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UCF Knights vs Michigan Wolverines

Lon Horwedel/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

UCF Knights vs Michigan Wolverines

UCF Knights @ Michigan Wolverines

Saturday,September 10, 2016 @ 12:00 p.m.

Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Score: 14 UCF – Michigan 51

 Notable Prospects Entering the Contest

Michigan Offense

I watched most of the offensive line for Michigan because they were all upperclassmen and I wanted to see the tough, grind it out play that the Michigan reputation has been based on. However, I came away semi unimpressed. Although they blew out UCF 51-14, the offensive line did not man handle the UCF defensive line. All of the offensive linemen were basically in the same boat talent wise. Some plays they were very effective in their technique and other plays they were lunging and grasping for air. I expected the veteran players to consistently play with powerful technique but instead lineman won their one on one battle 2/3 plays and I suspect that those kinds of efforts will not be enough when they face top tier teams.

Mason Cole, C, Junior #52

He is the 1st player in Michigan history to start his season opener on the offensive line as a freshman and ever since then he has continued on to start all 25 games since and been selected onto the All Big 10 Team. Yet, this is his first season playing center.  His accolades show on film because he was one of the better offensive linemen. He would play smart and shield off linebackers on the second level on sweep plays to make them non-factors in the play. He showed that he has the ability to shadow in pass protection and quickly cross face the DT in the run game when he doesn’t have initial leverage lining up.  He also showed that he can be knocked to the side if the DT strongly clubs/pushes his shoulder pad and gets him off balance. Sometimes, the UCF’s better DT would have him in a complete spin trying to keep up with his strength. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 5th

Ben Braden, G, senior #71

In my opinion, Braden was the worst of the offensive linemen. Take that statement with some hesitation because although he was the worst, like I said before, they all had their good moments. However, Braden had the most and biggest bad moments. He had wide arm placement on initial contact which allowed LBs to get away from him and forced him into a lean over position once his hands had nothing to grasp. Multiple times he would have to hold and tackle a rusher after moving too slow and losing leverage on the play. Sometimes he got a penalty called on him but more should have been called. He also showed the inability to comprehend LB blitzes. On 3rd and 10, the DT head up rushed inside to take his attention from the LB blitzing on his outside shoulder to cause a QB hurry and duck throw. On another blitz he had a late reaction and had to tackle the blitzer in the backfield. With all that being said, when he got his hands in the right position and a good base under him, he had the power to open huge running lanes. Those plays just were not consistent. Stock: down; Draft’s bargain round: 7th/undrafted

Kyle Kalis, G, Senior #67

I almost not even put Kalis on the list because of the average game he had. He got beat on some plays and he did pretty well on other plays. When he lined up against the better defensive linemen, he usually got beat because he didn’t have the upper or lower strength to compete at their level. He would either give up penetration by taking multiple steps to recover after the initial contact on run plays or he would not be able to cross face the DT when asked to zone block. Other plays, he got good hand placement in pass protection and on the goalie he got really good explosion off of the snap to knock back the defensive linemen. Stock: down; Draft’s bargain round: 7th

Erik Magnuson, T, Senior, #78

I believe that he was the best offensive lineman on the Michigan front. He had a very wide base in his stance and then it continued in his kickback. Although, I am not a fan of exaggerated bases, his kickback forced rushers on the edge to consistently take the long way around his edge. When blocking downfield, he showed that he has no problem running his feet and staying engaged on his block 5 yds. downfield. A play that was bad when it didn’t have to be was when he was on the goal line and he lost his balance because he tried to put too much power into his block. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 5th

Jake Butt, TE, Senior #88

Last season he had 51 catches for 654 yds. and 3 tds. and then selected 1st team All American and Big Ten Tight End of the Year. His game is the typical old school type of TE that we have come accustomed to; almost like a Jason Witten. I wouldn’t classify his speed as fast, but I would not dare classify him as slow either. He is craftier than anything. He uses subtle tactics within routes to gain separation such as hesitation moves or pressing up field to get the defender running at a high angle before he cuts flat across the field. His best asset is his catching though. Just like Witten, all he needs an inch of room and an accurate QB and he will catch the pass. He caught two tds in this game. His blocking game is average, because his dominance depends on who he is facing. Against a DB, he will run his feet and dominate him but against a LB he may allow the defender to cross his face toward the ball carrier. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 2nd-3rd 

