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USC Trojans vs Stanford Cardinal 9/17/2016

Tommy LaPorte/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

USC Trojans vs Stanford Cardinal 9/17/2016

USC Trojans @ Stanford Cardinals

Saturday, September 17, 2016 @ 8:00 p.m.

Stanford Stadium, Stanford, California

Score: 10 USC v Stanford 27

Notable Prospects Entering the Contest

USC Offense

Max Brown, QB, Junior #4 (6’5” 220 lbs)

He is a big body QB with a patient attitude. He is willing to step up in the pocket and wait until the last second to deliver an accurate pass. He will also continue to look downfield when he scrambles outside of the pocket. Has nice accuracy when throwing on the run. Has a decent deep pass, sometimes it has a little too much arch on it but other times it is perfectly placed in the receiver’s hands. He needs to continue to develop his awareness of defensive coverages because he led multiple pass catchers into harm’s way of a defensive player waiting for them. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 6th

Justin Davis, RB, Senior #22 (6’1” 200 lbs)

He is one of the most decisive ball carriers I have seen. He wants to run north right away. Even when initially running horizontal, he decisively makes a cut and gets up field quickly. If people are in front of him, he’ll lower his pads and get moving forward in order to get the first down. There are no second guesses in his running game. He showed really good hands when he ran a flat route and caught a very high pass right after turning his head and then he kept his balance when he came down. Although he hit the hole hard, quick, and decisively, he did not break many tackles after the point of contact. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 5th

Zach Banner, RT, Senior #73 (6’9” 360 lbs)

He is a huge body offensive lineman with super long arms. He can move the los horizontally when he engulfs rushers into his frame when down blocking or when he is moving vertically during a north/south run play. On one play he put the opposing team’s best D lineman on his knees. He has good continuation of hand pops in conjunction with his wide base leg drive so he can move with the defender as they try to get around him. His best assets are his long arms because when he is run blocking he can extend them and still move his feet and get considerable push on the D lineman down field. He needs to watch his hand placement because he’s so tall he sometimes hit the defenders in the head. In pass protection he had a fast and fluent kickback and he stayed in a good balanced posture. His hands moved in conjunction with his kickback and his long arms were used to keep the rusher away and not force him to have to give up his good posture. His worst plays were when he had to cross face D lineman with the run going in the opposite direction. He does not gain any distance with his first inside foot when trying to cross off rushers. This is either a technique or lower body strength problem. Inconsistent effort level is stopping him from being elite. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 3rd

Stanford Defense

Solomon Thomas, DE, Junior #90 (6‘3” 272 lbs)

He was the best defensive lineman for the Stanford Cardinal defense. He has an amazingly fast first step and anticipation of the snap. He was so fast on one play that he shot the gap before the tackle could cut him off and met the RB in the backfield as soon as he was getting the handoff. With his quickness on the snap and his low pad level, he can handle double teams. Although he can handle double teams and powerful offensive linemen, he sometimes naturally takes steps backwards to get away from the blocker but this is bad because this gives up yards for the RB and/or takes him longer to get to the RB. Throughout the game, he got constant pressure on the QB. In pass rush, he continuously moves his hands to chop at blocker’s forearms so they can’t get a good grip on him. He swipes at the blocker’s hands fast and in conjunction to take away body surface area and get a quick QB pressure. On one play, he quickly split the tackle and the guard and flushed the QB from the pocket within 2.5 secs. On 4th and short, he used his quickness to penetrate the backfield. It got to the point that he was being double teamed on each passing play.  Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 3rd-4th

USC Defense

Porter Gustin, DE, Sophomore #45 (6’5” 260 lbs)

Athletically he doesn’t exactly match up to the best DE’s in the country but he just has that factor that can make him beneficial to an NFL team. Sort of like a Jared Allen type player but with less pass rushing ability. He has intense hustle each play; tracking the ball even if it’s across the field,  bending low and not allowing cut blocks to take him to the ground, fighting through leverage blocks with strength to make the tackle on the ball carrier trying to run off the blockers butt. He begins each play with patience and arm extension to make sure that his guy does not have the ball. This patience helped him when they tried to speed option against him because he sat in the hole and forced the QB to toss it to the RB and then he sprinted horizontally and met the RB on the sideline. His go to move is the snag and pull and he has really good arm strength to execute against a guard after initially getting good arm extension on him. He does not have great speed at the snap of the ball but more of a gradual pass rusher. When rushing the tackle, he’ll gets hands on with the blocker and then use his hand and arm strength and simultaneously twists his hips to run sideways to propel him around the edge toward the QB. Needs to continue to work on situational technique such as when a pulling lineman comes toward him, he didn’t attack the blocker with good arm extension so it took him too long to get off of the block and the ball carrier ran right past him. His overall speed is a liability. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 7th-undrafted

