Shedeur Sanders makes a strong first impression

In case you missed my note earlier this week, college football is currently blacked out in the UK. The subscription TV service (BT Sport) was bought out by Warner Brothers/Discovery (becoming TNT). Previously there was a ‘ESPN/BT Sport’ channel but that obviously was doomed once the takeover was complete because Warner Brothers/Discovery are not going to have an ESPN (Disney) channel on their service.

Thus, they have automatically removed college football coverage from British TV. Further to this, ESPN has closed the ‘ESPN Player’ streaming service creating a double whammy. We’re left with only NBC Notre Dame home games on Sky Sports.

I’m still pinning my hopes on DAZN or another streaming service buying the rights but it’s at least possible I’ll have no access to live college football this year. People will recommend ‘other ways’ of watching but because I work Saturday’s for the day job, I really need to be able to record these games (and I often re-watch or spend the game rewinding and replaying certain plays anyway).

It means I will need to wait for games to be loaded onto YouTube in full which tends to happen a few days later. The ACC games are condensed quite quickly (I’ve already watched Mario Cristobal continue to wreck Tyler Van Dyke’s career in week one). The others take a while.

I suspect this is a vain appeal but if anyone reads this blog with connections to college football or the NFL and can supply downloadable All-22 college tape purely for the purpose of scouting, send me an email to

At the moment I can only access highlights on a Saturday which don’t present a full and proper breakdown. However, I wanted to share some thoughts on Shedeur Sanders.

I had no access to his tape before this Colorado game so this was my first watch-through. He was very impressive against TCU.

Sanders throws beautifully to the sideline with perfect touch and velocity. He had one ‘wow’ throw from inside his own end-zone, downfield to the right sideline that hit his receiver right in the hands (it was dropped). Poise, touch, accuracy, calmness under pressure — it was all there.

He made another 45-yard throw to the same sideline look easy. It’s not just the deep stuff either. Sanders passed with authority across the middle and his game IQ was incredibly impressive. He did little things well that jump off the screen. For example, on a quick slant over the middle he felt the defender under-cutting the route. Thus, he deliberately threw ever so slightly behind the receiver, putting it on the hip rather than a throw in-stride. This not only protected the receiver from being blasted but it gave him the opportunity to make the catch without it being contested — he asked his target to adjust to the ball, which he did. This is next-level stuff you don’t see too often in college.

Don’t underestimate a play like that. So much in college football these days is highly manufactured, mass-production scripting making life easy for the QB with minimal reads (often one read) or requirements. For a QB like Sanders to show this level of feel and awareness and to be able to make a quick decision, adjust in-play and execute is highly impressive.

He also has a good arm (I think he can get bigger/stronger too), he throws a very catchable ball and technically there’s a lot to like. On a touchdown throw with 7:39 left in the game he leaves the pocket and runs to his left. He re-sets his feet to create ideal base and throws to the end zone for a score. There’s no heel-click in his motion or delay. These are all things you want to see and he’s ticking off boxes on this tape. The base he throws with in particular helps him so much to deliver with accuracy and velocity. His release is unusually high but it wasn’t problematic on this tape.

With 6:26 remaining in the game he faced pressure but he didn’t panic — he sat in the pocket to let his routes develop. Then, off his back-foot, he flicks his wrist and throws 20-yards over the middle through traffic (while avoiding hitting the referee) to get a 2nd and 9 conversion needing a score to take the lead. That’s exciting stuff.

Can he do this for a full season? That’s a big ask for a Colorado team whose defense looked poor enough to think they’ll cause the offense problems at some stage when they’re left in a hole. However, on a technical level this was an intriguing first watch.

Caleb Williams is on his own level. On his own planet, in fact. Planet #1 overall pick locked in and done. I think every other QB-placing after Williams is up for grabs. Sanders looked very good here. This is a very positive start.

I will try and watch his full tape later this week, plus Drake Maye vs Spencer Rattler, Quinn Ewers and Michael Penix Jr are the two others I really want to get full tape on in the coming days.

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  1. ShowMeYourHawk

    Too early, absolutely ridiculous prediction: John won’t trade picks for Chris Jones or any other DT help because he’s all in on trading up to #1 or #2 for Williams or Sanders.

    • Rob Staton

      Well it’s a bit early to be projecting Sanders to #2 overall and if you want to trade up for Williams you’ll be looking at a king’s ransom to end all king’s ransom’s

    • Peter

      That was a great start for Coach Prime. Listened to Joel Klatt breaking down some interesting story lines to kick off the season. He made some comments about CO winning right out of the blocks based on energy but they may struggle down the season.