Jehu Chesson, WR, Senior #86

According to Lance Zierlein, he is the 2nd WR to watch in 2016 after last season he caught 50 passes for 764 yds. and 9 tds. and being a 1st team All-Big Ten selection. I have to evaluate more games this season because it seemed like the WRs were just too fast for the UCF DBs and could get over top whenever they wanted. He did have a good concentration catch on a diving post pattern catch. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: unknown

Amara Darboh, WR, Senior #82

He is an All-Big Ten Team selection. I have to evaluate more games this season because it seemed like the WRs were just too fast for the UCF DBs and could get over top whenever they wanted. He also had a deep post touchdown catch when the DB played bump coverage; a simple outside release and arm swing to get the DB hands off of him gave him enough room to run full speed and create separation. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: unknown

Michigan Defense

Rashan Gary, DE, Freshman #3

The #1 high school recruit in the country last year definitely has a bright future ahead of him. When defending the read option, he showed great patience to squeeze just a little bit to make the QB pull the ball and then he sat in his gap to make the tackle. On another play, he showed great speed rushing on the edge to sack the QB. However, I will continue to watch his effort has his career progresses because on one play he was trailing 2 yds. behind the QB but he pulled up and stopped running; hopefully he learns that those are prime opportunities to cause fumbles and/or make a statement tackle. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: unknown because he is too young.

Chris Wormley, DE, Senior #43

Last season he had a decent year with 6.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss and then he was selected to the All-Big Ten Third Team. His average statistics tell the story of his game film. He has the ability to do more but his effort is not on par to give more. He does have the power to bull rush offensive linemen and create QB hurries and/or collapse the holes on running plays. He showed multiple times the hand power to get underneath the lineman’s pads and then leg drive to push back the blocker to create disruption. He get off speed is a little hesitant and he doesn’t hustle hard throughout the play but rather rushes hard initially and then puts his hand in the air to try and knock down the ball. Stock: down; Draft’s bargain round: 6th

Ryan Glasgow, DT, Senior #96

His game film is phenomenal and I came away very very impressed. His functional strength is pure difficult to match up against and was unstoppable all game. He strikes on initial contact with a lot of power and uses that initial push to gain a great lean and square base. Once he has his position, he diagnoses where the runner is going and because he has great arm extension on the blocker he is able to use his arm power to throw the lineman in the opposite direction and make the tackle at the LOS. Within his base, he has enough lower body strength to handle double teams and he’s smart enough to attack one of the blockers so that he can split the double team. On pass plays, he doesn’t have the initial pass rush hand technique but because his base is so sturdy and he forces great arm extension onto the lineman, if the QB holds the ball, he has a two way go to throw the lineman to the side and cause late pressure. Another move he has is the snag and pull, which is putting his hands inside the blockers breastplate, extending his arms with extreme force and then using the lineman’s momentum (he will try to push against the rushers push) to pull (snag) him in any direction (usually to the side). He has decent speed as well, as seen when he tackled a RB on a screen out of the backfield on the sideline. I absolutely love his functional strength. He caused disruption on zone running plays because linemen could never withstand his strength and cross his face. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 1st

Maurice Hurst, DT, Senior #73

He is the definition of moving efficiently from power to speed. He has the explosion off the snap of the ball to create penetration by catching his blocker off guard and then he switches to speedy athleticism to tackle the ball carrier. I can tell that he is fast because he runs down a faster QB who was scrambling to the sideline.  Consistently gets penetration on plays by using his initial strength, using his hands to open gaps wider than initially and then he uses his speed to run down the ball carrier. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 3rd

Ben Gedeon, LB, Senior #42

He represents the typical, old school type of linebacker; the linebacker who is all about contact. He looks for contact, especially when the blocker is coming from right where the runner is moving to. Gedeon has the ability to knock linemen on their butts and lay vicious hits on ball carriers. He also has the lateral balance to keep up with the ball carriers lateral shiftiness. He delivers a big hit when the contact does arrive (usually a little below the 2nd level) but he does not separate from the blocker soon after engagement. He is definitely more adept to defend the run rather than the pass. He has difficulty keeping up with the RBs who are running check down routes in the passing game.