Adoree Jackson, DB/WR/PR, Junior #2 (5’11” 185 lbs)

There is a lot of hype about this prospect, some calling him the best DB prospect in this draft class. Therefore, going into the game, I had high expectations of him and he delivered. He’s a shadow when defending routes and he plays with great technique. He has patience on the bump coverage, shuffling his feet to stay square as long as possible and he had a natural feel for when to shoot his hand into the WR chest. On a deep pass, he did not panic and turn his head to look for the ball but rather, he read the WR eyes and shot his hand through the WRs arm as soon as it was time to do so. He has great speed to match up with the fastest WRs. On a different go route, he played great deep ball technique again. This time he turned for the ball and used his body to block out the WR toward the sideline and then he jumped to intercept the ball with his hands at its highest point. He showed that he is a willing and consistent tackler. Multiple times he made the tackle on Christian McCaffrey, usually having to go under his stiff arm and tackling his leg. He is a dangerous punt returner. The previous week before this game, he had a 77 yd. punt return for a td and this week, he almost returned another punt return for a td the one time they allowed him to run. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 1st

Iman Marshall, DB, Sophomore #8 (6’1” 200 lbs)

He didn’t make any plays in coverage but he did flash as a consistent tackler. He has great quickness when avoiding blocks to maintain leverage and then explodes to wrap the ball carrier. He dodged the lead FB block twice on sweep plays using his quickness. He stuck his head in on a 3rd and 1 up the middle run play that proved to be vital because the runner tried to bounce it a little and he was right there to stuff it. He tackled Christian McCaffrey 1 on 1 on a sweep play and when his teammates arrived to help, he attempted for the strip. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: N/A more evaluation needed.  

Stanford Offense

Johnny Caspers, RG, Senior #57 (6’4” 296 lbs)

He started the first half not looking good at all. He was constantly on his knees trying to hold up against the strength of his opponent. Even on backside blocks he was being drove back.  He was not getting any leg drive once hitting the LBs on the second level. In the second half however, he began to quickly move and gain leverage against the defender. He would get hands onto the rusher and literally swing him in order to get leverage. This swinging technique may get him in trouble in the NFL for holding but he didn’t get called in this game. Stock: down; drafts’ bargain round: 7th

Casey Tucker, LT, Junior #77 (6’6” 296 lbs)

He is a decent offensive lineman because he has good size and he understands leverage and how to latch onto defenders well. Once latched on, he moves his feet well to keep the defender shielded away from the ball carrier. He has good enough speed to help initially on the D line and then move up to the second level. His big body makes it so defenders can’t get around him. Sometimes he ran his feet so well on the second level that he took the LB to the ground. He was strong enough to handled Porter Gustin’s go to move, the snag and pull. He needs to continue working on his pass protection because he was beat multiple times around the edge because he didn’t have the foot speed to keep up with the rusher’s speed. He has to continue moving his feet and shoot his hands faster because the edge rusher was swiping his hands away too easily. He didn’t show much hand striking power at the point of attack. He also gave up the inside rushing lane on a pass play. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 6th

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Junior #5 (6’0” 202 lbs)

He is one of the most well-known prospects in this draft class. The main thing I noticed about his running style is that he is very patient in searching for the hole he wants to go through. Throughout the game he would run horizontally or just shuffle his feet in the backfield, waiting for the opportune time to run through the hole. Personally, I like patience in a running back but I think that he was taking too much time to decide and would need to speed up his decision making. Once he decides on a hole, he has good explosion to get into and through the hole. He has quickness to stick and move naturally once he gets through the hole and his go to move is the stiff arm on DBs. I think that his best position on an NFL team will be to move around from RB to WR depending on the formation. He is a natural runner in space and if given 1 on 1 opportunity against DBs, I think he will win more than he loses because he is naturally elusive. He also showed that he may be able to further develop his route running skills when he ran a really good stop and go route and basically broke the DB ankles. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 1st (if used as an athlete, not a full time RB)

Dalton Schultz, TE, Junior #9 (6’6” 240 lbs)

