Clemson- North Carolina State
October 16, Raleigh
Ben Hall / TE / 87: Hall really did not see the field much until the second half
when Clemson's starting tight end went down with an injury (more on that
later). Yet when he was inserted into the line-up Hall's sheer athletic
ability was apparent to see. Blocking with good pad level, Hall bends his knees,
adjusts well and is strong at the point of attack. Quick releasing off the line
of scrimmage, Hall runs well laterally and adjusts backwards to the errant
throw, displaying soft, natural hands with the ability to pluck the ball from
the air. Far from the finished product, Hall looks more athletic than a football
player to this point, and must pick up the intensity of his blocking as well as
the nuances of the position. This may be difficult for him to do on the college
level, as the player starting ahead of Hall is a year younger and a very good
football player. When he does enter the draft Hall is a practice
squad/developmental type prospect worth the time investment.
Derrick Hamilton / WR / 21: Quick and elusive, Hamilton looks perfect for the slot
and as a return specialist at the next level. Immediately releasing off the
line, he is an excellent route runner that gets separation from defenders and
effectively runs after the catch. Hamilton is a little lazy with his
concentration and peeks before he has caught the ball, which leads to dropped
passes. More worrisome is his timid style of play, as Hamilton seems to fold at
the slightest bit of contact and has big ears with exceptional hearing, allowing
him to hear footsteps coming from all directions. Hamilton has been one we have
watched and liked from a skill standpoint but must really put it all together.
Chad Jasmin / FB / 10: Jasmin's running ability really brought the Tigers back
late in the game and he displayed the skill to be an interior ball carrying
threat. He is both quick through the hole yet at the same time powerful and
displays good speed for a big back. Patient, Jasmin waits for the holes to
develop and displays strong legs and hips, which enables him to break tackles.
Still there are questions that need to be answered; is Jasmin a fullback or
feature runner? Clemson rarely uses a lead fullback in its' spread offense so
Jasmin's blocking skills are a relative unknown. Ditto for his ability to be
an every down ball carrier as Jasmin is the third runner on the depth chart. He
could be very much like Ben Hall; a talented prospect that slips through the
cracks on draft day because of limited playing/starting action.
John Leake / LB / 45: The inspirational leader of the Tiger defense, Leake threw
his body around the field all game, flying to the action then sacrificing his
body to make the tackle. He quickly keys the action then fills the gaps in run
defense, fighting to make positive plays. Besides being a fiery leader Leake is
also intelligent and does a solid job making the defensive calls and
adjustments. He is small, so much so that he has great difficulty moving
laterally through the trash and cannot get off blocks once engaged at the point.
I do not think Leake can play in a traditional four-three alignment but rather
should be effective on the inside in a 34 scheme.
DeJuan Polk / DT / 97: Polk was a pleasant surprise as he looks as though he has
gained both bulk and strength. Quick off the snap, Polk displays a nice first
step, good hand technique and keeps his pads low, playing with leverage. He can
quickly alter his angle of attack to make plays laterally up and down the line
of scrimmage. Even with this, Polk was being handled at the point and really
wore down as the game progressed. Right now, he looks like a potential back up
at the three techniques.
Khaleed Vaughn / DE / 56: There was a lot of doubt as to whether or not Vaughn
would play as injuries have sidelined him recently. Still, late in the battle,
with the game on the line, he was inserted into the line up and had a positive
effect. Vaughn is a nice athlete who keeps his pads low, plays with good
leverage and speed. Quick off the snap, he can twist or stunt, collapse down the
line and makes many plays laterally. He is also a hard working guy that makes
sure to get his hands up and bat away the pass if he cannot get to the
quarterback. He is small and will be handled in one-on-one blocking. Whether he
will be a defender that lines up in a three point stance or is one that stands
up over tackle in a three-four needs to be sorted out but we feel Vaughn can
play at the next level.
Greg Walker / OL / 78: Walker, a natural guard, lined up at right tackle and did
an admirable job. Walker displays explosion, strength and jolt at the point.
Driving opponents off the line, he gets a lot of movement from his run blocks
and easily holds the point in pass protection. Though he is not light on his
feet, Walker quickly gets out to the second level, taking linebackers from the
action and can block on the move. He adjusts and slides laterally yet overall
lacks the great footwork and blocking range. Walker is a nice athlete and could
be a solid mid-to-late round choice with a definite future at the next level.