Mike Mcray, LB, Senior #9

He was the Big Ten Player of the Week in the first week. These sorts of accomplishments do not occur by accident. He had a solid overall game and there were key moments that previewed the athleticism he provides. When he blitzed on the offensive tackles’ outside shoulder and outstretched arms, he had great bend and he turned his shoulder pads to create as little surface area as possible for the lineman to block. He did not allow the awkward position to slow him down on his way to the QB to cause a duck pass throw. Another example was when he was running to the sideline to cover a flat route runner and he stopped suddenly to knock down a pass intended for a receiver running right behind him toward the MOF. I would not classify him as dominate in the game but he showed that he has the potential to contribute to an NFL team’s success. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 5th

Jeremy Clark, CB, Senior #34

Clark has the potential to be a very good addition for a team in the middle rounds. His long arms allow him to reach as far as possible into the air and defend deep passes. I also liked his fight to defend passes. When a jump ball occurred between him and the receiver, Clark was clawing to get the ball out of the receiver’s hands even while on the ground. He also showed the discipline to shadow a WR for an extended period of time when his WR began to scramble with the QB. Clark remained patient, shadowed the receiver wherever he moved and then played the ball in the air to knock it down when it was thrown. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 4th

Jabrill peppers, LB/DB, Junior #5

He is a jack of all trades player and his versatility to potentially fill the role of the safety/linebacker hybrid position that many NFL teams are looking to utilize is important for him. He plays against the run very well because he has the size to enforce violent tackles on ball carriers and he is very quick to gain leverage on the blockers. For instance, when a scrambling QB was moving toward him, Peppers jumped to the outside shoulder of the WR that was going to block him and knocked down the WR’s hands so that he wouldn’t be able to grab onto Peppers and slow him down. He is very crafty when working off the edge. When rushing, he’ll execute a spin move on the tackle or he’ll take his shoulder away to cancel surface area. Although the moves did not always work, I liked the confidence to try and when he did end up on the ground, he popped up quick and still made tackles. When he rushed off the edge of the line, he would lower his shoulder into the RB pass protector. Finally, he did return punts and does a decent job but I do not believe that that it will be a long term option for him in the NFL because I do not sense that he can run at full speed and change direction as a ball carrier. My hesitation with him is that he did not stick his nose into tackles that were already being made. This shows that he is either ignorant of turnover potential when a player is being tackled by another or it displays his laziness. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 2nd

Dymonte Thomas, S, Senior #25

He had a pretty decent game overall. He executed safe tackles against ball carriers on long runs. When defending bubble screens, Thomas barely broke down as he approached the ball carrier but rather he sliced his legs from under him using his momentum built up from the safety position. Thomas is also very aware of the details of the game of Football as evident when he knocked down the stiff arm of a ball carrier before moving forward with his tackle. In pass defense, he looks like he has the speed to run sideline to sideline. More film is needed but he may be an interesting prospect to consider for NFL teams. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 4th

 UCF Offense

Aaron Evans, T, Junior #66

He was the only player on the team to start all 12 games last season. I feel that Evans has decent ability but at the end of the day, is just not ready for the NFL competition. He struggles going against stronger, better defensive players; losing his balance and resorting to wide casting his arms to grab onto anything possible. He does well being patient and not being fooled by defensive line stunts and he occasionally delivers a good blow to the defenders. All in all though, his functional strength is lacking to compete on an elite level on a consistent basis.  Stock: down; Draft’s bargain round: undrafted free agent

Tristan Payton, WR, Sophomore #6

The total lack of UCF offense made it difficult to fully evaluate the wide receivers. However, he consistently put forth great effort and executed at a high level when blocking. Payton successfully blocked on all three levels of the defense. He got his hands on DBs and then ran his feet until the DB was on the ground. Against LBs, he waited and stayed patient for them to come to him and then he cut them down to provide just enough room for the bubble catcher. Against a safety, he steadily moved downfield until the safety was close enough and then he burst forward and cut him as well. Each time he was visually talking trash and excited about his play. I also noticed that he has the quickness to defeat bump coverage when he used a triples move to get past the DB and then he chopped down his arm and quickly stacked him about 7 yards downfield. He also returns kickoffs. Moving forward I want to see better awareness of the defenders around him when the QB is scrambling to make himself open sooner; he basically stayed in the same spot on scramble plays. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: undrafted free agent

 Other Players that Flashed

Best Players on the Field

Ryan Glasgow, DT, Senior #96

Jabrill peppers, LB/DB, Junior #5


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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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