He is a very physical player within his route and during blocking. I saw him push the LB off of him at the top of his route to get separation. When he was blocking, he consistently kept a wide base, used short choppy steps, and quickly shuffled his feet to stay in front of the defender. He also had great hand placement and he blocked with a physical attitude. On one play, the DE was getting his hands into his facemask but he still held his ground and continued to fight. On another play where he was the lead blocker through the hole, he gave a good pop at the initial contact and then continued to drive the LB into the ground. I was most impressed by his ability to work his hips in conjunction with his feet to gain leverage in his block after latching onto the defender. He understands zone coverage because while running sit route vs zone coverage, he sat perfectly in the middle of the two linebackers to catch a pass for a first down. His hands may be decent because he caught another pass on 3rd down for a first down against tight coverage. The route wasn’t great because he didn’t use any stick move throughout the route but he used his body to shield the defender from the pass. All in all, I think that he is a very sound player. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 3rd

Other Players that Flashed

Quenton Meeks, DB, Sophomore #24 (6’2” 192 lbs) for Stanford

He may be a decent prospect to watch develop in the upcoming years. He has good technique at the los when jamming WRs and he decently drove on the ball when passes were thrown to the WR sitting between his zone. He also has the physicality to tackle RBs in the trenches. He needs to continue to work on his patience when backpedaling because he was juked out of his shoes on a double move. He needs to work on defending the deep go pattern because he had horrible technique defending it in the game; turned his head in the wrong direction, like he was looking for a back shoulder throw. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: N/A

Alijah Holder, DB, Junior #13 (6’2” 186 lbs) for Stanford

He flashed because he kept tackling players with a vicious attitude. He tackled RB in the flats 1 on 1 and also almost forced a fumble when he flew up to tackle a WR running an under route. When I continued to watch him in coverage he did a decent job. He had good bump coverage vs a slant route and then broke off of the WR to tackle the WR that caught the pass and forced him to fumble. He played with good speed and deep ball technique to cover against JuJu Smith-Schuster’s go pattern. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: more evaluation needed

Josh Fatu, DT, senior #96 (6’1” 320 lbs) for USC

He flashed because he was showing really good penetration and strength at the point of attack. On 3rd and 1 he got great penetration and caused a huge disruption on the play. His arm strength is obvious because every time he extends his arms, the blocker’s upper body jolted back. He has a violent swim and chop down move that he uses to get to the other side of a blocker who is trying to shield him from an area. Sometimes he penetrates too far and ends up creating a big hole for the RB. He needs to work on using his strength to stay square because that way he can defend multiple gaps and tackle the RB no matter which hole he uses and also to distract as many offensive linemen as possible so that the LBs can fill the gaps. He is a handful on the goal line because he creates a lot of penetration due to his powerful and compact explosion. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 4th

Steven Mitchell Jr., WR, Junior #7 (5’10” 190 lbs) for USC

They say that he is the fastest player on the team. In the game he ran over the safety after catching a pass in the flats. Then he caught another pass on a shallow route and juked the LB to run for more yards. He could be a nice addition to an NFL team in the future. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: N/A more evaluation needed.

Uchenna Nwosu, LB, Junior #42 (6’3” 235 lbs) for USC

He showed good pass rushing abilities in key moments of the game, usually in 3rd down passing situations. He knows how to use his hands to violently swipe away the tackle’s hands as he rushes the edge; twice he created great pressure on the QB using this technique. He also takes on blocks when a run is coming his way with good arm extension and strength. I was impressed when he took on a block by the TE, Dalton Schultz and shed it as soon as the RB came within reach. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: N/A more evaluation needed.

Deontay Burnett, WR, Sophomore #80 (6’0” 170 LBS) for USC

Every time he caught the ball, he was looking to juke and break as many tackles as possible. I liked his creativity in route running when he did a very good double move on a dig route against the safety. He also has good hands. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: N/A more evaluation needed.

Sam Darnold, QB, Freshman #14 (6’4” 225 LBS) for USC

He didn’t play much but when he did throw, I saw incredible arm strength and accuracy. His passes had high velocity on it. He threw the ball into a very tight window and he anticipated where the WR was going to be. He needs to continue working on his throwing when on the move. He may trust his arm strength too much because he throws off 1 leg and off balance too often. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: N/A too young

Best Players on the Field

Adoree Jackson

Christian McCaffrey

Dalton Schultz

Forgettable Performances

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Junior #9 (6’2” 220 lbs) for USC

He did not do anything to affect the game. He had one good catch when the QB scrambled and he came back to the ball and caught it on the sideline with soft hands and good sideline awareness. Throughout the game he totally missed on the safety blocks. He tried to catch two deep balls with one hand instead of putting two hands up; one of those passes was a sure touchdown. Stock: down; Draft’s bargain round: not enough film to judge but right now 7th round

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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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