Recruiting Notes: Committed to Vanderbilt. Offers from Minnesota, Iowa, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, and Ohio State.
McDonald was clearly the best athlete on the field with the size, speed, and agility to be an elite receiver at the next level. He is extremely quick, able to change direction and burst to full speed within a couple steps, and has great vision when running with the ball.
He gains a lot of yards after the catch, usually making at least one defender miss him before being tackled, but he does need to work on ball security—he tends to hold the ball away from his body while running which led to one fumble in this game. He is also a tremendous threat in the red zone with his size and his ability to go up and get the ball.
With all his athletic ability, McDonald often looked like a man among boys, but in many ways he acts more like a boy playing in a man's game. He has all the physical tools necessary to be a great receiver, but seems to be a very "me first" type of player. He appeared to take plays off when the ball was going away from him, often jogging towards the cornerback with no sense of urgency and giving little effort to block him.
What was even more surprising, though, was how often he took himself out of the game completely. It seemed that every time either he made a catch, or was upset because he was open and thought the quarterback should have thrown the ball to him, he called for a substitute and headed for the sidelines—he was probably only on the field for about half his team's offensive plays. He is the most talented player on his team and he needs to be on the field a lot more in order for his team to score points and have a chance to win.
Recruiting Notes: Offers from University of North Dakota and Minnesota State – Mankato. Interest from Iowa and Minnesota.
Blair is a good-looking cornerback who has good size, speed, and athleticism and plays physical too. When playing off the line, he is very smooth in his backpedal and flips his hips well to turn and run. He also does a nice job of planting and driving on the ball on short routes.
But he seems most comfortable playing press-man coverage with inside leverage, forcing receivers outside and turning to run with them. Blair uses his hands well to engage the receiver and disrupt the route—one time he even drove the receiver completely out of bounds without letting him off the line of scrimmage—and then stays on their inside hip and blankets them all the way down the field.
When playing zone, he appears to lose sight of the receiver at times, but does a good job watching the quarterback and reacting to the play. In addition to his abilities on the field, Blair is also a vocal leader on the sidelines and plays with great effort.
Recruiting Notes: Interest from Minnesota, Michigan State, Tennessee, Ohio, Eastern Michigan, Iowa State, North Dakota, South Dakota State, Marshall, and Toledo
Ford had a pair of touchdowns in this game, both from inside the 10 yard line, but was unable to do much more against this defense. He has a good burst and shows a knack for finding the endzone in goal line situations, and seems to do well on outside runs. Going up the middle, he appears to stall at times trying to find a hole or changes direction at the line and gets caught up in a crowd. He needs to be more patient finding the hole and use his speed to burst through it, and then get to the second level before making another cut.
Lauer is a big, strong lineman who does a great job getting his hands on defenders and pushing them out of the way. He also sets up well in pass protection and delivers a good punch. Lauer also shows a little bit of nastiness and often finds himself at the end of the play lying on top of the defender he just pancaked. Like many offensive line prospects, Lauer will probably need to improve his foot speed and agility as he moves on to the college ranks. One other area to improve is his tendency to sometimes watch the RB at the end of the play instead of finishing his block.
Other Notable Players
Martin looks very poised in the pocket, has a strong arm, and good throwing mechanics. He took most of the snaps from under center and displayed nice footwork getting into his drops. He throws with good velocity and does a nice job of leading his receivers, particularly on crossing routes. His accuracy is not quite as good on deep routes, as he tends to overthrow his receiver at times, but overall he did a good job of getting the ball into his receivers' hands. He also showed the ability to escape from pressure and use his feet to keep the play alive while continuing to look downfield for an open receiver. Martin leads his team very well and should do the same at the college level.
Snyder is a player with a great motor who is relentless as a pass rusher. He gets low, dips his shoulder and rips past offensive tackles on the edge. When rushing inside, he does a great job of fighting through double-teams and not giving up on the play. He also showed good instincts to get his hands in the air when the quarterback was throwing the ball in his direction.
Against the run, he does an excellent job of collapsing the line when the play is away from him, shuffling down the line with his shoulders square and in good position to make a play against a reverse or bootleg. Once the ball passes him, he has the speed to run the ball carrier down from behind and he is a solid tackler.
His biggest area for improvement is probably his initial step—if he can get quicker off the snap he will be able to consistently beat slower offensive linemen off the edge. He played defensive end in a 3-4 front most of the game, but with his frame, he is probably better suited to play DE in a 4-3. He did play a few snaps in a two-point stance and showed enough athleticism to possibly convert to outside linebacker in a 3-4 at the college level.
Roti had a big game with two touchdowns, including one on a 55-yard run. He shows great vision and speed getting to the outside and outrunning defenders downfield. He also does a nice job of picking up the blitz in pass protection.
Scott has a strong leg, consistently sending his kickoffs into the endzone through the air. He will probably need to improve on his accuracy on FG/PAT attempts, but he won't have any trouble getting enough distance on the ball.
Wipson is a young linebacker who plays hard and shows good instincts on the field. He reads the play well and reacts quickly. He takes good pursuit angles and has the speed to make plays all over the field. He made one play in this game where he chased down Andre McDonald as he was running down the sideline and delivered a blow to him that knocked McDonald out of the game for a few plays. Where Wipson struggles is when he allows an offensive lineman to get their hands on him. He needs to get better at shedding blocks and playing in traffic, but with his size and speed he has a lot of upside to him.