      • Justaguy

        Ewers looked like the best form of arse. Do you think Manning plays this year? Seems like an appropriate thread to beg the question

        • Rob Staton

          I’ve watched some of Ewers vs Rice

          Not good


  2. MountainHawker

    Is YouTubetv an option in the UK? We switched from DirecTV. It’s been great. Unlimited DVR too.

    • Rob Staton

      It isn’t available over here sadly

      • Ben - Fort Worth

        That’s awful! I watched the whole thing on YoutubTV today, and it was a great game!!

  3. cha

    Penix had a terrific day.

    Had did have some throws not unlike what you mentioned about Sanders – throw it a little off-spot to keep the defender honest, and trust the WR to make the play after adjusting.

    But Boise St was awful. Truly terrible today. Their pass rush didn’t give Penix a single thing to worry about. At one point they blitzed and stunted and Penix just stood there looking at them flailing and then casually threw a strike.

    The offense wasn’t any better. The QB was just a hair inaccurate quite a bit and the WRs just couldn’t bail him out at all.

    The whole team was like the keystone cops out there. It was a cakewalk for the Huskies after they got their feet under them.

    But points for doing what you’re supposed to do – beat up an inferior opponent. But they won’t all be that easy.

    • Elmer

      Boise State is supposedly the Mountain West Conference pre-season favorite. If Oregon State and Washington State join that conference they should do really well.

      • Malanch

        Plus, the Beavs and Cougs belong in the Mountain West. They have for a long time.

        • Hebegbs

          Is that right malanch? Cougs have been part of the Pac or previous versions of it since 1890. But certainly a typical arrogant Huskie-ish statement.

          Totally ok, would not expect anything less. Just know there will be thousands of Beaver and Coug alumni that will celebrate gleefully when Oregon and UW get pounded weekly by the Big 10. Show no respect, we’ll show you none either.

          • Malanch

            ‘Twas timely of Oregon State and Washington State suddenly to field good teams now that the Pac-12 is done. Unfortunately, being good two or three times per decade isn’t good enough. Being nationally irrelevant decade in, decade out isn’t good enough. In short, it was too little, too late for these two. But the Mountain West schools offer comparable programs in terms of long-term average attendance, TV ratings, program budgets and revenues, and overall organizational commitment to athletics. It will be a good fit, and both schools should do well.

            “Cougs have been part of the Pac since …”

            Yep, and they still are. Excellent.

            “… a typical arrogant Huskie-ish statement.”

            Ad hominem + strawman simulfail. No Huskyism, no arrogance: Just look at the average attendance stats and the evident TV market demand for the respective Pac-12 universities (as evidenced by realignment), and one quickly sees that each program is headed to a place better befitting of their overall college athletics worth. The geography and economics might be unsustainable, but so too was the Wack-12 status quo.

            “Thousands of Beaver and Coug alumni that will celebrate gleefully when Oregon and UW get pounded weekly by the Big 10.”

            1) Loser mentality.

            2) There are thousands of Beaver and Coug alumni? Really? Where have they been all these decades?

            3) Expect Oregon and UW to be competitive from the get-go in the Big Ten, just below Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. Yes, they will lose more games, because they will be playing in a good conference for a change.

            Again: If the Beavs and Cougs wanted to be more desired in the conference realignment shakeup (shakedown), they should have done better over the past … hundred plus years.

            • Justaguy

              Great thing for all involved… That’s how it was meant to be enjoyed by the millions of Tom & Jerry fans

              • Malanch

                I know, I know. We live in cartoonish times. And these realignments are setting up a system that’s going to be economically unsustainable for a multitude of programs. The whole thing smacks of unsustainability.

                But let’s be real: NCAAF and bigtime NCAAM haven’t been college sports for a long time. They are revenue sports, and they bear the responsibility of funding entire athletic departments worth of costly net-negative sports.

                I think what people hate most of all about realignment, though, is that—at least subconsciously—they know they’ve played a role in creating this monster. Without college sports consumers willingly gobbling up cable subscriptions and streaming services—and, crucially, mentally downloading hours of advertising content per Saturday—we wouldn’t be in this situation.

    • Nick M

      I was at the game today, Penix lit it up, but his wide receiver group could stand up to anyone in the nation in terms of depth and talent. Seriously a special group of WR’s at UW this year.

  4. ErickV

    Checking out the UNC- South Carolina game to check out Rattler . Hasn’t looked that impressive to me , granted his offensive line hasn’t been much help and the play-calling has been uninspiring.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve managed to get a feed of it.

