University of Minnesota Golden Gophers @ University of Maryland Terrapins
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, College Park, Maryland
Score: Minnesota (31), Maryland (10)
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Levern Jacobs, WR, Senior, #8: Jacobs is not a notable or prominent draft prospect but he had himself a very strong game working against a skilled DB opposite him in Jalen Myrick. Jacobs on numerous occasions showed the ability to stop on a dime and work back into the LOS to provide his Quarterback with a clean target. Jacobs’ hands impressed as well, he did very well to look in throws reliably and ensure that plays were finished. He did miss a contested opportunity up the sideline and otherwise was held in check after the catch; but the showing was strong enough that Jacobs’ play needed to be discussed. Jacobs doesn’t possess any notable size at 5110 and 185 but he was effective throughout the afternoon and figures to be a candidate to enter camp next summer on a 90-man roster. Pro prospects are limited but by and large a good afternoon for him.
Michael Dunn, LT, Senior, #76: Dunn impressed me with his movement skills. His hand placement and punch left me wanting more; as he struck me as largely a finesse OT. Yet his mobility and movement skills flashed on a number of occasions, both in pass protection and working laterally at the LOS to cut off defenders trying to crash across his face. Dunn is an experienced starter (43 career starts including 37 straight at one point in 2015) and previously a walk on to the Terps program. Dunn’s footwork appeared efficient on initial viewings and left me impressed. I’m not certain Dunn has the baseline levels of strength to play and succeed at the NFL level but this was a strong performance for him in pass protection and he warrants further viewing going forward.
Will Likely, NB, Senior, #4: Likely had probably the worst game imaginable. His first punt return resulted in a misread on the coverage and was pummeled for a big hit. On his next return he muffed a fair catch. Lastly, Likely was knocked from the game late in the first half with an undisclosed injury and did not return. His defensive efforts were the lone bright spot of the day; as Likely proved to be sticky in coverage (even if he was a bit grabby beyond the 5-yard allotted area). Likely’s natural playmaking ability and open field skills never got a chance to get off the ground this weekend but it is well documented how gifted he is in these areas. Hopefully he will be back on the field soon and we can continue to assess his play.
Jesse Aniebonam, EDGE, Junior, #41: Aniebonam is stepping into the Yannick Ngakoue role of the Terps defense and has found excellent productivity early on in the season (5.5 sacks and 8.5 TFL in 5 games entering the contest). His performance was a mixed bag that left me wanting more, personally. Aniebonam has adequate size at 6030, 260 and his motor runs impressively hot; much like Ngakoue. Furthermore, Aniebonam was effective and able to hold ground stacking blockers at the point of attack and effectively filtered runs back inside of his responsibility from the C gap. Yet there’s additional development needed here from a hand work perspective. Aniebonam doesn’t show particularly well when having to press or leverage his rushes or trying to disengage to make a play on a run. He was also subbed out regularly and failed to see a high percentage of snaps on the day.
Rodney Smith, RB, RS Sophomore, #1: Smith ran like a man possessed against the Terps. With QB Mitch Leidner out of the game the Terps relied on both Smith and RB Shannon Brooks to carry the load on offense and Smith rewarded them with his 3rd 100-yard rushing effort of the season. Half of his yards came on a long 70-yard touchdown run on 4th and short late in the game to help ice the ‘W”. Smith showed excellent short area cut ability and a pleasant second gear in the open field. Smith was patient in the backfield and allowed his blocks to set up regularly before pressing through creases. Smith runs with a short stride and while not being a game breaker from a speed perspective he does have the foot quickness to accelerate suddenly and break poor angles in the secondary.
Jalen Myrick, CB, Senior, #5: Myrick had a quietly strong effort, in part because of how neutered the Maryland passing attack was without starting QB Perry Hills. Myrick was physical down the field; he’s well slapped together at 5100, 205. Myrick contributed on special teams as a returner as well and showed an ability to make people miss in the open field. More importantly; Myrick was a treat to watch play off the LOS and had strong footwork to sustain his zone leverage and pin receivers into the sideline when dropping off of the LOS. Myrick was fast to flow, physical as a tackler and on several occasions went into the teeth of the offense at the LOS. Myrick appears to be a strong candidate to be a middle round CB on this initial viewing. I’m looking forward to watching more to see if his play is consistently at such a strong level.
Best Players on the Field:
Tino Ellis, CB (Freshman, MD); Lorenzo Harrison, RB (Freshman, MD); Rodney Smith, RB
Will Likely, NB; Terrance Davis, OG (Freshman, MD); Tyrrell Pigrome, QB (Freshman, MD); Conor Rhoda, QB (RS Junior, Minn)