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Dixon l Nick Fitzgerald carries Bulldogs over LSU Tigers

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Scouting Notes

Dixon l Nick Fitzgerald carries Bulldogs over LSU Tigers

#12 Louisiana State Tigers @ Mississippi State Bulldogs

Saturday, September 16, 2017, 8:00 p.m. ET

Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS

Louisiana State (7), Mississippi State (37)

Notable prospects entering the contest

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mike McLaurin, S #41 (Jr) The offense didn’t attack him much in the passing game. However, his consistent attack of the ball carrier and the several solid tackles he made caught my eye.  Stock: Same

Nick Fitzgerald, QB #7 (Jr) He is a threat in designed running packages because he has the speed to break of big runs yet has the size to fall forward after being tackled to get extra yards. He scored two rushing touchdowns on the goal line; once by jumping over the line of scrimmage and the other during a roll out RPO. He played very smart this game; taking what the defense gave him, throwing the ball away if needed, capitalizing on wide open receivers, etc. He has shown the ability to throw accurate passes when the intended target was pre-designed. If he had to scan the field and read the open receiver then his passes tended to sail a little high. Stock: Up

Martinas Rankin, LT #55 (Sr) Nice job getting initial leverage on blocks through hand placement. Even better, he does well to run his feet after getting hand placement to stay engaged and maintain leverage. Even when the ball was on the opposite side of the field, he still ran downfield to stay in front of the defender trying to track down the ball carrier. He was a very effective puller. Although his speed as a puller is less than average, his physicality at the point of attack is above average. As a puller, he cut down the LBs and jolted them with hits that opened huge running lanes off tackle. In pass protection, he did well to dominate on his island, however, I didn’t see the rusher contest him with many pass rushing moves. Therefore, this part of his game needs to be further evaluated. Overall, I was impressed with his initial hit and drive power during run plays. Stock: Up

Jordan Thomas, TE #83 (Sr) He is a big TE at 6’5” 280 lbs. but his background as a college WR helps him run routes fluently for his size. He easily rolled through his 10 yd. out route for a first down completion. He was decent as an in-line blocker, bringing his hips through the block. He could be a future mismatch. Stock: Up

Donald Gray, WR #6 (Sr) He did not get much opportunity as a receiver this game. However, he did show strong hands when he caught a pass thrown behind him with the defender closely trailing behind. Also, he returned a punt for an explosive gain by using a quick hesitation move to make the first guy miss before cutting across the field to gain as many yards as possible. Stock: Same


Louisiana State Tigers

Danny Etling, QB #16 (Sr) He threw some timing passes with perfect placement. His wide receivers did not help him much by dropping passes and running lackadaisical routes. However, Etling didn’t give his intended target a fair chance during several deep passes by throwing them out of bounds. LSU’s offense got their butts whooped but despite Etling’s senior status, I didn’t see him take any leadership position among his team to pick them up. Stock: Down

Derrius Guice, RB #5 (Jr) He didn’t find much running room this game yet I still saw fantastic explosion. He runs with an itch to jump cut at any given moment. Also, he stays low to the ground with an even keeled balance that allows him to break would be tackles. During a couple plays he literally went underneath a defender’s outstretched arms that could only grasp at his neck. He can be an every down back in the NFL because he has good vision and power to crease the lanes during short yardage situations. He did well as a pass protector and lead blocker. However, I did not like when I saw him duck his head and throw his shoulder into blocks because that technique will get him beat eventually. He got less reps as the game went on and I am confused as to why. Stock: Same

Will Clapp, C #64 (Jr) While in pass protection, he kept his head on the swivel. He has a high IQ to know where the stunts or blitzes are going to come from. He is a big body center with powerful hands which he can use to turn his upper body after contact to be an effective run blocker. I saw decent ability to get to the second level but he is also somewhat limited athletically to keep his feet once on the 2nd level. Stock: Up

DJ Chark, WR #7 (Sr) He did not do well as a route runner. During a 5-yard stop route, his last step was elongated which will give NFL DBs indication as to when he is stopping. During a third down pass, he ran straight through a slant route which allowed the DB to easily close the gap for an in-completion. He did not sell a stop and go enough to even get 1 yd of separation from a DB in press coverage on him. He dropped several easy passes that could have been difference makers in the game. Lastly, he walked around with defeated body language the more they lost and after each in-completion intended for him. Stock: Down

Arden Key, DE #49 (Jr) His arms are so long he reminds me of Mister Fantastic of Fantastic 4. His long arms are great to hold up the blocker as he diagnoses the run. When he extends his long arms, he controls the block because there is just too much space between him and the blocker; he can easily view the play and then sling the blocker when the time comes. He patiently waited on the end of the los then tackled the QB for no gain during the one time they ran a speed option toward him. It seemed like he was a little tired after missing the spring, fall camp, first two weeks of the season, and the LSU defense losing multiple D linemen during the game. However, he showed a few plays that previewed his low dip and rip around the edge with unique bend ability to get back downhill and sack a QB stepping up into the pocket. Stock: Up

Kevin Tolliver, DB #2 (Jr) He has hip fluency to change direction and drive on routes within one step. He has a balanced back pedal so that he can quickly click and close. He had a costly missed assignment when a TE sneaked up the seam during a play action for a TD. Stock: Same

Donte Jackson, DB #1 (Jr) The offense did not target him much. However, I still like how much he trusts his speed. His trust allows him to be on the attack during press coverage to get handsy during the WR’s initial stem to disrupt the route. Stock: Same

Ed Paris, S #21 (Sr) Saw speed to start in the MOF but still contest deep passes outside the numbers. He showed aggressive strength from a stationary position when he threw his shoulder into a lead blocker and knocked the lead blocker backwards. Stock: N/A (need to watch more of him)

Best Player on the Field

Devin White, LB #40 (Soph)

Nick Fitzgerald, QB #7 (Jr)

Forgettable Performances

Danny Etling, QB #16 (Sr)

DJ Chark, WR #7 (Sr)

Roger Dixon Jr

Roger is a native of Orlando, FL. After excelling in DII football his first 2 seasons, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing on the Florida Gators football team, where he was named Special Teams Player of the Year and Team Captain. He earned his degree in Economics from UF's Warrington College of Business. Roger brings a passion for football and unique perspective of what it takes to be successful in football at the highest level.

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