on a corner blitz. In coverage he was extremely competent. It took a superb route by Marquez North to beat him in the red zone late on. He also had a big time impact on special teams. On a punt he made an incredible play on the ball to down it on the one-yard line. Two plays later Tennessee fumbled the ball in their own endzone for a defensive touchdown. Some players have what it takes they just need the appropriate pro-coaching. Richard Sherman was one of those players. Swann could be a steal if he lands on a team that knows how to develop defensive backs.

I’ll go out on a limb and suggest Georgia aren’t likely to drag their way back into playoff contention, but Todd Gurley still deserves to be at the heart of the Heisman chase. Whether he can translate his insane promise into a productive pro-career, who knows. He’s insanely talented, but so was Trent Richardson. In college he’s a class above and a huge run in the fourth quarter acted as a real exclamation point. It’ll be very interesting to see how he tests at the combine given his size.

I’m not sold on Leonard Floyd — a favourite of some. He’s tall and lean, looking more like a wide receiver playing defensive end. He’s not as explosive or as polished as Barkevious Mingo — a player he at least compares to physically. He didn’t have much impact here. As a redshirt sophomore it’s hard to imagine him declaring for the 2015 draft on this evidence.

Missouri vs South Carolina
I just sat and watched Markus Golden and Shane Ray in this game, clearly the two best players on the field. Missouri’s pass rush caused problems all day, usually due to the attention given to the star pair. Golden wasn’t playing at 100% after missing the loss to Indiana with a hamstring issue. The fact Mizzou lost to such a basic opponent and played this well on defense a week later says a ton about Golden’s talent. Even without a mega stat-line he had numerous splash plays. For his size he has great balance and lean. He can mix it up and dip inside. He’s an impact pass rusher and is destined to be an early pick in 2015. Terrific prospect.

We’ve talked about him a ton already so without re-hashing the debate, they key here is the ability to engage a blocker and still make plays. Golden is smooth enough to round an edge but if he needs to use his hands he can. He plays with an attitude and on a day where he doesn’t get any sacks — he’ll help others make plays.

Ray had an explosive first half and was virtually unstoppable at times. He stunted inside to great effect, he rushed the edge with success. He’s lighter than Golden and has a better first step and initial burst. It’s deadly. The only concern will come with his size. He’s listed at a generous 6-3 and 245lbs but looks shorter and lacks length. He had less impact in the second half. If he measures well at the combine and the athleticism he showed here translates to the combine, he too will be an early pick. Both players are superior to Kony Ealy — a second round pick in 2014.

Other notes

Arkansas running back Alex Collins has some talent. He showed a great cut-back ability in a tough loss to Texas A&M. He keeps his feet moving, he has good size. He’s capable of a pro-career. I think he’s only a redshirt sophomore.

Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson) had two more sacks against North Carolina. Make that 27 sacks in his last 24 games. He’s explosive and productive and will go early.

Leonard Williams (DE, USC) could easily play his best football at the next level but I’m not sure what he is watching him for the Trojans. He doesn’t look like a speed guy off the edge. He doesn’t look like a natural three-tech. If he’s just a 3-4 five-tech do you have to limit his stock? I have a hard time imagining him going in the top 5-10 of the draft.


  1. Drew D.

    Alex Collins is a true sophomore, and yes he’s very good. Arkansas’s O-Line is becoming the new Wisconsin under Bret Bielema. Arkansas has a few other future prospects in TE Hunter Henry and DT Darius Philon you might want to keep in mind for next year.

  2. dave crockett

    What I like about Ray is that I think you can add weight without taking anything away. He was skinny as a rail when he came to campus. I don’t think he’s done filling out.

    What he does better than anyone I’ve seen recently is really cut the corner without throttling down or losing much speed. It’s almost a 90 degree turn.

  3. Dan

    I’m a bit more optimistic about Leonard Floyd, but he really needs to add weight to have an impact in the NFL. I feel that his hand use is better than Mingo’s, who relied a lot more on ‘effort based’ plays.

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