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Tuls | Florida DBs shine in thrilling victory over Tennessee

Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

Tuls | Florida DBs shine in thrilling victory over Tennessee

#23 Tennessee Volunteers vs #24 Florida Gators

09/16/2017

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL

Score:  Tennessee (20), Florida (26)

Notable Prospects Entering the Contest

Florida Gators 

Antonio Callaway, WR (Junior): Callaway was one of nine Gators suspended for the game against Tennessee. The more time he misses, the less chances he gets to show his worth as the top option in this offense. Stock: Down

DeAndre Goolsby, TE (Senior): Going against a struggling Tennessee pass defense, DeAndre Goolsby had a prime opportunity to have a highlight reel performance on Saturday. Needless to say, that did not happen, as he did not even garner a single target. For a player who is known for his playmaking ability and move value, Goolsby was invisible in this aspect of the game. Stock: Down

Martez Ivey, OT (Junior): Ivey showed a much better performance against the Volunteers than he did in the opener against Michigan. He is not the run blocker that some want him to be at this stage of his development, but he showcased his footwork and sound technique in pass protection nearly all game. I would like to see a mean streak from Ivey, especially when he reaches the second level. Nonetheless, this was a step in the right direction for the finesse offensive lineman. Stock: Up

Cece Jefferson, DL (Junior): Cece Jefferson is an interesting study because I believe he is a bit of a tweener with his combination, or lack of size and athleticism. I’m still not sure what position he plays all three downs on at the next level, but he is a powerful, disruptive player when his motor is running high. He showed the most impact as a situational interior pass rusher. His frame and lack of overall play strength puts him at a disadvantage against the run, but this game did not show us anything new about his game. Stock: Same

Duke Dawson, CB (Senior): Another outstanding performance for Florida’s star nickel cornerback. Dawson was all over the field, as he was seen making key open field tackles, deflecting a couple of passes and hauling in another interception. Performances like these only cement Dawson’s status as a top senior cornerback in the 2018 NFL draft class. Stock: Up

Tennessee Volunteers

John Kelly, RB (Junior): John Kelly may be short at 5’9, but he is a load to bring down. With his stocky, muscular frame, he showed the ability to bowl over defenders in addition to exposing them with his quickness. Kelly’s balance to keep runs alive was one of the few reasons why Tennessee stayed in this game until the final whistle. The real value in this game for Kelly, in terms of his draft stock, was arguably his performance as a receiver out of the backfield. With 96 yards on six receptions, including a 52-yard gain, Kelly was able to lead his team in both rushing and receiving yards. Stock: Up

Ethan Wolf, TE (Senior): Plenty of Kelly’s big runs were spurred by tight end Ethan Wolf. At 6’6, 258, Wolf is a physically-imposing blocker who can win at both the first and second level. Whether it was with power or technique, Wolf showcased why he is considered to be one of the best in-line blocking tight ends in the nation. I also loved Wolf’s ability to find the soft spot in zone coverage this game, but his struggles against Man were obvious. He does not have the speed to separate one on one, but his savviness as a receiver at least makes him an intriguing three-down weapon. Stock: Same

Emmanuel Moseley, CB (Senior): I wish I had nice things to say about Moseley’s performance. His tackling was beyond poor, getting his ankles broken even while awkwardly breaking down in the open field. In pass coverage, he struggled in both man and zone. He can make up ground in a hurry, but it does not matter because he simply does not turn to find the football with his back to the ball. Moseley was unfortunately a liability for the most part. Stock: Down

Other Players that Flashed

Florida’s Tyrie Cleveland, WR (Sophomore): With Callaway’s absence, Tyrie Cleveland, the explosive sophomore, stole the spotlight and shared one of the most memorable plays of the college football season thus far. It was indeed Cleveland who got behind the defense on the hail-mary touchdown, but his big play presence was felt all game. Cleveland’s rapport with Franks continues to grow while Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett sit out.

Florida’s Marco Wilson, CB (Freshman): Gators fans are familiar with Marco Wilson because of his brother Quincy, but the true freshman starter had a breakout game against the Vols. He consistently made life on the outside for these receivers a nightmare, disrupting and challenging every play at the catch point. His physicality and aggressiveness at the LOS was on full display all game long. Wilson needs to improve as an open-field tackler, but this was a promising performance for the young freshman.

Florida’s CJ Henderson, CB (Freshman): Henderson is another freshman cornerback who starred in this game, but he was the one who ended up with arguably the best play of the day for the Gators, other than the hail mary at the end. His pick six of Quinten Dormady was one of the highlights of the game for the self proclaimed “DB-U.”

Tennessee’s Kendal Vickers, DT (Redshirt Senior): The heart of the Vols’ run defense is redshirt senior Kendal Vickers, who was able to hold his ground and enforce his will at the point of attack on Saturday. He plays with excellent leverage and heavy hands, giving him the opportunity to make plays in the backfield if blocked one on one. On doubles, he handled his assignment well, not playing hero ball. His range is limited as a pass rusher, but his value as a run stuffer cannot go unnoticed.

Best Players on the Field

Tennessee’s John Kelly, RB (Junior)

Florida’s Marco Wilson, CB (Freshman)

Florida’s CJ Henderson, CB (Freshman)

Florida’s Duke Dawson, CB (Senior)

Forgettable Performances

The Florida suspensions (Antonio Callaway, Jordan Scarlett, etc.)

Tennessee’s Quinten Dormady, QB (Junior)

Tennessee’s prevent defense package

Jonah Tuls

Tuls is one of the lead NFL Draft analysts for Draftbreakdown.com and has been a key contributor to several other NFL Draft sites in recent years. At Draftbreakdown, Tuls provides macro-oriented NFL Draft coverage, including comprehensive player rankings, mock drafts and big boards for the site. Tuls has worked with some of the NDT Scouting staff previously before; he worked with National Scout Jon Ledyard to form the core of USA Today’s Draft Wire site for the 2016 NFL Draft season. His work there was centered around draft reports, with additional analysis and breaking news efforts as well.

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