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Ledyard | Ferocious defense from Clemson bottles up Jackson

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Scouting Notes

Ledyard | Ferocious defense from Clemson bottles up Jackson

#3 Clemson Tigers v #14 Louisville Cardinals

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

Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY

Clemson (47), Louisville (21)

Notable Prospects Entering the Contest

Clemson Tigers

Deon Cain, WR, Junior

Analysis: Final stat line looks pedestrian, but doesn’t tell the whole story. Cain blew by Chucky Williams on a nine route and created several yards of separation, but the ball was badly underthrown resulting in an incompletion that should have been a touchdown. Cain also had a sick double move from the slot (I think) and got behind the defense for a touchdown, but the play was called back due to a personal foul near the line of scrimmage. Cain is a talented runner after the catch, and doesn’t take long to transition from reception to runner. He broke a couple tackles to turn a short loss into a short gain on one catch. Stock: Up

Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Junior

Analysis: Long speed and short area explosiveness are really intriguing. Terrific double move with elite hip snap to sell fake before accelerating vertically for 79-yard touchdown. Two drops, one on slant slightly behind him, the other on a curl. Both occurred because of contact as the ball arrived. Good awareness to reach for a key first down with Clemson in two-minute drive before the end of the half. Might not be a natural hands catcher, but has the traits to be useful in a specific role as a space/vertical threat.  Stock: Up

Hunter Renfrow, WR, RS Junior

Analysis: Some of the most elite hands I’ve ever scouted. Caught everything thrown his way, including a high-point third down grab on a throw slightly behind him between two defenders that moved the chains on the drive that put the game away. Money man on third down. Terrific dig route from the slot, selling outside release before bursting across the middle for another key conversion. Good positioning on a corner route to get behind the deepest defender and shield the catch point with his body, making a tough vertical grab despite a defender on his back. Renfrow is the real deal, we’ve got to start talking about him like a legit prospect. Stock: Up

Mitch Hyatt, OT, Junior

Analysis: Clean game in pass protection outside of one sack allowed. NFL speed will challenge him up the arc. Set points can be extended to establish better half-man relationship. Not a people mover in the run game, but reached second level under control and showed good hand placement and active feet to stay on blocks in space. Stock: Same

Tyrone Crowder, OG, RS Senior

Analysis: Phone booth guy in the run game. Had a physical advantage in the trenches that was obvious in this game. Gap scheme seems like a best fit. There are some issues with lateral agility and posture in pass protection that could limit his impact at the next level. Louisville pass rusher hit him with a nasty swim move when Crowder overextended on his punch. Weight distribution can be sloppy. I wasn’t really high on Crowder before, but what I saw of him in this game didn’t help either. Stock: Down

Clelin Ferrell, DE, RS Sophomore

Analysis: Explosive first step and non-stop hustle. Did not seem to win quickly 1v1 as a pass rusher tonight. Can be a bit more disciplined when defending the option, stepped down and allowed Jackson outside of him, losing contain on one snap. Hustle and motor are non-stop. Made several important stops in pursuit. Stock: Same

Christian Wilkins, DL, Junior

Analysis: A relatively quiet game for Wilkins, who seemed to hold his own in the run game, but didn’t win 1v1 very often as a pass rusher. Clemson rushed four often, and Wilkins saw some double teams that made his life tough as a pass rusher. Another non-stop motor defender who got a cleanup sack for his hard work.  Stock: Same

Austin Bryant, DE, Junior

Analysis: Hustler with good power as a point of attack defender, but seems to lack the athleticism and fluidity to play in space or be an explosive threat off the edge. Louisville optioned off of him a couple times with great success.  Stock: Down

Kendall Joseph, LB, RS Junior

Analysis: Very good blitzer. Times up his attacks and didn’t overpursue in the pocket. Tackled well and will close quickly on the football. Dropped a would-be interception in coverage, but a nice break on a poor throw by Lamar Jackson. I didn’t watch Joseph as closely as I did other players, but he continually popped in a positive way when I noticed him. Stock: Same

Dorian O’Daniel, LB, RS Senior

Analysis: Intriguing athleticism. Physical and will come downhill to lay the wood. Good job fooling Lamar Jackson as if he was breaking to the flat before drifting back into his hook zone for an interception. Shook off tacklers for pick-six.  Stock: Up


Lamar Jackson, QB, Junior

Analysis: Easily Jackson’s worst game of the season, but he also got very little help from a supporting cast that dropped tons of passes and failed to make relatively simple adjustments. Jackson’s accuracy continues to be an issue, as he often put passes behind his receivers in all areas of the field. Struggles with downfield accuracy outside the numbers from the pocket. Threw a corner route inside instead of outside, and missed on a hitch and another in-breaking route by throwing behind his receivers early in the game. Accuracy on the move is still impressive, placed the ball well and maintains velocity. He mis-read the linebacker on a pick six, and locked onto a receiver on his very next throw that should have been picked as well. I still think Jackson has shown remarkable growth this season, but this game highlighted some of his weaknesses as well. Stock: Down

Jaylen Smith, WR, Junior

Analysis: Terrible game. Ran routes half-speed, gave weak efforts on balls over the middle and failed to make fluid adjustments to passes he could have come up with. Looked tight in the hips and did not seem up the game speed everyone else was competing at. A late touchdown on a wide open crosser buoyed his stat line. Stock: Down

James Hearns, DE, RS Senior

Analysis: Eight tackles and two sacks in a huge night for Hearns. Terrific inside spin to force Kelly Bryant to scramble on a play that resulted in a sack. Beat Mitch Hyatt up the arc with a cross chop and a nice corner to come up with a key sack. Hearns was the best player on the field for Louisville tonight. Stock: Up

Stacy Thomas, LB, RS Senior

Analysis: Big stick on third and short to end a Clemson drive. Thomas is a big thumper that can lay the wood as a hitter. I worry about his range in space and ability to cover given the movement skills I saw in this game. Good tackler. Stock: Same

Chucky Williams, S, Louisville

Analysis: Cain ran by him like he was nailed to the ground on one nine route. Seems to lack instincts and ball skills in deep coverage, but made strong tackles all night and was solid in run support. Stock: Same

Other Players that Flashed

Ryan Carter, CB, Clemson (RS Senior) – Good deep coverage on one play, and showed the ability and desire to come downhill with intensity as a tackler.

Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson (Sophomore) – Lawrence continues to look like a future top ten pick, with run-stuffing ability inside, with improving pass rush prowess as well.

Tavien Feaster, RB, Clemson (Sophomore) – Feaster didn’t look crazy explosive, but he was terrific at working through contact and finding the soft spots up front. He ran with a good understanding of where runs should hit and showed the patience to let blocks develop before hitting the hole.

Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (Freshman) – Had an 81-yard touchdown run that made me look him up. Incredible acceleration and the power to run through tackles. The future is bright.


Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard has been writing about the NFL draft for several years now, and is thrilled to be bringing creative content and unique analysis to NDT Scouting. He lives with his wife Brittany and four-month old daughter Caylee in mid-western Pennsylvania. Jon is also the host of the Locked on NFL Draft and Breaking the Plane podcasts, while covering the Steelers for scout.com. The Office, LOST, weightlifting, ultimate frisbee, grilling, Duke basketball, and all Pittsburgh pro sports teams are his greatest passions.

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