Charlie Whitehurst / QB / 6: It was easy to see why Willie Simmons transferred
to Furman after scouting Whitehurst Thursday. An exceptional athlete, he is
growing as a passer and complete quarterback. Whitehurst stands strong against
pressure in the pocket, sees the rush then steps up to avoid it. Tough, he will
take a hit in order to get the pass off and constantly challenges the vertical
game. Whitehurst did not force his passes rather did a solid job of going to the
safe, underneath outlet when nothing else was available. Relatively accurate,
even on the move, he displayed good zip on his outs and shorter passes. While
Whitehurst put air, under his deep throws, he cannot drive the pass downfield
and the ball wobbles. He needs to improve his fundamentals but Whitehurst, only
a red-shirt sophomore, has the skills to play in the NFL.
Kevin Youngblood / WR / 17: Youngblood was not very active at all during
the game yet is a big, imposing target that comes back to the ball, shields
opponents with his large frame and extends or adjusts for the pass. Youngblood
lacks the soft hands and is a pure possession wide out that lacks the playing
speed to beak it deep. Size alone makes him an enticing receiver prospect for
the next level.
Others: Several Tigers made impressions on us, first of which was Yusef Kelly, a bruising interior runner with good ball handling skills and the size
scouts want. Donnell Washington is a huge defensive lineman with the skills to
be lined up at several different positions. He is a load in the middle that gets
a lot of up field push. Corner Justin Miller has a lot of skills and abilities
to play at the next level. Red shirt sophomore Bobby Williamson looks like he
has the making of a complete and total tight end and will be a very good
prospect for the future. Must keep an eye on receiver Tony Elliott, a fifth year
senior. He made many plays and the light may be finally going on.
North Carolina State
Jerricho Cotchery / WR / 82: Not as active as we expected, Cotchery is a big
target with nice hands and a feel for the wide out position. He will extend and
expose over the middle, adjusts nicely to errant throws and has a great sense of
timing. Cotchery looks the pass in and does a terrific job making the reception
running full tilt. He is not that fast and rarely gets deep separation. Early in
the season, Cotchery was on fire and good pre-draft workouts could land him late
in the first day.
Sean Locklear / OL / 54: Like Greg Walker of Clemson, Locklear is a natural
guard who looked out of place at right tackle. Late in the game, he was moved
inside and seemed more comfortable. Locklear is a tough lineman with a great
feel for the position. He stays square using body positioning to wall defenders
from the play, fights with his hands and jolts defenders, turning them from the
play. Patient, he does not overextend into blocks and controls the opponent once
engaged at the point. Locklear is not a knee bender or leverage blocker but
rather an arm wrestler who lacks the top footwork and is a little bit stiff. He
is a late round pick that could develop into a starter at the next level.
Philip Rivers/ QB / 17: Heading towards the draft Rivers will be the guy that
will draw more debate than any other prospect; the player you'll see rated
anywhere from the first round until the seventh frame. For our two cents he fits
in somewhere in between and Thursday night was a perfect example. From an
intangible point of view Rivers rates with the best in the nation; his vision,
pocket poise, field wherewithal and command of the offense is impeccable. Very,
very tough, Rivers stands in the pocket, buying as much time as possible for
receivers then waits till the absolute last second before releasing the pass,
even if it means getting clobbered. Rivers leads receivers on the crossing
patterns and shows zip on the short passes. On the other hand, Rivers tries to
do too much at times, which costs him. His throwing motion is awful; he pushes
the pass, side-winds the throw or directs it to the target. He has an elongated
throwing motion, which slows the delivery of the ball. Rivers also lacks the big
arm. In watching him, we would liken Rivers, in manner and intellect, to Bernie Kosar. For all his faults there are a lot more positives than negatives and the
positives Rivers possesses cannot be taught. That said, the team that drafts him
best not try to alter his style or they may well ruin Rivers.
Patrick Thomas / LB / 52: We had been high on Thomas after watching him on film over
the summer but he disappointed us a bit Thursday. Fluid with top
sideline-to-sideline range, Thomas is very disciplined and stays with his
assignments, working to make the play. He breaks down well, fires up the field
and flies around the action. At times Thomas does over pursue or take himself
out of the action. He cannot get off blocks once engaged and did not make a
whole lot of plays. Still, we think he has the stuff to be a good weak-side
linebacker at the next level.
Others: NCSU has a pair of dominant young defenders. Mario Williams is an
imposing yet athletic defensive end that makes many plays up the field on out to
the flanks. Manny Lawson is a tall, slender linebacker that should grow into an
outstanding prospect on the strong side. In the beginning of September, we
reported that highly rated offensive tackle Chris Colmer was missing time with a
shoulder injury. Again, Colmer was not in the line-up last Thursday and the team
said they do not know when to expect him back.
NFL Scouts Notebook: Clemson-N.C. State
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