It was amazing to watch how little defensive end Gaines Adams was involved until late in the contest. Ferried on and off the field for most of the first half, Adams put on punt coverage teams at one point but had limited impact. Much more was expected from Adams who grades out as a top fifteen choice in next April's draft.
When we inquired to those on hand why Adams was making no plays and being rotated into the line-up we got a straight-forward answer; the Clemson coaches feel Adams is playing not to get hurt. This could be a result of the season-ending knee injury suffered by Tiger linebacker Anthony Waters last week. Whatever the reason Adams stock will plummet unless he quickly turns it around. The New York Jets specifically sent a scout to watch Adams and they came away unimpressed.
Speaking of Anthony Waters, it is unlikely the fifth year senior will petition the NCAA for another season of college eligibility. Likely to enter the draft due to family financial concerns, Waters is likely to slip at least three rounds into the very late frames.
Tiger receiver Chansi Stuckey had several big receptions yesterday, including three in overtime which put Clemson in a position to tie the game or take the lead. Scouts on hand were impressed with Stuckey's play, who was a favorite of Jets and Bills personnel people on hand.
Another Clemson player who stood out was guard Nathan Bennett. A powerful blocker, Bennett had a dominant performance opening holes all afternoon long. Bennett plays with a nasty attitude, which is part of his personality. Not one to shy away from a scrape, Bennett even got into a fight on campus when he came for his initial visit. The Colts and the Bills showed a lot of interest in Bennett.
Several blockers from Boston College stood out, none more so then Josh Beekman. An athletic guard who displayed blocking abilities on the move, Beekman looked powerful all day long. He really helped his cause with the scouts on hand when, during the second quarter, Beekman slid over to center and skillfully manned the position for several series. Beekman is close to being penciled in as a first day selection.
James Marten also held his own at left tackle. He controlled Gaines Adams for most of the game, a result of Adams lackadaisical play as much as Marten's blind-side tackle abilities. Yet it was promising to the scouts on hand who now feel Marten, formerly a guard until this season, will be given looks at right tackle moving towards draft day.
Scouts from the Colts and Jets also told us they were impressed with the play of Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. Playing with an ankle injury, Ryan made several key passes throughout the day and displayed a terrific command of the offense. The junior is cementing himself as a top prospect for 2008.
Another Eagle prospect from the underclassmen ranks scouts grade high is right tackle Gosder Cherilus, a huge blocker with terrific strength. Several, including ourselves, wondered why the athletic blocker was not playing on the left side, where he seems a better fit than Marten.
In the end one thing was clear; the top NFL talent in this game is not draft eligible just yet.
Clemson defensive lineman Phillip Merling was a greater presence than Gaines Adams and has better size. Running back James Davis has first round potential written all over him. Rendrick Taylor is a beast at wide receiver and a player with tremendous upside.
For the Eagles, freshman Kevin Smith translates his sprinters speed onto the football field. Smith had well over 200 return yards on Saturday broke the game open almost everytime he touched the ball.