      First series he is sacked and has no time

      Then the defense looks like they’ve taken cues from our 2022 run defense

      So wouldn’t judge Rattler too much

      Then Drake Maye threw an absolutely horrible pick which highlights why I think the hype is too much with him. He is being overrated in the media as a top five lock

      • Rob Staton

        My god this South Carolina OL is horrendous

        • Starhawk29

          The tackles are doing their best impression of Kentuckys right tackle last year.

        • ErickV

          Obviously don’t know the guy (Rattler) but from interviews and such, he seems to have matured quite a bit. Feels like he gets a lot of hate for who he was back in high school. Hope he has a good season and is able to silence some of the haters. I’ll definitely be watching him this year as he’s one of the QBs we might actually have a chance at drafting.

    • Romeo A57

      Rattler is under duress every time he drops back. Gamecocks oline looks horrendous. I have been very whelmed by Maye. That last pick he threw let South Carolina back into this game.

    • LouCityHawk

      The UNC is eating the gamecock offensive line alive.

  5. Starhawk29

    Have only seen highlights, but sanders looks very promising. Meanwhile, Maye just threw a bad pick.

    • Rob Staton

      Horror show of a pick

      Very poor

      • Starhawk29

        And another!

      • Romeo A57

        Maye is trying to live or die off of 50-50 balls.

        • Palatypus

          I’m glad I am not the only one who noticed this.

  6. LouCityHawk

    In person viewing of IU-OSU today.

    Takeaway? McCord has a long way to go. J.T. Tuimoloau is one to watch. Hoosiers have a couple of nice off ball line backers.

  7. Mick

    Do we have any concerns with Williams taking forever to get the ball out and leaning so heavily on backyard football? The playmaking is off the charts, the accuracy off platform is outstanding, and the pocket navigation when things break down is excellent, so obviously his play style matches his skill set. It feels he’ll learn to play more in structure and on schedule as he matures. But what if he doesn’t? I worry the highlight plays might be masking some stylistic warts which might cause him to take a while to adjust to the demands of the pro game.

    • Peter

      Just me….I get a little reminiscent of a qb from 2012-2017 do that ” duck, dodge, and dive,” with ease. Fun while it lasted.

      I’m never going to argue Williams as pick #1. Unless he pulls a Manning and says no to whomever is that team.

      Sometimes however I see highlights ( from all players at all positions) that look cool in the moment but against a bigger, better team or the pro game might just not work. Sometimes I see double moves from Williams waiting forever for a reciever and think….when this works it rules, when you play a Georgia level team some DB is going to come flying in from the backfield to level you.

  8. dand393

    Rob if you email me I have a way for you to watch any and all college football games let me know if your interested

    • dand393

      Ignore that I’ll email you I didn’t read the article first

  9. Dustin

    Rattler looks good tonight. He’s doing everything possible to drag his team back into this game despite being under pressure almost every single play.

  10. Palatypus

    Can Jim Nagy get you the all-22?

    He has a little pull with those coaches.

  11. Thomas

    I trust your scouting Rob. It’s amazing and it makes the season so much more fun. So if you don’t think Penix is a 1st rounder that’s fine by me.

    But man… what an arm. I know you’ve said that too but man…

    • Palatypus

      Didn’t see the game. I was at the Air Force Ordinance Museum with my dog Daisey, who just turned 13.

      What I did notice from the highlights was some great play by the offensive line.

    • Malanch

      Rob has mentioned before that he’s big on Penix’s arm talent but has questions about the translatability of the Washington offense. As for the big Week 1 performance against Boise, it’s going to be hard for any talent evaluator to gauge much given the vastly inferior competition and lack of a pass rush. It’ll be awhile before we know how Penix looks throwing off-schedule and off-platform, taking hits and remaining durable, dealing with pressure, handling weather, etc.

      • Peter

        Very excited to see Penix in Corvallis. To see in real time how good his arm is. Just a glance at the Dawgs schedule saw a classic mid to late season pac 12 circular firing squad with the huskies going: usc, Utah, osu. Agree btw that the beavers and cougars in the mountain west makes the most sense.

        On a TV market note, I still can’t fathom the two AZ schools and their departure. Neither program is good. Big markets but in a state of massive transplants is anyone watching those programs? At least with Utah those folks live and die with their team.

        • Malanch

          “I still can’t fathom the two AZ schools and their departure.” –Peter

          Question: You can’t fathom their departure from a failing conference, or you can’t fathom that another power conference would actually want these two perennial underachievers? The former explains itself, so I assume you mean the latter.

          With respect to national football relevance, the Arizonas have been no better than Wazzu or Oregon State since the formation of the Pac-12; they’ve both had hot moments, stirring some local excitement now and then, same as the Cougs and Beavs.

