#11 Michigan Wolverines v #17 Florida Gators
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Score: Michigan 33, Florida 17
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Wilton Speight, QB (Senior)
Speight came into the 2017 season after a solid, but unspectacular junior season that ended on a sour note. As a junior, he struggled to place the ball accurately while pushing the ball down the field, and it cost the Wolverines dearly last year. He was a touch better today, but he does not look comfortable when attacking defenses vertically, and it leads to him overthrowing his receivers, even when they are open. He did complete a few of these throws, but it is noticeable that he throws a very flat ball, and that makes it tough for his receivers to make a play as there are times that he does not even make it a 50/50 ball. Speight threw two interceptions in the game on back to back plays, and both were returned for touchdowns by the Florida defense. The first was an adequate throw that hit the receiver in his hands, but the ball placement was poor, and it forced the receiver to jump and make a play. It is never a good idea to throw high and hard over the middle of the defense, and the result was an interception that put a touchdown on the board for the Gators. The second was brutal and came as Speight saw pressure. He threw the ball right to a Gators defender, and he was off to the races for a touchdown. Speight does not look like a quarterback playing with confidence and pressure is a problem for him as he can be rattled easily. You have to hand it to him as he is tough and willing to stay in the pocket to make a throw. Stock: Same
Mason Cole, OT (Senior)
Cole did a very nice job of moving his feet and keeping his shoulders square in this contest. Even when he was beaten off the edge today, he did not panic and could recover and push the defender past the pocket to keep his quarterback in the play. He does display very good footwork and lateral athleticism, and when he is out on the move, he can break down and hit targets out in space. On a fourth-down play from the Gators one-yard line, Cole executed a perfect down block that collapsed the right side of the defensive line and then has the awareness to get out to the second level and wall off a linebacker that led to a short running touchdown. Stock: Up
Maurice Hurst, DT (Graduate Student)
Hurst is one of the players I am most interested in watching this year as I think he can play himself into Round 1 of the 2018 NFL draft. He has rare first-step quickness and then can back that up with the lateral agility to run and pursue the ball. Hurst also shows very sound instincts, and this showed when he recognized a bubble screen developing, and he got out in time and chased the receiver down before he could get to the second level, and that shows me an advanced understanding of the game. He played inside as a 1-technique or as a 3-technique, but his combination of first-step quickness and power make him a very difficult player for linemen to block. Hurst was collapsing the pocket, and while he did not put up great numbers today, he made plays happen for his teammates. Stock: Up
Mike McCray, LB (Graduate Student)
McCray is a solid linebacker, but he is a limited athlete and is at his best working forward. He does not have outstanding movement skills. That was on display as he had Gators quarterback Malik Zaire dead to rights behind the line of scrimmage, and Zaire left him in the dust with a quick stutter move. McCray looks to be a solid run defending linebacker, and a capable one at that. Stock: Same
Duke Dawson, CB (Senior)
Dawson was just about everywhere in the Gators secondary today, and it is clear that he is a very good athlete. He is capable of playing man-to-man coverage, but he is not a one-trick pony as he can play in off coverage and zone too. Dawson should have got called for pass interference on a pass going down the field, but he was not beat with speed, and he was in good position on the play. Dawson handled a Wolverines receiver in coverage easily near the end zone and smothered the receiver which gave the quarterback nowhere to go but to throw the ball out of bounds. Dawson showed some savvy as he consistently used the boundary to squeeze the receiver and help him in coverage. He took advantage of a hard, high throw across the middle and picked off the pass as it bounced into the air. Dawson returned the ball and made a fantastic cutback to give him the room he needed to get the ball in the end zone. Stock: Up
Jordan Sherit, DE (Redshirt Senior)
Sherit did not flash a lot on this game, but when he did it was because he was utilizing his superior instincts to keep himself in a great position to make a play. There were multiple times in the game when he refused to get out of position regardless of what the Wolverines were throwing at him. He continued to force Speight to stay in the pocket and throw the ball away. Stock: Same
Maurice Ivey, OT (Junior)
Ivey was in for a tough test today facing the Wolverines front seven. For the most part, he did a nice job of holding up at the point of attack in pass protection. He looks long and uses those long arms to leverage defenders past the pocket, but he also showed nice lateral quickness and solid ability to move his feet. He did have one rep when he lost very badly. He overset to the outside near his goal line, and that allowed Chase Winovich to beat him cleanly to the inside for a strip sack and a touchdown for the Wolverines. Stock: Down
Other Players that Flashed
Michigan DE Rashan Gary (sophomore): Gary gave the Gators offensive line problems the entire day, and he showed the power, speed, and quickness that will ultimately make him a very high pick. He was extremely disruptive and had a solid day on defense.
Michigan CB Lavert Hill (sophomore): Hill had an up and down day as his troubles came from his lack of ability to turn his head and find the ball in coverage. Hill has great overall athleticism, and he did break up two passes in the game.
Michigan WR Tarik Black (freshman): Black flashed very impressive route running ability for a freshman and looked to be a big part of the Wolverines offense. He lined up outside and worked the boundary well, and he hit the Gators for a 46-yard touchdown catch. His speed and nuanced route running abilities were on display in his first game in college.
Michigan LB Devin Bush (sophomore): There’s no other way to say it, but Bush is a monster and is going to be a handful for college offenses going forward. He showed quickness and the speed to chase sideline to sideline, and then he would flash the power to bull his way through a blocker while blitzing a gap to chase down the quarterback. He had two sacks today, but the real positives here were his read and react skill, and his ability to diagnose, decipher and quickly work to what he was seeing. This was a very positive performance for Bush.
Chase Winovich LB, (Senior): Winovich beat starting left tackle Maurice Ivey late in the game, and he destroyed Gators quarterback Malik Zaire in the end zone. Zaire fumbled, and one of Winovich’s teammates recovered the fumble for a defensive touchdown.
Florida WR Tyrie Cleveland (sophomore): Cleveland showed the ability to make plays when the ball was in the air using his big frame. He gave the quarterback a large catching radius and did a nice job in route running.
Florida DE Jachai Polite (sophomore): Polite completely opened my eyes with his quick-twitch ability in all of his movements. He turned the corner with ease and applied pressure consistently in the game, and has a lot of high-end pass rushing traits. He is a player that I am very intrigued by and one I will watch as the season progresses.
Best Players on the Field
Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan (Sophomore)
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan (Senior)
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan (Sophomore)
Duke Dawson, CB, Florida (Senior)
Feleipe Franks, QB, Florida (Redshirt Freshman)
Nolan Ulizio, OT, Michigan (Junior)
Malik Zaire, QB, Florida (Senior)