          But today’s hyperfocus on TV markets must mean that some Big XII folks are trying to see the upside of the Phoenix-Prescott DMA—which is the #11 largest media market in the Nielsen rankings (Tucson-Sierra Vista is #65).

          Of course, the Arizonas are about as good at “delivering” those media markets as they are at filling those football stadiums. But the University of Arizona does bring academic prestige and elite NCAAM to the Big XII, and Arizona State brings a massive alum base with major Phoenix-area connectivity. And both bring something the Big XII is needing even more than any fanciful promise of TV riches, and that is safety in numbers.

          In times of upheaval, stability is in high demand. I mean, hell, look at the ACC for eff’s sake. SMU, Cal, and Stanford?! Check out this excerpt from Paul Finebaum on Matt Barrie’s podcast:

          “I just want to congratulate the ACC for essentially voting out Clemson, North Carolina, and Florida State. Because, after what happened Friday with the admission of SMU, Cal, and Stanford, they have essentially given those three a ticket out. That league, which was already teetering toward irrelevancy, has just taken on three schools that devalue an already discounted product even more. And that league is just heading toward the iceberg.”


    • Rob Staton

      Penix Jr has a superb arm. I was in Le Louvre on Thursday and you could put his arm in there it’s that good.

      The issues are though, the system is a classic one-read, half-field system and he’s never sacked. Those mechanics and the way he throws, I’d love to see how it translates when he has to make real progressions and face constant pressure. When you watch him throw and actually study his complete game you have to pause and think beyond the ‘wow’ moments alone. You have to temper the stock. I do think JS will like his arm talent though.

      • Romeo A57

        I like Penix but with his injury history, I can’t see him drafted on the first 2 days of the draft. In his first 4 college seasons, he was out for the season by week 6

        • Peter

          First two days? I could maybe see a late second round pick if he shows out all season. Thinking about Hooker and his age plus injury. Seems like Penix might go to a team that doesn’t need a starter but is already looking at the future.

          But you’re probably right. Every year the qbs start way over valued then come draft time there’s a pretty big drop off from where most eventually go.

          Outside of Wiiliams I didn’t see ( mostly highlights) any QB play from this week that showed me anything new from last year. Even Sanders. Great win but TCU is already not TCU of last year. Bo Nix and company destroying a community College sized team….

        • Rob Staton

          Certainly something to consider and teams will study the medicals

  12. Thomas

    P.S. I’ll be interested to hear if you have anything to say on Cam Ward. I’m not a WSU fan. I’m just curious to hear your thoughts. WSU beat up Colorado State today.

  13. Malanch

    Two years from now, Rob is gonna be gearing up to study a whole lotta Dante Moore. What a prospect.

    • Palatypus

      If not for him, the Bruins would not be winning this game.

      • Malanch

        Coastal Carolina was THIS close to sinking a 55-yard field goal and taking a fourth quarter lead over the Chipsters. Think about it from Moore’s perspective: He just hit his 18th birthday a few months ago and today suddenly found himself going head-to-head against a legit mid-major defense loaded with 22- and 23-year-old grown-ass men. (The Chanticleers’ defensive two-deep lists 11 redshirt seniors, five redshirt juniors, and two true seniors.) This ain’t high school anymore—not that Moore ever looked the slightest bit fazed. A cool customer, this one. Easily the best NFL quarterback prospect Chip has ever had (sorry, Marcus).

  14. Volume12

    Shadeur Sander was my QB to watch this year. But how about Travis Hunter? My goodness. Havent see a 2 way player like him since Charles Woodson. Hunter is a special prospect.

    • Volume12

      110 snaps
      11 receptions
      119 rec yds
      3 tackles
      2 PD
      1 INT

      • DriveByPoster

        Yeah, I enjoyed watching Hunter too. It wasn’t just the numbers that he put up, it was that the moments when he shone were clutch. Sanders put up some very gaudy numbers too & looked good but there wasn’t a whole lot of defense on display in the game, so difficult to come to any conclusions.

        For your info Rob, I watched the game on plain old Youtube. Unlike previous seasons, not all the games were showing, so not much cop for your scouting purposes I imagine, but plenty good enough for my personal entertainment.

        • Rob Staton

          Hunter also had a highly egregious drop in the game

  15. Rob Staton

    Now watched the full Sanders tape

    Nothing negative. He’s not very elusive but a top notch Colorado debut

    • GF

      Hey Rob, did you see Drew Allar ? Penn State QB …… wowww

      • Rob Staton

        I did not but as a true sophomore I probably won’t get around to him much this year

      • Robbie

        I watched him! I think that kid is going to be good!

  16. Rob Staton

    Write-up coming up later on Maye vs Rattler which I’ve now watched in full

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